Keir Atwood Dullea (/ /; born May 30, 1936) is an American actor best known for his portrayals of astronaut David Bowman in the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey and its 1984 sequel, 2010: The Year We Make Contact. His other film roles include Bunny Lake Is Missing (1965) and Black Christmas (1974). He studied acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in New York City.
Dullea in Kraft Mystery Theatre's "Cry Ruin" (1962)
San Francisco State University
(m. 1960; div. 1968)
(m. 1969; div. 1970)
(m. 1972; died 1998)
Dullea was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Margaret (née Ruttan) and Robert Dullea. His mother was of Scottish descent and his father was a second-generation Irish-American. He was raised in the Greenwich Village section of New York City where his parents ran a bookstore. He graduated from George School in Pennsylvania, then attended Rutgers University in New Jersey and San Francisco State University in California before deciding to pursue an acting career.
Dullea made his TV debut in an adaptation of Mrs. Miniver (1960) with Maureen O'Hara, playing the German pilot. He was also in the TV movies Give Us Barabbas! (1961) and an adaptation of All Summer Long (1961).
Dullea made his film debut in 1961's Hoodlum Priest, cast off the strength of his work on Route 66.
The performance was well received. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Disney offered long term contracts (roles in Two Weeks in Another Town and Bon Voyage) but Dullea turned both down. He did accept a non exclusive contract with Seven Arts. He shot a pilot for a TV series that was not picked up. He appeared in LA on stage in The Short Happy Life.
David and Lisa
In 1962, he starred with Janet Margolin in David and Lisa, a film based on the book by Theodore Isaac Rubin, M.D., a psychiatrist who treated the two mentally ill adolescents portrayed in the film. It was a low budget film that became a break out hit, making over $2 million, and turning Dullea into an established name. Film Daily voted him "find of the year".
In 1965, he guest-starred as Lieutenant Kurt Muller in episode 20, "To Heinie, With Love", of Twelve O'Clock High. He took these roles to avoid being typecast as a troubled youth.
Dullea went to England to make Bunny Lake Is Missing (1965), which co-starred Dullea with Laurence Olivier, Carol Lynley, and Noël Coward. Although they shared no scenes together in the film, when Coward initially met Dullea on the set, he uttered the often quoted line, 'Keir Dullea, gone tomorrow.' Nonetheless he was voted one of 1965's "stars of tomorrow".
He played the son of Lana Turner in Ross Hunter's remake of Madame X (1966), which under performed commercially. However he appeared with Anne Heywood and Sandy Dennis in the Canadian film, The Fox (1967) which became a surprise box office hit.
2001: A Space Odyssey
In 1968 he appeared as astronaut David Bowman in Stanley Kubrick's film 2001: A Space Odyssey, which became a box-office success and was eventually recognized by critics, filmmakers, and audiences as one of the greatest and most influential films ever made. His line, "Open the pod bay doors please, HAL," is #78 on the American Film Institute's list of 100 movie quotes.
Dullea had success on Broadway, starring in the 1969 hit comedy Butterflies Are Free alongside Eileen Heckart and Blythe Danner. The play detailed a blind youth's desire to break free from his overprotective mother and pursue love with a free spirited girl. In the play, he introduced the title song written by Stephen Schwartz (later recording the tune on an album for Platypus Records). The play was a huge hit, running for 1,128 performances, although Dullea did not appear in the film version.
Dullea travelled to London to be in the production of Butterflies there and decided to stay. He did a series of TV movies, Black Water Gold (1970), Montserrat (1971), and A Kiss Is Just a Kiss (1971).
He was a regular vocal performer on CBS Radio Mystery Theater, which ran from 1974 to 1982.
In 1974, he played Brick in the Tennessee Williams classic Cat on a Hot Tin Roof opposite Elizabeth Ashley and Fred Gwynne on Broadway which ran 160 performances. The production featured the now definitive rewrite of the play.
He also starred in the 1975 play P.S. Your Cat Is Dead. Dullea was one of the last people to see actor Sal Mineo alive. The two were rehearsing for P.S. Your Cat is Dead on the night of Mineo's murder.
He appeared in Law and Order (1976) for TV, the Canadian movies Welcome to Blood City (1977), The Haunting of Julia (1977), and Three Dangerous Ladies (1977), the British Leopard in the Snow (1977), the Australian Because He's My Friend (1978), and some films for US TV: The Legend of the Golden Gun (1978), an adaptation of Brave New World (1980), The Hostage Tower (1980), No Place to Hide (1981), and BrainWaves (1982).
