Keene Curtis
Date of Birth
Feb 15, 1923
Birth Place:
Salt Lake City, UT


Beloved by television audiences for his endearingly snippy portrayal of upstairs restaurant owner John Allen Hill on Cheers, Tony-winning stage actor Keene Curtis endeared himself to Broadway audiences as Annie's Daddy Warbucks before embarking on a successful career in television and film. Born in Salt Lake City, UT, and raised in nearby Bountiful, Curtis first realized his love for the stage while a student at the University of Utah. Though a three-year stint in the Navy put a brief halt to his education, Curtis returned to the University to study for his bachelor's and master's degrees and was subsequently discovered by Orson Welles when Welles directed a 1947 college production of Macbeth. So impressed with Curtis' performance was Welles that the popular filmmaker cast the burgeoning actor in a professional production of Macbeth the following year. With his stage career kicking into full gear, Curtis would pursue acting while simultaneously working as a stage manager at the Martha Graham Dance Company for the next 12 years. Equally adept in film, television, and the Broadway stage, Curtis also appeared in Welles' film version of Macbeth in addition to roles in such features as Heaven Can Wait (1978), The Buddy System (1984), and I.Q. (1994). Following his memorable performance in Annie, Curtis appeared in such Broadway productions as Twelfth Night, Saint Joan, and Comedians. 1971 found Curtis the recipient of a Tony for his multiple roles in the musical The Rothschilds. Though he was prolific in film and on-stage, it was on television that Curtis made a lasting impression with roles on such popular series as M*A*S*H, Benson, and The Pretender. Curtis also did voice-over work for Scooby and Scrappy-Doo and The Smurfs. Always concerned with helping aspiring actors realize their dreams, Curtis would later endow an acting scholarship, in addition to donating his Tony and other theater memorabilia, to his alma mater. On October 13, 2002, Keene Curtis died of Alzheimer's disease in Bountiful, UT. He was 79. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

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