Film actor American, born in Brooklyn, New York on May 13, 1939.
After studying at the Abraham Lincoln Institute, he enlisted in the marines, but he left the body to dedicate herself to acting and entering the prestigious Actor's Studio, where he attended the classes of the great Lee Strasberg. In 1975, he made his debut on Broadway with a montage of death of a salesman, by Arthur Miller, starring George C. Scott. His friend Martin Scorsese provided him his first roles in the film. Among them were the Charlie in mean streets (1970), a seminarian with problems of conscience in a world dominated by violence, authentic alter ego of the director, or Sport, the pimp to Jodie Foster that Robert De Niro murders at the end of Taxi Driver (1976).
Risky and unpredictable, actor became a presence in independent productions outside of the industry. Another fundamental feature of his work is its constant support for directors young or beginners: in the years seventy participated in welcome to L.a. (1976), one of the first films of Alan Rudolph, and the extraordinary the duellists (1977), by Ridley Scott. In melody for a murder (1977), James Toback's directorial debut, he played a murderer whose dream of being a concert pianist becomes really be manco. In 1978 she starred in Blue Collar, the directorial debut of Paul Schrader, writer of Taxi Driver, a decorated police atypical worldwide Union of the city of Detroit with great performances by Keitel and Richard Pryor.
During the 1980s, his career went in decline because of the poor quality of roles offered and by her problems with drugs and alcohol. Despite everything, he continued offering some great interpretations, alternating with appearances in by-products. One of the best films of this period is the night of Varennes (1982), of Ettore Scola, Italian-French co-production where interpreted the British writer, established in the United States, Thomas Paine, alongside the European as Marcello Mastroianni and Hanna Schygullascene monsters. Virtually exiled in Europe, he worked in minor films or gender, Copkiller (1983), de Roberto Faenza; Camorra: contacto in Naples (1985), the Italian Lina Wertmüller; or the medieval fantasy sci-fi Knight of the dragon (1986), Fernando Colomo.
In 1988 returned to work with his friend Martin Scorsese in the controversial adaptation of the novel by Níkos Kazantzakis -the last temptation of Christ, where interpetaba to Judas Iscariot. Alan Rudolph gave him the role of police in the interesting mortal thoughts (1991), accompanied by the pairing of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore. Since then, his career began a meteoric rise in which Keitel knew how to combine small roles in openly commercial productions, such as sister Act (1992), of Emile Ardolino, with interpretations risky in small films. He received his first nomination to the Oscar best supporting actor for his portrayal of gangster Mickey Cohen in Bugsy (1991), of Barry Levinson. That same year he played the police officer Hal Slocumb in Thelma & Louise by Ridley Scott, the best male character in the film.
His key character of this golden age and real turning point in his career is the Mr White de Reservoir Dogs (1992), debut of Quentin Tarantino in the address and first movie produced by Keitel. It's the story of the difficult approach and fateful denouement of the robbery at a jewelry store by a band that is has infiltrated a police officer (Tim Roth) that Keitel protects up to the last breath. Collaboration with Tarantino is repeated with the next work of the director, Pulp Fiction (1994), one of the most representative of the early films, and perhaps the greatest influence of the period. Harvey Keitel played a small role as Winston Wolf, troubleshooter on it. These two papers devoted to him as a star and became you face of forced presence in unconventional films.
Corrupt Lieutenant (1992), Abel Ferrara, which embodied the protagonist Lieutenant, contains one of the best performances of his career. An exultant Keitel gave credibility to a character being held constantly at the edge without falling into any time in excess. History of the redemption of a police lieutenant who see violators of a nun, the film is structured around four last matches the end of the Baseball League: Keitel bet systematically all their money against your computer as you commit all kinds of crimes under its condition of police.
