Frank Keenan

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Frank Keenan (8 April 1858 - 24 February 1929) was a stage and screen actor and stage director and manager during the silent film era. He was among the first stage actors to star in Hollywood, and he pursued work in film features a number of years.

Early life

Born in Dubuque, Iowa, Keenan acquired his education both there and at Boston College.


In New York, he became a star, a celebrated Shakespearean actor who later specialized in King Lear. He was a noted Broadway matinee idol, his name appearing at the top of showbills. He acted in such hits as The Capitol, A Poor Relative and The Girl of the Golden West. He played the title role in Macbeth opposite Nance O'Neil. At one point he briefly operated his own theater, the Berkeley Lyceum in New York, which brought him recognition as both actor and director.

Keenan made his screen debut under the direction of Reginald Barker in The Coward. His career lasted into his late 60s, and he was a leader in the Actors Equity Association. His last stage appearance, at 68, was as a Southern colonel in Black Velvet.


Keenan was married for many years to Katherine Agnes Long, who often acted with him. The Keenans had two daughters, Frances and Hilda, both of whom were successful on stage and in films. His wife Katherine died in 1924. Frank Keenan remarried at the age of 70 in 1928 with a 40 year old actress, Leah May from Atlanta, Georgia. By daughter Hilda he was the grandfather of actor Keenan...
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