In 1982, Dullea starred in an off-Broadway production of A. E. Hotchner's Sweet Prince, under the direction of his wife, Susie Fuller. The following year, the couple co-founded the Theater Artists Workshop of Westport.
In 1990 he said " My career has a lot to do with choices I made in my life. My focus over the last, oh, at least 10 years has been the theater. I really haven't made very much effort with films. I did more than 20 plays before I ever did `The Hoodlum Priest,' and (after that) I've done more than 20 films... It wasn't as if the industry had fired me; I had just made certain life decisions I suddenly was having to pay the piper for. So there was no film career at all. I'm always working (in theater). If I'm not engaged on stage in something, I'm working with my wife on another project. I no longer live my life waiting for my phone to ring to give me permission to work."
He did The Servant on stage in 1990.
In 2000, he appeared in The Audrey Hepburn Story as Hepburn's father Joseph. That year he was also in Songs in Ordinary Time (2000), and episodes of Witchblade, Ed, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Law and Order.
In 2002 he performed in The Little Foxes on stage.
He could be seen in Alien Hunter (2003).
In December 2004, for their annual birthday celebration to "The Master", the Noël Coward Society invited Dullea as the guest celebrity to lay flowers in front of Coward's statue at New York's Gershwin Theatre, thereby commemorating the 105th birthday of Sir Noël. Around the same time, Sony Home Video released Bunny Lake Is Missing for the first time on DVD.
In 2006, he had a role as a US Senator and a "major influence and mentor" to Matt Damon's character, in Robert De Niro's film The Good Shepherd (2006). He was the narrator in an off Broadway production of Mary Rose (2007).
Dullea was in The Accidental Husband (2009), All Me, All the Time (2009), Castle, Fortune (2009), and Damages.
In April 2010, Dullea performed the role of Tom Garrison in the off-Broadway production of the Robert Anderson play, I Never Sang for My Father co-starring Oscar-nominated actress Marsha Mason (as Margaret Garrison) and film and stage actor Matt Servitto (as Gene Garrison).
In October 2012, Dullea performed the role of Heinrich Mann in the Guthrie Theater production of Tales from Hollywood by Christopher Hampton.
During August and September 2013, Keir Dullea starred as Big Daddy in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, playing opposite wife Mia Dillon in a joint production for Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater and Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival.
Between July 10-August 2, 2015, Dullea and wife Mia Dillon were joined by Todd Cerveris, Cameron Clifford, Don Noble and Christa Scott-Reed in the Bucks County Playhouse production of Ernest Thompson's On Golden Pond.
Dullea has been married four times, first to stage and film actress Margot Bennett from 1960 until their divorce in 1968. He was married from 1969 to 1970 to Susan Lessons. In 1972, Dullea married Susie Fuller, who had two daughters from a previous relationship. The couple met during the London run of Butterflies Are Free. Dullea, Fuller and her children lived in London for several years. She died in 1998 after 26 years of marriage. In 1999, Dullea married actress Mia Dillon. They divide their time between an apartment in Manhattan and a house in Connecticut.
|1961||Hoodlum Priest||Billy Lee Jackson|
|1962||David and Lisa||David Clemens|
|1964||The Naked Hours||Aldo|
|Mail Order Bride||Lee Carey|
|The Thin Red Line||Pvt. Doll|
|1965||Bunny Lake Is Missing||Stephen Lake|
|1966||Madame X||Clayton Anderson Jr.|
|1967||The Fox||Paul Grenfel|
|1968||2001: A Space Odyssey||Dr. David Bowman|
|1969||De Sade||Louis Alphonse Donatien, Marquis de Sade|
|1972||Devil in the Brain||Oscar Minno|
|Pope Joan||Dr. Stevens||Uncredited Role|
|1973||Paperback Hero||Rick Dylan|
|1974||Paul and Michelle||Garry|
|Black Christmas||Peter Smythe|
|1977||Three Dangerous Ladies||David||Segment: The Mannikin|
|Welcome to Blood City||Lewis|
