After attending Indiana University in Bloomington, Kline studied at the Juilliard School in New York. In 1972, Kline joined the Acting Company in New York which was run by John Houseman. With this company, Kline performed Shakespeare across the country. On the stage, Kline has won two Tony Awards for his work in the musicals "On the Twentieth Century" (1978) and "The Pirates of Penzance" (1981). After working on the Television soap "Search for Tomorrow" (1951), Kline went to Hollywood where his first film was Sophie's Choice (1982). He was nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance. His work in the ensemble cast of The Big Chill (1983) would again be highly successful, so that when Lawrence Kasdan wrote Silverado (1985), Kline would again be part of the cast. With his role as Otto "Don't call me Stupid!" West in the film A Fish Called Wanda (1988), Kline would win the Oscar for Supporting Actor. Kline could play classic roles such as Hamlet in Hamlet (1990/II) (TV); or a swashbuckling actor like Douglas Fairbanks in Chaplin (1992); or a comedic role in Soapdish (1991). In all the films that he has worked in, it is hard to find a performance that is not well done. In 1989, Kline married actress Phoebe Cates.