Stacy began his theatrical career in Taft, Texas, playing Old King Cole in the local school pageant. He was six years old, but he remembers his costume being made by Mrs. Hess, the lady who lived next door to his grandmother's house. It was a large white furry collar with black birds sewed into the cloth, and, in his own words, said: "I'd put that on, and then donning my crown, I really felt like a King. I guess I just liked being somebody else."

He began acting in school plays in Junior High and at Van Nuys High School in the 1950's, and majored in Drama and English at UC Berkeley in the 1960's. Stacy spent a summer at Tufts Arena Theatre between his college sophomore and junior years, working at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and gained his first National attention from critic Henry Hewes, then writer for The Saturday Review. Hewes called Stacy's portrayal of Henry the Fifth and Mercutio "masterful".

He won a scholarship to the Yale Drama School in 1964 and that summer made his professional debut, cast as Marcellus and The Player King in Joseph Papp's production of Hamlet in New York's Central Park. After Yale, he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to London's Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (1965-66), and on his return to America was accepted into the Lincoln Center Repertory's maiden season at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre.

Stacy's rendering of Macbird!, a satirical off-broadway dark comedy, written by Barbara Garson, suggesting that Lyndon Johnson (in the guise of Macbeth) killed John F. Kennedy. It won him an Obie for his performance. Joseph Papp approached Keach to play Falstaff in both parts of Shakespeare's Henry IV. Soon afterwards he returned to Lincoln Center to play the Bastard, Edmund, in Lee J. Cobb's interpretation of King Lear.

The following year, Spring 1969, Stacy went to the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., to star as Buffalo Bill in Arthur Kopit's Indians. The play was a huge success and came to Broadway later that year, Stacy receiving a Best Actor Tony nomination for his performance.

Lifetime Achievement Award at Oldenburg Film Festival

Stacy receives the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Oldenburg Film Festival September, 2007… “…he is still America’s greatest classical stage actor…..!!”, as John Huston said, and “He is not just a star, he is a constellation. The audience will come to see whatever he portrays.”

Read Variety’s Rave Review of Lear!

Stacy’s Tribute to Arthur Miller

Yes, it was a sad day when Arthur Miller passed away. Even though few of us will ever be able to measure fully the scope of his extraordinary life and his contribution to theatre worldwide, with all humility I feel extremely fortunate to have known him and to spend some time with him.
Arthur Miller was a legend, and I count myself among the blessed to have had the privilege and honor to work with him and to have embodied a few of his wonderful creations. My first encounter with one of Arthur’s characters was playing the Prince in a Williamstown production of Incident At Vichy. Little did I know at the time that I would be directing the same play for national television some years later, which was a great thrill for me. Arthur graciously acknowledged that production in his autobiography, Timebends, calling it the most expressive production of that play he had seen up to that point. How proud
I was to have received such a good review from the author himself. Some years later, I had the opportunity to play John Proctor in a LA Theatre Works radio production of The Crucible, with a wonderful cast that included Richard Dreyfuss, Michael York, and Fannula Flannigan. I was once again struck by the power of that play and the brilliance of the writing. However, there is little question that my recent experience with Arthur, doing the world premiere of Finishing The Picture at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre under the direction of Robert Falls, creating the role of Phil Ochsner, trucker-turned-producer, was one of the absolute highlights of my theatrical career.
The entire cast, wonderful actors all, were enthralled by Arthur’s presence during the rehearsal process. Frances Fisher, Linda Lavin, Harris Yulin, Stephen Lang, Matthew Modine, Scott Glenn, and Heather Prete were each a delight to work with and play with.
Although Arthur was not in the best of health during the run of the production, his spirit was more than alive and well, his enthusiasm for the play and the production were a constant source of inspiration for all of us. I shall always remember the smile on his face opening night in Chicago when we came to take our bows after the final curtain. Now that the final curtain has fallen on Arthur’s extraordinary life, I feel that the applause for his work will go on forever, and he will continue to thrill audiences the world over for centuries to come. Arthur gave us so many priceless treasures and we are so grateful to have known him, to have worked with him, and to receive the inspiration and strength he gave us by his amazing energy.

Thank you Arthur. We will cherish your memory, always.