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The Actors: ‘Toy Story 3’s’ Michael Keaton

The voice of Barbie’s Ken calls him a ‘really swell fellow.’

May 02, 2010|By Susan King, Los Angeles Times

In the world according to Barbie, the Mattel doll met and fell in love with Ken in 1961 on the set of a TV commercial. Over the decades, Ken has held some 40 jobs, including Olympic gold medalist and hair stylist. The two even broke up last decade because of Ken's reluctance to tie the knot. But according to Barbie's blog last year, this legendary couple has reunited.

But in Disney/Pixar's "Toy Story 3," which opens June 18, Ken is a swinging bachelor who lives in a daycare center where Woody, Buzz, Jessie, Mr. Potato Head and the gang come to live after their beloved owner, Andy, heads off to college.

Michael Keaton supplies the voice of the tanned, short-shorts-wearing Ken, who is looking for love.

Keaton can't keep from laughing during a recent phone interview when he talks about playing the iconic doll.

So is there a back story to Ken? How did he end up in the daycare center?

"It's so great to have these conversations with a straight face. I'll challenge anyone to talk about this and not start to, like, grin. You have to shoot your face up with Novocain to have these conversations. Ken actually serves as kind of a concierge — somewhere between a tour guide, a concierge, maitre d' and ambassador. He's not only alone in his dream house but probably alone in the dream."

Watching the clip of his introduction in the film, Ken comes across as a pretty cool dude.

He's fantastic. He is a really, really swell fellow, let's put it that way.

I'm not so sure, though, about his shorts,

You don't like the hot pants! I'm shocked. You have to say this for the man, he's bold.

calendar@latimes.com

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