|Birth: ||Dec. 10, 1955|
|Death: ||Dec. 11, 1986|
Actor. Paul Francis Keenan was the son of Paul and Clare Keenan. The Keenan's were also the parents of 4 daughters. Three other children of the couple had died at young ages.
Paul attended schools in the Boston area, eventually graduating from Xaverian High, a Catholic school. Already having an interest in acting, he went on to attend the University of Massachusetts for 4 years. He was one class short of earning his degree, but told his parents he was "heading to Hollywood to seek fame and fortune".
After arriving in California, he was accepted into an acting studio that provided him with training at no cost. Before long, Paul was making his rounds to the studios. In 1980, the trail led to his first big acting break, appearing on the popular daytime soap, "Days of Our Lives", portraying "Todd Chandler", the younger brother of "Liz Chandler", the popular character played by actress Gloria Loring. He took over the role left vacant by another actor. In a phone interview on July 11, 2011, Keenan's father, now 84 years old, recounted with pride the day his son made his debut on the show. "I was working at a hotel and a friend set me up in a room with a big TV so I could watch. The announcer said, 'The role of Todd Chandler is now being played by Paul Keenan.' He came on the screen alone at first." The inflection in the elder Keenan's tone made it obvious he was smiling. Paul Keenan remained with the show through the following year when his character was killed in a car crash.
After the demise of his soap character, Paul made his one and only feature film. "Honky Tonk Freeway" was released in 1981, starring William Devane, Teri Garr, Beau Bridges, Beverly D'Angelo, and Geraldine Page.
His next role came on the popular ABC series "Dynasty". Paul made his debut on March 3, 1982 during the serial's second season in the episode entitled "The Baby". He was cast in the recurring role of "Troy Driscoll", the Carrington's stablehand. He appeared in five episodes that season.
Following his stint on "Dynasty", he filmed a made-for-television movie, "Secrets Between a Mother and Daughter", released in 1983. This time, he starred with Katharine Ross, Linda Hamilton, Michael Nouri, and Bibi Besch.
He subsequently reprised the role of "Tony Driscoll" on "Dynasty" on October 5, 1983 during the soap's fourth season. Paul appeared in 5 more episodes. His last appearance on the show came May 2, 1984 in the episode, "New Lady in Town".
Then, in 1984, Paul appeared in what was to be his last acting role, the CBS made-for-television movie, "Summer Fantasy", in which he starred opposite Julianne Phillips. Besides Phillips, the movie starred Ted Shackelford, Michael Gross, and Dorothy Lyman.
By early 1985, just months after the airing of "Summer Fantasy", Paul was heading his life in a new direction by leaving Hollywood. The following summer, he revealed publicly he was gay and that he was facing the biggest challenge of his life, and an uncertain future. He had recently been diagnosed with AIDS.
Throughout his professional acting career, Paul had kept his homosexuality a closely guarded secret. But just seven weeks after learning of his diagnosis, he gave an interview to The Philadelphia Inquirer. In the article that ran July 12, 1986 Paul stated, "When you have AIDS, you really have to face the fact that this could be a fatal disease. You're dealing with things that are more important than the narcissistic Hollywood type of life. When I was 18, I came out of the closet. My family knew. Everyone who was a peer knew. When I was acting and my career started to take off, it was suggested to me that I go into a closet I had never known. When I left Los Angeles about 1-1/2 years ago, I decided I wouldn't do that anymore. I don't believe that AIDS is something to be ashamed of, something that I should have to keep a secret. I am very proud of who I am, very proud of the things I'm trying to do."
Five months later, the day after his 31st birthday, Paul Keenan died.
Paul's father said his son's Last Will and Testament stipulated that his ashes "be scattered someplace beautiful". Honoring those wishes, his ashes were strewn across a lake in Bennington, Vermont. Mr. Keenan said, "It was a beautiful ceremony", attended by family members and close friends.
Specifically: Ashes scattered over a lake in Vermont
Created by: Marguerite Wheeler
Record added: Jul 01, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 72399437