|Full Circle||Magnus Lofting|
|1978||Leopard in the Snow||Dominic Lyall|
|1984||Blind Date||Dr. Steiger|
|The Next One||Glenn/The Next One|
|2010||Dr. David Bowman|
|1992||Oh, What a Night||Thorvald||Released Direct-to-Video|
|2000||The Audrey Hepburn Story||Joseph Hepburn-Ruston||TV film|
|fr:La Divine Inspiration||William Shakespeare||Short film|
|2003||Three Days of Rain|
|Alien Hunter||Secretary Bayer|
|2006||The Day My Towers Fell||Harry Gold||Short film|
|A Lonely Sky||Older Man||Short film|
|The Good Shepherd||Senator John Russell, Sr.|
|2008||The Accidental Husband||Karl Bollenbecker|
|All Me, All the Time||Jake|
|2012||HENRi||Henri (voice)||Short film|
|2013||Isn't It Delicious||Bill Weldon|
|2014||Infinitely Polar Bear||Murray Stuart|
|Space Station 76||Mr. Marlowe|
|2017||April Flowers||Mr. X|
|2019||Valley of the Gods||Ulim|
|1960||Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse||Tim Dryden||Episode: Cry Ruin|
|Mrs. Miniver||German Pilot||CBS TV-Movie|
|1961||Route 66||Paul||Episode: Black November|
|Hallmark Hall of Fame||Elisha||Episode: Give Us Barabbas!|
|Play of the Week||Episode: All Summer Long|
|The New Breed||Frank||Episode: Prime Target|
|1961, 1962, 1963||The United States Steel Hour||
Donald 'Don' McCabe
|Episode: The Big Splash|
Episode: The Golden Thirty
Episode: Far from the Shade Tree
Episode: The Young Avengers
|Episode: People Need People|
Episode: The Tiger
Episode:Ordeal in Darkness
Episode: The Broken Year
|1961, 1963||Naked City||Joey Ross
|Episode: Murder Is a Face I Know|
Episode: The Apple Falls Not Far from the Tree
|1962||Checkmate||Eddie Phillips||Episode: A Very Rough Sketch|
|Cain's Hundred||Alec Benden||Episode: A Creature Lurks in Ambush|
|Kraft Mystery Theater||Episode: Cry Ruin|
|The DuPont Show of the Week||Lieutenant||Episode: The Outpost|
|The Eleventh Hour||Jerry Bullock||Episode: Cry a Little for Mary Too|
|1963||Empire||Skip Wade||Episode: Stopover on the Way to the Moon|
|Bonanza||Bob Jolley||Episode: Elegy for a Hangman|
|Going My Way||Dennis Brady||Episode: One Small Unhappy Family|
|1964||Channing||Episode: The Trouble with Girls|
|The Wednesday Play||Episode: Pale Horse, Pale Rider|
|1965||Twelve O'Clock High||Lt. Muller||Episode: To Heine - With Love|
|1970||Black Water Gold||Christofer Perdeger||ABC TV-Movie|
|1972||McMillan & Wife||Buzz Simms||Episode: Blues for Sally M|
|1975||Switch||Anthony Kirk||Episode: The James Caan Con|
|1976||Law and Order||Johnny Morrison||NBC TV-Movie|
|1978||Because He's My Friend||Eric||ABC TV-Movie|
|1979||The Legend of the Golden Gun||General Custer||NBC TV-Movie|
|1980||Brave New World||Thomas Grambell||NBC TV-Movie|
|The Hostage Tower||Mr. Smith||CBS TV-Movie|
|1981||No Place to Hide||Cliff Letterman||CBS TV-Movie|
|1983||Loving Friends and Perfect Couples|
|1986||Guiding Light||Dr. Mark Jarrett|
|1989||Murder, She Wrote||Jason Reynard||Episode: Test of Wills|
|2000||The Audrey Hepburn Story||Joseph Hepburn||ABC TV-Movie|
|Songs in Ordinary Time||Sam Fermoyle||CBS TV-Movie|
|2001||Witchblade||Dr. Immo||Episode: Convergence|
|2001, 2006||Law & Order||Paul Lyman
Episode: Cost of Capital
|2002||Ed||Robert Stanley||Episode: Nice Guys Finish Last|
|Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Judge Walt Thornburg||Episode: Justice|
|2009||Castle||Jonathan Tisdale||Episode: Flowers for Your Grave|
|2011||Damages||Julius||Episode: I'm Worried About My Dog|
|2016||The Path||Dr. Stephen Meyer|
|2018||Fahrenheit 451||Historian||HBO TV-Movie|
|January 6, 1975||CBS Radio Mystery Theater||The Premature Burial|
|January 27, 1975||CBS Radio Mystery Theater||A Coffin For The Devil|
|March 18, 1975||CBS Radio Mystery Theater||It's Murder Mr. Lincoln|
|March 19, 1982||CBS Radio Mystery Theater||The Magic Stick Of Manitu|
|March 31, 1982||CBS Radio Mystery Theater||I Am The Killer|
Awards and nominations
- 1964: Nominated, "Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles" - David and Lisa
- 1962: Won, "Most Promising Male Newcomer"
- 1963: Nominated, "Top New Male Personality"
- 1962: Won, "Best Actor" - David and Lisa
- "Keir Dullea". The New York Times.
