The two-time Tony Award-winner, and the Oscar-winning star of such films as "Sophie's Choice," "The Big Chill," "A Fish Called Wanda" and "The Ice Storm," has proven himself one of the most versatile stage and screen actors - adept at tortured drama, light-footed musical comedy, and everything in-between. His most recent film is the buddy comedy, "Last Vegas," starring opposite three actors who are no slouches themselves: Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro and Morgan Freeman.
By CBSNews.com senior producer David Morgan
"Last Vegas"In the 2013 comedy, "Last Vegas," Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline arrive in Sin City for the bachelor party of their childhood buddy (Michael Douglas).
"In the 'Last Vegas' trailer, it says, 'Four legends come together,'" said CBS News correspondent Tracy Smith. "What's it like to hear that word applied to you?"
"It's a lovely advertising ploy," Kline laughed, "and I love being lumped in with these 'four icons, four legends' -- three legends and Kline."
"People would argue with you about that."
"I have not done nearly the amount of, sort of commercially successful movies that these guys have."
"Is that what makes a legend?"
"Apparently -- so it has nothing to do with talent!" he laughed.
"Last Vegas"Left: "Kevin Kline" in "Last Vegas."
When asked by Tracy Smith about his choice of film roles and whether he hasn't done as many commercially successful moves as his "Last Vegas" costars.
"Is that by design that you haven't done as many commercially successful moves as the other guys?" Smith asked.
"Yes, I've avoided success as much as possible," he replied. "It's a family thing. It's partially my own doing, but I mean, Morgan [Freeman] and I just shared the same agent for 35 years, [who] used to say, 'Why don't you want to do this movie? This is going to be a very commercially successful movie.' And I'd say, 'I'm sure it is, but I think it's crap, I'm sorry.'
"I just try to do what interests me at the moment. And I've made a lot of probably stupid career choices!"
JuilliardLeft: Kevin Kline (center) in a production of "School for Scandal" at the Juilliard School, 1971.
Born and raised in St. Louis, Kline studied music at Indiana University before coming to New York as part of the Juilliard School's very first drama class.
Kline followed Juilliard by joining John Houseman's The Acting Company, which toured doing such plays as "The Three Sisters" and "Measure for Measure."
"It was God sent," Kline said. "We were all handed our Equity cards and sent out on the road doing great plays. But my agent would always say, 'Can we now get serious ... 'cause no one knows who you are, you're out there.' Even though we'd have three or four-week seasons in New York, most the time we spent touring -- you weren't establishing a reputation in New York. And so when I finally left the company after four years, it was back to square one."
"The Pirates of Penzance"Left: Rex Smith, Linda Ronstadt and Kevin Kline in the Broadway production of Gilbert & Sullivan's "The Pirates of Penzance" (1981). Kline, as the Pirate King, won a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical.
Kline told CBS News correspondent Tracy Smith that he initially resisted doing "Pirates" because, two years earlier, he'd done another musical on Broadway with a lot of physical comedy, "On the Twentieth Century," and feared he'd be pegged as a musical comedy actor.
"But I got sort of talked into it, and it was a good thing," he said, "because Alan Pakula saw me in it and cast me in 'Sophie's Choice.' It actually started my movie career, ironically."
"Sophie's Choice"Meryl Streep as a Polish immigrant and Holocaust survivor, and Kevin Kline as Nathan Landau, her erratic lover, in "Sophie's Choice" (1982).
"The Big Chill"Kevin Kline co-starred with William Hurt in "The Big Chill" (1983), the first of several films Kline would do with writer-director Lawrence Kasdan.
"Silverado"Kevin Kline, with Scott Glenn, in the 1985 western, "Silverado."
"Violets Are Blue"Kevin Kline played an old flame who rekindles romance with Sissy Spacek in the 1986 drama, "Violets Are Blue."
"Cry Freedom"Kevin Kline played South African journalist Donald Woods and Oscar-nominee Denzel Washington starred as anti-apartheid activist Stephen Biko in the 1987 drama, "Cry Freedom."
