Kevin Kline

Last updated

Kevin Kline
Kline in 2010
Kevin Delaney Kline

(1947-10-24) October 24, 1947 (age 72)
Education Indiana University, Bloomington (BA)
Juilliard School (GrDip)
Years active1972–present
Phoebe Cates (m. 1989)

Kevin Delaney Kline (born October 24, 1947) is an American actor. He has won an Oscar and three Tony Awards and is a 2003 American Theatre Hall of Fame inductee. [1]


Kline began his career on stage in 1972 with The Acting Company. He has gone on to win three Tony Awards for his work on Broadway, winning Best Featured Actor in a Musical for the 1978 original production of On the Twentieth Century , Best Actor in a Musical for the 1981 revival of The Pirates of Penzance , and Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play for the 2017 revival of Present Laughter . [2]

He made his film debut in Sophie's Choice (1982). For his role in the 1988 comedy hit A Fish Called Wanda , he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. In 2003, he starred as Falstaff in the Broadway production of Henry IV , for which he won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Play.

He has been nominated for two Emmy Awards, two BAFTA Awards and five Golden Globe Awards. His other films include The Big Chill (1983), Silverado (1985), Cry Freedom (1987), Grand Canyon (1991), Dave (1993), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996), The Ice Storm (1997), In & Out (1997), Wild Wild West (1999), The Road to El Dorado (2000), De-Lovely (2004), The Conspirator (2010), My Old Lady (2014), and Beauty and the Beast (2017). [3] Since 2011, Kline has had a recurring role on the animated comedy series Bob's Burgers .

Early life

Kline was born in St. Louis, Missouri, to Margaret Agnes Kirk and Robert Joseph Kline (1909–1996). [4] [5] His father was a classical music lover and an amateur opera singer who owned and operated The Record Bar, a record store in St. Louis that opened in the early 1940s, and also sold toys during the 1960s and 1970s; [4] [6] his father's family also owned Kline's Inc., a department store chain. Kline has described his mother as the "dramatic theatrical character in our family". [7] Kline's father was Jewish, from a family that had emigrated from Germany, and had become an agnostic. Kline's mother was a Catholic of Irish descent, the daughter of an emigrant from County Louth. Kline was raised in his mother's Catholic faith. [8] He has an older sister, Kate, and two younger brothers, Alexander and Christopher. [5]

He graduated from the Saint Louis Priory School in 1965. [9] In 1997, the school named its new auditorium as the Kevin Kline Theater in his honor. Kline performed selections from Shakespeare as a benefit at the dedication.

He attended Indiana University, Bloomington, where he was a classmate of actor Jonathan Banks. He began studying composing and conducting music, but switched to a theater and speech major for his last two years, graduating in 1970. Kline remembers: "When I switched to the Theater Department, all I did was theater...I could barely make it to class because this was my passion." [10] While an undergraduate, he was a co-founder of the Vest Pocket Players, an off-campus theatrical troupe. [11]


Kline at the film premiere of No Strings Attached in January 2011 Kevin Kline, No Strings Attached Premiere.jpg
Kline at the film premiere of No Strings Attached in January 2011

In 1970, Kline was awarded a scholarship to the newly formed Drama Division at the Juilliard School in New York. In 1972, he joined with fellow Juilliard graduates, including Patti LuPone and David Ogden Stiers, and formed the City Center Acting Company (now The Acting Company), under the aegis of John Houseman. [12] [ citation needed ]

The Company traveled across the U.S. performing Shakespeare's plays, other classical works, and the musical The Robber Bridegroom , founding one of the most widely praised groups in American repertory theatre. At Juilliard, he studied singing with Beverley Peck Johnson. [13]

In 1976, Kline left The Acting Company and settled in New York City, doing a brief appearance as the character "Woody Reed" in the now-defunct soap opera Search for Tomorrow . He followed this with a return to the stage in 1977 to play Clym Yeobright opposite Donna Theodore as Eustacia Vye in The Hudson Guild Theater production of Dance on a Country Grave, Kelly Hamilton's musical version of Thomas Hardy's The Return of the Native . [2] In 1978, he played the role of Bruce Granit, a matinée idol caricature, in Harold Prince's On the Twentieth Century , for which he won his first Tony Award. In 1981, Kline appeared with rock diva Linda Ronstadt and singer Rex Smith in the New York Shakespeare Festival's Central Park production of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance , winning another Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical, for his comically dashing portrayal of the Pirate King. [2] In 1983, he played the role in a film version of the musical, also with Ronstadt, Smith and Angela Lansbury, which had a limited theatrical release. [14]

In the ensuing years, Kline appeared many times in New York Shakespeare Festival productions of Shakespeare plays, including starring roles in Richard III (1983), [15] Much Ado About Nothing (1988), [16] Henry V (1984), [17] and two productions of Hamlet , in 1986 [18] and 1990 (which he also directed). [19] A videotape of the 1990 production has aired on PBS.

