His first big break came when he was tapped for the leading role to replace Anthony Quinn as Stanley Kowalski in the road company of "A Streetcar Named Desire". A role his friend Marlon Brando created. A legendary stage actor and musical star who has also won Emmy awards for his TV work, He began his career in his native Chicago, performing juvenile role on radio soap operas such as the famed "Ma Perkins" and "The Guiding Light".
"Kiley was the engaging and distinctive narrator of dozens of specials and the distinctive voice behind 30 years of National Geographic documentaries.
"Kiley was an advocate for civil rights, environmental causes, PETA and The National Endowment for the Arts". "Richard Kiley had one of the best "voices" in the business--mellifluous and warmly authoritarian--which complemented his wide acting range".
"Not only did he get to introduce the anthemic "The Impossible Dream" but he also solidified his theatrical stardom and he periodically revisited this part during the 1970's".
"What's really remarkable about ‘Ceremony of Innocence' is that it opens up the box - it contains edges and expanse...shows just how far television has come since The Golden Age." -
Life Magazine "Kiley was not above poking fun at himself or his solemn, academian persona, and voiced a "mock-umentary" commercial for Nike starring a panicked mantis in athletic shoes in the late 90's" Richard Kiley died in 1999, having made 67 movies, and having appeared in 66 TV shows, as well as notable appearances on Broadway (Kismet, No Strings, etc.) Won Tony awards for the musicals "Redhead" and "Man Of La Mancha". Won two Emmys and two Golden Globe awards for TV work in "A Year in the Life" and "The Thorn Birds".
Kiley's first marriage was to former Powers Model Mary Belle Wood of Historic Indian Village, MI. They had six children. Richard David, Michael Paul, Kathleen Ann, Dorotheia Lee, Erin Dawn, Dierdra Jan. His second marriage was to Pat Ferrier - Dancer.
Richard Kiley, forever to be known as the Man of LaMancha but with a long list of roles in plays and musicals, was ill. Presenting him was Joy Abbott, legendary director/producer George Abbott's widow, who also served as the evening's emcee. She reminded the audience that Kiley started out as a radio soap opera juvenile ("Guiding Light," "Ma Perkins"). Accepting for Kiley was old friend, John Connell, who told about presenting a half-hour version of "Man of LaMancha" for President and Mrs. Johnson. Warned by the protocol chief that Johnson usually fell asleep during such events, Kiley said, "He isn't going to sleep tonight!" - and LBJ didn't, leaping up to lead a standing ovation. Ervin Drake had alreadycontributed single songs to shows like "Artists and Models" and "TheZiegfield Follies" but he was looking for the right property to convert intoa musical.One day it struck him that the 20th century classic novel, "What Makes Sammy Run?" was just what he wanted. A musical about an anti-hero. Ashow with bite. He convinced Budd Schulberg, the author and Oscar-winning screenwriter ("On The Waterfront") to adapt his own book and Ervin wrote a score that gave us the standards "A Room Without Windows" and "TheFriendliest Thing."For his next Broadway musical, he received permission from the George BernardShaw Estate to adapt Shaw's "Caesar and Cleopatra" which Drake entitled "HerFirst Roman." In addition to supplying music and lyrics, he wrote the book adaptation. The show was an artistic triumph. Clear proof of this lies in thefact that in 1993, Lockett-Palmer Records produced a "25th Anniversary Cast Album for which Richard Kiley and Leslie Uggams recreated their original singing roles of Caesar and Cleopatra. Because of this, in 1996, the York Theatre Company staged a successful revival.