Other films that helped forge his cult star status was the piano (1993), New Zealand's Jane Campion, which gave life to a maori terrateniete in love with the silent pianist who played Holly Hunter. The film was a huge worldwide success and won the Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival, as well as three Oscar. The powerful interpretation of Keitel did not go unnoticed and placed him in a position of privilege both in Hollywood and out of there, partly thanks to a controversial nude.
The success in the Hollywood industry not prevented him from accepting other challenges, such as its interpretation in the gaze of Odysseus (1994), from the Greek Theo Angelopoulos. She plays in a film director American of Greek origin who travelled to the Balkans and is the destruction that invades the area after years of war. The film won the Grand Prize of the jury at the Festival de Cannes in 1995.
Back in the United States, collaborated on two projects of the writer Paul Auster: Smoke (1994) and Blue in the face (1995). The Director of Hong Kong Wayne Wang decided to adapt for the screen a tale of Auster published in the New York Times, "Auggie Wren's Christmas tale". The writer turned into the project: he wrote the screenplay and co-directed Smoke with Wang. Keitel played exceptionally to the protagonist, the owner of a tobacco shop in Brooklyn called Auggie Wren. The collaboration was so successful that Wang and Auster decided to shoot a sequel, Blue in the face, a comic entertainment without a script in which friends and famous residents of the area, as the musician appeared Lou Reed, Madonna, director Jim Jarmusch or the actor Michael j. Fox. Keitel was also the work of executive producer of the project along with brothers Bob and Harvey Weinstein.
Clockers (1995), SpikeLee, was his reunion with Scorsese, producer of this adaptation of the novel by Richard Price on the trafficking of drugs in a black neighborhood. The following year he played together with his friend Quentin Tarantino, author also of the script, the irregular open until dawn (1996), in Robert Rodríguez. He returned to collaborate with Paul Auster in Lulu on the bridge (1998), directed by the writer. Inspired by the character of Lulu, created by Frank Wedekind, Keitel plays it Izzy Maurer, a saxophonist of jazz whose life changes completely to being accidentally shot. The discovery of a stone with extraordinary powers takes you to meet a young aspiring actress, played by Mira Sorvino. Critics praised both interpretations and spoke of "magical realism" to refer to the film.
In 1998 it was replaced by Sydney Pollack in Eyes wide shut, Stanley Kubrick'slast movie, which returned to roll all the sequences in which Keitel appeared. Curiously, something similar had happened in 1975 when Martin Sheen took his post in Apocalypse Now (1979), Francis FordCoppola. While this was happening, again demonstrate its great interpretive level in Shadrach (1998), a human and intimate film directed by Susanna Styron.
1968: Who's that knocking at my door? 1970: Street scenes; Bad calles.1974: Alice doesn't live aqui.1975 anymore: That's the way of the world.1976: Buffalo Bill; The mother, the melons and the wheels; Taxi driver; Welcome to the Angeles.1977: the Duelists; Melody for an asesinato.1978: Blue Collar; I, great cazador.1979: death in directo.1980: setback; Saturn 3.1981: The frontera.1982: Varennes.1983 night: Copkiller; A bait called Elizabeth; A pierre dans the bouche.1984: Enamorarse.1985: Camorra: contact in Naples; Police by error.1986: the dragon Knight; Prying secrets; Wise guys; Americana.1987 wife: Blindside; L'inchiesta; The pick up artist.1988: the murderer of the calendar; The last temptation of Christ; Caro Gorbachov.1990: Two evil eyes; The two Jakes; The battle of the three reyes.1991: mortal thoughts; Thelma and Louise; Bugsy.1992: A sister Act; Reservoir dogs; Lieutenant corrupto.1993: the killer; Rising Sun; The young americans; The piano; Snake eyes.1994: Pulp Fiction; It's Pat; Imaginary crimes; The gaze of Odysseus; Someone to love; A thief of four manos.1995: Smoke; Blue in the face; Clockers; How to conquer Hollywood.1996: open until dawn; Adjustment of accounts; Only a vez.1997 is live: Copland.1998: Shadrach.