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Keith Carradine
Carradine in Pretty Baby (1978)
Keith Ian Carradine

(1949-08-08) August 8, 1949 (age 74)
Years active1969–present
  • (m. 1982; div. 1999)
  • Hayley DuMond
    (m. 2006)
Children4, including Martha Plimpton and Sorel Carradine
ParentJohn Carradine

Keith Ian Carradine (/ˈkærədn/ KARR-ə-deen; born August 8, 1949) is an American actor who has had success on stage, film, and television. He is known for his roles as Tom Frank in Robert Altman's film Nashville, E. J. Bellocq in Louis Malle's Pretty Baby, Mickey in Alan Rudolph's Choose Me, Wild Bill Hickok in the HBO series Deadwood, FBI agent Frank Lundy in Dexter, Lou Solverson in the first season of Fargo, and US president Conrad Dalton in Madam Secretary. He also had a recurring role as Penny's father Wyatt in the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory. He is a member of the Carradine family of actors that began with his father, John Carradine.

Early life

Carradine was born in San Mateo, California. He is the son of actress and artist Sonia Sorel (née Henius), and actor John Carradine.[2] His full brothers are Christopher and Robert Carradine, both of whom are actors. His paternal half-brothers are Bruce and David Carradine. His maternal half-brother is Michael Bowen. His maternal great-grandfather was biochemist Max Henius, and his maternal great-grandmother was the sister of historian Johan Ludvig Heiberg.[3]

Carradine's childhood was troubled; he has said that his father drank and his mother "was a manic depressive paranoid schizophrenic catatonic—she had it all."[4] His parents were divorced in 1957, when he was eight years old. A bitter custody battle led to his father gaining custody of him and his brothers, Christopher and Robert, after the children had spent three months in a home for abused children as wards of the court. Keith said of the experience, "It was like being in jail. There were bars on the windows, and we were only allowed to see our parents through glass doors. It was very sad. We would stand there on either side of the glass door crying."[5] He was raised in San Mateo primarily by his maternal grandmother,[6] and he rarely saw either of his parents.[7] His mother was not permitted to see him for eight years following the custody settlement.[4]

Carradine attended the Ojai Valley School, where he was active in the school's theater department, performing in productions of Aria da Capo and The Madwoman of Chaillot.[6] After high school, Carradine entertained the thought of becoming a forest ranger, and enrolled at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.[6] "I had this idyllic fantasy of sitting somewhere communing with nature and chatting with the bears," he recalled, "[but] I didn't want to have to learn anything."[6] He changed his major to drama after enrolling, but dropped out after one semester and returned to California,[6] moving in with his older half-brother, David, who encouraged him to pursue an acting career, paid for his acting and vocal lessons, and helped him get an agent.[7]



As a youth, Carradine had opportunities to appear on stage with his father in the latter's productions of Shakespeare.[8] Thus, he had some background in theater when he was cast in the original Broadway run of Hair (1969), which launched his acting career. In that production he started out in the chorus and worked his way up to the lead roles[9] playing Woof and Claude. He said of his involvement in Hair, "I really didn't plan to audition. I just went along with my brother, David, and his girlfriend at the time, Barbara Hershey, and two of their friends. I was simply going to play the piano for them while they sang, but I'm the one the staff wound up getting interested in."[10]

His stage career is further distinguished by his Tony-nominated performance for Best Actor (Musical) as the title character in the Tony Award-winning musical, The Will Rogers Follies in 1991, for which he also received a Drama Desk Award nomination. He won the Outer Critics Circle Award for Foxfire with Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy, and appeared as Lawrence in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels at the Imperial Theater. In 2008, he appeared as Dr. Farquhar Off-Broadway in Mindgame, a thriller by Antony Horowitz, directed by Ken Russell, who made his New York directorial debut with the production.[11] In March and April 2013, he starred in the Broadway production of Hands on a Hardbody. He was nominated for the Tony Award and the Drama Desk Award for his work.


