Kiley, Richard

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1922-03-31
Death 1999-03-05
Americans
English

Biographical notes:

American stage, television and film actor, Richard Paul Kiley was best known for creating the Tony Award winning title role in Man of La Mancha in the original 1965 Broadway production. He was the first to sing and record the song, The Impossible Dream, and recreated the role in the London production, a Lincoln Center revival and a United States tour. Born in Chicago on March 31, 1922, Kiley began his career as a juvenile on radio and made his Broadway debut in Misalliance (1953) for which he won a Theatre World Award. His first musical role was in Kismet (1953); his first Tony Award was for the musical Redhead (1959) with Gwen Verdon. Other musicals were Richard Rodgers' No Strings (1962) with Diahann Carroll for which Kiley received a Tony nomination for best actor, I Had a Ball (1964) and Her First Roman (1968).

Most of Kiley's work did not make use of his strong vocal talent and rich baritone, however. He starred on Broadway in Time Limit (1956), Advise and Consent (1960), The Incomparable Max (1971), Voices (1972), Absurd Person Singular (1974), The Heiress (1976), and All My Sons (1987) for which he received a Tony nomination for best actor in a play. Kiley also won Emmy Awards and Golden Globes for his television work in The Thorn Birds, A Year in the Life and Picket Fences. His films included The Blackboard Jungle, The Little Prince, Looking for Mr. Goodbar and Endless Love.

Kiley also had an extensive career doing voiceover work as a narrator for various documentaries including National Geographic, Nova, Planet Earth, Mysteries of the Bible, etc. He also performed in many solo shows and benefit concerts. Richard Kiley was married to Mary Bell Wood with whom he had six children from 1948-1967 and to Patricia Ferrier from 1968 until his death. He died of bone marrow disease on March 5, 1999.

From the description of Richard Kiley papers, 1939-1999. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 229372143

American stage, television and film actor, Richard Paul Kiley was best known for creating the Tony Award winning title role in Man of La Mancha in the original 1965 Broadway production. He was the first to sing and record the song, The Impossible Dream, and recreated the role in the London production, a Lincoln Center revival and a United States tour. Born in Chicago on March 31, 1922, Kiley began his career as a juvenile on radio and made his Broadway debut in Misalliance (1953) for which he won a Theatre World Award. His first musical role was in Kismet (1953) where he introduced the song Stranger in Paradise ; his first Tony Award was for the musical Redhead (1959) with Gwen Verdon. Other musicals were Richard Rodgers' No Strings (1962) with Diahann Carroll for which Kiley received a Tony nomination for best actor, I Had a Ball (1964) and Her First Roman (1968).

Most of Kiley's work did not make use of his strong vocal talent and rich baritone, however. He starred on Broadway in Time Limit (1956), Advise and Consent (1960), The Incomparable Max (1971), Voices (1972), Absurd Person Singular (1974), The Heiress (1976), and All My Sons (1987) for which he received a Tony nomination for best actor in a play. Kiley also won Emmy Awards and Golden Globes for his television work in The Thorn Birds, A Year in the Life and Picket Fences . His films included The Blackboard Jungle, The Little Prince, Looking for Mr. Goodbar and Endless Love .

Kiley also had an extensive career doing voiceover work as a narrator for various documentaries including National Geographic, Nova, Planet Earth, Mysteries of the Bible, etc. He also performed in many solo shows and benefit concerts. Richard Kiley was married to Mary Bell Wood with whom he had six children from 1948-1967 and to Patricia Ferrier from 1968 until his death. He died of bone marrow disease on March 5, 1999.

From the guide to the Richard Kiley papers, 1939-1999, (The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.)

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Subjects:

  • Motion picture actors and actresses
  • Television actors and actresses
  • Acting
  • Documentary films
  • Voice-overs
  • Musical theater

Occupations:

  • Actors

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