In 1980, Keith David joined Romanian-born British–American actor John Houseman's ‘The Acting Company’ and was part of his productions such as ‘A Midsummer Night's Dream’ and ‘Waiting for Godot’.
He got his break in 1982 with ‘The Thing’, a cult science-fiction-horror super hit film directed by John Carpenter. Starring with Kurt Russell, he essayed the role of Childs.
In the 1980s, he appeared in two episodes of children's television series, ‘Mister Rogers' Neighborhood’, portraying Keith, the Southwood Carpenter in ‘Neighborhood of Make-Believe’, and Keith, the game coin collector in ‘Donkey Kong’.
He acted as Vietnam War veteran Louis Fedders, sharing screen space with Charlie Sheen and Leslie Hope in the 1990 released comedy film, ‘Men at Work’, directed by Emilio Estevez
Between 1986 and 1990, he made insignificant appearances in Oliver Stone's war movie, ‘Platoon’, in the Steven Seagal starrer ‘Marked for Death’, and in the comedy film, ‘Stars and Bars’.
In the 1990s, he lent his voice to two major television animated series. He dubbed for the character Goliath in the series, ‘Gargoyles’ and for the title character in ‘Spawn’.
In 1995, he had starring roles in two crime films. In ‘Dead Presidents’, he essayed the role of a small time crook ‘Kirby’ and in ‘Clockers’, he played ‘André the Giant’.
The actor had a supporting role as Police Lieutenant Ed Fox in the movie, ‘Volcano’, in 1997. The movie starred Tommy Lee Jones and Anne Heche and received mixed reviews from critics.
In 1997, the actor lent his voice to Okkoto-nushi, a boar god in ‘Princess Mononoke’, and was also part of another Japanese project, ‘3×3 Eyes’.
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He was part of two films of different genres in 1998. He acted as General Kimsey in the sci-fi film, ‘Armageddon’ and as Charlie, Mary′s stepfather in the comedy, ‘There's Something About Mary’.
The futuristic thriller, ‘The Chronicles of Riddick: Pitch Black’, released in 2000 had Van Diesel in the lead, while David played a Muslim Imam, Abu 'Imam' al-Walid.
Since 2003, he has been associated with rapper Ice Cube. He can be heard in Ice’s band, Westside Connection's album, ‘Terrorist Threats’, and in his solo albums, ‘Raw Footage’ and ‘I Am the West’.
In the award-winning 2005 documentary, ‘Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson’, by filmmaker Ken Burns, he was the narrator. Jack Johnson was the first African-American Heavyweight Boxing Champion.
Between 2002 and 2010, he acted in comedy films including ‘Barbershop’, ‘Agent Cody Banks’, ‘Delta Farce’, ‘First Sunday’, ‘Mr. & Mrs. Smith’ , and also in ‘The Chronicles of Riddick’, ‘Crash’ and ‘Chain Letter’.
He was the narrator in many documentaries since 2004, including the BBC’s ‘World War II: Behind Closed Doors’, PBS’s ‘Ancient Refuge in the Holy Land’ and History Channel’s ‘Crusades: Crescent & the Cross’.
In 2007, ‘The War’, a seven episode mini-series produced by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, he was the narrator. The documentary explained the WWII from the American angle.
In 2009, he worked in two animated films. In ‘Coraline’, he lent his voice to The Cat, and to Doctor Facilier, the villainous voodoo witch doctor in ‘The Princess and the Frog’.
He has voiced for two video games–‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2’ as Sergeant Foley, and ‘Saints Row IV’, a comedy -action- 2013-video game as himself and the character Julius Little.
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He is now part of new comedy show called ‘Enlisted’ on Fox TV. David plays Command Sergeant Major Donald Cody.