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Keith Michell (born 1 December 1928) is an Australian actor.

Early life

He was born in Adelaidemarker and brought up in Warnertown, near Port Piriemarker in South Australiamarker's Mid North region. The theatre in Port Pirie is named after him.


Michell taught art until he made his theatre debut in Adelaidemarker in 1947 and he first appeared in Londonmarker in 1951. He has starred in several musicals, including the first Londonmarker production of Man of La Mancha, in which he played the dual role of Miguel de Cervantes and his fictional creation, Don Quixote. (An album set was also made of this performance.) In 1964 he starred as Robert Browning in the musical 'Robert And Elizabeth', opposite Australian soprano June Bronhill.

Michell has acted with the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre Companymarker, as well as appearing extensively in cinema and television, notably as the King in The Six Wives of Henry VIII, and as Heathcliff in BBC Television's 1962 adaptation of Wuthering Heights. He was the artistic director of the Chichester Festival Theatremarker (1974-1977).

On American television, Michell has made appearances on the mystery series Murder, She Wrote (starring Angela Lansbury), playing Dennis Stanton, a former jewel thief turned insurance claims investigator who always solved his cases with unusual methods and sent a copy of the story to his friend Jessica Fletcher afterwards.

As well as acting, Michell pursues other interests: he wrote the musical "Pete McGynty and the Dreamtime", an Australian rendering of Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen's "Peer Gynt", the performance of which used Michell's own paintings as backdrops; he is a painter and has illustrated a limited edition run of Shakespeare's sonnets for which he also did the calligraphy; and he has written and illustrated a number of macrobiotic cookbooks. Michell himself is a proponent of the Macrobiotic diet and philosophy and follows a macrobiotic diet.

Michell was also the illustrator of "Captain Beaky", a collection of Jeremy Lloyd's poems. "Captain Beaky" enjoyed phenomenal success in Britain in the 1980s, among both children and adults. The song "Captain Beaky" peaked at No. 5 on the UK charts in 1980.

Personal life

He is married to the actress Jeanette Sterke and they have a son, Paul, and a daughter, Helena, who appeared in the films Prick Up Your Ears, based on the biography of British playwright, Joe Orton, and Maurice, from the E. M. Forster novel of the same name.



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