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Michael McKean


Since his early career as a member of the satirical "Credibility Gap," MICHAEL McKEAN has become a multi-talented actor, writer and director who is now associated with some of pop culture's most iconographic film and television shows of the last three decades. McKean starred in the '70s series "Laverne and Shirley," also serving as writer and sometime director. He co-wrote, composed music for and starred in Rob Reiner's classic rock comedy feature film, This is Spinal Tap, with Christopher Guest, Reiner and Harry Shearer. His latest accomplishments include: co-writing an Academy Award(r)-nominated song for A Mighty Wind, in which he again co-starred with Guest and Shearer; making his Broadway musical comedy debut in the hit musical Hairspray; and being cast in Woody Allen's new World Premiere play, A Second Hand Memory, at the Atlantic Theatre in New York City.

McKean's compositions for A Mighty Wind, directed by Christopher Guest, are notable for both quantity - he worked on 10 songs, more than any other contributor to this soundtrack - and quality. The best song in the film - and a standout among all original songs composed for films released in 2003 - is "A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow," a sweet, sincere love song that lends substantial dramatic value to A Mighty Wind. It's one of three songs for the film on which McKean collaborated with his wife, actress Annette O'Toole (who currently plays young Clark Kent's mother, Martha, on the WB's hit TV series, "Smallville").

In 2003, no song written for a motion picture played a larger or more pivotal role in its film than "A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow," a sweet love song laced, in the best folk music tradition, with hope, idealism and shades of melancholy. The song earned a Best Original Song Oscar® nomination for McKean and O'Toole, and, along with "Fare Away" and "Potato's in the Paddy Wagon," two comedic folk pastiches the couple also contributed to A Mighty Wind, marked their most auspicious debut as a talented, extremely committed songwriting team that is destined to endure.

Prior to his contributions to A Mighty Wind, McKean's best-known accomplishments as a composer for films and television were his hilarious collaborations (as "David St. Hubbins") with Christopher Guest ("Nigel Tufnel") and Harry Shearer ("Derek Smalls") for the soundtrack of This Is Spinal Tap. He also wrote music for "Laverne & Shirley," sketch comedy pilot "The T.V. Show" and series "Morton & Hayes," and composed songs for Christopher Guest's first two directorial efforts, Waiting for Guffman and Best in Show.

Meanwhile, McKean spent much of 2004 focusing on yet another medium - the theater. During the past six months, he succeeded Tony Award-winner Harvey Fierstein as irrepressible stage mother Edna Turnblad in the Broadway production of Hairspray, the smash hit musical comedy based on writer-director John Waters' 1988 film. McKean proved more than up to the challenge of filling Fierstein's shoes, delighting audiences and critics alike, and proved himself to be as accomplished on stage as he is on screen.

That triumph, in turn, led to another wonderful New York theater opportunity for McKean: he was cast in Woody Allen's new play, A Second Hand Memory, which ran Off-Broadway at Atlantic Theater Company in New York City.

McKean's other recent feature film credits include the recent HBO Film titled And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself with Antonio Banderas; 100 Mile Rule (Brent Huff, dir.), R.L. Stine's Haunted Lighthouse (Joe Dante, dir), The Guru (Daisy Mayer, dir.), and Teddy Bears' Picnic (Harry Shearer, dir). His long list of motion picture credits also includes The Brady Bunch Movie and The Big Picture, which McKean also co-wrote with Christopher Guest. Recent films include Auto Focus for director Paul Schrader, Little Nicky with Adam Sandler, Beautiful with Minnie Driver, Clint Eastwood's True Crime, Teaching Mrs. Tingle starring Helen Mirren, and Mystery, Alaska with Russell Crowe.

McKean also completed the Independent Film Channel Image Campaign as writer, director and star in their series of highly regarded television commercials.

On television, McKean plays the waxen Adrian Van Voorhees on Martin Short's Comedy Central series "Primetime Glick." Other television successes, besides the aforementioned "Laverne and Shirley," including "Saturday Night Live," "Tracey Takes On" and "Dream On," for which McKean also directed episodes, as well as "Alias" and "The X Files." Since 1976, the ubiquitous performer has appeared in over 75 different projects.