Richard Kiley


Actor, Narrator
Richard Kiley

About

Also Known As
Richard Paul Kiley
Birth Place
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Born
March 31, 1922
Died
March 05, 1999
Cause of Death
Myleodysplasia

Biography

A legendary stage actor and musical star who has also won Emmy awards for his TV work, Richard Kiley had one of the best "voices" in the business--mellifluous and warmly authoritarian--which complemented his wide acting range. He began his career in his native Chicago, performing juvenile role on radio soap operas such as the famed "Ma Perkins" and "The Guiding Light." After military ser...

Family & Companions

Mary Bell Wood
Wife
Married in 1948; divorced in 1967; died on March 3, 1993 at the age of 65; had six children with Kiley.
Patricia Ferrier
Wife
Married from 1968 until Kiley's death.

Notes

Inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame in 1999.

Biography

A legendary stage actor and musical star who has also won Emmy awards for his TV work, Richard Kiley had one of the best "voices" in the business--mellifluous and warmly authoritarian--which complemented his wide acting range. He began his career in his native Chicago, performing juvenile role on radio soap operas such as the famed "Ma Perkins" and "The Guiding Light." After military service, Kiley settled in NYC to pursue a stage career. His first break came when he was tapped to replace Anthony Quinn as Stanley Kowalski in the road company of "A Streetcar Named Desire." In 1953, Kiley made his Broadway debut in a revival of George Bernard Shaw's "Misalliance," for which he received a Theatre World Award. Turning to musicals, the actor displayed his vocal abilities as the Caliph in "Kismet" (introducing songs such as "Stranger in Paradise"), earned his first Tony Award co-starring with Gwen Verdon in the musical thriller "Redhead" (1959) and went on to alternate in dramas (e.g., "Advise and Consent") and musicals (i.e., Richard Rodgers' "No Strings"). But it was in the 1965 production of "Man of La Mancha," in which Kiley played the dual roles of Cervantes and Don Quixote, that solidified his theatrical stardom and provided him with a signature role. He introduced "The Impossible Dream" not only on the New York stage but also in London in 1969, and on numerous TV variety shows, including "The Ed Sullivan Show." Kiley would later also star on Broadway in the comedy "Absurd Person Singular" and in a revival of "All My Sons," but he would periodically return to "Man of La Mancha."

As with most NYC-based actors in the 50s, Kiley began his small screen career in live productions, but it was not until he had reached middle-age that his TV work increased momentum. He won his first Emmy for his portrayal of the patriarch of an Australian family in the ABC miniseries "The Thorn Birds" in 1983. Kiley went on to earn raves as the husband of a woman (Joanne Woodward) diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease in "Do You Remember Love?" (CBS, 1985). He was another patriarch a widower coping with life alone and helping his children stabilize their own lives, in the award-winning miniseries "A Year on the Life" (NBC, 1986) and its spin-off (NBC, 1987-88), which earned him a second Emmy. After making recurring appearances on NBC's "The Cosby Mysteries" (1994-95), Kiley earned a third Emmy for his turn as the irascible father of Jill Brock (Kathy Baker) in an episode of the CBS drama "Picket Fences."

Kiley's film work was more sporadic. He made his debut in 1951 in "The Mob," was a supporting player to Richard Widmark in the excellent spy thriller "Pickup on South Street" (1953) and as the member of the faculty who thinks he can reason with the hoodlums in "The Blackboard Jungle" (1955). After the 50s, his film appearances became infrequent. Among his more notable later roles were the pilot in the screen musical version of "The Little Prince" (1974), Diane Keaton's ill-tempered father in "Looking for Mr. Goodbar" (1977) and a doctor in "Patch Adams" (1998, his final film).

Often, the actor could be heard rather than seen, employing his sonorous baritone as a narrator. For instance. Kiley could be heard as the tour voice in "Jurassic Park" (1993) and in numerous TV commercials. He also provided the narration for documentary programming, including "National Geographic Specials," "Nova," "Planet Earth" as well as hundreds of nature, historical, and informative specials and reality shows on public television, broadcast networks, and cable channels (e.g., The Discovery Channel, The Learning Channel).

