Michael Keaton Biography

Michael Keaton is an American actor, producer and director best known for his performance in the movie ‘Birdman’. This biography of Michael Keaton provides detailed information about his childhood, life, achievements, works & timeline.

Quick Facts

Birthday: September 5, 1951

Nationality: American

Famous: College Dropouts Actors

Age: 68 Years, 68 Year Old Males

Sun Sign: Virgo

Also Known As: Michael John Douglas, Michael Douglas

Born in: Coraopolis

Famous as: Actor

Height: 5'10" (178 cm), 5'10" Males


Spouse/Ex-: Caroline McWilliams, Courteney Cox

father: George A. Douglas

mother: Leona Elizabeth Loftus

children: Sean Douglas

U.S. State: Pennsylvania

More Facts

education: Kent State University, Montour High School

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Michael Keaton is an American actor, producer and director best known for his performance in the movie ‘Birdman’. A versatile actor, he is equally adept at playing comedic roles as well as dramatic ones and has also portrayed a few romantic characters. He has appeared in several action thrillers too. He developed an interest in acting and performing, when he was in his teens, and tried his luck at stand-up comedy as a young man. His comedy career was not successful though it paved the way for his acting career. Unable to find success as a comedian, he took up a job as a television cameraman in a cable station. It was while working there that he realized that he actually wanted to be in front of the camera, not behind it. Somehow he managed to bag a television role and appeared in several episodes of ‘Mister Rogers' Neighborhood’. He was a naturally gifted actor and soon became a popular television star. He embarked on a film career with great ambitions and found considerable fame with his comedic roles and earned even greater acclaim when he portrayed the eponymous superhero in Tim Burton's ‘Batman’. He matured as an actor with time and also ventured into production and direction. He received several awards and nominations for his lead performance in the film ‘Birdman’ in 2014.

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Childhood & Early Life
  • Michael Keaton was born as Michael John Douglas on September 5, 1951, in Robinson Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. His father George A. Douglas worked as a civil engineer and surveyor, and his mother, Leona Elizabeth was a homemaker. He was the youngest of seven children.
  • He attended Montour High School in Pennsylvania following which he studied speech for two years at Kent State, before dropping out and moving to Pittsburgh. While at school he used to perform humorous skits to entertain his classmates.
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  • He tried to pursue a career as a stand-up comedian but was not successful. In order to make ends meet he took up a job as a television cameraman at public television station WQED (TV). It was during this time that he realized that he wanted to work in front of the cameras.
  • He began auditioning for television roles and made appearances in Pittsburgh public television programs, including ‘Where the Heart Is’ and ‘Mister Rogers' Neighborhood’ (1975), as one of the "Flying Zookeeni Brothers”.
  • Determined to make his mark as an actor, he moved to Los Angeles in the lookout for more opportunities. Naturally talented and charismatic, he proved to be skilled at playing comedic roles. It did not take him long to bag parts in television shows like ‘Maude’ and ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Hour’.
  • Once he became a popular television actor, he changed his surname to “Keaton” in order to avoid confusion with well-known actor Michael Douglas and daytime host Mike Douglas.
  • Michael Keaton ventured into films following his television stint and made his film debut with a small non-speaking role in Joan Rivers film ‘Rabbit Test’. During this period he also worked with James Belushi in the short-lived comedy series ‘Working Stiffs’. He also appeared in the comedy hits ‘Mr. Mom’, ‘Johnny Dangerously’ and ‘Gung Ho’.
  • He got his first big break in 1988 when he was offered the title role in Tim Burton’s horror-comedy ‘Beetlejuice’. The film, which also had prominent actors like Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Catherine O'Hara and Winona Ryder was a hit and catapulted Keaton to worldwide fame.
  • Tim Burton played an important role in boosting Keaton’s budding career when he cast him as the title comic book superhero in the film ‘Batman’ in 1989. Keaton, who till now had primarily played only comic roles was initially believed to be the wrong choice to play batman. However, he silenced his critics with an amazing dramatic performance in the movie which went on to become a big hit. Keaton later reprised the role for the sequel ‘Batman Returns’ (1992).
  • His career thrived throughout the 1990s and he appeared in a variety of films like ‘Pacific Heights’ (1990), ‘One Good Cop’ (1991), ‘My Life’ (1993), ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ (1993), ‘The Paper’ (1994), ‘Out of Sight’ (1998), and ‘Jack Frost’ (1998).
  • Having started out as a comedian, he gained significant acclaim for his portrayal of dramatic roles over a period of time. He also proved himself to be skilled at performing action sequences. He remained active throughout the 2000s as well and worked in films like ‘A Shot at Glory’ (2000), ‘First Daughter’ (2004), ‘Herbie: Fully Loaded’ (2005), and ‘The Merry Gentleman’.
  • He was offered the role of his life in 2014 when he was asked to play Riggan Thomson/Birdman in the satirical black comedy-drama film ‘Birdman’. The film, which focuses on the fading career of a Hollywood actor proved to be a huge critical as well as commercial hit.
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Major Work
  • Michael Keaton is best known for his role as Riggan Thomson, a faded Hollywood actor once famous for playing the role of superhero “Birdman”. The film follows the actor’s life as he desperately tries to resurrect his failed career. Keaton received critical praise for this role which earned him several accolades and an Academy award nomination.
Awards & Achievements
  • He won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy and the Critics' Choice Award for Best Actor for his performance in ‘Birdman’ (2014). He was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award, British Academy Film Award and Academy Award for Best Actor for the same role.
Personal Life & Legacy
  • Michael Keaton married actress Caroline McWilliams in 1982. They had one son and the couple divorced in 1990.

1. Spotlight (2015)

  (History, Drama, Crime)

2. A Different Approach (1978)


3. Batman (1989)

  (Action, Adventure)

4. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

  (Adventure, Sci-Fi, Action)

5. Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014)

  (Comedy, Drama)

6. American Assassin (2017)

  (Action, Thriller)

7. Beetlejuice (1988)

  (Fantasy, Comedy)

8. Jackie Brown (1997)

  (Crime, Thriller, Drama)


Golden Globe Awards
2015 Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014)

See the events in life of Michael Keaton in Chronological Order

How To Cite

Article Title
- Michael Keaton Biography
- Editors, TheFamousPeople.com
- TheFamousPeople.com
Last Updated
- July 27, 2017
Michael Keaton

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