Keir Dullea (/kɪər duːleɪ/; born May 30, 1936) is an American actor best known for the character of astronaut David Bowman, whom he portrayed in the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey and in 1984's 2010: The Year We Make Contact. He has also played roles in films, including Bunny Lake is Missing (1965) and Black Christmas (1974).
Dullea was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Margaret (née Ruttan) and Robert Dullea. Dullea was reared in the Greenwich Village section of New York City where his parents ran a bookstore. He graduated from George School in Pennsylvania. After graduating from high school he attended bothRutgers University in New Jersey and San Francisco State University in San Francisco, California, before he decided to pursue acting.
Dullea has been married four times. His first marriage was 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 a third time to Susie Fuller, who had two daughters from a previous relationship. The couple had met during the London run of Butterflies Are Free. After their marriage, Dullea, Fuller and her children lived in London for several years. The marriage ended with her death in 1998. Dullea married the actress Mia Dillon in 1999. They divide their time between an apartment in Manhattanand a house in Connecticut.
Dullea made his film debut in 1961's Hoodlum Priest, in which he played a juvenile delinquent, though he had had an earlier role as the German pilot in a 1960 television adaptation of Mrs. Miniver starring Maureen O'Hara. 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 adolescent schizophrenics portrayed in the film. He played a number of emotionally disturbed youths in films such as the first screen adaptation of James Jones'The Thin Red Line (1964), and 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.'
Dullea also appeared on television in shows such as Naked City, a police drama about New York City, The Eleventh Hour, a medical drama about psychiatry, and Channing, a drama about life on a college campus starring Jason Evers and Henry Jones. In 1965, he guest-starred as Lieutenant Kurt Muller in episode 20, "To Heinie, With Love", of 12 O-Clock High (TV series). He appeared with John Huston in the movie De Sade (1969), playing the title role (the Marquis de Sade). He also appeared with Anne Heywood and Sandy Dennis in the 1967 film The Fox.
Since the great success of 2001, Dullea has had difficulty reproducing a similar success on film, although he was a regular vocal performer on CBS Radio Mystery Theater, which ran from 1974 to 1982. Dullea has also had a long and successful career on stage in New York City and in regional theaters. Dullea's other notable roles include Devon in the short-lived 1973 science fiction seriesThe Starlost, Clayton Anderson Jr. in Madame X, Paul Renfield in The Fox, and Thomas Grambell in Brave New World (1981). In 2000, he appeared in The Audrey Hepburn Story as Hepburn's father Joseph. He had a major role in the 1974 cult classic Black Christmas.
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.
Dullea has stated that despite being more recognized for his film work, he prefers the stage. His first Broadway appearance was in 1967 in Dr. Cook's Garden with Burl Ives. Two years later he starred in the 1969 hit Broadway comedy, Butterflies Are Free alongside 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). In 1974, he played Brick Pollitt in the Tennessee Williams classic Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. The production featured the now definitive rewrite of the play. He also starred in the 1975 Broadway play, P. S. Your Cat Is Dead!. In 1982, Dullea starred in an Off-Broadway production of AE 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 July 1984, Dullea was guest artist aboard the ocean liner Queen Elizabeth 2. On July 11, he performed Anton Chekov's one-act play "The Harmfulness of Tobacco" in the QE2 Theatre.
In December, 2004, for their annual birthday celebration to "The Master", The Noel Coward Society invited Dullea as the guest celebrity to lay flowers in front of Coward's statue at New York'sGershwin Theatre, thereby commemorating the 105th birthday of Sir Noel. Around the same time, Sony Home Video released Bunny Lake Is Missing for the first time on DVD.
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.