“I think every American actor wants to be a movie star.
But I never wanted to do stupid movies, I wanted to do films.
I vowed I would never do a commercial, or a soap opera,
both of which I did as soon as I left the Acting Company and was starving.”
Kevin Kline is one of the most accomplished actors of our time, winning critical acclaim and numerous awards in movies and on Broadway. He has starred alongside some of the biggest names in movie history. His star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame proves that he is truly one of the biggest stars to ever come from the Show Me State.
THE EARLY YEARS
Kevin Delaney Kline was born on October 24, 1947, and grew up in the St. Louis suburb of Clayton. He attended Priory High School, where he showed amazing aptitudes in extracurricular activities including music, athletics, and foreign languages. His skill at mastering dialects and languages impressed his teachers so much that they pushed toward a career in foreign services. But his love was for performance, so he headed off to study for a career on the stage.
Kline enrolled at Indiana University after graduating from Priory in 1965. He began college as music performance major but switched to drama when he realized he didn’t have the discipline for a career in music. Acting turned out to be the right choice, as he was accepted at the prestigious Julliard School in New York. He gained valuable experience as he toured the country with an acting company, which set the tone for the next career step on Broadway.
RISE TO FAME
Kline was steadily working as an actor in New York when his first big breakthrough came at the age of thirty-one. He landed the Broadway role of a narcissistic womanizer in On the Twentieth Century. That role provided Kline with a Tony Award, which was followed two years later with another Tony for The Pirates of Penzance.
Tony and Drama Desk Awards can constitute a successful career, but Kline was still a relatively unknown talent to most Americans outside the world of theater. However, a pair of movies in the early 1980s made him one of the biggest
stars on the big screen.
SHOW ME SUCCESS
Sophie’s Choice in 1982 turned out to be his first shot at Hollywood stardom. The movie was a surprise hit and earned Kline a Golden Globe nomination. He followed that success the following year with the major hit The Big Chill. The Baby Boomer classic made him one of the most in-demand actors of the day. Over the next six years, Kline churned out fabulous performances, including roles in Silverado, Cry Freedom, and A Fish Called Wanda, where he won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 1988.
Kline’s success continued in the 1990s with the major hit C aplin. His following role as the president of the United States—and the president’s body double—in the hit movie Dave, earned him another Golden Globe nomination. He stayed in the spotlight with another Golden Globe nomination for In & Out in 1997, and in one of the biggest-budget films in history, Wild Wild West with Will Smith. He continued to be a major draw in theaters with the 2006 remake of The Pink Panther, opposite Steve Martin.
Kline showed his dedication to the acting craft and to his hometown by helping start the Kevin Kline Awards. The annual honor ceremony began in 2006 to recognize outstanding theater performances in the St. Louis area.
*Kline was a member of the first graduating class at Julliard Drama School with William Hurt and Patti LuPone.
*He turned down the role of Batman in the 1989 version of the movie.
*He met his wife, Phoebe Cates, during an audition for The Big Chill. The two later starred together in Princess