"A Fish Called Wanda"Michael Palin, Jamie Lee Curtis, John Cleese and Kevin Kline in the 1988 comedy, "A Fish Called Wanda." Kline played the erratic thief Otto, whom you better not call stupid.
"A Fish Called Wanda"Kevin Kline gleefully tortures fish lover Michael Palin (with fish and chips!) in "A Fish Called Wanda." Kline won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance -- a rarity for a comedy film.
And he did manage to thank his wife in his acceptance speech. "At the very last moment!" he said. "We'd only been married for about two weeks at that point. And then the music started to play. Oh, and, and my wife, thank you!"
Phoebe Cates & Kevin KlineActors Kevin Kline and Phoebe Cates arrive at the 62nd Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel January 16, 2005 in Beverly Hills, California.
Kline and Cates, who had starred in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," first met briefly during auditions for "The Big Chill" (she was up for the role that went to Meg Tilly), but lightning didn't strike until a few months later, when both were in separate plays in New York.
"I was upstairs rehearsing that, and she was downstairs rehearsing that, and [we] met in the hallway," Kline recalled.
The two married in 1989.
"I Love You to Death"Kevin Kline played a womanizing pizza shop owner, whose vengeful wife discovers to be distressingly difficult to kill, in the 1990 comedy, "I Love You to Death," directed by Lawrence Kasdan.
"Hamlet"Kevin Kline as Hamlet, with Dana Ivey as Gertrude, in his 1990 production for PBS of "Hamlet."
When asked by Tracy Smith if he ever studied or picked apart his performances afterwards, Kline said no. "If I'm asked to, I can tell you where I've failed and where it could have been better, sure. I mean, I played Hamlet in two different productions. You can do it ten different times, you're never gonna finish it."
"And you're never satisfied?" Smith asked.
"You can be satisfied, like, 'Yeah, I think that was okay.' 'I got away with it.' Or, 'There were parts of it that -- ' But you cannot be definitive. It's different from night to night, it's different from production to production. It's different one year and then ten years later. If I did 'Hamlet' now, obviously, it's going to be different than it was 30 years ago or whenever I did it. You never 'finish' a great masterpiece of Shakespeare's or Chekhov's."
"It's always a work-in-progress?"
"Yeah, and it's open to interpretation. I mean, somewhere I read that Jane Austen used to read 'Hamlet' every year just to kind of know where she was in her life by how she responded. The same way for an actor. You want to find out where you're at? Play Hamlet this year. Once a year. Because you're forced to reckon with some of the larger question. But you're not gonna say, 'Oh, I nailed that one!'" he laughed.
"Soapdish"Kevin Kline and Sally Field in the 1991 comedy, "Soapdish."
"Grand Canyon"Kevin Kline played an immigration lawyer and Steve Martin as a producer of violent Hollywood films, who each experience life-changing events, in Lawrence Kasdan's 1991 ensemble drama, "Grand Canyon."
"Chaplin"Kevin Kline played Hollywood star Douglas Fairbanks opposite Robert Downey Jr. as Charlie Chaplin in the 1992 biography, "Chaplin."
"Consenting Adults"Kevin Kline re-teamed with his "Sophie's Choice" director, Alan J. Pakula, for the 1992 thriller, "Consenting Adults." Kevin Spacey co-starred as a neighbor not to be trusted, with Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as Kline's wife.
"Dave"Kevin Kline is hired to impersonate the president of the United States, who has been incapacitated by a stroke and hidden away by White House officials, in the 1993 comedy, "Dave."
"Dave"Kevin Kline pretends to be the president of the United States, and Sigourney Weaver plays his unsuspecting first lady, in the 1993 comedy, "Dave."
"Princess Caraboo"Kevin Kline and Phoebe Cates co-starred in the 1994 historical drama "Princess Caraboo."
Though Cates later appeared with Kline (along with their two children) in the 2001 film, "The Anniversary Party," she pretty much retired from acting following the birth of her first child, in 1991.
