Keith David Biography


Birthday: June 4, 1956 (Gemini)

Born In: Harlem, New York, United States

Keith David is an accomplished African-American film, television and voice actor. He was raised in New York and decided as a young boy of 13, that he wanted to be an actor. He acted in films such as ‘Crash’, ‘There’s Something About Mary’, ‘Barbershop’, and ‘Men at Work’, and cult favorites, including ‘The Thing’, ‘They Live’, ‘Pitch Black’ ‘The Chronicles of Riddick’, ‘Armageddon’, ‘Platoon’, and ‘Requiem for a Dream’. Though he did not get long roles, yet he made them memorable with the brilliance of his acting. Possessing a deep and commanding voice, he carved a niche for himself as a voice actor. He received Emmy Awards as the narrator of several Ken Burns documentaries, including ‘The War’. He lent his voice to Goliath in the Disney series ‘Gargoyles’, Spawn/Al Simmons in Todd McFarlane’s ‘Spawn’, Dr. Facilier in ‘The Princess and the Frog’, and to numerous video game characters and commercials. As a stage actor, he was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical for his role in the Broadway play, ‘Jelly’s Last Jam’.

Quick Facts

Also Known As: Keith David Williams

Age: 67 Years, 67 Year Old Males


Spouse/Ex-: Dionne Lea Williams

father: Lester Williams

mother: Dolores (née Dickenson)

Born Country: United States

Quotes By Keith David African American Actors

Height: 6'2" (188 cm), 6'2" Males

U.S. State: New Yorkers, African-American From New Yorkers

More Facts

education: Manhattan's School of Performing Arts, Juilliard School's Drama Division

Childhood & Early Life
Keith David was born on June 4, 1956 to Dolores, a manager at New York Telephone, and Lester Williams, a director of payroll operations. He played the Cowardly Lion at school and wanted to be an actor.
He studied at Manhattan's School of Performing Arts and trained at the Juilliard School's Drama Division between 1975 and1979, and acquired a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree from there.
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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.
Major Works
In 1988, Keith David acted with Roddy Piper and Meg Foster in John Carpenter’s science fiction film, ‘They Live’, and was involved in one of the best fight scenes ever.
In 1992, he appeared in the musical ‘Jelly's Last Jam’ which chronicled the life and career of Jelly Roll Morton who popularized Jazz. He was nominated for a Tony for Best Supporting Actor.
In 2002, Keith David shared the Best Ensemble category award given by the Washington DC Area Film Critics Association with rapper Ice Cube’s band Westside Connections, for the comedy film ‘Barbershop’.
He has won two Primetime Emmy Awards in the category Outstanding Voice-Over Performance, for the documentaries ‘Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson’, and ‘The War’ episode ‘A Necessary War’.
Personal Life & Legacy
He married Margit Edwards, a drama student at Hunter College in 1990. He is presently married to actress Dionne Lea Williams. He and Dionne have two children.
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A great admirer of the late singer, Nat King Cole, this actor hopes to play the singer some day. A good singer, he has already performed some Cole favorites on stage.
This actor saved Charlie Sheen's life when he pulled him into their helicopter, as the aircraft banked dangerously during the filming of ‘Platoon’.

Keith David Movies

1. The Thing (1982)

  (Mystery, Horror, Sci-Fi)

2. Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson (2004)

  (Sport, Documentary, Biography)

3. Requiem for a Dream (2000)


4. Platoon (1986)

  (Drama, War)

5. Crash (2004)

  (Thriller, Crime, Drama)

6. Cloud Atlas (2012)

  (Sci-Fi, Drama, Mystery, Action)

7. The Nice Guys (2016)

  (Thriller, Comedy, Crime, Action, Mystery)

8. They Live (1988)

  (Sci-Fi, Action, Thriller, Horror)

9. Bird (1988)

  (Drama, Music, Biography)

10. There's Something About Mary (1998)

  (Romance, Comedy)


Primetime Emmy Awards
2016 Outstanding Narrator Jackie Robinson (2016)
2008 Outstanding Voice-Over Performance The War (2007)
2005 Outstanding Voice-Over Performance Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson (2004)
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See the events in life of Keith David in Chronological Order

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