Carradine and Shelley Duvall in Nashville (1975)

Carradine's first notable film appearance was in director Robert Altman's McCabe & Mrs. Miller in 1971. That same year, he co-starred with Kirk Douglas and Johnny Cash in A Gunfight. His next film, Emperor of the North Pole (1973), was re-released with a shorter title Emperor of the North. Carradine played a young aspiring hobo. The film was directed by Robert Aldrich and also starred Lee Marvin and Ernest Borgnine. Carradine then starred in Altman's film Thieves Like Us (1974), then played a principal character, a callow, womanizing folk singer, Tom Frank, in Altman's critically acclaimed film Nashville (1975; see "Music and songwriting"). He had difficulty shaking the image of Tom Frank following the popularity of the film. He felt the role gave him the reputation of being "a cad."[12]

In 1977 Aldrich said "I think that Keith Carradine, if he's careful—I don't think he is careful—and if he's prudent about the selection of his parts, can be a great big movie star. I think that whoever's advising him is making some terrible selections about material. Because I think the guy is gifted, he's talented, he's attractive."[13]

In 1977, Carradine starred opposite Harvey Keitel in Ridley Scott's The Duellists. Pretty Baby followed in 1978. He has acted in several offbeat films of Altman's protege Alan Rudolph, playing a disarmingly candid madman in Choose Me (1984), an incompetent petty criminal in Trouble in Mind (1985), and an American artist in 1930s Paris in The Moderns (1988).

Carradine in 2006

He appeared with brothers David and Robert as the Younger brothers in Walter Hill's film The Long Riders (1980). Keith played Jim Younger in that film. In 1981, he appeared again under Hill's direction in Southern Comfort. In 1994, he had a cameo role as Will Rogers in Rudolph's film about Dorothy Parker, Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle. He co-starred with Daryl Hannah as homicidal sociopath John Netherwood in the thriller The Tie That Binds (1995). In 2011, he starred in Cowboys and Aliens, an American science fiction western film directed by Jon Favreau also starring Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, and Olivia Wilde. Carradine traveled to Tuscany in 2012 to executive produce and star in John Jopson's Edgar Allan Poe inspired film Terroir. In 2013, he starred in Ain't Them Bodies Saints, which won the 2013 Sundance Film Festival award for cinematography. In 2016 Keith played Edward Dickinson, father of Emily Dickinson, in A Quiet Passion, a biographical film directed and written by Terence Davies about the life of the American poet.

In 2016 Carradine returned to star in his fourth Alan Rudolph film Ray Meets Helen, which was the final screen appearance of Sondra Locke.[14]

Music and songwriting

His brother, David, said in an interview that Keith could play any instrument he wanted, including bagpipes and the French horn.[9] Like David, Keith integrated his musical talents with his acting performances. In 1975, he performed a song he had written, "I'm Easy", in the movie Nashville. It was a popular hit, and Carradine won a Golden Globe and an Oscar for Best Original Song for the tune. This led to a brief singing career; he signed a contract with Asylum Records and released two albums – I'm Easy (1976) and Lost & Found (1978). His song "Mr. Blue" was number 44 in the Canadian AC charts in April 1978.[15] In 1984, he appeared in the music video for Madonna's single "Material Girl". In the early 1990s, he played the lead role in the Tony Award–winning musical The Will Rogers Follies.[16]


In 1972, Carradine appeared briefly in the first season of the hit television series, Kung Fu, which starred his brother, David. Keith played a younger version of David's character, Kwai Chang Caine. In 1984, he starred in the TV movie Scorned and Swindled alongside Tuesday Weld. In 1987, he starred in the highly rated CBS miniseries Murder Ordained with JoBeth Williams and Kathy Bates. Other TV appearances include My Father My Son (1988), a television film. In 1983, he appeared as Foxy Funderburke, a murderous pedophile, in the television miniseries Chiefs, based on the Stuart Woods novel of the same name. His performance in Chiefs earned him a nomination for an Emmy Award in the "Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or a Special" category.[17] Carradine also starred in the ABC sitcom Complete Savages, and he played Wild Bill Hickok in the HBO series Deadwood.

