By: Ariel Scheib
Harvey Johannes Keitel was born on May 13, 1939 in Brooklyn, New York. His parents, Nikonar Keitel and Maritska LeCose, were Jewish immigrants from Poland and Romania. At the age of 16, Keitel joined the U.S. Marine Corps, which landed him in Lebanon during Operation Blue Bat. After his return to the United States, he was a court reporter and was able to support himself before beginning his acting career.
Keitel first began his career as an actor in a few off-Broadway productions. It was during this time that Keitel befriended a struggling film producer, Martin Scorsese, and gained a part in his 1967 student production, Who's That Knocking at My Door. Since then both men have worked together on numerous projects together. As a result of a few rough patches during the 1960s, by the end of the 1970s, Keitel was starring predominately in European films. Throughout the 1980s, Keitel began starring in many stage and screen performances, usually in the role of a thug. In 1992, Keitel starred in Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs as Mr. White relaunching his career in the film industry. Keitel has attempted to select roles in which to highlight his acting range, such as his role in Jane Campion’s The Piano. Keitel also operates his own film production company, The Goatsingers, with partner Peggy Gormley.
From 1982 to 1993, Keitel was in a long-term relationship with actress Lorraine Bracco and has one daughter, Stella (b. 1985), with her. In 2001, he married Israeli actress Daphna Kastner and they had a son, Roman (b. 2004). Keitel has a third child, son Hudson (b. 2001), from his relationship with Lisa Karmazin.