Kline told Smith he admired Cates' decision: "It was always one of the things I admired about Phoebe. She loved acting, but it wasn't her life. Once she had children, that was it. For me, [acting] was everything; I had no life. It's just acting."
"So did she show you that there was life beyond acting?" Smith asked.
"Yeah, I think so. I think it even started once you're married; your decisions aren't just yours anymore. And Phoebe and I, before we had children, would take turns. We're not stupid enough to say, 'Sure, you can go off and do that movie for four months and I'm gonna go off and do this movie for six months and it's not gonna hurt our relationship.' It's like, get real."
"In and Out"Kevin Kline dances unabashedly to "I Will Survive," in a test of his masculinity, in the comedy, "In and Out" (1997).
"They brought in a brilliant choreographer, and I said to [director] Frank Oz, 'This is not about choreography. This is a private moment, a man in his living room dancing to music and I can't be thinking about choreography. It has to be sloppy and crazy.'
"But we arrived at a sort of compromise. A guy gave me a couple [moves], 'This is what is going on in all the gay clubs right now" - which I then argued, 'Yeah, but my character doesn't go to gay clubs, so he wouldn't know that.' But maybe intuitively!
"It took two days to shoot that. I had a canister of oxygen, to do that over and over and over. It was a much longer sequence. I was doing ballet and Martha Graham and Paul Taylor and all kinds of crazy moves. But again, I did it and I thought, 'Well, this will never make it to the movie, it's too outrageous' - and it's the thing that most people seem to remember."
"The Ice Storm"Ang Lee's 1997 drama, "The Ice Storm," adapted from Rick Moody's novel, told of the wreckage caused by loose sexual mores among a group of Connecticut families in the early 1970s. Kevin Kline starred with Joan Allen (as his wife) and Sigourney Weaver (as someone else's wife).
"A Midsummer Nigh's Dream"Kevin Kline as Bottom and Michelle Pfeiffer as Titania in Michael Hoffman's 1999 film version of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream."
"Wild, Wild West"Will Smith and Kevin Kline engage in some blue screen acrobatics during production of the 1999 big-screen version of the Old West/sci-fi series, "Wild, Wild West."
"Life as a House"Kevin Kline starred as a terminally-ill architect who embarks on a project to build a new home on the California shore, while also seeking to repair his family relationships, in the 2001 drama, "Life as a House."
Kevin KlineDozens of children who suffer juvenile diabetes crowd the floor of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee hearing to hear testimony on combating the disease June 26, 2001 in Washington, D.C. Testifying (background left to right) are Katie Zucker, age 13; actor Kevin Kline; actress Mary Tyler Moore; astronaut James Lovell; and actor Jonathan Lipnicki.
"The Emperor's Club"Kevin Kline played a school teacher at an Andover, Mass., prep school in the 2002 drama, "The Emperor's Club." Among his charges were Emile Hirsch and Jesse Eisenberg.
Glenn Close & Kevin KlineKevin Kline and Glenn Close (who played husband and wife in "The Big Chill") attend the after-party for the opening of "Henry IV," held on November 20, 2003 in New York City.
"De-Lovely"Kevin Kline starred as composer Cole Porter int he 2004 bio-pic, "De-Lovely," directed by Irwin Winkler.
"De-Lovely"The cast and crew of "De-Lovely" pose stage during the Closing Night Concert at the Palais de festival on the last night of the 57th Cannes Film Festival on May 22, 2004 in Cannes, France.
"De-Lovely"Actor Kevin Kline and musician Alanis Morissette sit backstage and watch the "De-Lovely" Closing Night Concert on the beach at the Palais de Festival during the 57th Annual International Cannes Film Festival May 22, 2004 in Cannes, France.
Kevin Kline & Sigourney WeaverKevin Kline and Sigourney Weaver pose at the ceremony honoring Kline with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on December 3, 2004 in Hollywood, Calif.