- "Screen: Murky Whodunit; 'Black Christmas' Is at Local Theaters". The New York Times. October 20, 1975. Retrieved June 4, 2012.
- Nash, Margo (April 8, 2007). "After 50 Years in Acting, Fully Relaxed in His Craft". The New York Times. Retrieved March 30, 2009.
- "Keir Dullea Biography (1936-)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved March 30, 2009.
- YOUNG 'DAVID' IN THE DEN OF MAKE-BELIEVE: Western Exposure Onward and Upward By HOWARD THOMPSON. New York Times (1923-Current file); New York, N.Y. [New York, N.Y]12 May 1963: X7.
- Teen Idol Dullea Likes His Image Los Angeles Times 28 Nov 1962: C19.
- "Hoodlum Priest". The New York Times.
- Keir's Haircut Was a Success Shortcut Beene, Wally. Los Angeles Times 22 Dec 1963: b13.
- Play Drawn From Hemingway to Open Run Los Angeles Times (1923-1995); Los Angeles, Calif. [Los Angeles, Calif]01 Oct 1961: M13.
- "Top Rental Features of 1963", Variety. 8 January 1964, pg 71.
- FILM DAILY POLL WON BY NEWMAN: Shirley MacLaine Is Named Best Actress of 1963 New York Times (1923-Current file); New York, N.Y. [New York, N.Y]11 Jan 1964: 14.
- Dullea Returns With New 'Image': Once Typed in Psycho Roles, He Escaped in Films Abroad Hopper, Hedda. Los Angeles Times (1923-1995); Los Angeles, Calif. [Los Angeles, Calif]12 Jan 1965: C6.
- At 70, John Ford Still Makes History: His Next Is 'Seven Women'; Elke New Star of Tomorrow Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times (1923-1995); Los Angeles, Calif. [Los Angeles, Calif]01 Feb 1965: C15.
- Looking at Hollywood: 'Greatest Story' Called Magnificent Spectacle Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Tribune 12 Feb 1965: c12.
- Adler, Renata (April 4, 1968). "2001 A Space Odyssey (1968) The Screen: '2001' Is Up, Up and Away:Kubrick's Odyssey in Space Begins Run". The New York Times.
- TV Today: Keir Dullea Shifts Roles in Attempt to Avoid Typecasts Kramer, Carol. Chicago Tribune (1963-Current file); Chicago, Ill. [Chicago, Ill]30 Dec 1969: a7.
- Keir Dullea's career more than movies: [FIN Edition] Henry Mietkiewicz Toronto Star. Toronto Star; Toronto, Ont. [Toronto, Ont]06 June 1990: F1.
- Nash, Margo (April 8, 2007). "After 50 Years in Acting, Fully Relaxed in His Craft". New York Times. Retrieved January 10, 2019.
- Rich, Frank (September 25, 1982). "Theater: Hotchner's 'Sweet Prince'". The New York Times.
- "No more low profile for Keir Dullea". The Globe and Mail, August 13, 1983.
- Canby, Vincent (December 7, 1984). "2010 (1984) '2010,' PURSUES THE MYSTERY OF '2001'". The New York Times.
- "The 57th Academy Awards (1985) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved October 13, 2011.
- Never a dull moment for Keir Dullea: [SOUTH SPORTS FINAL Edition] Blank, Ed. Chicago Tribune (pre-1997 Fulltext); Chicago, Ill. [Chicago, Ill]30 Aug 1990: 12.
- THEATER; Keir Dullea Stars In Westport Show Klein, Alvin. New York Times, Late Edition (East Coast); New York, N.Y. [New York, N.Y]17 July 1988: A.13.
- On the Wrong Side of Paradise: [NASSAU AND SUFFOLK Edition] By Jan Stuart. STAFF WRITER. Newsday, Combined editions; Long Island, N.Y. [Long Island, N.Y]06 Mar 1992: 81.
- Enjoying life after '2001' Ayres, Jeff. Northwest Florida Daily News; Fort Walton Beach, Fla. [Fort Walton Beach, Fla]13 Mar 2001: B1.
- Actor Keir Dullea back on the stage Kilian, Michael. Knight Ridder Tribune News Service; Washington [Washington]19 July 2002: 1.
- Keir Dullea To Do Q&A After 'David & Lisa' Screening In Ridgefield Dunne, Susan. McClatchy - Tribune Business News; Washington [Washington]03 July 2012.
- Paul, Louis (2008). "Keir Dullea". Tales From the Cult Film Trenches; Interviews with 36 Actors from Horror, Science Fiction and Exploitation Cinema. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. pp. 68–74. ISBN 978-0-7864-2994-3.