1. Along with actors Al Pacino and Ellen Burstyn, he is the current co-president of the Actors Studio.
2. Keitel was born in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, the son of Miriam and Harry Keitel, Jewish immigrants from Romania and Poland, respectively. His parents owned and ran a luncheonette and his father also worked as a hat maker.
3. At the age of sixteen, he decided to join the United States Marine Corps, a decision that took him to Lebanon, during Operation Blue Bat.
4. After his return to the United States, he was a court reporter for several years and was able to support himself before beginning his acting career.
5. Keitel drifted into obscurity through most of the 1980s. He continued to do work on both stage and screen, but usually in the stereotypical role of a thug.
6. Keitel played a corrupt police officer in the 1983 thriller Copkiller , starring Danny DeVito and Joe Piscopo.
7. The following year, Keitel played another mobster in the Whoopi Goldberg-starring comedy Sister Act.