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Michael Keaton Remembers Prince, Compares Him to to Duke Ellington, Stevie Wonder

Prince Batman
Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Michael Keaton may forever be associated with Prince in some fans’ minds because the movie star and the pop star both worked on 1989’s “Batman” — the actor starring as the caped crusader and the musician performing the song “Batdance,” which became a No. 1 hit.

But that association meant less to Keaton than his pure admiration for Prince at the time of the pop star’s death Thursday.

“I put him up there with Duke Ellington, Stevie Wonder, Miles [Davis] among the true greats,” said Keaton. “Some musicians had their moments. He had what seemed like centuries of being great.”

Keaton said he was in his car in his driveway in Los Angeles when he heard the news on the radio of a body being discovered at Prince’s Minneapolis home. He imagined it had to be a family member, or someone else, anyone but the singer.

“He was one of those people you just assume, ‘I am going to be watching what Prince does when he is 80,’” Keaton said. “And it is going to be as good or better, and as innovative, as it is now.”

The actor, who will appear later this year in “The Founder” as McDonald’s-creator Ray Kroc, said he once spent time on a Trans-Atlantic flight with Prince. “He did it how he wanted to do it, but it never appeared arrogant, to me anyway,” Keaton said. “He seemed to have this beautiful, cool, elusive image. And it seemed real. And, if he did use it to market himself, he did that better than anyone else, too.”

The two did not work directly together on the Tim Burton-directed “Batman.” But the “Birdman” actor said he appreciated Prince before and after the making of the film. He admired the fact that Prince always worked out of his home base. “He was a special person who didn’t have to move to New York or Paris or Los Angeles for fame. He stayed right there in Minneapolis. There was no one who did it like Prince did it.”