Carradine hosted the documentary Wild West Tech series on the History Channel in the 2003–2004 season, before handing the job over to his brother, David. In the 2005 miniseries Into the West, produced by Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks, Carradine played Richard Henry Pratt. During the second and fourth seasons of the Showtime series Dexter, he appeared numerous times as FBI Special Agent Frank Lundy. Carradine is credited with guest starring twice on the suspense-drama Criminal Minds, as the psychopathic serial killer Frank Breitkopf. Other shows he appeared in include The Big Bang Theory (as Penny's father Wyatt), Star Trek: Enterprise ("First Flight" episode) and the Starz series Crash. Carradine also made a guest appearance on NCIS in 2014. Also in 2014, he had a recurring role as Lou Solverson in the FX series Fargo, followed by a recurring role as President Conrad Dalton on Madam Secretary. He was promoted to series regular starting with the show's second season.

In July 2016, Carradine hosted a month-long series of Western films on Turner Classic Movies. He appeared in dozens of wraparounds on the channel, discussing such films as Stagecoach, featuring his father, and McCabe and Mrs. Miller, in which he himself appears in a small role.[18]

Video games

In 2012, Carradine lent his voice to the video game Hitman: Absolution, voicing the primary antagonist Blake Dexter.

Personal life

In 1968, Carradine met actress Shelley Plimpton when they starred in the Broadway musical Hair. She was married to actor Steve Curry, although they were separated; she and Carradine became romantically involved. After Carradine left the show and was in California he learned that Shelley was pregnant and had reunited with Curry. He met his daughter, Martha Plimpton, when she was four years old, after Shelley and Steve Curry had divorced. He said of Shelley, "She did a hell of a job raising Martha. I was not there. I was a very young man, absolutely terrified. She just took that in, and then she welcomed me into Martha's life when I was ready."[4]

Carradine married Sandra Will on February 6, 1982. They were separated in 1993,[19] before Will filed for divorce in 1999.[20] The couple had two children: Cade Richmond Carradine (born July 19, 1982) and Sorel Johannah Carradine (born June 18, 1985).[7] In 2006, Will pleaded guilty to two counts of perjury for lying to a grand jury about her involvement in the Anthony Pellicano wire tap scandal. She hired and then became romantically involved with Pellicano after her divorce from Carradine. According to FBI documents, Pellicano tapped Carradine's telephone and recorded calls between him and girlfriend Hayley Leslie DuMond at Will's request, along with DuMond's parents.[4] Carradine filed a civil lawsuit against Will and Pellicano which was settled in 2013 before it went to trial.[21]

On November 18, 2006, Carradine married actress Hayley DuMond, in Turin, Italy.[22] They met in 1997 when they co-starred in the Burt Reynolds film The Hunter's Moon.[23]