He also appeared in a Lincoln Center production that combined the two parts of Henry IV on Broadway at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre in 2003 as Falstaff. Kline was nominated for the 2004 Tony Award, Actor in a Play. [20] [21]

Dubbed "the American Olivier" by New York Times theater critic Frank Rich for his stage acting, [22] Kline finally ventured into film in 1982 in Sophie's Choice . He won the coveted role of the tormented and mercurial Nathan opposite Meryl Streep. Streep won an Academy Award for her performance in the film. Kline was nominated for a 1983 Golden Globe award (New Star of the Year) [23] and BAFTA Award for Most Outstanding Newcomer To Film. [24]

During the 1980s and early 1990s, Kline made several films with director Lawrence Kasdan, including The Big Chill , Silverado , Grand Canyon , I Love You to Death , and French Kiss . He played Donald Woods in Richard Attenborough's Cry Freedom opposite Denzel Washington about the friendship between Activist Stephen Biko and editor Donald Woods.

In 1989, Kline won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the British comedy A Fish Called Wanda , in which he played a painfully inept American ex-CIA thug opposite John Cleese's genteel British barrister and Jamie Lee Curtis' femme fatale/con woman. In 2000, the American Film Institute ranked the film twenty-first on AFI's 100 Years... 100 Laughs. [25] He provided his first voice acting role in The Nutcracker in 1993, and also provided the role of Captain Phoebus in the 1996 Disney film The Hunchback of Notre Dame .

Other awards have included Drama Desk Awards, Golden Globe awards, a Gotham Award, a Hasty Pudding Theatricals Man of the Year Award, and a St. Louis International Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award. He was inducted in the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 2003. [26] He has a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame. [27] Film reviewers have praised Kline. Newsday critic Lynn Darling wrote on July 13, 1988, that Kline "has proved himself to be one of the most talented and versatile American actors of his generation."

Kline played the title role in King Lear at the Public Theater and took the lead role in a Broadway production of Cyrano de Bergerac opposite Jennifer Garner. That production was forced to close temporarily after only 11 performances as a result of the Broadway stagehands' strike, [28] but subsequently reopened. Cyrano was filmed in 2008 and aired as part of PBS's Great Performances series in January 2009.

In January 2008, Kline won a Screen Actors Guild award for his portrayal of Jaques in Kenneth Branagh's film As You Like It , adapted from Shakespeare's play. The film premiered theatrically in 2006 in Europe. It bypassed theatres and was sent straight to HBO in the U.S. Kline's film The Conspirator premiered during the Toronto International Film Festival in 2010 and was described as an "old-fashioned historical thriller". It was well received by most critics. Kline also starred in the 2012 comedy Darling Companion alongside Diane Keaton. In 2017, Kline returned to Broadway in a revival of the play Present Laughter , for which he received his third Tony Award.

In December 2004, Kline became the 2,272nd recipient of a star on Hollywood Walk of Fame, [29] for his contributions to the motion picture industry, located at 7000 Hollywood Boulevard. [30]

Personal life

Kline and his wife Phoebe Cates at the Academy Awards Governor's Ball party, 1989 Phoebe Cates 3.jpg
Kline and his wife Phoebe Cates at the Academy Awards Governor's Ball party, 1989

Kline met actress Phoebe Cates in 1983. They began dating in 1985 and married in 1989. The couple live on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York. They have two children, Owen Kline (born 1991) and Greta Kline (born 1994), who fronts the band Frankie Cosmos. [31]

After his son, Owen, was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes, Kline became active with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. In November 2004, he was presented with the JDRF's Humanitarian of the Year award by Meryl Streep for his volunteer efforts on behalf of the organization.[ citation needed ]

The Kevin Kline Awards honor theatre professionals in St. Louis in an array of categories, which include best actor and actress, set design, choreography, and new play or musical. [32] [33] [34]