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

Blue Moon (1999)
Jimmy Keating
Patch Adams (1998)
Time to Say Goodbye? (1997)
Gerry Klooster
Phenomenon (1996)
The Visual Bible: The Gospel According to Matthew (1996)
The Rockford Files: Punishment and Crime (1996)
Frank Dougherty
Mary & Tim (1996)
Secrets (1995)
The Cosby Mysteries (1994)
Sears Cushing
A Passion For Justice: The Hazel Brannon Smith Story (1994)
Earl Clayburn
Jurassic Park (1993)
Mastergate (1992)
Absolute Strangers (1991)
Gunsmoke: The Last Apache (1990)
Chalk Brighton
William Holden: The Golden Boy (1989)
Narration
The Final Days (1989)
Chameleon Street (1989)
Dr Hand
My First Love (1988)
Grace Kelly: The American Princess (1987)
Narrator
Howard The Duck (1986)
Voice
Do You Remember Love (1985)
George Hollis
The Bad Seed (1985)
Pray TV (1982)
Golden Gate (1981)
Endless Love (1981)
Arthur Axelrod
Isabel's Choice (1981)
Angel on My Shoulder (1980)
Nick
Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977)
Mr. Dunn
The Macahans (1976)
Except For Thee And Me (1975)
The Little Prince (1974)
Pilot
Jigsaw (1972)
D A Dan Bellington
All the Way Home (1971)
Jay
Murder Once Removed (1971)
Frank Manning
a. k. a. Cassius Clay (1970)
Narrator
Pendulum (1969)
Woodrow Wilson King
Spanish Affair (1958)
Merritt Blake
Blackboard Jungle (1955)
Joshua Y. Edwards
The Phenix City Story (1955)
John Patterson
Pickup on South Street (1953)
Joey
The Sniper (1952)
Dr. James G. Kent
Eight Iron Men (1952)
Coke
The Mob (1951)
Tom Clancy

Music (Feature Film)

Jack and Jill (2011)
Song Performer

Cast (Special)

Hugh Hefner: American Playboy Revisited (2001)
Narrator
Heaven and Hell (2001)
Host
Scarlet Women of the Bible (2001)
Lost Years of Jesus (2001)
Host
Grow Old Along With Me (1999)
Loretta Young (1998)
Narrator
John Wayne: American Legend (1998)
Narrator
The Dragons of Galapagos (1998)
Narrator
Three Minutes to Impact (1997)
Narrator
The Sonoran Desert: A Violent Eden (1997)
Narrator
Henry Fonda: Hollywood's Quiet Hero (1997)
Narrator
Audrey Hepburn: The Fairest Lady (1997)
Narration
Vincent Price: The Versatile Villain (1997)
Narrator
Jimmy Stewart (1997)
Narrator
Wolves at Our Door (1997)
Narrator
Tigers of the Snow (1997)
Narrator
Searching For Lost Worlds (1996)
Narration
Carol Burnett: Just to Have a Laugh (1996)
Narrator
Cathedrals in the Sky (1996)
Narration
Last Feast of the Crocodiles (1996)
Narrator
30 Years of National Geographic Specials (1995)
Narrator
Rod Serling: Submitted For Your Approval (1995)
Paul Newman: Hollywood's Charming Rebel (1995)
Narrator
Steve Allen (1994)
Alaska's Bald Eagle: New Threats to Survival (1993)
Narration
Mysteries Underground (1992)
Narrator
Splendid Stones (1991)
Narrator
The Soul of Spain (1991)
Narrator
Music By Richard Rodgers (1990)
Odyssey: The Art of Photography at National Geographic (1990)
Host
Hudson Chronicle (1990)
Narration
Bali, Masterpiece of the Gods (1990)
Narrator
Odyssey: The Art of Photography at National Geographic (1990)
Narration
Cougar: Ghost of the Rockies (1990)
Narration
An Evening With Alan Jay Lerner (1989)
Those Wonderful Dogs (1989)
Narrator
Search For Battleship Bismarck (1989)
Narrator
Murder or Mercy: Five American Families (1988)
Narration
White Wolf (1988)
Narration
Why Did Johnny Kill? (1988)
Narration
Mysteries of Mankind (1988)
Narrator
Transplant (1988)
Narration
Australia's Twilight of the Dreamtime (1988)
Narrator
Cary Grant: The Leading Man (1988)
Narrator
Geometry of Life (1988)
Narrator
Lerner & Loewe: Broadway's Last Romantics (1988)
The Blessings of Liberty (1987)
Lions of the African Night (1987)
Narrator
Treasures From the Past (1987)
Narrator
Forever Wild (1986)
Narration
Water, Birth, the Planet Earth (1986)
Narrator
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1986)
Creatures of the Mangrove (1986)
Narrator
The 40th Annual Tony Awards (1986)
Performer
A Day in the Life of America (1986)
Narrator
Ballad of the Irish Horse (1985)
Narrator
The Canterville Ghost (1985)
Sir Simon De Canterville
Those Fabulous Clowns (1984)
Host
Those Fabulous Clowns (1984)
Narrator
Verse Person Singular (1983)
Parade of Stars (1983)
P.T. Barnum & His Human Oddities (1982)
Narration
Ceremony of Innocence (1970)
King Ethelred
Indemnity (1958)
Paul Scott

