Mike Kellin

Active - 1950 - 1983  |   Born - Apr 26, 1922   |   Died - Aug 26, 1983   |   Genres - Drama, Comedy, Crime, Action, Western

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Biography by Hal Erickson

The son of an English-immigrant clothier, Mike Kellin decided to become an actor in the second grade, after watching a school production of A Christmas Carol. The restless Kellin briefly attended three colleges before serving in the Navy in World War II. After flunking out of Yale Drama School, Kellin headed to New York, where he studied acting under Lee Strasberg, Sanford Meisner and Stella Adler. Denied leading-man assignments because of what he described as his "lived-in face," Kellin's big Broadway break came in the role of the abrasive sergeant in the 1949 Broadway comedy At War with the Army; he would reprise his role in the 1950 film version, which starred Martin and Lewis. Kellin went on to win the Tony award for his performance in the 1956 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Pipe Dream. In 1960, Kellin was cast as slovenly Chief Mate McCarthy in The Wackiest Ship in the Army; when this film was adapted into a TV series in 1965, Kellin came along for the ride in substantially the same role, though the character was rechristened as Chief Petty Officer Willie Miller. Mike Kellin's most celebrated movie appearance was his Oscar-nominated role as the father of the imprisoned protagonist in Midnight Express (1978).

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