Howard Keel was an American actor and singer. He starred in many film musicals of the 1950s.
Keel was born Harold Clifford Keel in Gillespie, Illinois, to Navyman-turned-coalminer Homer Keel and his wife, Grace Osterkamp Keel. Young Harold spent his childhood in poverty. One of his teachers, Miss Rosa Burke, noticed one day that he was not eating his lunch. From that day forward, Miss Burke would pack two lunches – one for herself and one for Harold. When he became famous and would perform near Gillespie, Burke always received tickets to attend his performances.
After his father’s death in 1930, Keel and his mother moved to California, where he graduated from Fallbrook High School at the age of 17 and took various odd jobs until finally settling at Douglas Aircraft Company, where he became a traveling representative.