Music (Special)

Music By Richard Rodgers (1990)
Song Performer ("The Sweetest Sounds")
An Evening With Alan Jay Lerner (1989)
Song Performer
Verse Person Singular (1983)
Theme Music

Misc. Crew (Special)

Verse Person Singular (1983)
Conception

Cast (TV Mini-Series)

Separate but Equal (1991)
Chief Justice Earl Warren
If Tomorrow Comes (1986)
A Year in the Life (1986)
Joe Gardner
A.D. (1985)
George Washington (1984)

Life Events

1941

Played juvenile in radio soap operas, "Ma Perkins" and "The Guiding Light"

1947

Off-Broadway debut, "The Trojan Women"

1951

Film debut, "The Mob"

1953

Broadway debut, "Misalliance"

1953

First musical role, "Kismet"

1953

TV debut, "U.S. Steel Hour"

1959

Starred as Tom Baxter in "Redhead" on Broadway; won Tony Award

1965

Created signature role as Don Quixote/Miguel Cervantes in "Man of La Mancha" on Broadway; won second Tony Award; appeared with the show for its five year run, playing over 2,000 performances in the role

1972

Headlined a revival of "Man of La Mancha"

1974

Played the Pilot in the film musical "The Little Prince"

1977

Co-starred as Mr. Dunn, Diane Keaton's father, in "Looking for Mr. Goodbar"

1977

Once again played his signature role in yet another revival of "Man of La Mancha"

1981

Appeared as Martin Hewitt's father in "Endless Love"

1982

Portrayed the patriarch of the Cleary family in the ABC miniseries "The Thorn Birds"; earned an Emmy Award

1985

Portrayed the husband of Joanne Woodward in "Do You Remember Love?", a drama about a married couple facing Alzheimer's disease

1986

Created role of widower patriarch Joe Gardner in the NBC miniseries "A Year in the Life"

1987

Portrayed lead role of Joe Keller in Broadway revival of Arthur Miller's "All My Sons"; marked final Broadway appearance

1992

First played role of Hayden Langston, father of Jill Brock (Kathy Baker) in "Picket Fences" (CBS), teleplay by David E Kelley

1993

Provided the voice of the tour guide in "Jurassic Park"

1994

Reprised guest role as Hayden Langston in an episode of "Picket Fences" scripted by Kelley; received Emmy Award

1998

Final film appearance, as a doctor in the hit "Patch Adams"

1998

Last TV acting role before his death, portrayed a painter in an episode of "Ally McBeal" (Fox), written by David E Kelley

1999

Final acting role, as Sharon Lawrence's restarauteur father in the CBS movie "Blue Moon"

