Welcome to ODYSSEY ~ KEIR DULLEA ONLINE a site dedicated to the career of actor Keir Dullea. Best known for his role as Commander Dave Bowman in Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey. In a career that has spanned five decades, Keir has worked in film and television including Law & Order, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Castle, Damages, The Hoodlum Priest, Bunny Lake Is Missing, The Fox, Paperback Hero, David & Lisa, Madame X, Isn't It Delicious, and the sequel to 2001, 2010: Odyssey Two. Keir's favourite medium is the stage where he's starred in such projects as the original production of Butterflies Are Free, On Golden Pond, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, P.S. Your Cat Is Dead, Doubles, Dr. Cook's Garden, I Never Sang for My Father, The Shawshank Redemption, Tales from Hollywood, The Cherry Orchard and many other workshop productions.

Upcoming Projects
Film: HBO'S Fahrenheit 451
playing The Historian
Status: Post-Production
Information | Pictures | Official


Film: Valley of the Gods
playing Ulim
Status: Pre-Production
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Film: The Path
playing Stephen Meyer
Status: Return 25 January 2017
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Film: April Flowers
playing Mr. X
Year: 2015
Status: Completed
Information | Pictures | Official


Keir Dullea Appearances


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ODYSSEY ~ KEIR DULLEA ONLINE @ is a website dedicated to the work of American actor Keir Dullea. I am in no way affiliated with his person, his management, nor his family. All content, except otherwise noted, is copyrighted to their original owners and no infringement is intended and no rights implied. Content contained within are subject to fair use and used here either in whole or in part as a commentary on the work and career of Keir Dullea.

Keir & Mia “On Golden Pond”
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Another interview with Keir and Mia regarding their play ON GOLDEN POND at the Bucks Playhouse.

Research Through Living: Keir Dullea and Mia Dillon are starring in ‘On Golden Pond’ at the Bucks Playhouse

Actors do a lot of things in order to play a role. They memorize lines, rehearse, think about their character’s motives, and discuss the play with the director, the writer when possible and their fellow actors.

In playing the part of Norman Thayer in Ernest Thompson’s 1979 play, On Golden Pond, Keir Dullea has found another way to connect to his character. In the play, Norman is an 80-year-old man, dealing with several issues, including his strained relationship with his daughter, Chelsea, and memory loss. And Mr. Dullea says part of his preparation for the part simply involved getting older.

”I’m not very far from the age of this character,” says the 79-year-old Mr. Dullea. “I’m not trying to play old, I just play me because the age is about right. I don’t have Alzheimer’s and I don’t have serious memory loss but both my wife and I have had the experience of going upstairs, reaching the top and saying ‘What did I come up here for.’ A couple of times a week, I go from one room to another and can’t remember what the hell I came in for. So that’s useful.”

Mr. Dullea and his wife, Mia Dillon, are starring as Norman and Ethel in a production of On Golden Pond to be staged at Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope, Pennsylvania, July 10 to Aug. 2. In the play, Norman and Ethel are settling down for the summer at their vacation home when they get a letter from their daughter, Chelsea (Christa Scott-Reed), saying she’ll be arriving to celebrate Norman’s birthday. She brings her boyfriend, Bill Ray (Don Noble) and his teenage son Billy (Cameron Clifford). The play explores the relationships between Norman and Ethel, Norman and his daughter, and Norman and Billy, who ends up spending the summer with the older couple.

On Golden Pond debuted on Broadway in 1979. It was adapted into a 1981 movie starring Henry Fonda and Jane Fonda, marking the only time that father and daughter appeared in a film together. It also won Mr. Fonda his only Oscar, and Katharine Hepburn her fourth. It was revived on Broadway in 2005 with James Earl Jones and Leslie Uggans.

”It’s a play that has a lot of surprising depth,” says Mr. Dullea, who is best-known for playing David Bowman in 2001: A Space Odyssey. “It has its funny side, if you’re going to describe it with one word, it’s a kind of comedy, but it has a lot of subtext in it that’s very interesting to explore.”

Mr. Dullea says he and Ms. Dillon have acted together about 10 times, and have played husband and wife a few times.

”We’ve been together 17 years, married 16,” he says. “A week after we got married, we were cast in a touring company of Deathtrap, in which I got to kill her off each night. More recently, two years ago at the Tennessee Williams Theater Festival (in New Orleans), we played Big Daddy and Big Mama in ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.’”

That production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof was special for him because he played Brick in a Broadway revival of the play in 1974.

”I always wanted to play (Big Daddy), but never thought I’d ever get cast, so to get cast and then play it opposite my wife was a special treat,” he says. “We love working together.”

