In the late 1960s, Keach was hailed as America’s Laurence Olivier — right when the country decided it didn’t need one. His agent, the powerhouse Sue Mengers, gave him the truth: “Come out of your ivory tower. Forget the classics. Get to Hollywood.”
He obeyed, and today Keach is best-known for playing heavyweights who tend to kill and be killed on film and TV, where the camera can closely observe his intimidating build, defining harelip and what Elia Kazan called “a sense of violence behind the eyes that’s not housebroken.