Michael Keaton (born September 5, 1951)
Michael John Douglas , better known by the stage name Michael Keaton, is an American actor known for his early comedic roles, most notably his performance as the title character of Tim Burton's Beetlejuice (1988). Keaton is also famous for his dramatic portrayal of Bruce Wayne/Batman in Tim Burton's Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992). He has since appeared in various other films, including Pixar's Cars (2006) and Toy Story 3 (2010).
Keaton, the youngest of seven children, was born in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania and lived in Robinson Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. His father, George A. Douglas, worked as a civil engineer and surveyor, and his mother, Leona Elizabeth (née Loftus), a homemaker, came from a Scots-Irish community in McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania. Keaton was raised in a large Catholic family and attended Montour High School in Pennsylvania. He studied speech for two years at Kent State before dropping out and moving to Pittsburgh.
An unsuccessful attempt at stand-up comedy led Keaton to working as a TV cameraman at public television station WQED (TV) in Pittsburgh. Keaton first appeared on TV in the Pittsburgh-based public television programs, including "Where the Heart Is" and Mister Rogers' Neighborhood (1975), as one of the "Flying Zucchini Brothers." He also served as a full-time production assistant on the show. (In 2004, following Fred Rogers' death, Keaton hosted the PBS memorial tribute program, Fred Rogers: Everybody's Favorite Neighbor.) Keaton also worked as an actor in Pittsburgh theatre; he played the role of Rick in the Pittsburgh premiere of David Rabe's Sticks and Bones with the Pittsburgh Poor Players.
Keaton left Pittsburgh and moved to Los Angeles to begin auditioning for various TV parts. He popped up in various popular TV shows including Maude and The Mary Tyler Moore Hour. Around this time Keaton decided to use an alternative surname to avoid confusion with well-known actor Michael Douglas and daytime host Mike Douglas, as well as satisfying SAG rules, and after reading an article on actress Diane Keaton, he decided on "Michael Keaton."
His next key break was working alongside James Belushi in the short-lived comedy series Working Stiffs, which showcased his comedic talent and led to a co-starring role in the comedy Night Shift directed by Ron Howard. His role as the hilariously fast-talking schemer Bill "Blaze" Blazejowski alongside Henry Winkler's nerdish morgue attendant earned Keaton some critical acclaim, and he scored leads in the subsequent comedy hits Mr. Mom, Johnny Dangerously, and Gung Ho.
Keaton's role as the title character in Tim Burton's 1988 horror-comedy Beetlejuice, which co-starred Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Catherine O'Hara, and Winona Ryder, earned Keaton widespread acclaim and boosted him to movieland's A-list. He originally turned down the title role in Beetlejuice but later reconsidered. Keaton now considers Beetlejuice his favorite of his own films. That same year, Keaton also gave an acclaimed dramatic performance as a drug-addicted businessman in Clean and Sober. Newsweek featured him in a story during this time.
Keaton's career was given another major boost when he was again cast by Tim Burton, this time as the title comic book superhero of the 1989 blockbuster Batman. Burton cast him because he thought that Keaton was the only actor who could believably portray someone who has the kind of darkly obsessive personality that the character demands. Warner Bros. received thousands of letters of complaint by fans commenting that Keaton was the wrong choice to portray Batman, given his prior work in comedies and the fact that he lacked the suave, handsome features and tall, muscular physicality often attributed to the character in the comic books. However, Keaton's dramatic performance earned widespread acclaim from critics and audiences alike, and Batman became one of the most successful films of the year.
Keaton in the second Batman film, Batman Returns