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Harvey Keitel, born on May 13, 1939, grew up in the Brighton Beach section of Brooklyn with siblings Renee and Jerry. At the age of 16, Keitel decided to join the United States Marine Corps, a decision which took him to Lebanon. After his return to the United States, he was court reporter and was able to support himself before beginning his acting career. Keitel studied under both Stella Adler and Lee Strasberg, eventually landing roles in some off-Broadway productions. During this time, Keitel met another struggling filmmaker named Martin Scorsese and gained a part in Scorsese's student production. Since then, Scorsese and Keitel have worked together on numerous projects, including Mean Streets (1973) and Taxi Driver (1976).

Throughout the 1980s, Keitel continued to find plenty of work on both stage and screen, but it was usually in the stereotypical role of a thug. This role reached its apotheosis when Keitel starred in Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs in 1992, where his performance as Mr. White re-launched his semi-slumping career. Ridley Scott also helped Keitel by casting him as the sympathetic policeman in Thelma and Louise. Since then, Keitel has chosen his roles with care, seeking to change his image and show off his broader range of acting abilities. He has also shown a willingness to help other upstart filmmakers by appearing in their first feature film. He has done this not only for Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino, but also Ridley Scott (The Duellists), Paul Schrader (Blue Collar), James Toback (Fingers), and Tony Bui (Yellow Lotus). As an avid vacationer to Fire Island, Keitel was a clear choice as the 2004 recipient of the Tony Randal Lifetime Achievement Award.  He was unable to accept the award at the festival that year though as his wife, Daphna, had gone into labor, with their son Roman, just days before the festival kicked off.
Website Cited: Wikipedia, movies.yahoo.com, imdb.com