Michael John McKean (born October 17, 1947) is an American actor, comedian, writer, composer and musician well known for his portrayal of Squiggy's friend, onard "Lenny" Kosnowski, on Laverne & Shirley; and for his work in the Christopher Guest ensemble films, particularly as David St. Hubbins, the lead vocalist and rhythm gutarist of the fictional rock band Spinal Tap from the eponymous film.
McKean was born October 17, 1947, in New York City, the son of Ruth, a librarian, and Gilbert McKean, one of the founders of Decca Records, and was raised in Sea Cliff, New York, on Long Island. McKean is of Irish, English, Scottish, and some German and Dutch, descent. He graduated from high school in 1965.
Michael began his career (as well as the characters of "Lenny and Squiggy") in Pittsburgh while a student at Carnegie Mellon; David L. Lander was a fellow student at CMU. Their partnership grew after graduation as part of the comedy group "The Credibility Gap" with Harry Shearer in Los Angeles, but McKean's breakthrough came in 1976, when he and Lander joined the cast of Laverne & Shirley portraying Lenny and Squiggy.
McKean directed one episode, and the characters became something of a phenomenon, even releasing an album as Lenny and the Squigtones in 1979, which featured a young Christopher Guest on guitar (credited as Nigel Tufnel – the name Guest would use a few years later as part of the spoof rock band, Spinal Tap). "Foreign Legion of Love" was a big hit for the Squigtones, with frequent play on the Dr. Demento Show. McKean also played his character in an episode of Happy Days.
After leaving Laverne & Shirley in 1982, McKean played David St. Hubbins in the comedy This is Spinal Tap with both Guest and Shearer, and appeared in the soap opera spoof Young Doctors in Love.
McKean quickly became a recognizable name in film and television, with appearances in films such as Used Cars (1980), Clue (1985), Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987), Earth Girls Are Easy (1988), and taking a lead role in Short Circuit 2 (1988). In 1990, Michael landed a memorable role opposite Kiefer Sutherland and Dennis Hopper in the American [[adventure comedy film, Flashback. That same year, McKean was part of an ensemble cast in the television series Grand on NBC-TV which, however, only aired for a short time. In 1991 McKean co-wrote (with Christopher Guest) the second episode and later directed the final episode of the mock documentary series Morton & Hayes, created by Phil Mishkin and Rob Reiner.
Saturday Night Live
Having already appeared as a musical guest and then host of Saturday Night Live, McKean joined the cast from 1994 to 1995. At the age of 46, he was the oldest person ever to join the SNL cast at the time (later surpassed by Leslie Jones, who joined in 2014 at age 47), one of a handful of SNL cast members to appear on the show before becoming a cast member (joining the likes of Billy Crystal, Denny Dillon, Ann Risley, and Rob Riggle), and the only one to be a musical guest and a host before becoming a cast member.
- Anthony, the weatherman from "Good Morning, Brooklyn"
- Mr. Vonucci, the manager that appears in the Kitchen Boy sketches.
- Michael's celeb impressions on SNL include Adam West of Batman TV series fame, former U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, actor David Hasselhoff, Elvis Costello, actor Gary Busey, George F. Will, shock jock Howard Stern, serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, entertainment reporter John Tesh, actor Patrick Stewart, Tom Skerritt, former U.S. Senator Richard Gephardt, O.J. Simpson trial defense lawyer Robert Shapiro, and actor Vincent Price.
Roles after SNL
During this time, he also released a video follow up to Spinal Tap, played the villainous Mr. Dittmeyer in The Brady Bunch Movie, and played the boss Gibby in the HBO series Dream On. After leaving Saturday Night Live, McKean spent a lot of time doing children's fare, voicing various TV shows and movies.
McKean then appeared in a number of movie roles, including the film adaptation of Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992), Coneheads (1993), Airheads (1994), and Radioland Murders (1994). In 1997, he performed the lead voice role in the video game Zork Grand Inquisitor as Dalboz of Gurth and also appeared in the 1999 films Teaching Mrs. Tingle and Mystery, Alaska.
- It's Lenny & Squiggy. people.com.
- Michael McKean Biography (1947–). FilmReference.com. Retrieved on May 1, 2014.
- Henderson, Kathy (October 26, 2009). Michael McKean Savors the Taste of Superior Donuts. Broadway.com. Retrieved on May 1, 2014.
- Comedy for the Cure. Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Retrieved on December 18, 2014.
- Wright, Megh (July 9, 2013). Saturday Night's Children: Michael McKean (1994-1995) | Splitsider. Splitsider. Retrieved on December 18, 2014.