A Fish Called Wanda
“I’ve never felt completely satisfied with what I’ve done. I tend to see things too critically. I’m trying to get over that. I’ve got the Jewish guilt and the Irish shame and it’s a hell of a job distinguishing which is which.” Kevin Kline
Multi-talented American actor Kevin Kline was handed an Academy Award for his comic performance as thoughtless Otto in A Fish Called Wanda (1988). The actor also earned Golden Globe nominations for playing roles in Sophie’s Choice (1983), Soapdish (1992), Dave (1994), In & Out (1998) and Life as a House (2002). On stage, the accomplished actor has also built a solid career. He won two Tony Awards and two Drama Desk Awards for playing selfish film star Bruce Granit in “On the Twentieth Century” (1978) and as the Pirate King in “The Pirates of Penzance” (1981).
Off screen, Kline, whose son suffers from juvenile diabetes, has actively joined the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. In November 2004, the organization handed him the Humanitarian of the Year Award for his volunteer efforts on behalf of the organization.
As for his private life, the 6’ 2 inch tall actor has been romantically involved with such actresses as JoBeth Williams, Patti LuPone and Glenn Close before marrying Phoebe Cates on March 5, 1989. From the marriage, he has two children, son Owen Joseph Kline and daughter Greta Simone Kline.
Kevin Delaney Kline
Childhood and Family:
Kevin Delaney Kline was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on October 24, 1947, to parents Robert Joseph Kline (owner of a toy and record store) and Peggy Kline. The second child of the family, Kevin has three siblings: producer and screenwriter Kate May (the founder of Shakespeare Project), actor Chris Kline and Alex Kline.
Young Kevin studied at St Louis Priory School in Missouri from 1959 to 1965, where he began to get involved in school plays. He then took speech and theater classes at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. Upon graduation, Kevin headed to New York to pursue a career in acting. He later studied drama at The Juilliard School. In 1972, Kevin, along with other students of the first graduating class including Patti LuPone and David Ogden Stiers, became a founder of The Acting Company.
Kevin met his wife, actress Phoebe Cates (daughter of Joseph Cates) in an audition for The Big Chill (1983) and they married on March 5, 1989. They have two children: a son named Owen Joseph Kline (born on October 14, 1991) and a daughter named Greta Simone Kline (born on March 21, 1994). In winter 2005, his wife was reportedly pregnant with their third child.
The Pirates of Penzance
“I think every American actor wants to be a movie star. But I never wanted to do stupid movies, I wanted to do films. I vowed I would never do a commercial, nor would I do a soap opera -- both of which I did as soon as I left the [Acting] Company and was starving.” Kevin Kline
Kevin Kline had his first stage performances in school plays. While studying at Indiana University, he set up a theater group specializing in topical satirical shows called The Vest Pocket Players. When he moved to New York, Kline acquired some small roles in the New York Shakespeare Festival productions of “Henry VI, Parts I and II” and “Richard III” before focusing on his studies at Juilliard. After graduation, one of the founding members of The Acting Company, Kline, traveled across the country to perform Shakespeare plays like “The School for Scandal” and “Three Sisters.”
In 1973, Kline made his Broadway debut with The Acting Company in “Scapin.” Still with The Acting Company, Kline made his small screen debut in The Time of Your Life (1976). After leaving the troupe, he appeared in the soap opera “Search for Tomorrow” (1976) and the cable series “The CBS Festival of Lively Arts for Young People” (1977).
Kline’s breakthrough stage role arrived in 1978 when he was cast as egocentric movie star Bruce Granit in “On the Twentieth Century.” His vivid skill and powerful singing won him a Tony as well as a Drama Desk for Best Featured Actor. Following his performance in Michael Weller’s “Loose Ends” (1979), he scored another victory when he starred as The Pirate King in the New York Shakespeare Festival’s Central Park production of “The Pirates of Penzance” (1980). For his bright comic performance, he nabbed a Tony and a Drama Desk for Best Actor, as well as an OBIE award. “The Pirates of Penzance” was so successful that in the same year Kline reprised his role for the small screen version of the play. Two years later, he made his big screen debut by co-starring opposite Meryl Streep in Alan J. Pakula’s drama Sophie’s Choice (1982). Thanks to the portrayal of Nathan Landau, an American Jew obsessed with the Holocaust, the big-screen newcomer earned a Golden Globe and BAFTA nomination.
