Sporting a Brooklyn accent and bulldog features, Harvey Keitel first gained recognition with a series of gritty roles in the early films of Martin Scorsese, and he was for a long time cast as one lowlife thug after another. His career experienced a renaissance in the 1990s, when roles in such films as Thelma & Louise, Bad Lieutenant, and The Piano demonstrated his versatility and his willingness to let it all hang out (literally) in the service of an authentic characterization.
A product of Brooklyn, where he was born on May 13, 1939, Keitel grew up as something of a delinquent. At the age of 16, his truancy was put to an end when he was sent to Lebanon with the Marine Corps. Upon his return, he sold shoes and nurtured an interest in acting. He studied the craft with Lee Strasberg and Stella Adler and began appearing in off-off-Broadway productions. When he was 26, fate struck in the form of a casting ad placed by Scorsese, at that time a fledgling… read more