Sophie's Choice 1982Nathan Landau
The Pirates of Penzance 1983The Pirate King
The Big Chill 1983Harold Cooper
Silverado 1985Paden
Violets Are Blue 1986Henry Squires
Cry Freedom 1987Donald Woods
A Fish Called Wanda 1988Otto WestWon – Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
The January Man 1989Nick Starkey
I Love You to Death 1990Joey Boca
Soapdish 1991Jeffery Anderson / Dr. Rod Randall
Grand Canyon 1991Mack
Consenting Adults 1992Richard Parker
Chaplin 1992 Douglas Fairbanks
Dave 1993Dave Kovic / President William Harrison Mitchell
The Nutcracker 1993NarratorVoice
Princess Caraboo 1994Frixos
French Kiss 1995Luc Teyssier
The Hunchback of Notre Dame 1996 Captain Phoebus Voice
The Ice Storm 1997Ben Hood
Fierce Creatures 1997Vince McCain / Rod McCain
In & Out 1997Howard Brackett
A Midsummer Night's Dream 1999 Nick Bottom
Wild Wild West 1999U.S. Marshal Artemus "Artie" Gordon / President Ulysses S. Grant
The Road to El Dorado 2000TulioVoice
The Anniversary Party 2001Cal Gold
Life as a House 2001George Monroe
Orange County 2002Marcus SkinnerUncredited Cameo[ citation needed ]
The Hunchback of Notre Dame II 2002Captain PhoebusVoice
The Emperor's Club 2002William Hundert
De-Lovely 2004 Cole Porter
The Pink Panther 2006Chief Inspector Dreyfus
A Prairie Home Companion 2006 Guy Noir
As You Like It 2006Jaques
Trade 2007Ray Sheridan
Definitely, Maybe 2008Hampton Roth
The Tale of Despereaux 2008AndreVoice
Queen to Play 2009Docteur Kröger
The Extra Man 2010Henry Harrison
No Strings Attached 2011Alvin Franklin
The Conspirator 2011 Edwin Stanton
Darling Companion 2012Dr. Joseph Winter
Last Vegas 2013Sam Harris
The Last of Robin Hood 2013 Errol Flynn
My Old Lady 2014Mathias Gold
Ricki and the Flash 2015Pete
Dean 2016Robert
Beauty and the Beast 2017 Maurice
The Diary 2020TBAPost-production
The Starling TBALarryPost-production
The Good House TBAFrank GetchellPost-production


Search for Tomorrow 1976Woody Reed
The Time of Your Life1976McCarthyTV movie
The CBS Festival of Lively Arts for Young People1977 Petruchio Episode: "Henry Winkler Meets William Shakespeare"
The Pirates of Penzance 1980The Pirate KingTV movie
Saturday Night Live 1988–93Himself (host)2 episodes
Hamlet 1990 Hamlet TV movie
Merlin and the Dragons 1991NarratorTV movie
Freedom: A History of Us2003VariousVoice role; 7 episodes
Cyrano de Bergerac 2008 Cyrano de Bergerac TV movie
Bob's Burgers 2011–presentMr. Calvin FischoederVoice role; 31 episodes
Maya & Marty 2016HusbandEpisode: "Will Forte, Amy Poehler and Jerry Seinfeld"

Awards and nominations

Academy Awards

1989 A Fish Called Wanda Best Supporting Actor Won

Primetime Emmy Awards

2008Cyrano de Bergerac Lead Actor – Miniseries or a Movie Nominated
2017Bob's Burgers Character Voice-Over Performance Nominated

Tony Awards

1978 On the Twentieth Century Best Featured Actor in a Musical Won
1981 The Pirates of Penzance Best Actor in a Musical Won
2004 Henry IV Best Actor in a Play Nominated
2017 Present Laughter Best Actor in a Play Won

Drama Desk Awards

1978 On the Twentieth Century Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical Won
1981 The Pirates of Penzance Outstanding Actor in a Musical Won
2004 Henry IV Outstanding Actor in a Play Won
2017 Present Laughter Outstanding Actor in a Play Won

BAFTA Awards

1984 Sophie's Choice Best Newcomer Nominated
1989 A Fish Called Wanda Best Actor in a Leading Role Nominated

Screen Actors Guild Award

2001Life as a House Male Actor in a Leading Role Nominated
2006As You Like It Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie Won
2009Cyrano de Bergerac Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie Nominated

Golden Globe Awards

1983 Sophie's Choice New Star of the Year – Actor Nominated
1992Soapdish Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy Nominated
1993Dave Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy Nominated
1997In & Out Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy Nominated
2005De-Lovely Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy Nominated

