was born (May 13, 1939) in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, the son of Miriam (née Klein) and Harry Keitel, who were Jewish emigrants from Romania and Poland, respectively. His parents owned and ran a luncheonette and his father also worked as a hat maker. Keitel grew up in the Brighton Beach section of Brooklyn, with his sister, Renee, and brother, Jerry. He attended Abraham Lincoln High School. 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. 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.
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