"The Squid & the Whale"From left: Director Noah Baumbach, actor Owen Kline, and his father, actor Kevin Kline, attend the film premiere of "The Squid and the Whale," during the New York Film Festival at Alice Tully Hall, September 26, 2005 in New York City.
"A Prairie Home Companion"Garrison Keillor's long-running NPR radio series, "A Prairie Home Companion," was turned into a 2006 film of on-stage music and backstage intrigues by director Robert Altman.
Kevin Kline starred as Guy Noir, Private Eye, who encounters singing cowboys John C. Reilly and Woody Harrelson.
Lindsay Lohan & Kevin KlineLindsay Lohan and Kevin Kline attend the premiere of "A Prairie Home Companion," at the DGA Theater, June 4, 2006, in New York City.
"The Pink Panther"In the 2006 remake of "The Pink Panther," Kevin Kline stepped into the role of Chief Inspector Dreyfus opposite Steve Martin's Inspector Clouseau.
"Cyrano de Bergerac"Jennifer Garner and Kevin Kline appear on stage after the opening night performance of "Cyrano De Bergerac," at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, November 1, 2007 in New York City.
"Queen to Play"In "Queen to Play" (2009), Kevin Kline (in his first French-language role) starred as an American who teaches chess to his French hotel maid (Sandrine Bonnaire) who has become obsessed with the game.
"The Extra Man"Paul Dano and Kevin Kline starred in the 2010 film, "The Extra Man," based on the novel by Jonathan Ames, about an aspiring writer's relationship with an older playwright.
"The Conspirator"Kevin Kline appeared as Secretary of War Edwin Stanton in the 2011 drama, "The Conspirator." Directed by Robert Redford, the film told of the hunt for collaborators to the assassin of President Lincoln.
"The Conspirator"From left: Greta Simone Kline, Phoebe Cates and Kevin Kline attend the New York Premiere of "The Conspirator" at The Museum of Modern Art on April 11, 2011 in New York City.
"No Strings Attached"Kevin Kline played a TV actor and father of Ashton Kutcher in the 2011 romantic comedy, "No Strings Attached."
"Darling Companion"Elizabeth Moss and Kevin Kline in the 2012 Lawrence Kasdan family drama, "Darling Companion."
Diane Keaton & Kevin KlineActors Diane Keaton and Kevin Kline attend the Los Angeles premiere of Lawrence Kasdan's "Darling Companion," at the Egyptian Theatre on April 17, 2012 in Hollywood, California.
"Darling Companion"Sony Pictures Classics co-president Tom Bernard looks on as Kasey the dog and Kevin Kline get chummy on the red carpet, at the Los Angeles premiere of "Darling Companion," at the Egyptian Theatre on April 17, 2012 in Hollywood, California.
"Bob's Burgers"Kevin Kline has lent his voice to the character of businessman and landlord Calvin Fischoeder in the Fox cartoon, "Bob's Burgers."
"The Big Chill"Appearing at "The Big Chill" 30th anniversary screening during the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival are, from left: producer Michael Shamberg, writer/director Lawrence Kasdan, music consultant Meg Kasdan, Glenn Close, Kevin Kline, Mary Kay Place, executive producer Marcia Nasatir, JoBeth Williams, Tom Berenger, Meg Tilly and co-writer Barbara Benedek, at the Princess of Wales Theatre, September 5, 2013 in Toronto, Canada.
"The Last of Robin Hood"Kevin Kline played the aging former matinee idol Errol Flynn opposite Dakota Fanning as his 17-year-old lover Beverly Aadland, in the 2013 film, "The Last of Robin Hood."
"Last Vegas""Last Vegas" cast members Kevin Kline, Mary Steenburgen, Morgan Freeman, Robert De Niro and Michael Douglas and director Jon Turteltaub appear in front of the Bellagio to receive a ceremonial key to the city of Las Vegas, October 18, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Kevin KlineActor Kevin Kline attends the annual Public Theater Gala at the Delacorte Theater on June 11, 2013 in New York City.
By CBSNews.com senior producer David Morgan