Walter Stacy Keach Jr. (born June 2, 1941) is an American actor and narrator. He has played mainly dramatic roles throughout his career, often in law enforcement or as a private detective. His most prominent role was as Mickey Spillane's fictional detective Mike Hammer, which he played in numerous stand-alone television films and at least three television series throughout the 1980s and 1990s. The role earned him a Golden Globe Award nomination in 1984.
He has appeared as the lead in films such as Fat City and The Ninth Configuration. He has also performed as a narrator for programs including CNBC'S American Greed (2008–) and various educational television programs. Comedic roles include Ken, the father of comedian Christopher Titus in the FOX sitcom Titus (2000–2002), and as Sergeant Stedenko in Cheech & Chong's films Up in Smoke (1978) and Nice Dreams (1981). Keach won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for the television miniseries Hemingway (1988). He is an inductee of the Theatre Hall of Fame and was honored with a star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2019.
Keach was born with a cleft lip and a partial cleft of the hard palate, and he underwent numerous operations as a child. Throughout his adult life he has usually worn a mustache to hide the scars. He is now the honorary chairman of the Cleft Palate Foundation, and advocates for insurance coverage for surgeries.In 1984, police in London arrested Keach at Heathrow Airport for importation of cocaine. Keach pleaded guilty, and served six months at Reading Prison.Keach stated that his time in prison, which he described as the lowest point of his life, and the friendship he formed with a priest during that time led to his conversion to Roman Catholicism. Subsequently, he and his wife met Pope John Paul II. His wife, Małgosia Tomassi, had attended the same school in Warsaw as the pope.Keach has been married four times: to Kathryn Baker in 1964, to Marilyn Aiken in 1975, to Jill Donahue in 1981, and to Małgosia Tomassi in 1986. He has two children with Małgosia: son Shannon Keach and daughter Karolina Keach. In 2015, Keach became a Polish citizen.
Keach was born in Savannah, Georgia, to Mary Cain (née Peckham), an actress, and Stacy Keach Sr., a theatre director, drama teacher, and actor with dozens of television and theatrical film credits billed as "Stacy Keach." His brother James is an actor and television director. Keach graduated from Van Nuys High School in June 1959, where he was class president, then earned two BA degrees at the University of California, Berkeley (1963): one in English, the other in Dramatic Art. He earned a Master of Fine Arts at the Yale School of Drama in 1966 and was a Fulbright Scholar at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.While studying in London, Keach met Laurence Olivier, his acting hero.