Howard Keel : Biography, Pictures, Photos, Trivia, Address, Filmography (Dallas)

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Howard Keel

Clayton Farlow in Dallas

Photos Howard Keel Birth name: Harry Clifford Keel
Birth date: 1919/04/13
Date of death : 2004/11/07 (85 years old)
Birth place : Gillespie Illinois
Height: 1.91 m

French Traduire

Biography for Howard Keel

He was the John Wayne, Errol Flynn and Clark Gable of movie musicals. With his barrel-chested swagger and cocky, confident air, not to mention his lusty handsomeness and obvious athleticism, 6'3" brawny baritone Howard Keel had MGM's finest songbirds swooning helplessly for over a decade in what would be the finest musicals cinema ever produced. Born Harold Clifford Keel in Gillespie, IL, in 1919, his childhood was admittedly unhappy, his father being a hard-drinking coal miner and his mother a stern, repressed Methodist homemaker. When Keel was 11 his father died, and the family moved to California. He later earned his living as a car mechanic, then found work during WWII at Douglas Aircraft in Los Angeles. His naturally untrained voice was discovered by the staff of his aircraft company and soon he was performing at various entertainments for the company's clients. He was inspired to sing professionally one day while attending a Hollywood Bowl concert. He quickly advanced through the musical ranks from singing waiter to music festival contest winner to guest recitalist. In 1946 Oscar Hammerstein II "discovered" him during John Raitt's understudy auditions for the role of Billy Bigelow in Broadway's "Carousel." He was cast on sight and the die was cast. Keel managed to understudy Alfred Drake as Curly in "Oklahoma!" as well, and in 1947 took over the rustic lead in the London production, with great success. British audiences took to the charismatic singer and he remained there as a concertist while making his non-singing film debut in the British crime drama The Small Voice (1948) (aka "Hideout"). MGM, which was looking for an answer to Warner Bros.' Gordon MacRae, clamored for him, and he returned to the US. Changing his stage moniker to Howard Keel, he became a star with his first role, as sharpshooter Frank Butler opposite Betty Hutton's Annie Oakley in the popular tunefest Annie Get Your Gun (1950). From then on he would be showcased in many of MGM's biggest and most classic extravaganzas, such as Show Boat (1951), Calamity Jane (1953), Kiss Me Kate (1953) and (his favorite) Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) at the top of the list. Kismet (1955) opposite Ann Blyth would be his last, as the passion for movie musicals ran its course. The robust Keel moved effortlessly into rugged (if routine) action fare and appeared in such films as Armored Command (1961), Waco (1966), Red Tomahawk (1967) and The War Wagon (1967), the last one starring John Wayne and featuring Keel as a wisecracking Indian, of all things. In the 1970s he kept his singing voice alive by returning full force to his musical roots. Some of his summer stock and tour productions, which included "Camelot," "South Pacific," "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers," "Man of La Mancha," and "Show Boat," reunited him often with such former MGM leading ladies as Kathryn Grayson and Jane Powell. He also worked up a Las Vegas nightclub act with Grayson in the 1970s. Keel became an unexpected TV household name when he replaced Jim Davis as the upstanding family patriarch of the nighttime soap drama "Dallas" (1978) after Davis' untimely death. As Clayton Farlow, Miss Ellie's second husband, he enjoyed a decade of steady work. In later years he continued to appear in concerts. As a result of this renewed fame, he landed his first solo recording contract with "And I Love You So" in 1983. Married three times, he died in 2004 of colon cancer, survived by his third wife, three daughters and one son.


Photos Howard Keel n_8 Photos Howard Keel n_8 Photos Howard Keel n_8 Photos Howard Keel n_8 Photos Howard Keel n_8 Photos Howard Keel n_8 Photos Howard Keel n_8 Photos Howard Keel n_8


