Registering strongly in his feature debut as a bodyguard to Bette Midler's rock star in "The Rose" and in his follow-up as a bigoted redneck in "The Great Santini" (both 1979), Keith went on to play a prisoner who trusts too much in the system in "Brubaker" (1980), a childhood friend of Robert Hays in the witless "Take This Job and Shove It" (1981) and a mechanic romancing Kathleen Quinlan in "Independence Day" (1982). His breakout performance came that year as Richard Gere's seemingly stalwart buddy Sid Whorley in Taylor Hackford's "An Officer and a Gentleman," after which he starred as the nice guy cadet who wants to end the hate at a South Carolina military academy in "The Lords of Discipline" (1983). A government experiment led to his acquiring psychokinetic powers that were not quite the equal of his daughter (Drew Barrymore) in "Firestarter" (1984), but he and the all-star cast played second fiddle to the real star of this Stephen King adaptation, the special effects. Keith made an auspicious feature directorial bow with "The Curse/The Farm" (1987), a horror film about a meteorite that lands on a Tennessee farm causing the food and water to become contaminated. He also helmed and starred in the Indiana Jones knock-off "The Further Adventures of Tennessee Buck" (1988), as well as the music video for Patty Loveless' "Blame It on Your Heart" (1992). A fine singer who had once considered a career in music before a string of film and TV assignments altered his course, he contributed vocals to the soundtrack of "The Curse" and picked up his first screen credit as song performer on Donald Cammell's bizarre thriller "White of the Eye" (also 1987), in which he starred as the psycho husband of Cathy Moriarty. Keith then had a blast as Elvis Presley in the whimsical "Heartbreak Hotel" (1988), singing for the 'King' on a number of his famous tunes, including the title song, "How Great Thou Art" and "That's All Right," among others. As a songwriter, he collaborated with Leon Russell on the theme for the short-lived sitcom "Flesh 'n Blood" (NBC, 1991), in which he also starred. Keith won critical acclaim for his titular turn in the CBS miniseries "Guts & Glory: The Rise and Fall of Oliver North" (1989) but reverted to mostly supporting roles in diverse feature fare like "The Two Jakes" (1990), David S Ward's baseball comedy "Major League II" (1994) and the children's movies "The Indian in the Cupboard" and "Gold Diggers: The Secret of Bear Mountain" (both 1995). After he starred in the ABC movie "Whose Child Is This? The War for Baby Jessica" (1993) and garnered praise as Jim Bowie in the ABC miniseries "James Michener's Texas" (1994), the chance to work with co-creator and executive producer Steven Spielberg lured him back as a series regular on the ABC police drama "High Incident" (1996-97), although the result was the same as his earlier forays to episodic TV. Following B-features like "Judge and Jury" (1996) and a steady diet of made-for-TV movies, Keith finally surfaced in two mainstream pictures in 2000, portraying a gung-ho marine leading a mission to capture spy secrets from a German submarine in "U-571" and joining Robert De Niro and Cuba Gooding Jr for "Men of Honor," the inspirational true-life story of Carl Brashear, the Navy's first African-American Master Diver. Keith kept busy in supporting roles and television fare such as the ABC TV re-make of Steven King's classic horror novel "Carrie" (2002) and Sci-Fi's original cable telepic "Sabretooth," then tackled another high-profile, big screen supporting outing as boxer Jack 'The Devil' Murdock, a down-and-out prizefighter whose tragic fate inspires his blind-but-gifted son to become the comic book super hero "Daredevil" (2003). Vastly different in direction was his role in the Hilary Duff melodrama "Raise Your Voice" (2004) as a father reluctant to let his talented daughter attend a performing arts school in Los Angeles.
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