Michael Keenan, an actor who played Mayor Bill Pugen on CBS 1990s series Picket Fences and Baron van Swieten in the 1999 Broadway revival of Amadeus, died April 30 at the Motion Picture & Television Fund Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, CA from non-COVID natural causes.
His death was announced by his family and the USC School of Dramatic Arts, where Keenan was a faculty member for more than 25 years. A noted actor and director on the regional theater circuit, Keenan performed in more than 100 productions for theater companies including South Coast Repertory, Seattle Repertory Theatre, the San Diego Shakespeare Festival, and, in Los Angeles, the Ahmanson Theatre, the Mark Taper Forum and Taper, Too.
As a director, Keenan staged works at the Old Globe Theatre, The Pasadena Playhouse, the Asolo State Theatre, Occidental College, and L.A.’s Tiffany Theater.
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His many TV credits include appearances on Starsky and Hutch, Alice, WKRP in Cincinnati, Hill St. Blues and St. Elsewhere, with recurring roles on Picket Fences, Dallas and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
A faculty member at USC’s School of Dramatic Arts, Keenan directed plays there from 1987 to 2015. “With his inimitable combination of technical brilliance, artistic perception, and dry wit, Michael Keenan inspired legions of students as a studio teacher and, perhaps most poignantly, as a stage director,” said David Bridel, dean of the USC School of Dramatic Arts. “He had a particular gift – based on his own illustrious acting career – in staging high comedies, including the works of authors such as Oscar Wilde and Georges Feydeau: fiendishly difficult to accomplish with students, but always impeccable in Michael’s seasoned and gifted hands. His kindness, wisdom, humility and loyalty will long be remembered among his colleagues and collaborators. He was, quite simply, a wonderful man.”
Keenan is survived by sisters-in-law Diana, Sally and Jan and eight nieces and nephews. Due to coronavirus restrictions, a memorial will be scheduled at a later date. For further updates, the family suggests contacting MichaelKeenanRBBH@gmail.com.
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