Concept

Richard Kiley

Summary
Richard Paul Kiley (March 31, 1922 – March 5, 1999) was an American stage, film and television actor and singer. He is best known for his distinguished theatrical career in which he twice won the Tony Award for Best Actor In A Musical. Kiley created the role of Don Quixote in the original 1965 production of the Broadway musical Man of La Mancha and was the first to sing and record "The Impossible Dream", the hit song from the show. In the 1953 hit musical Kismet, he played the Caliph in the original Broadway cast and, as such, was one of the quartet who sang "And This Is My Beloved". Additionally, he won four Emmy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards during his 50-year career and his "sonorous baritone" was also featured in the narration of a number of documentaries and other films. At the time of his death, Kiley was described as "one of theater's most distinguished and versatile actors" and as "an indispensable actor, the kind of performer who could be called on to play kings and commoners and a diversity of characters in between." Kiley was born on March 31, 1922, in Chicago, Illinois, and raised Roman Catholic. He graduated from Mt. Carmel High School in 1939, and after a year at Loyola University Chicago he left to study acting at Chicago's Barnum Dramatic School. In the late 1940s, he performed in Chicago-area summer stock theaters with actors such as Alan Furlan. Following his service in the United States Navy in World War II, he returned to Chicago working as an actor and announcer on radio before moving to New York City. In New York he studied singing with Ray Smolover. Kiley's work on stage included Kismet, No Strings (which was Richard Rodgers's first stage musical after the death of Oscar Hammerstein II, in which Rodgers wrote both music and lyrics), the Buddy Hackett vehicle I Had a Ball, and the lead roles in Redhead, Man of La Mancha, and the play The Incomparable Max. Kiley later starred in the television play Patterns, which aired live on January 12, 1955. It caused a sensation and won an Emmy for its writer, Rod Serling.
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