The couple in On Golden Pond is one that has stayed together and is indeed prepared to die together, not that that they don’t have issues.

”Even in the most perfect relationships, there are certain kinds of abrasive things that happen with any couple, and that makes it even more real,” Mr. Dullea says. “If it was all just hearts and flowers, it would be kind of dull. And part of the drama of this is, in spite of everything, they do love each other. You find that out by the end of the play. You see that as the play progresses but you also see there’s stuff between the characters.”

Performing at the Bucks County Playhouse marks something of a homecoming for Mr. Dullea, because as a child he attended the George School in Newtown.

”When I arrived at that school, I thought I had died and gone to heaven,” he says, adding that George School was where he started acting.

”I didn’t know it then, but probably the seed was planted that resulted in my becoming an actor,” he says. “George School had an unusually heightened drama program that you could take separate from the junior class play, or the senior class play. You could take drama as a half-unit subject, and we explored (John) Galsworthy and (George) Bernard Shaw and (William) Saroyan, and we did acting exercises.

”And I loved it, but it never occurred to me that someone would pay you to have fun. So it never occurred to me to become an actor. But looking back on it I realize that really is where the seed was planted that later on resulted on in my deciding to be an actor.”

On Golden Pond will be at the Bucks County Playhouse, 70 S. Main St., New Hope, Pennsylvania, July 10-Aug. 2. For more information, go to or call 215-862-2121.


  Filed Under: CHARACTERS, KEIR DULLEA, Mia Dillon, Norman Thayer Jr., On Golden Pond, THEATRE, THEATRE

From 1972 :: “McMillan & Wife” – E2X02 Blues For Sally M Screencaps
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Another of Keir’s many television appearances. This time it’s from 1972 and the show McMILLAN & WIFE starring Rock Hudson and Susan St. James. Keir played the part of tortured jazz musician Buzz Simms who is being plagued by his own self doubt and by a blind critic who seems to not like Mr. Simms. There’s a key to the identity of the critic in that both parts were played by Keir, the latter in a very fuzzy beard. He’ll break your heart in the end. This is the first of a number of updates coming to the site. I’ve collected quite a few stills and event images I’m hoping to get into the gallery in the coming days, as well as a new layout. I’ve also been working on another project I’ll be revealing when the new layout goes up.



Interview with Keir and Mia “On Golden Pond”
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A wonderful interview with Keir and Mia about working together in their upcoming play ON GOLDEN POND and about him killing her off just a scant two weeks after their wedding.


  Filed Under: CHARACTERS, KEIR DULLEA, Mia Dillon, Norman Thayer Jr., On Golden Pond, THEATRE, THEATRE

Happy Birthday 2015 Mia
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On behalf of ODYSSEY I’d like to wish Keir’s lovely wife Mia Dillon the happiest of days. Today she celebrates her birthday and I’m hoping she has a wonderfully relaxing day with Keir and celebrates with a good bottle of wine, cake and beloved ones. Happy Birthday Mia.

  Filed Under: KEIR DULLEA, Mia Dillon, ODYSSEY

Side by side, Keir Dullea and Mia Dillon take the stage
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Another article on Keir and Mia’s upcoming performance in ON GOLDEN POND.

Side by side, Keir Dullea and Mia Dillon take the stage

David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Classical Music Critic
Posted: Sunday, July 5, 2015, 3:01 AM

NEW YORK – When the call came to do On Golden Pond together at Bucks County Playhouse, Keir Dullea and Mia Dillon asked each other, “Why didn’t we ever think of that?”

Though best known for his role in 2001: A Space Odyssey or his early turn in David and Lisa, Dullea and his wife (since 1999) Dillon lately have been working through the slim but often prestigious body of plays with great roles for actors over that draconian cutoff age, 40.

Dillon, 59, who plays Ethel, is far enough away from her ingenue days that she retrained for a side career in acupuncture when roles started slowing down. Dullea, 79, is the same age as Norman, his character – one of the largest and more complicated roles of his career, a crusty, retired college professor facing heart trouble and failing memory as he turns 80. Rehearsals for the three-week run that begins Friday at the New Hope theater are a scant two weeks.

“This is our eighth gig together,” says Dullea. But by the end of the interview, the count was up to 12, given how often one or the other said, “Oh yes, we also did that.”

The important thing is that, while shows might have been forgotten, lines weren’t. Dullea worked on the play for two months before rehearsals began, determined to be “off-book” on the first day, allowing him to concentrate on higher matters.