Other awards

1997 MTV Movie Awards Best Kiss (shared with Tom Selleck)In & OutNominated
1997 Satellite Awards Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy In & OutNominated
2004Satellite Awards Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy De-LovelyNominated
2017 Drama League Award Distinguished PerformancePresent LaughterNominated

Related Research Articles

Michael Cerveris American actor

Michael Cerveris is an American actor, singer, and guitarist. He has performed in many stage musicals and plays, including several Stephen Sondheim musicals: Assassins, Sweeney Todd, Road Show, and Passion. In 2004, Cerveris won the Tony Award as Best Featured Actor in a Musical for Assassins as John Wilkes Booth. In 2015, he won his second Tony Award as Best Actor in a Musical for Fun Home as Bruce Bechdel.

Tony Azito was an American eccentric dancer and character actor. He was best known for comedic and grotesque parts, which were accentuated by his hyperextended body.

Tonya Pinkins is an American television, film and theater actress and author known for her portrayal of Livia Frye on the soap opera All My Children and for her roles on Broadway. She has been nominated for three Tony Awards, and has won Obie, Lortel, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, AUDLECO, Garland, L.A. Drama Critics Circle, Clarence Derwent, and NAACP Theater Awards. She has been nominated for the Olivier, Helen Hayes, Noel, Joseph Jefferson, NAACP Image, Soap Opera Digest, and Ovation Awards. She won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for Jelly's Last Jam.

George C. Wolfe American playwright

George Costello Wolfe is an American playwright and director of theater and film. He won a Tony Award in 1993 for directing Angels in America: Millennium Approaches and another Tony Award in 1996 for his direction of the musical Bring in 'da Noise/Bring in 'da Funk. He served as Artistic Director of The Public Theatre from 1993 until 2004.

Austin Pendleton American actor and director

Austin Campbell Pendleton is an American actor, playwright, theatre director and instructor.

Melvin Richard "Dakin"Matthews is an American actor, playwright, director, and theatrical scholar.

Michael Kahn is an American theatre director and drama educator. He has, since 1986, been the Artistic Director of the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C.. He held the position of Richard Rodgers Director of the Drama Division of the Juilliard School from 1992 to 2006.

Boyd Gaines American actor

Boyd Payne Gaines is an American actor. During his career, he has won four Tony Awards and three Drama Desk Awards.

Patrick Page American actor

Patrick Page is an American actor, low bass singer, and playwright. He has originated the roles of Norman Osborn/The Green Goblin in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, The Grinch in Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical and Hades in Hadestown. He also played Menenius in Red Bull Theater's Coriolanus.

Lonny Price is an American director, actor, and writer, primarily in theatre. He is perhaps best known for his creation of the role of Charley Kringas in the Broadway musical Merrily We Roll Along and for his New York directing work including Sunset Boulevard, Sweeney Todd, Company, and Sondheim! The Birthday Concert.

Francis Jue American actor

Francis Jue is an American actor and singer. Jue is known for his performances on Broadway, in national tours, Off-Broadway and in regional theatre, particularly in the San Francisco Bay Area and at The Muny in St. Louis. His roles in plays and musicals range from Shakespeare to Rodgers and Hammerstein to David Henry Hwang. He is also known for his recurring role on the TV series Madam Secretary (2014–2019).

Norm Lewis American actor

Norm Lewis is an American actor and singer. He has appeared in Europe, on Broadway, in film, television, recordings and regional theatre. Productions that he has been involved in include Dessa Rose, Miss Saigon, The Wild Party, and several others.

Jayne Houdyshell American actress

Jayne Houdyshell is an American stage, film and television actress.

Colman Domingo American actor

Colman Domingo is an American actor, playwright, television and stage director.

Danny Burstein American actor of stage and screen

Danny Burstein is an American actor of stage and screen, who made his Broadway debut in 1992. He is a six-time Tony Award nominee; for The Drowsy Chaperone (2006), South Pacific (2008), Follies (2012), Golden Boy (2013), Cabaret (2014), and Fiddler on the Roof (2016). He has also won two Drama Desk Awards, three Outer Critics Circle Awards, and received two Grammy Award nominations. In 2019, Burstein originated the role of Harold Zidler in the stage adaptation of Moulin Rouge! on Broadway, a performance for which he won the 2020 Drama League Award for Distinguished Performance. His other Broadway credits include The Seagull (1992), Saint Joan (1993), and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (2010).