Year Title Role Notes
1971 McCabe & Mrs. Miller Cowboy
1971 A Gunfight The Young Gunfighter
1973 Emperor of the North Pole Cigaret
1973 Idaho Transfer Arthur
1973 Hex Whizzer
1974 Antoine and Sebastian John
1974 Thieves Like Us Bowie
1974 Run, Run, Joe! Joe
1975 Nashville Tom Frank Academy Award for Best Original Song
Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song
1975 You and Me Death Guy
1976 Lumière David
1976 Welcome to L.A. Carroll Barber
1977 The Duellists D'Hubert
1978 Pretty Baby E. J. Bellocq
1978 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Our Guests At Heartland
1979 Old Boyfriends Wayne Van Til
1979 An Almost Perfect Affair Hal Raymond
1980 The Long Riders Jim Younger
1981 Southern Comfort Pfc. Spencer
1984 Choose Me Mickey
1984 Maria's Lovers Clarence Butts
1985 Trouble in Mind Coop
1986 The Inquiry Tito Valerio Tauro
1988 The Moderns Nick Hart
1988 Backfire Reed
1989 Street of No Return Michael
1989 Cold Feet Monte Latham
1990 Daddy's Dyin': Who's Got the Will? Clarence
1990 The Bachelor Dr. Emil Gräsler
1991 The Ballad of the Sad Cafe Marvin Macy
1992 Rabbit Ears: Annie Oakley Storyteller
1992 CrissCross John Cross
1994 Andre Harry Whitney
1994 Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle Will Rogers
1995 The Tie That Binds John Netherwood
1995 Wild Bill William Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Cody
1996 2 Days in the Valley Detective Creighton
1997 A Thousand Acres Ty Smith
1998 Standoff Zeke Clayton
1999 The Hunter's Moon Turner
1999 Out of the Cold Dan Scott
2001 Cahoots Matt
2001 Wooly Boys Sheriff Hank Dawson
2002 Falcons Simon
2002 The Angel Doll Adult Jerry Barlow
2002 The Outsider Noah Weaver
2003 The Adventures of Ociee Nash Papa George Nash
2004 Hair High JoJo
2004 Balto III: Wings of Change Duke
2005 Our Very Own Billy Whitfield
2005 The Californians Elton Tripp
2007 Elvis and Anabelle Jimmy
2007 The Death and Life of Bobby Z Johnson
2007 All Hat Pete Culpepper
2008 Lake City Roy
2009 Winter of Frozen Dreams Det. Lulling
2010 Peacock Mayor Ray Crill
2011 The Family Tree Reverend Diggs
2011 Cowboys & Aliens Sheriff Taggart
2013 Ain't Them Bodies Saints Skerritt
2014 Cowgirls 'n Angels: Dakota's Summer Austin Rose
2014 Terroir Jonathan Bragg
2016 A Quiet Passion Edward Dickinson
2017 Ray Meets Helen Ray
2018 The Old Man & the Gun Calder
2021 The Power of the Dog Governor Edward
2022 A Nashville Country Christmas Keaton Walker
2023 They Listen Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1971 Bonanza Ern Episode: "Bushwacked"
1972 Love, American Style George Pomerantz Episode: "Love and the Anniversary"
1972 Man on a String Danny Brown Television movie
1972–73 Kung Fu Middle Caine 2 episodes
1980 A Rumor of War Lt. Murph McCoy Television movie
1983 Chiefs Foxy Funderburke 3 episodes
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
1984 The Fall Guy Cook Episode: "October the 31st"
1984 Scorned and Swindled John Boslett Television movie
1985 Blackout Allen Devlin Television movie
1986 Half a Lifetime J.J. Television movie
Nominated—CableACE Award for Best Actor in a Theatrical or Dramatic Special
1986 A Winner Never Quits Pete Gray Television movie
1987 Murder Ordained Trooper John Rule Television movie
1987 Eye on the Sparrow James Lee Television movie
