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Kevin Delaney Kline (born October 24, 1947) is an Americanmarker theatre and film actor. He has won one Academy Award, two Tony Awards and was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2009.

Early years

Kline was born in St. Louis, Missourimarker, the son of Peggy and Robert Kline. Robert was a classical music lover and an amateur opera singer who owned and operated The Record Bar, a record store in St. Louis that opened in the early 40s, and also sold toys during the 60s and 70s. Kline's father was an agnostic of Jewish descent, while Kline's Irish-American mother, the daughter of an emigrant from County Louthmarker, was Catholic. His father's family also owned Kline's Inc., a department store chain. Kline has described his mother as the "dramatic theatrical character in our family."

Kline and his siblings were raised as Catholics. He graduated from the Catholic Saint Louis Priory Schoolmarker in 1965. He attended Indiana Universitymarker in Bloomington, Indianamarker, where he began as an aspiring classical pianist. After joining the on-campus theater group "Vest Pocket Players" as an undergraduate, he fell in love with the theater and switched to acting, graduating from IU in 1970.


In 1970, Kline was awarded a scholarship to the newly formed Drama Division at the Juilliard Schoolmarker in New York. In 1972, he joined with fellow Juilliard graduates, including Patti LuPone and David Ogden Stiers, and formed the City Center Acting Company (now The Acting Company), under the aegis of John Houseman. The Company traveled across the U.S. performing Shakespeare's plays, other classical works, and the musical The Robber Bridegroom, founding one of the most widely praised groups in American repertory theatre.

In 1976, Kline left The Acting Company and settled in New York City, doing a brief stint as the character "Woody Reed" in the now-defunct soap opera Search for Tomorrow. He followed this with a return to the stage in 1978 in the small role of "Bruce Granit", a matinée idol caricature, in Harold Prince's On the Twentieth Century, for which he won his first Tony Award. In 1981, Kline appeared with rock diva Linda Ronstadt and singer Rex Smith in the New York Shakespeare Festival's Central Park production of The Pirates of Penzance, winning another Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical, for his comically dashing portrayal of the Pirate King. In 1983, he played the role in a film version of the musical, also with Ronstadt and Smith, which had a limited theatrical release.

In the ensuing years, Kline appeared many times in New York Shakespeare Festival productions of Shakespeare, including starring roles in Richard III, Much Ado About Nothing, Henry V, two productions of Hamlet (one of which he also directed) and a Tony-nominated Falstaff in a production that combined the two parts of Henry IV.

Dubbed "the American Olivier" by New York Times theater critic Frank Rich for his stage acting, Kline finally ventured into film in 1982 in Alan J. Pakula's Sophie's Choice. He won the coveted role of the tormented and mercurial Nathan opposite Meryl Streep. Streep won an Academy Award for her performance in the film. Kline was nominated for a Golden Globe and BAFTA Award for best debut performance.

Kline and wife Phoebe Cates at the Academy Awards Governor's Ball party, 1989
During the 1980s and early 1990s, Kline made several films with director Lawrence Kasdan, including The Big Chill, Silverado, Grand Canyon, I Love You to Death, and French Kiss. In 1989, Kline won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the British comedy A Fish Called Wanda, in which he played a painfully inept American ex-CIA thug opposite John Cleese's genteel British barrister and Jamie Lee Curtis' femme fatale/con woman. In 2000, the American Film Institute ranked the film twenty-first on AFI's 100 Years... 100 Laughs.

Though he has been offered many roles that could have boosted him to box-office stardom, Kline has kept a wary distance from the Hollywood star-making machine. He developed a reputation for picking parts with discrimination (such as strong roles in Grand Canyon and Life as a House), leading to the industry nickname "Kevin Decline". Other awards have included Drama Desk Awards, Golden Globe awards, a Gotham Award, a Hasty Pudding Theatricals Man of the Year Award, and a St. Louis International Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award. He also has a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame.

Film reviewers have widely praised his talent. Newsday said Kline "has proved himself to be one of the most talented and versatile American actors of his generation."

Most recently, he played the title role in King Lear at the Public Theatre, and has played the lead role in a Broadwaymarker production of Cyrano de Bergerac opposite Jennifer Garner. That production was forced to close temporarily after only eleven performances as a result of the Broadwaymarker stagehands' strike, but subsequently reopened. Cyrano was filmed in 2008 and aired as part of PBS's Great Performances series in January 2009.

On January 27, 2008, Kline won a Screen Actors Guild award for his portrayal of Jaques in Kenneth Branagh's film As You Like It, adapted from Shakespeare's play. The film premiered theatrically in 2006 in Europe. It bypassed theatres and was sent straight to HBO in the U.S., where it was shown on August 21, 2007.

In December 2004 Kline became the 2,272nd recipient of a star on Hollywood Walk of Fame, located at 7000 Hollywood Boulevard.

Personal life

Kline married actress Phoebe Cates, 16 years his junior, in 1989. The couple live in New York City and have two children: Owen Joseph Kline (born 1991), who had a featured role in The Squid and the Whale, and Greta Simone Kline (born 1994). After his son was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes, Kline became active with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. In November 2004, he was presented with the JDRF's Humanitarian of the Year award by Meryl Streep for his volunteer efforts on behalf of the organization. Kline also once dated Patti LuPone.

The Kevin Kline Awards honor theatre professionals in St. Louis in a wide array of categories, which include best actor and actress, set design, choreography, and original play. The first awards ceremony took place on March 20, 2006.


Year Film Role Other notes
1982 Sophie's Choice Nathan Landau Nominated - BAFTA Award for Best Newcomer

Nominated - Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year - Actor
1983 The Pirates of Penzance The Pirate King
The Big Chill Harold Cooper
1985 Silverado Paden
1986 Violets Are Blue Henry Squires
1987 Cry Freedom Donald Woods
1988 A Fish Called Wanda Otto West Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor

Nominated - BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
1989 The January Man Nick Starkey
1990 I Love You to Death Joey Boca
1991 Soapdish Jeffery Anderson/Dr. Rod Randall Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Grand Canyon Mack
1992 Consenting Adults Richard Parker
Chaplin Douglas Fairbanks
1993 Dave Dave Kovic/President William Harrison Mitchell Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
The Nutcracker Narrator
1994 Princess Caraboo Frixos
1995 French Kiss Luc Teyssier
1996 The Hunchback of Notre Dame Phoebus voice
1997 The Ice Storm Ben Hood
Fierce Creatures Vince McCain/Rod McCain
In & Out Howard Brackett Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1999 A Midsummer Night's Dream Nick Bottom
Wild Wild West U.S. Marshal Artemus 'Artie' Gordon/President Ulysses S. Grant
2000 The Road to El Dorado Tulio voice
2001 The Anniversary Party Cal Gold
Life as a House George Monroe Nominated - Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
2002 Orange County Marcus Skinner uncredited
The Hunchback of Notre Dame II Phoebus voice
The Emperor's Club William Hundert
2004 De-Lovely Cole Porter Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
2006 The Pink Panther Chief Inspector Dreyfus
A Prairie Home Companion Guy Noir
As You Like It Jaques Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
2007 Trade Ray Sheridan
2008 Definitely, Maybe Hampton Roth
The Tale of Despereaux Andre voice
Cyrano de Bergerac Cyrano de Bergerac Nominated - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor - Miniseries or a Movie
2009 Queen to Play (Joueuse) Docteur Kröger
2010 The Extra Man TBA forthcoming film
Hostel for Dogs Dr. Hostel
The Conspirator Edwin Stanton filming


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