John Douglas Thompson is an English-American actor. He is the recipient of a Lucille Lortel Award, an Outer Critics Circle Award, two Drama Desk Awards and two Obie Awards, as well as being nominated for a Tony Award.

Daniel Breaker is an American actor, voice actor and comedian, best known for playing Donkey in Shrek The Musical. He currently plays Aaron Burr in the Broadway production of Hamilton.

Michael Hayden is an actor who has appeared both on the stage and on television.

Reg Rogers is an American stage, film, and television actor, known for his roles in Primal Fear and Runaway Bride and for the TV miniseries Attila. He also appears in theater, both on Broadway and Off-Broadway.

Sam Gold is a theater director and actor. He has directed both musicals and plays, on Broadway and Off-Broadway. He won the 2015 Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical for Fun Home.


  1. "Theater honors put women in the spotlight". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved December 22, 2015.
  2. 1 2 3 Kevin Kline at the Internet Broadway Database
  3. "Disney's Live-Action 'Beauty and the Beast' Gets Release Date". The Hollywood Reporter . Retrieved March 16, 2015.
  4. 1 2 "Robert J. Kline, 87; Was Opera Buff, Owner of Record Stores". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. September 7, 1996. Retrieved June 7, 2008.
  5. 1 2 "Peggy Kirk Kline profile". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. June 8, 2000.
  6. "Kevin Kline biography". 2008. Retrieved June 7, 2008.
  7. "Kevin Kline star bio". Tribute. 2008. Retrieved June 7, 2008.
  8. "Herald-Journal – Google News Archive Search".
  9. "Kevin Kline Biography" The New York Times, accessed February 12, 2016
  10. Lindquist, David. "Kevin Kline returns to IU, where his acting began", September 12, 2014
  11. "Kevin Kline", accessed February 12, 2016
  12. Klein, Alvin. "Theater. From Juilliard to Shakespeare at a Pond" The New York Times, July 12, 1992
  13. Anthony Tommasini (January 22, 2001). "Beverley Peck Johnson, 96, Voice Teacher". The New York Times .
  14. Maslin, Janet. "'The Pirates of Penzance' OvervieW" The New York Times, accessed February 12, 2016
  15. "'King Richard III', Delacort Theater", accessed February 12, 2016
  16. "'Much Ado About Nothing', Delacort Theater", accessed February 12, 2016
  17. "'Henry V', Delacort Theater", accessed February 12, 2016
  18. "'Hamlet' 1986, Delacort Theater", accessed February 12, 2016
  19. "'Hamlet' 1990, Delacort Theater", accessed February 12, 2016
  20. "'Henry 1V Broadway" Archived September 14, 2015, at the Wayback Machine, accessed February 12, 2016
  21. Simonson, Robert. "Lincoln Center Hears the Chimes at Midnight as Ambitious 'Henry IV' Opens" Playbill, November 20, 2003
  22. Charles Isherwood, "This King, This Courtier, These Kevin Klines",, January 1, 2008.
  23. "'Sophie's Choice' Golden Globe Awards and Nominations", accessed February 11, 2016
  24. "'Sophie's Choice' Awards and Nominations", accessed February 11, 2016
  25. "100 Years, 100 Laughs". American Film Institute. 2000. Archived from the original on June 3, 2008. Retrieved June 7, 2008.
  26. "American Theatre Critics Association". January 29, 2014. Retrieved February 7, 2015.
  27. St. Louis Walk of Fame. "St. Louis Walk of Fame Inductees". Archived from the original on February 2, 2013. Retrieved April 25, 2013.
  28. Hetrick, Adam (September 25, 2007). "Morton, Sarandon and Baker Will Join Kline in Broadway's Cyrano; Casting Complete". Playbill. Archived from the original on October 13, 2007. Retrieved September 26, 2007.
  29. "Kline gets Hollywood star",, December 4, 2004.
  30. "Kevin Kline". Retrieved June 12, 2016.
  31. Pelly, Jenn. "Frankie Cosmos". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
  32. Brown, Dennis. "Great Expectations" Riverfront Times, December 14, 2005
  33. "Official website", accessed February 11, 2016
  34. Jones, Kenneth. "St. Louis' Kevin Kline Awards Go to Steven Woolf, 'Red', Curtis Holbrook, 'Awake and Sing!', 'Immigrant' and More", April 4, 2012