David de Keyser - Rotten Tomatoes

David de Keyser

Highest Rated:   91% A Touch of Class (1973)
Lowest Rated:   8% King David (1985)
Birthday:   Not Available
Birthplace:   Not Available
Though his name has never become a household word, distinguished English character actor David De Keyser boasts one impressive resumé. Adventurous filmgoers will doubtless recall De Keyser as one of the three contributors (alongside Miranda Richardson and Mike Nichols) to David Hare's riveting "filmed theater" piece The Designated Mourner (1997), but even the most diligent cinephiles may be surprised to discover that De Keyser's work stretches back several decades prior to this. The thespian actually racked up an overwhelming litany of roles in well-respected, A-list features during the late '60s, '70s, '80s, and '90s, typically playing colorful British or Jewish eccentrics. Throughout, De Keyser imbued his characterizations with multifaceted emotional and tonal nuances that more than rivaled the contributions of his onscreen contemporaries. Born in London, England, in 1927, De Keyser first attained recognition when he paired up twice with controversial filmmaker John Boorman, first as Zissell in that director's eccentric 1965 cinematic debut, Having a Wild Weekend (the Hard Day's Night-like screen venture of the Dave Clark Five), then as David in Boorman's failed, seriocomic social allegory Leo the Last (1970), alongside Marcello Mastroianni. De Keyser then contributed supporting roles to three key (albeit wildly different) British films of the '70s: he played physicians in Sean Connery's penultimate James Bond vehicle, Diamonds Are Forever (1971) and Melvin Frank's sleeper romance A Touch of Class (1973), and essayed the role of Joseph Schenck in Ken Russell's opulent, erotic period piece Valentino (1977), alongside Rudolf Nureyev and Leslie Caron. The '80s marked a less active but equally relevant time for De Keyser -- relevant because while his roles grew more infrequent, they were typically parts of greater critical estimation -- such as Rabbi Zalman in Barbra Streisand's underrated musical Yentl (1983) and Janet Suzman's father in Euzhan Palcy's apartheid drama A Dry White Season (1993). As indicated, however, De Keyser didn't really receive full audience recognition until Mourner in 1997. In that film -- a series of enigmatic, elliptical theater monologues written by Wallace Shawn and delivered straight into the camera -- the actor portrays Howard, a dissident poet at odds with the oppressive political regime that holds power, and the father-in-law of Mike Nichols' loveless egoist Jack. De Keyser's next major role arrived when he signed on to portray Emmanuel, the patriarch of the Sonnenschein clan of Hungarian Jews, in István Szabó's three-hour historical epic Sunshine (1999). De Keyser then lent a supporting role (as Dom André) to Norman Jewison's fine, overlooked political thriller The Statement (2003). David De Keyser is the father of the late actor Alexei de Keyser, who died in 2004.

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT BOX OFFICE YEAR
No Score Yet Gin & Dry
  • Actor
2011
33% Good
  • Mandelstam
2008
24% The Statement
  • Dom Andre
$0.6M 2003
63% Simon Magus
  • Rabbi
2001
73% Sunshine
  • Emmanuel Sonnenschein
2000
65% The Designated Mourner
  • Howard
1997
80% Leon the Pig Farmer
  • Sidney Geller
1992
81% A Dry White Season
  • Susan's Father
1989
No Score Yet Red King, White Knight
  • Director
1989
8% King David
  • Ahitophel
1985
No Score Yet The Ploughman's Lunch
  • Gold
1984
73% Yentl
  • Rabbi Zalman
1983
50% Valentino
  • Joseph Schenck
1977
89% Voyage of the Damned
  • Joseph Joseph
1976
No Score Yet The Romantic Englishwoman,(Une anglaise romantique)
  • George
1975
No Score Yet The Hiding Place
  • Eusie
1975
91% A Touch of Class
  • Dr. Alvarez
1973
40% The Horsemen
  • Mukhi
1971
67% Diamonds Are Forever
  • Doctor
1971
No Score Yet Leo the Last
  • David
1970
No Score Yet Separation
  • Husband
1968
No Score Yet Catch Us If You Can (Having a Wild Weekend)
  • Zissell
1965

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet Masterpiece
1971-2015
  • Hugo Mr. Isaaks
  • 2008
  • 2005
No Score Yet New Tricks
2003-2013
  • Sid

Quotes from David de Keyser's Characters

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