David Keith

Active - 1964 - 2020  |   Born - May 8, 1954 in Knoxville, Tennessee, United States  |   Genres - Drama, Horror, Thriller, Action, Comedy

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Biography by Hal Erickson

A graduate of the University of Tennessee, David Keith made his first significant theatrical appearance in Chicago. Keith was to star in the 1979 sitcom Co-Ed Fever, but it was pulled from the CBS lineup after one episode. Luckily, his more enduring movie career also began in 1979 with a small role in The Rose. Keith quickly became a specialist in portraying all-American boy roles who were cursed with a fatal character flaw or two, as witnessed in An Officer and a Gentleman (1982). Keith's performance as a suicidal officer-in-training earned him two Golden Globe nominations. Retaining his military buzz-cut from Officer, Keith had his first above-the-title starring role in 1983's The Lords of Discipline. And with an uncharacteristic full head of hair, Keith played Elvis in the 1990 fantasy Heartbreak Hotel, performing the King's songs himself. An able director, Keith has thus far helmed two films: The Curse (1985) and Further Adventures of Tennessee Buck (1987). One of Keith's more unorthodox recent screen appearances was as a foot-tall toy figure who comes to life in 1995's The Indian in the Cupboard. Keith occasionally appears in made-for-television movies such as Guts & Glory: The Oliver Story in which he played the title role, and in miniseries like James Michener's Texas. Over the next several years, Keith would remain a consistent force on screen, most notably appearing in movies like Daredevil, Raise Your Voice, and Come Away Home. He would also memorably star on TV series like The Class.

Movie Highlights

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  • Made film debut opposite Bette Midler in 1979's The Rose.
  • Best known for his breakthrough performance in An Officer and a Gentleman (1982), which earned him two Golden Globe nominations.
  • In 1987, he made his directorial debut with the horror film The Curse.
  • Served on the National Advisory Board for the National Association to Protect Children.
  • As a composer, he has contributed music to television series and movies.
  • Has a cattle ranch in Tellico Plains, TN.
  • In 2010, he was cast as the father of a con artist on the Fox series Lone Star.