Vintage Hunk: Keir Dullea

By: Mike McCrann

Keir Dullea never really became a huge movie star, but the studly fair-haired actor did find movie fame in the groundbreaking indie film, David and Lisa, and the great cult space epic, 2001, directed by Stanley Kubrick.

Dullea was born in Cleveland Ohio in 1936 and had always wanted to be an actor. Making his film debut in 1961's Hoodlum Priest as a juvenile delinquent, he found early recognition playing the emotionally disturbed David in David and Lisa, one of the first indie films to reach a wide audience. He won the 1964 Golden Globe as "Most Promising Newcomer" and repeated his emotionally disturbed persona in The Thin Red Line, a gripping war film, and the vastly underrated Otto Preminger mystery, Bunny Lake Is Missing. This atmospheric mystery — released finally on DVD — has Dullea playing the crazed incestuous brother of Carol Lynley, who can't convince anyone that her little girl has been abducted. Dullea was excellent as the culprit, and his sexy blonde looks — like a tougher Brandon de Wilde — made him sexually menacing.

In 1968, Dullea reached his cinematic high with the grandiose film, 2001: A Space Odyssey. This groundbreaking picture should have propelled him to more great roles, but only director Stanley Kubrick seemed to benefit from the film's popularity.

Dullea made a number of other films, including the Margot Kidder cult scare fest Black Christmas. He also played Lana Turner's son in Madame X, who defends her, not knowing she is his long lost mother. Dullea has appeared on many TV shows, and has done extensive stage work. Co-star Noel Coward famously uttered: "Keir Dullea, gone tomorrow." when they met on the set of Bunny Lake Is Missing. Funny as this quip was, it also proved to be quite prophetic.

Dullea was a hunky blonde with a killer smile and piercing blue eyes. If you want to see Keir at his deadly best, watch the black and white thriller, Bunny Lake Is Missing. Co-stars Laurence Olivier and Carol Lynley are wonderful, but Keir is icily scary and steals the show as the demented brother.

Watch a clip from Bunny Lake Is Missing with handsome Keir Dullea below.