1988 Stones for Ibarra Richard Everton Television movie
1988 My Father, My Son Lt. Elmo Zumwalt III Television movie
1989 The Revenge of Al Capone Michael Rourke Television movie
1989 Hallmark Hall of Fame Richard Everton Episode: "Stones for Ibarra"
1989 Confessional Liam Devlin 4 episodes
1989 The Forgotten Captain Tom Watkins Television movie
1990 Judgment Pete Guitry Television movie
1991 Payoff Peter 'Mac' McAllister Television movie
1992 Lincoln William Herndon (voice) Television movie
1994 In the Best of Families: Marriage,
Pride & Madness
Tom Leary Television movie
1994 Is There Life Out There? Brad Television movie
1995 Trial by Fire Owen Turner Television movie
1996 Special Report: Journey to Mars Capt. Eugene T. Slader Television movie
1996 Dead Man's Walk Bigfoot Wallace 3 episodes
1997 Perversions of Science Arthur Bristol Episode: "Dream of Doom"
1997 Keeping the Promise William (Will) Hallowell Television movie
1997 Last Stand at Saber River Vern Kidston Television movie
1997–98 Fast Track Dr. Richard Beckett 23 episodes
1998 American Buffalo: Spirit of a Nation Narrator Television documentary
1999 Outreach Dr. Vincent Shaw Television movie
1999 Hard Time: Hostage Hotel Cpl. Arlin Flynn Television movie
1999 Night Ride Home Neal Mahler Television movie
1999 Sirens Officer Dan Wexler Television movie
1999 A Song from the Heart Oliver Comstock Television movie
2000 Metropolis Quincy Television movie
2000 Enslavement Pierce Butler Television movie
2000 Baby John Malone Television movie
2001 The Diamond of Jeru John Lacklan Television movie
2002 American Experience Narrator Episode: "Public Enemy Number 1"
2002 Frasier Carl (voice) Episode: "Frasier Has Spokane"
2002 Arliss Lamar Scott Episode: "What You See Is What You Get"
2002 Street Time Frank Dugan 3 episodes
2003 Star Trek: Enterprise Captain A.G. Robinson Episode: "First Flight"
2003 Spider-Man: The New Animated Series Jonah Jameson (voice) 5 episodes
2003 Monte Walsh Chester 'Chet' Rollins Television movie
2003 Coyote Waits John McGinnis Television movie
2003–04 Wild West Tech Host 13 episodes
2004 Deadwood Wild Bill Hickok 5 episodes
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film
2004–05 Complete Savages Nick Savage 19 episodes
2005 Into the West Capt. Richard H. Pratt Episode: "Casualties of War"
2006 Where There's a Will Sheriff Clifford Laws Television movie
2007 American Masters Narrator Episode: "Novel Reflections: The American Dream"
2007 Criminal Minds Frank Breitkopf 2 episodes
2007–09 Dexter Special Agent Frank Lundy 15 episodes
2008 Numbers Carl McGowan 3 episodes
2008 Crash Owen 2 episodes
2009 Law & Order Martin Garvik Episode: "Take-Out"
2009 Dollhouse Matthew Harding 3 episodes
2009 Damages Julian Decker 5 episodes
2010–19 The Big Bang Theory Wyatt 5 episodes
2012 Missing Martin 7 episodes
2014 The Following Barry Episode: "Resurrection"
2014 Raising Hope Colt Palomino Episode: "Anniversary Ball"
2014 NCIS Mannheim Gold Episode: "Rock and a Hard Place"
2014–15 Fargo Lou Solverson 9 episodes
2014–19 Madam Secretary President Conrad Dalton 93 episodes
2015 Mike Tyson Mysteries Jason B. (voice) Episode: "Jason B. Sucks"
2021–22 Fear the Walking Dead John Dorie Sr. 7 episodes
2021 Rugrats Bob Brine (voice) Episode: "The Pickle Barrel"
2023 Accused Billy Carlson Episode: "Billy's Story"