After reprising his Pirate King role in the wide screen version of The Pirates of Penzance (1983), Kline was in the radar of director Lawrence Kasdan who chose him to play Harold Cooper in The Big Chill (1983). His performance was so impressive that the director recast him in his next project, Silverado (1985), as Paden. On stage, Kline co-starred with Raul Julia and Glenne Headley in the John Malkovich-directed revival of “Arms and the Man” (1985). He was also seen in films like Violets Are Blue (1986) and the biopic Cry Freedom (1987).
Kline’s big screen breakthrough arrived in 1988 when director Charles Chrichton cast him to play Otto, a foolish ex-CIA agent committing a robbery, in the comedy A Fish Called Wanda. For his hilarious performance, he won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and received a BAFTA nomination.
Kline then took a starring turn as Nick Starkey in January Man (1989), a title character in his directorial debut Hamlet (1990, TV) and a leading role as Joey Boca in Lawrence Kasdan’s I Love You to Death (1990). He next starred as Jeffrey Anderson/Dr. Rod Randall in Soapdish (1991, alongside Sally Field and Robert Downey Jr.), where his witty turn brought him a Golden Globe nomination. Following his roles in Consenting Adults (1992) and Chaplin (1992), Kline received another Golden Globe nomination for playing the dual role of Dave Kovic/Bill Mitchell in Dave (1993).
The following years, Kline was involved in Princess Caraboo (1994), French Kiss (1995) and The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996, voice of Phoebus). In 1997, after a 12-year break, Kline reappeared on stage with his title role in David Hare’s adaptation of Chekov’s “Ivanov.” Meanwhile, he earned Golden Globe and MTV Movie nominations for his fine starring turn as teacher Howard Brackett in Frank Oz’s In & Out (1997). 1999, however, was not a very good year for Kline. After starring as Nick Bottom in the mediocre A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1999), he was handed a Razzie for Worst Seen Couple for playing U.S. Marshal Artemus Gordon/Pres. Ulysses S. Grant in Wild Wild West (1999).
In 2000, Kline provided the voice of Tulio in the animated film The Road to El Dorado before being cast in the leading role of George Monroe in Irwin Winkler’s Life as a House (2001), where he received a Screen Actors Guild nomination for Best Actor. Still in 2001, Kline performed in the sold-out stage play “The Seagull,” co-starring with Meryl Streep. The actor then took an unaccredited turn in the silver screen film Orange County (2002) before he acquired big roles in The Emperor’s Club (2002, as William Hundert) and De-Lovely (2004, playing Cole Porter).
Kline recently co-starred opposite comedian Steve Martin in Shawn Levy’s The Pink Panther (2006), playing Chief Inspector Dreyfus. It was followed by a smaller turn as Guy Noir in A Prairie Home Companion (2006). Kline will also be seen in the upcoming Kenneth Branagh adaptation of Shakespeare’s As You Like It (2006), Welcome to America (2006, opposite Milla Jovovich) and the drama The Great Buck Howard (2007).
- St. Louis International Film Festival: Lifetime Achievement Award, 2002
- Razzie: Worst Screen Couple, Wild Wild West, shared with Will Smith, 2000
- Hasty Pudding Theatricals: Man of the Year, 1998
- IFP Gotham Actor: Actor Award, 1997
- Oscar: Best Supporting Actor, A Fish Called Wanda, 1989
- OBIE: Sustained Excellence in Performance, 1986
- Tony: Best Actor in a Musical, “The Pirates of Penzance,” 1981
- Drama Desk: Outstanding Actor in a Musical, “The Pirates of Penzance,” 1981
- OBIE: Performance, “The Pirates of Penzance,” 1981
- Tony: Best Featured Actor in a Musical, “On the Twentieth Century,” 1978
- Drama Desk: Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical, “On the Twentieth Century,” 1978