Kevin Delaney Kline (born October 24, 1947) is an American film and stage actor, comedian, singer, and voice artist. He has won an Academy Award and two Tony Awards, and is a 2003 American Theatre Hall of Fame inductee.
Kline began his career on stage in 1972 with The Acting Company. He went on to win two Tony Awards for his work in Broadway musicals, winning Best Featured Actor in a Musical for the 1978 original production of On the Twentieth Century and Best Actor in a Musical for the 1981 revival of The Pirates of Penzance. He made his film debut the following year, opposite Meryl Streep in Sophie’s Choice (1982). For his role in the 1988 comedy hit A Fish Called Wanda, he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. In 2003, he starred as Falstaff in the Broadway production of Henry IV, for which he won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Play. He has also been nominated for an Emmy Award, two BAFTA Awards and five Golden Globe Awards. His other films include The Big Chill (1983), Silverado (1985), Cry Freedom (1987), Dave (1993), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996), The Ice Storm (1997), In & Out (1997), De-Lovely (2004) and My Old Lady (2014).
Kline was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Margaret Agnes “Peggy” (née Kirk; 1918-2000) and Robert Joseph Kline. His father was a classical music lover and an amateur opera singer who owned and operated The Record Bar, a record store in St. Louis that opened in the early 1940s, and sold toys during the 1960s and 1970s; his father’s family also owned Kline’s Inc., a department store chain. Kline has described his mother as the “dramatic theatrical character in our family.” Kline’s father was Jewish, from a family that had emigrated from Germany; Kline’s mother was of Irish descent, the daughter of an emigrant from County Louth.
Kline was raised in his mother’s Catholic religion (his father had become an agnostic). He has three siblings, Alex, Christopher, and Kate. He graduated from the Catholic Saint Louis Priory School in 1965; in 1997, the school named its new auditorium the Kevin Kline Theater, and Kline did a benefit performance of selections from Shakespeare at the dedication. He attended Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, where he began as an aspiring classical pianist. After joining the on-campus theater group “Vest Pocket Players” as an undergraduate, he fell in love with the theater and switched to acting, graduating from IU in 1970
During the 1970s Kline was in a relationship with his Juilliard classmate Patti LuPone. He met actress Phoebe Cates in 1983 and they were married in 1989. The couple live in New York City and they have two children, including a daughter, Greta, a musician currently performing as Frankie Cosmos. After his son, Owen, was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes, Kline became active with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. In November 2004, he was presented with the JDRF’s Humanitarian of the Year award by Meryl Streep for his volunteer efforts on behalf of the organization.
The Kevin Kline Awards honor theatre professionals in St. Louis in an array of categories, which include best actor and actress, set design, choreography, and original play.