Neither Henry Fonda nor Katharine Hepburn, who starred in the 1981 film version and won Oscars, cast long shadows on them. “Every script you get . . . it’s yours and nobody else’s,” said Dullea.

“You can have chemistry with different chemicals,” added Dillon. “This play [by Ernest Thompson] has been around since 1979, and has been done all over the world, and was a major movie. There’s a reason. This pond is deep.”

Just as Lynn Fontanne and Alfred Lunt were known to be stronger than the sum of their parts, Dillon and Dullea help each other as only fellow actors can, whether running lines or just empathizing with each other’s process. Perhaps that’s one reason both seem to be in their primes, discovering roles in plays likeTennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof that might have seemed beyond them in years past but turned into triumphs. That’s not to downplay their higher-profile glory years – especially because those periods were so interesting.

Born in Colorado and raised in Newtown Square, Dillon had her share of big-award nominations for provocative plays such as Once a Catholic and Crimes of the Heart, plus TV credits that include Mary and Rhoda as well as Law & Order and its various offshoots.

Dullea, who grew up in New York City but was educated at Bucks County’s George School, was cast in films as disturbed and disturbing individuals (the Marquis de Sade, for one), even if his less-demanding astronaut turn in 2001: A Space Odyssey is the role for which he is best known. “You could do a lot worse,” he says.

Some of his headier assignments were also the least pleasant, such as 1965’s Bunny Lake Is Missing, in which he played opposite Sir Laurence Olivier but had to endure merciless bullying from director Otto Preminger as well as the frustration of sharing a film with the great Noel Coward but having no scenes with him. Dullea nevertheless insisted on meeting Coward, who immediately delivered what sounds like an insulting quip: “Keir Dullea, gone tomorrow.”

But Dullea was flattered, noting, “How many people have a quote from such a man?”

Both he and Dillon feel that their good old days are now. Many stage actors are living on borrowed time after 70 due to memory issues and vocal decline. Some implode from the wear and tear of always going where the work is. But Dullea has worked fairly constantly, fondly recalling summer theaters in one-stoplight towns in Ohio. He looks terrific – certainly better than those late scenes in 2001: A Space Odyssey, in which he aged all the way to his deathbed. He often bicycles 20 miles a day near his home in Fairfield, Conn. You can see him these days on the towpath trails in New Hope.

The subtly radiant Dillon casually quotes the Dalai Lama and sees important parallels between acting and acupuncture. “Both of them, I believe, are about healing,” she said. “In the theater, the shared communion of stories, when you’re laughing and crying as a group. . . . That’s what I love about the theater, that feeling of connection.”

“In serious sections,” said Dullea, “there’s what I call ‘the roar of silence’ from the audience. The attention, the connection is palpable. I can’t explain it, but it’s there.”

Carrying that sense of connection offstage is perhaps crucial. “There’s almost a period of mourning after a play, for the family that you gathered together and that incredible energy that you had onstage,” Dillon said. “The work is emotionally intense and then you have nothing. I can see how actors sink into alcohol and drugs. But if you have something spiritual – and it doesn’t have to be religion – you still have a feeling of connectedness and being alive.”

Such insights leave the two of them with little taste for sitcom-ish scripts – one reason why they happily went against type in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof two years ago when they played the aging Southern power couple in Provincetown.

Dullea says he momentarily failed to recognize Dillon in the part, so completely had she transformed herself into Big Mama with powers of illusion – and a matronly fat suit. “I have some steel magnolias . . . in my family,” she says.

Dullea has little in common with portly Burl Ives, the most famous portrayer of Big Daddy. “But to me, it was the personal pinnacle of everything I’ve ever done in film, stage, or TV,” he says. “I grew a long beard . . . and used a voice I’d never used, way down here. . . .” He says a few lines, and you hear what he means. They both want to do it again.

Something they won’t touch is Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Though they had success in Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance (playing the secondary, non-warring couple), they won’t take on the playwright’s better-known piece for fear of ruining their marriage.

“People who play Martha and George, even if they’re friends to start with, there’s a rift in their relationship,” says Dillon. “There’s something about the cruelty of the play that changes their relationship.”

Other actors might simply wait at home for the Big Phone Call to come, offering something like the film version of Driving Miss Daisy. Not Dullea: “I’ve had those calls already.”


On Golden Pond

Friday through Aug. 2 at Bucks County Playhouse, 70 S. Main St., New Hope.

Tickets: $29-$85. Information: 215-862-2121 or

  Filed Under: CHARACTERS, KEIR DULLEA, Mia Dillon, Norman Thayer Jr., On Golden Pond, THEATRE, THEATRE

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