Imagine being a high school student and in walks your substitute teacher for the day and he looks very similar to someone you just saw on the movie screen the weekend before. Well, some students in Lawerence may experience just that, but it’s not a look alike, it’s the real deal. Meet Keith Loneker — actor, former NFL player, music producer and, above all else, substitute teacher extraordinaire!
Keith grew up in a small town in New Jersey and knew early on that he had big things in store. He landed a Division I football scholarship with the University of Kansas and was an All-Big Eight tackle three of his four years with the university.
After college, Keith, expected to be a third-round draft pick, ended up not getting drafted. Surprised and disappointed, Keith turned his misfortune into fire and walked on with the Los Angeles Rams. By the end of his rookie season, he was a starter. Keith would go on to play in the NFL for four years.
One day out of the blue, Keith got the opportunity to audition for his first movie.
“Out of Sight was my first movie,” Keith said. “The cast was incredible … it was awesome.”
Since then, he has gone on to act in a number of films over the years, including the Leatherheads, directed by and starring George Clooney, Lakeview Terrace, starring Samuel L. Jackson, and Superbad.
“Filming Leatherheads was awesome. We played 1920’s football players, which was really cool for a lifetime football fan.”
In his spare time, besides being a dad, Keith also has a recording studio in Lawrence, KS, and has produced music for rapper Tech N9ne.
Keith has been a substitute for about 8 years, subbing in the Lawrence School District. His favorite age group to sub for is high school.
“I struggled with certain things in high school, both academically and socially. I believe I’m very aware of the struggles of teens. And because of my experiences with the NFL, movies and music production, I can reach a wide range of kids and become another layer of support for future growth.”
When asked what advice he would give to someone wanting to go into acting, Keith says, “Be lucky. It’s hard to break into acting, but it’s what I would say for any field — love it and work hard.”
Besides substitute teaching, Keith is also currently pitching his first screenplay.
“I was always a bad writer. I learned through screenwriting a lot of lessons I didn’t understand when I was being instructed originally. Screenwriting has added to my strengths and given me confidence.”