Title Role
My Father's House (2002) Roy Mardis
Walker, Texas Ranger Daniel Lamont Dade (1 episode, 1995)
Hart to Hart: Home Is Where the Hart Is (1994) (TV) Capt. Quentin Jack Jackson
Murder, She Wrote Larry Thorson (1 episode, 1991)
Good Sports Sonny Gordon (1 episode, 1991)
Dallas Clayton Farlow (140 episodes, 1981-1991)
Irving Berlin's America (1986)
Entertainment Express (1 episode, 1984)
The Love Boat Duncan Harlow (2 episodes, 1981-1983)
Fantasy Island (1 episode, 1982)
The Quest Shanghai Pierce (1 episode, 1976)
Insight (1 episode, 1969)
Here's Lucy (1 episode, 1969)
Arizona Bushwhackers (1968) Lee Travis
The War Wagon (1967) Levi Walking Bear
Red Tomahawk (1967) Capt. Tom York
Waco (1966) 'Waco'
Run for Your Life Hardie Rankin (1 episode, 1965)
The Man from Button Willow (1965) (voice) Offscreen Singer of Title Song
Kiss Me Kate (1964) (TV) Fred Graham
Death Valley Days Diamond Jim Brady (1 episode, 1963)
The Day of the Triffids (1962) Bill Masen
Tales of Wells Fargo Justin Brox (1 episode, 1961)
Armored Command (1961) Col. Devlin
The Big Fisherman (1959) Simon Peter
Floods of Fear (1959) Donovan
Zane Grey Theater Will Gorman (1 episode, 1957)
Kismet (1955) The Poet
Jupiter's Darling (1955) Hannibal
Deep in My Heart (1954) Specialty in 'My Maryland'
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) Adam Pontipee
Rose Marie (1954) Capt. Mike Malone
Kiss Me Kate (1953) Fred Graham 'Petruchio'
Calamity Jane (1953) Wild Bill Hickok
Ride, Vaquero! (1953) King Cameron
Fast Company (1953) Rick Grayton
Desperate Search (1952) Vince Heldon
Lovely to Look at (1952) Tony Naylor
Callaway Went Thataway (1951) Stretch' Barnes/'Smoky Callaway
Texas Carnival (1951) Slim Shelby
Across the Wide Missouri (1951) (uncredited) Narrator
Show Boat (1951) Gaylord Ravenal
Three Guys Named Mike (1951) Mike Jamison
Pagan Love Song (1950) Hazard Endicott
Annie Get Your Gun (1950) Frank Butler


From 1971-1992 he was the father-in-law of actor Edward James Olmos through Olmos' marriage to Keel's daughter Kaija Keel.

Worked as a representative for the Douglas Aircraft Corporation in Southern California before embarking on his singing and acting career

Enjoyed golf

President of Screen Actors Guild (SAG). [1958-1959]

Lost the film lead in South Pacific (1958) because he couldn't get out of his MGM contract.

During the shooting of Annie Get Your Gun (1950), he broke his leg when his horse fell on him. He was laid up for six weeks.

Portrayed Curly in the original London cast of "Oklahoma", Fred Graham in "Kiss Me Kate" (1953), and Hajj in "Kismet" (1955). Baritone Alfred Drake originated all three roles on Broadway.

The producers of Kiss Me Kate (1953) signed Kathryn Grayson immediately for the femme lead but actually wanted Laurence Olivier in the Petruchio role with plans to dub his singing voice. Director George Sidney, however, was able to promote Keel enough for him to get the part.

Originally scheduled to portray Franklin Delano Roosevelt in "Sunrise at Campobello," a case of pneumonia forced him to abandon the role before it got to Broadway. Ralph Bellamy replaced him and won numerous awards, including the Tony. Keel played the role eventually on tour.

First wife, Rosemary Cooper, was an actress and second wife, Helen Anderson, was a dancer. Third wife & widow, Judy Keel, was a one-time flight attendant.

In the 1950s, while he was at MGM, a mistake in the publicity department started the rumor that Howard's birth name was Harold Leek. The rumor soon became regarded as fact, though it annoyed Howard very much. His true birth name was Harry Clifford Keel.

Due to his huge size, many of his petite leading ladies had to stand on boxes to be in the same frame.

Was the original choice to play the lead in Singin' in the Rain (1952). The part went to Gene Kelly instead.



Spouse : Judy Keel (21 December 1970 - 7 November 2004) (his death) 1 child, Helen Anderson (3 January 1949 - 10 December 1970) (divorced) 3 children, Rosemary Cooper (17 March 1943 - October 1948) (divorced)

Children with Helen: Kaija Keel (born January 14, 1950), Kirstine Keel (born June 21, 1952) and Gunnar Keel (born June 3, 1955).

Esther Williams gave his daughter, Kaija Keel, swimming lessons.

His third wife was 25 years younger than him.

Daughter with third wife, Judy Keel: Leslie Keel, was born September 1, 1974.

Grandfather of Mico Olmos and Bodie Olmos.

Has some Irish heritage. A lot of his distant family reside in Ireland.

Author of the card

  • Creation date: 03/04/2008 by abdest

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