Keith Michell, the Emmy Award-winning Australian television and movie actor best known for portraying King Henry VIII , was born on December 1, 1928 in Adelaide, South Australia and brought up a little less than 150 miles away in Warnertown, which is near Port Pirie. He taught art until he made his debut on the Adelaide stage in 1947, following that up with his first appearance in London in 1951.
Michell was a member of the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre Company. From 1974 to 1977, he was the artistic director of the Chichester Festival Theatre. He has starred in several musicals, including the first London production of Man of La Mancha (1972).
In addition to his theatrical work, he appeared extensively in film and television in Australia and the UK, most notably as King Henry VIII in the six-part 1970 BBC series The Six Wives of Henry VIII (1970), for which he won an Emmy Award. A movie version was made in 1972. On US television, he appeared as a regular on Murder, She Wrote (1984).
In addition to acting, he wrote a musical adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's "Peer Gynt" called "Pete McGynty and the Dreamtime". He also paints and illustrates books, as well as written and illustrated cookbooks.
Michell married the Anglo-Czech actress Jeanette Sterke in 1957. They have a son, actor Paul Michell, and a daughter, actress Helena Michell. A theater in Port Pirie, the Keith Mitchell Theatre-Northern Festival Centre, has been named in his honor.