Videos

Movie Clip

Pickup On South Street (1953) - Come Back Right Away! Famous first scene in which Jean Peters and two FBI guys (Willis Bouchey, Jerry O'Sullivan) are among the straphangers, when pickpocket Richard Widmark appears, after which she calls Joey (Richard Kiley), in writer-director Samuel Fuller's Pickup On South Street, 1953.
Pickup On South Street (1953) - A Girl Makes Mistakes Writer-director Sam Fuller is all business as pickpocket Skip (Richard Widmark) revives Candy (Jean Peters), having knocked her out when she arrived at his waterfront shack to retrieve her wallet, in Pickup On South Street, 1953.
Sniper, The (1952) - Open, Law Enforcement Is Helpless Journalistic and inflammatory, the dramatized quasi-factual prologue, and the introduction of Arthur Franz as the title character, in producer Stanley Kramer and director Edward Dmytryk’s first collaboration, The Sniper, 1952, also starring Adolphe Menjou and Richard Kiley, shot largely in San Francisco.
Sniper, The (1952) - They Said I Was Looking In Their Windows Big set piece by director Edward Dmytryk, Ralph Peters the snarky cop at the podium as suspects John Pickard, Byron Foulger and Ralph Smiley are shredded, then Richard Kiley’s first scene as shrink Kent, discouraging chief cop Anderson (Frank Faylen) and Lt. Kafka (Adolphe Menjou) in The Sniper, 1952.
Sniper, The (1952) - Getting Tough With Women Kind of chance meeting at San Francisco Chinese joint, cop Kafka (Adolphe Menjou) meets getting-jaded criminologist Kent (Richard Kiley) who holds forth what we already know is spot-on reasoning about the thus-far unsuspected perp, in director Edward Dmytryk’s The Sniper, 1952.
Phenix City Story, The (1955) - My First Shot At a Major About-to-be crusading Alabama crime fighter John Patterson (Richard Kiley), until recently an Army officer and prosecutor, comes looking for thug Clem (John Larch), crime boss Tanner (Edward Andrews) and hench-girl Cassie (Jean Carson) looking on, in The Phenix City Story, 1955.
Phenix City Story, The (1955) - Open, That Industry Was Vice Richard Kiley narrates in the voice of his not-yet-introduced character, framing the story with factual content in director Phil Karlson's The Phenix City Story 1955.
Phenix City Story, The (1955) - It's Gotta Happen Tonight Hostess and informant Ellie (Kathryn Grant), still working for crime boss Tanner (Edward Andrews) calls lawyer Paterson (John McIntire), newly nominated as Alabama Attorney General, with his son (Richard Kiley), observed by casino runner Cassie (Jean Carson), trouble brewing, in The Phenix City Story, 1955.
Phenix City Story, The (1955) - Thou Shalt Not Kill Big spoiler here, as Paterson (Richard Kiley) and Zeke (James Edwards) who both had family members murdered, have failed to stop the thugs killing their informant Ellie, and clash over how to deal with the now-exposed local vice boss Tanner (Edward Andrews), in Phil Karlson’s fact-based The Phenix City Story, 1955.
Looking For Mr. Goodbar (1977) - Your Daughter Has A Beautiful Body Theresa (Diane Keaton) has just been dumped by her married professor boyfriend (Alan Feinstein) then enters into one of her wildest daydreams, Brian Dennehy the doctor, Richard Kiley her dad, then joining her increasingly free-living sister (Tuesday Weld), in writer-director Richard Brooks’ Looking For Mr. Goodbar,1977.
Looking For Mr. Goodbar (1977) - You're The Rock, Baby So far we’ve mostly seen Theresa (Diane Keaton) in her affair with her professor, now we meet her family, parents Richard Kiley and Priscilla Pointer, and flight attendant and formerly-married sister Katherine (Academy Award-nominated Tuesday Weld) in Looking For Mr. Goodbar,1977.
Blackboard Jungle (1955) - Welcome To North Manual The loose first-day assembly at North Manual High School, new teacher Dadier (Glenn Ford) observing as Halloran (Emile Meyer) and Miss Hammond (Margaret Hayes) try to manage students, in Richard Brooks' Blackboard Jungle, 1955.

Trailer

Family

Leo Joseph Kiley
Father
Railroad statistician.
Leonore Kiley
Mother
David Kiley
Son
Survived him.
Michael Kiley
Son
Survived him.
Kathleen Kiley
Daughter
Survived him.
Dorothea Kiley
Daughter
Survived him.
Erin Kiley
Daughter
Survived him.
Dierdre Kiley
Daughter
Survived him.

Companions

Mary Bell Wood
Wife
Married in 1948; divorced in 1967; died on March 3, 1993 at the age of 65; had six children with Kiley.
Patricia Ferrier
Wife
Married from 1968 until Kiley's death.

Bibliography

Notes

Inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame in 1999.