Wynn was born on July 27, 1916, in New York City, the son of vaudeville comedian Ed Wynn and his wife, the former Hilda Keenan. He took his stage name from his maternal grandfather , Frank Keenan , one of the first Broadway actors to star in Hollywood .
Keenan Wynn, Actor: Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. The talented scion of a show-business family, Keenan Wynn's father was the great burlesque and television buffoon Ed Wynn while his maternal grandfather, Frank Keenan, earned distinction on the other side of the entertainment ladder as a Shakespearean tragedian.
The talented scion of a show-business family, Keenan Wynn's father was the great burlesque and television buffoon Ed Wynn while his maternal grandfather, Frank Keenan, earned distinction on the other side of the entertainment ladder as a Shakespearean tragedian.
Keenan Wynn was born on July 27, 1916 in New York City to a show business family. His father Ed Wynn was a great burlesque and television comedian while his mother Hilda Keenan was an actress as well as a vaudeville performer. His father was Jewish and his mother was from an Irish-Catholic background.
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Because of his father’s fame, Wynn did not live the most exciting of lives. There are no great stories of his rise to fame. He got work. He was good so he continued to get work. One interesting thing about Wynn is that his first wife, Evie Wynn Johnson, left him for Van Johnson. Kind of. It appears their relationship was crumbling, so the studio got her to marry Johnson to put an end to rumors that Johnson was gay. Of course, Johnson wasgay, although they did manage a child (but who knows). You see how it is with Keenan Wynn? There was always a lot more around Wynn’s life than in it.
Wynn started on Broadway where he worked from the mid-1930s through the beginning of the 1940s. Then he worked in films, doing bit parts into the mid-1950s. From that point on, he did mostly television, but still a fair amount of feature film work. Most notably, he played the simple-minded Colonel Bat Guano in Dr Strangelove. He was also in a number of those Disney live-action films that I loved as a kid. In the end, IMDb list 374 total credits (that includes 25 episodes of Troubleshooters, 9 episodes of Dallas, and 22 episodes of Call to Glory). Wynn also starred in a lot of exploitation films later in his career. I want to highlight one of those films here: Parts: The Clonus Horror. It’s one of those films I discovered via MST3K and got annoyed because they wouldn’t shut up. In 2005, it was effectively remade as The Island. I liked that film although it’s over-long because of endless Michael Bay action sequences. The producers of Parts sued DreamWorks, who settled out of court. Th...
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Wynn was born in New York City as Francis Xavier Aloysius James Jeremiah Keenan Wynn, the son of vaudeville comedian Ed Wynn and wife, the former Hilda Keenan. He took his stage name from his maternal grandfather, Frank Keenan, one of the first Broadway actors to star in Hollywood. His father was Jewish and his mother was of Irish Catholic background. Ed Wynn encouraged his son to become an actor, and the two appeared together in the original Playhouse 90 television production of Rod Serling's Requiem for a Heavyweight. The son was returning the favour: according to radio historian Elizabeth McLeod, it was Keenan who had helped his father overcome professional collapse and a harrowing divorce and nervous breakdown to return to work a decade earlier, and who now helped convince Serling and producer Martin Manulis that the elder Wynn should play the wistful trainer. He also appeared in a subsequent TV drama detailing the problems they had experienced while working on that show called...
Wynn appeared in hundreds of films and television shows between 1934 and 1986. His early post-war credits include Annie Get Your Gun (1950), Royal Wedding (1951), Kiss Me, Kate (1953), The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (1956), A Hole in the Head (1959), The Absent-Minded Professor (1961), Son of Flubber (1963), and Dr. Strangelove (1964). He had an uncredited role in Touch of Evil (1958). In the 1959-1960 television season, Wynn co-starred with Bob Mathias in NBC's The Troubleshooters, an adventure program about unusual events surrounding an international construction company. Wynn played the role of Kodiak, the "troubleshooter", for Mathias's Frank Dugan. Wynn took a dramatic turn as Yost in the crime drama Point Blank (1967) with Lee Marvin. He played Hezakiah in the 1965 comedy The Great Race (1965). He was the voice of the Winter Warlock in Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town (1970) and was in several Disney films, including Snowball Express (1972), Herbie Rides Again (1974), and The S...
Wynn starred in The Amazing Mr. Smith on MutualApril 7-June 30, 1941. He played the title role, "a carefree young man who runs into trouble galore and becomes an involuntary detective." He appeared in Francis Coppola's musical Finian's Rainbow (1968), Sergio Leone's epic western Once Upon a Time in the West (also 1968), and Robert Altman's Nashville (1975). During this time his guest television roles Alias Smith and Jones (1971, 1972), Emergency! (1975), and The Bionic Woman (1978). Keenan became a regular on TV's Dallasduring 1979 to 1981, playing the part of former Ewing family partner-turned-enemy Willard "Digger" Barnes. David Wayne, a friend of his, was cast for the first season, but was unable to continue owing to his starring role in the House Calls series at the time. Wynn was initially cast in Superman (1978) to play Perry White (the boss of Clark Kent and Lois Lane at the Daily Planet) in April 1977.However, by June (production had moved to Pinewood Studios in England), Wy...
Wynn was married to former stage actress Eve Lynn Abbott (1914–2004) until their divorce in 1947, whereupon Abbott married actor Van Johnson. One son, actor and writer Ned Wynn (born Edmond Keenan Wynn) wrote the autobiographical memoir We Will Always Live In Beverly Hills. His other son, Tracy Keenan Wynn, is a screenwriter whose credits include The Longest Yard and The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (both 1974). His daughter Hilda was married to Paul Williams. He was uncle by marriage to the Hudson Brothers. In his later years, Wynn undertook a number of philanthropic endeavors and supported several charity groups. He was a long-standing active member of the Westwood Sertoma service club, in West Los Angeles. During his last few years, Wynn was suffering from pancreatic cancer, from which he died in 1986. His remains are interred in Glendale's Forest Lawn Memorial Park.
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Keenan Wynn came from a well-known show-business family and it was he that encouraged his father Ed, a comedian, to pursue acting. Keenan was known for his mustache and expressive face. He appeared in hundreds of movies and television programs between 1934 and 1986.
- 27 Jul 1916, New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
- Great Mausoleum, Columbarium of the Dawn
- 14 Oct 1986 (aged 70), Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
- Glendale, California
Oct 15, 1986 · Keenan Wynn - who played a clowning thug in ''Kiss Me Kate,'' blasted a vending machine in ''Dr. Strangelove'' and was one of Hollywood's most versatile supporting actors - died of cancer ...
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