Video games

Year Title Role Notes
2012 Hitman: Absolution Blake Dexter Voice

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Work Result
1975 Academy Award Best Original Song "I'm Easy" (from Nashville) Won
Golden Globe Award Best Original Song Won
1976 Grammy Award Best Album of Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television Special Nashville Nominated
1983 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie Chiefs Nominated
1986 CableACE Award Best Actor in a Theatrical or Dramatic Special Half a Lifetime Nominated
1991 Tony Award Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical The Will Rogers Follies Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actor in a Musical Nominated
1998 Golden Boot Award (along with brothers David and Robert) Honoree
2004 Satellite Award Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film Deadwood Nominated
2013 Tony Award Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical Hands on a Hardbody Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical Nominated
2018 San Diego International Film Festival Gregory Peck Award for Cinematic Excellence[24] Honoree

See also


  1. ^ "Overview for Keith Carradine". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved November 2, 2018.
  2. ^ Rader, Dotson (September 29, 1991). "'I Didn't Want to Fail'". The News and Observer. Raleigh, North Carolina. p. 162.
  3. ^ "The National cyclopaedia of American biography". Google Books. 1971. Retrieved September 24, 2013.
  4. ^ a b c d Wadler, Joyce (July 23, 2006). "Keith Carradine's Long Road to 'Dirty Rotten Scoundrels". The New York Times. Retrieved September 24, 2013.
  5. ^ Diehl, Digby (November 4, 1984). "Getting Personal With Keith Carradine". Boca Raton News. The Ledger. Retrieved September 24, 2013.
  6. ^ a b c d e Champlin, Charles (March 22, 1988). "Carradine Paints His Way Into 'The Moderns' ' Corner". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on May 27, 2020.
  7. ^ a b c Rader, Dotson (September 29, 1991). "I didn't want to fail". Parade Magazine. Spartanburg Herald-Journal. Retrieved September 24, 2013.
  8. ^ Thomas, Bob (November 9, 1986). "John Carradine says, "I'll never quit!"". The Times-News. Retrieved September 24, 2013.
  9. ^ a b Takano, Hikari. "David Carradine Interview". Retrieved September 24, 2013.
  10. ^ Cirelli-Heurich, Julie (April 9, 2009). "Keith Carradine back on stage as a man of the theater". New Jersey On-Line. Retrieved September 24, 2013.
  11. ^ [1] Archived October 13, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Harris, Art (April 30, 1978). "Nashville Role Haunts Carradine". The Milwaukee Journal. Retrieved September 24, 2013.
  13. ^ "I CAN'T GET JIMMY CARTER TO SEE MY MOVIE!" Aldrich, Robert. Film Comment; New York Vol. 13, Iss. 2, (Mar/Apr 1977): 46–52.
  14. ^ "Lesley Ann Warren, Keith Carradine Starring in 'Ray Meets Helen'". Variety. January 26, 2016. Retrieved June 19, 2017.
  15. ^ "RPM Top 50 AC - April 15, 1978" (PDF).
  16. ^ Zink, Jack (January 3, 1993). "Keith Carradine's Follies". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved March 20, 2019.
  17. ^ "Chiefs". Television Academy. Retrieved April 28, 2023.
  18. ^ Cristi, Andrew (July 5, 2016). "HOW THE WESTERN GENRE WAS WON; Legendary Actor KEITH CARRADINE Hosts SHANE PLUS A HUNDRED MORE GREAT WESTERNS On TCM!". HuffPost. Retrieved February 9, 2021.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  19. ^ Verrier, Richard (March 25, 2006). "Keith Carradine Sues Pellicano". The New York Times. Retrieved September 24, 2013.
  20. ^ Patterson, Troy; Takahashi, Corey (December 3, 1999). "Michael Jackson Sued by Concert Investors". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved September 24, 2013.
  21. ^ "Keith Carradine Settles Anthony Pellicano Lawsuit". Hollywood Reporter. October 28, 2013. Retrieved July 4, 2014.
  22. ^ Caroli, Clara (November 18, 2006). "Star Usa, nozze italiane come "must" – A Torino si sposa Keith Carradine" [Star USA, Italian wedding as a "must" – In Turin married Keith Carradine] (in Italian). la Repubblica. Retrieved December 4, 2010.
  23. ^ Peiffer, Kim; Nudd, Tim (November 21, 2006). "Deadwood's' Keith Carradine Gets Married". People. Retrieved September 24, 2013.
  24. ^ "Night Of The Stars Tribute | San Diego International Film Festival". San Diego International Film Festival. April 19, 2018. Retrieved October 10, 2018.

Further reading