Harvey Keitel Biography

Born in 1939 in Brooklyn, New York, Harvey Keitel studied acting at The Actors Studio with Frank Corsaro, Lee Strasberg and Stella Adler, later becoming one of the co-presidents of the institution alongside Ellen Burstyn and Al Pacino.

He first gained recognition with a series of gritty roles in the early films of Martin Scorsese. Keitel and Scorsese made their onscreen feature debuts in 1967 with WHO’S THAT KNOCKING AT MY DOOR in which he played Scorsese’s alter ego. Five years later, they collaborated on MEAN STREETS and a series of subsequent partnerships through the ‘70’s, including ALICE DOESN’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE (1974) and TAXI DRIVER (1976). In 1977, he starred in Ridley Scott’s THE DUELLISTS and one year later in James Toback’s haunting psychological drama FINGERS. In 1988, he was cast as Judas in Scorsese’s THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST. His role as a sympathetic detective in Ridley Scott’s THELMA & LOUISE in 1991 proved to be a turning point in his career. His Oscar nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his portrayal of gangster Mickey Cohen in Barry Levinson’s BUGSY the same year put him in the forefront on the big screen.

In 1992, his work in Abel Ferrara’s BAD LIEUTENANT earned him an Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead. The same year he played in Quentin Tarrantino’s cult debut feature RESERVOIR DOGS opposite Steve Buscemi and Tim Roth. He also starred in Jane Campion’s critically acclaimed art drama THE PIANO with Holly Hunter and Sam Neil, which won the Palme d’Or at the 1993 Cannes Festival. In the 1990s Keitel continued to turn out solid performance in such films as Quentin Tarantino’s Palme d’Or winner PULP FICTION (1994), Spike Lee’s CLOCKERS (1995), and James Mangold’s COP LAND (1997).

One of his most memorable characterizations, cigar shop owner Auggie Wren, came from his 1995 collaboration with writer Paul Auster and director Wayne Wang on SMOKE and BLUE IN THE FACE, which Auster wrote and Wang directed. He also teamed with Auster again in 1990 on LULU ON THE BRIDGE.

In the past two decades, Keitel was seen in a variety of films, notably Tony Bui’s THREE SEASONS (1999), in which he played an American soldier searching for his lost daughter in Vietnam, Jane Campion’s HOLY SMOKE (1999), in which he played a man sent to deprogram Kate Winslet of religious cult teachings, and Tim Blake Nelson’s THE GREY ZONE (2001) as a Nazi officer.
He also worked with several other European directors such as Bertrand Tavernier (DEATH WATCH, 1980), Ettore Scola (THE NIGHT OF VARENNES, 1982), Carlo Lizzani (CARO GORBACIOF, 1988), Theo Angelopoulos (ULYSSES’ GAZE, 1995), István Szabó (TAKING SIDES, 2001), Manuel Pradal (GINOSTRA,2002 and A CRIME, 2006) and Renzo Martinelli (THE STONE MERCHANT, 2006).
His on-stage career has also illuminated off-off Broadway, off-Broadway and famed Broadway productions, such as A Lie of the Mind, written and directed by Sam Shepard, and the 1985 Tony Award-winning Hurlyburly, written by David Rabe and directed by Mike Nichols. In 2008, he starred as Jerry Springer in Jerry Springer - The Opera, in concert at Carnegie Hall.

Keitel will next be seen in Ari Folman’s animated film THE CONGRESS, an adaptation of Stanislaw Lem’s classic short novel The Futurological Congress.

2013 The Congress by Ari Folman
2012 Gandhi of the Month b y Kranti Kanade
2012 The Death of Ipu by Bogdan Dreyer
2012 Moonrise Kingdom by Wes Anderson
2010 The Last Godfather by Hyung-rae Shim
2010 Little Fockers b y Paul Weitz
2010 A Beginner's Guide to Endings by Jonathan Sobol
2009 Wrong Turn at Tahoe by Franck Khalfoun
2009 Inglourious Basterds by Quentin Tarantino 
2009 The Ministers by Franc Reyes
2007 National Treasure: Book of Secrets by Jon Turteltaub
2007 My Sexiest Year by Howard Himelstein
2006 Arthur y los Minimoys by Luc Besson
2006 Il mercante di pietre by Renzo Martinelli
2006 A Crime by Manuel Pradal
2006 One Last Dance by Max Makowski
2005 En un rincn de la Toscana by Brad Mirman  
2005 The Gypsy's Curse by Philippe Decouflé
2005 Be Cool by F. Gary Gray
2005 The Shadow Dancer by Brad Mirman
2004 The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Mary McGuckian
2003 Puerto Vallarta Squeeze by Arthur Allan Seidelman
2003 Dreaming of Julia by Juan Gerard
2003 Who Killed the Idea? by Hermann Vaske
2003 The Galindez File
2003 Crime Spree by Brad Mirman
2003 Ginostra by Manuel Pradal
2003 Beautiful Country by Hans Petter Moland
2002 Red Dragon by Brett Ratner
2002 Nowhere by Luis Sepulveda
2001 Beeper by Jack Sholder
2001 Dreaming of Julia by Juan Gerard
2001 Je viens après la pluie
2001 Vipera by Sergio Citti
2001 The Grey Zone by Tim Blake Nelson
2001 Taking Sides
2001 Nailed by Joel Silverman
2000 Ginostra by Manuel Pradal
2000 Little Nicky by Steven Brill
2000 Prince of Central Park by John Leekley
2000 U-571 by Jonathan Mostow
1999 Interesting State, An
1999 Presence of Mind by Antonio Aloy
1999 Holy Smoke by Jane Campion
1999 Three Seasons
1998 Mio West, Il
1998 Finding Graceland
1998 Lulu on the Bridge by Paul Auster
1998 Shadrach by Susanna Styron
1998 Fairy Tale: A True Story
1997 Full Tilt Boogie by Sarah Kelly
1997 Copland by James Mangold
1997 City of Industry
1996 Head Above Water
1996 From Dusk Till Dawn by Robert Rodriguez
1995 Get Shorty
1996 Blue in the Face
1995 Clockers by Spike Lee
1995 Vlemma tou Odyssea, To
1995 Smoke by Wayne Wang
1994 Who Do You Think You're Fooling
1994 Imaginary Crimes by Anthony Drazan
1994 Pulp Fiction by Quentin Tarantino
1994 Somebody to Love by Alexandre Rockwell
1994 Monkey Trouble by Alexandre Rockwell
1993 The Young Americans by Danny Cannon
1993 Dangerous Game
1993 Rising Sun
1992 Reservoir Dog by Quentin Tarantino