Michael Keaton Opens Up About His Nephew's Tragic Death

Michael Keaton has played several memorable roles in his career, and he's one of the top actors in the industry. We know the actor for hits like "Birdman" and "Multiplicity," and so many other films that it would be hard to list them all here. Keaton has won several awards and he has proved that he can transform himself into any character. In 2021, Keaton took the challenge to be in the Hulu hit "Dopesick." The actor plays the role of Dr. Samuel Finnix, who prescribes his patients OxyContin, per IMDb. Other big names like Peter Sarsgaard and Rosario Dawson also star in the limited series. 

"Dopesick" has been very popular on Hulu, and Keaton has been very open about it and why he was so drawn to it in the first place. In an interview with Parade, he expressed how important it is to him to be able to portray real-life characters. "It's satisfying because I'm in a fortunate position where what I do for a living affords me an opportunity to possibly change things or affect people in some way," he shared. The actor also touched on how much he learned about the opioid crisis. "It was a shocker to me," Keaton confessed. "The ease with which [opioids] became an epidemic knocked me out. I didn't know how [opioid addiction] infiltrated every class group."

It's safe to say that Keaton's role has made an impact, and his performance has generated a lot of buzz, including a significant award win.

Michael Keaton dedicates his award to his nephew

Michael Keaton got emotional during his Screen Actors Guild Awards acceptance speech in February 2022. The star took home the trophy for his work in "Dopesick," and the whole thing started off in a wild way, where Keaton was late to accept his award as he was taking a bathroom break. Once he finally arrived on stage, Keaton apologized. "Sorry! Quick trip to the men's room. It was packed, by the way," he said. "This is so nice, thank you very much. I'm truly grateful."

Toward the end of his lengthy speech, things took a more serious turn as Keaton struggled through tears to dedicate the award to his late nephew, Michael, and his sister, Pam. According to TMZ, Keaton's nephew died in 2016 following an overdose on heroin and fentanyl. "Mostly, given the subject matter, this is for my nephew Michael and my sister Pam," he said through tears. "I lost my nephew Michael to drugs, and it hurts." When the camera panned the crowd, a few of Keaton's colleagues also had tears in their eyes.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in August 2021, Keaton shared that his nephew's death was one of the reasons he was drawn to star in the Hulu series. "I thought, 'Well, if this is even remotely good, I have to do this,'" he told the outlet. "It happens to be real good." It turns out Keaton made the right decision, and we're sure that his nephew would be proud.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).