This tall, slim actor is one of those rare performers who manages to divide his time equally between stage, film and TV work, though his regular stint in "Roseanne" has taken up much of his time since the early 1990s. One of seven children born into a wealthy Irish-American family, O'Keefe was a baseball star for his parochial school team. He began acting in his teens, and by the early 1980s had amassed an impressive theater resume including "Fifth of July", "Streamers", "Mass Appeal" and "Short Eyes".
O'Keefe has also acted in TV-movies and miniseries, beginning with "Friendly Persuasion/Except for Me and Thee" in 1975 and including "Incident at Deception Ridge"(1994). His credits have ranged from dramas ("A Rumor of War", 1980 and "In the Best Interest of the Child", 1990) to comedies ("Panache", 1976) to horror ("Dark Secret of Harvest Home", 1978). He has also co-starred in the crime drama series "Against the Law" (Fox, 1990-91) and the "thirtysomething"-inspired comedy "Middle Ages" (CBS, 1991-92). His most profitable stint on series TV has been as the father of Jackie's baby on "Roseanne" (ABC, 1993-95). He returned to series work co-starring with Lisa Ann Walter in "Life's Work" (ABC, 1996-97). In 1999, O'Keefe made his way back to the stage snagging a role in the award winning Broadway play "Side Man." After which, he was cast as the father of both Leelee Sobieski's character in the action "The Glass House"(2001), and as Rachel McAdam's father in the comedy feature "The Hot Chick" (2002).
With about a dozen films to his credit, O'Keefe has had very mixed luck. He made an enormous splash with his second film, as Robert Duvall's son in the drama "The Great Santini" (1979); from there he went straight into the comedy "Caddyshack" (1980, as a hapless golfer). Though he has worked steadily in films since, O'Keefe has starred in numerous projects which have not lived up to expectations: "Finders Keepers" (1984); "The Slugger's Wife" (1985); "The Whoopee Boys" (1986); and "Me and Veronica" (1992). He gained some praise for his dramatic turn in "Ironweed" (1987), and also served as the narrator (and star of the framing story) for the fantasy "Three Wishes" (1995).