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February 22, 2010

Actors: Keith David

Keith David in They Live (1988)Keith David was born Keith David Williams on June 4th 1956 in Harlem to Lester and Delores Williams. His parents, who'd watched David perform in high school plays in public school, sent their son to Manhattan's School of Performing Arts to learn real stagecraft. Acting kept a young Keith David away from gangs, drugs and violence in the city and also allowed him to vent the tremendous frustration that comes with being smart, poor and black in America. This frustration became a strength in his roles as soldiers, vets, freedom fighters and underworld figures.

David honed his skills as an actor travelling the country with the venerable John Houseman's Acting Company where he appeared in A Midsummer Night's Dream and Samuel Beckett's Waiting For Godot. After putting his weight on it in an uncredited role in Rudy Ray "Dolomite" Moore's Avenging Disco Godfather (1979) David went on to star as Childs, opposite Kurt Russell in John Carpenter's The Thing (1982) which made him much sought after by Hollywood. His lengthy on-screen career had begun but undoubtably owed much thanks to William "Blacula" Marshall.

Keith David's balance of a tough, commanding presence and a high emotional IQ allowed the roles to roll in, so to speak, in the same way that William Marshall's talent for him did (however briefly) almost 20 years prior - with Marshall making room for talented black actors in more dynamic roles on national television in NBC's Star Trek in the early 1960's.

Keith, to date, has appeared in Oliver Stone's Platoon, John Carpenter's They Live, Road House(!), Men at Work, Marked for Death, Pitch Black and There's Something About Mary. In one of his most impressive roles, David played the character of Kirby, a one-legged Korean war veteran and neighborhood club owner, in the acclaimed 1995 Hughes Brothers film Dead Presidents. The film was not a traditional feel-good bankrobber or war film. It touched directly on racism, war, economic warfare and the nature of good and evil - all of this set in Viet Nam era New York.

Keith's voice-acting resume is just as long as his on screen performances including: the title role in Todd McFarlene's Spawn, Disney's Gargoyles and The Princess And The Frog (2009), Halo, Halo 2, Halo 3, Ken Davis' The War in which David won an Emmy for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance. Keith also acted as the voice of the Navy on tv and radio for 5 years.

Keith David currently has parts in 15 films that are due out in 2010.



References:
Wikipedia, Keith David
IMDB, Keith David

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