An ivory-colored gorilla escapes from a freighter and makes its way to Bermuda. Then afterwards, two anthropologists (Steven Keats and Cindy Pickett) want to save it, but the local authorities hire a big game hunter (Jack Palance) to track it down and kill it. Also with Céline Lomez and Earle Hyman.
Unexpectedly, on May 8th, 1994, Steven Keats was found dead (by his son) in his apartment in Manhattan, New York. His death was ruled an apparent suicide. He was 49.
At the time of his death, Keats had a part on a long running soap opera, so it was definitely not because he was out of work.
However, for some strange reason, he had been down rated to a “B” actor (despite having attended Yale University’s prestigious School of Drama and having starred in Hester Street and Seventh Avenue, for which he was nominated for an Emmy).
It has been suggested that the reason for Keats suicide may hearken back to his service with the Air Force, from 1965-66, in Vietnam. Apparently, Keats was with a company that scouted out the enemy, whom they shelled, then was later forced to fly his plane low to count the casualties. It’s interesting to note that as a result of this horrific service, many of Keats fellow soldiers also committed suicide. On a further note, Keats himself admitted that he was under psychiatric treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as well.
Ironically, and possibly a harbinger of the tragedy to come, Keats played in an episode of a 1974 TV series police drama titled Toma. The title of the episode was called “50% Of Normal,” in which Keats portrayed a homeless, mentally disturbed, Vietnam veteran. In the episode, Dave Toma, a police officer, was trying desperately to help a wounded soul, (Keats) but just before he found an opportunity to do so, received word that the veteran (Keats) had killed himself.
It’s unfortunate that Steven Keats, who was one of the best actors of the 1970’s, is not remembered as much as he should be.
Personal Quote from Keats:
“I love the idea that people have a difficult time connecting me from one role to the next. It means I'm creating characters. In terms of career, however, it can pose a problem because people never know who I am.”
NOTE: The picture quality for this film is a bit soft, but still the best print currently available anywhere.