Kurt Robin McKinney (born February 15, 1962 in Louisville, Kentucky) is an American former actor. McKinney is perhaps best known for his role as Jason Stillwell in 1986 martial arts film No Retreat, No Surrender.
Prior to acting:
McKinney had earned a black belt in karate and was a former amateur kickboxing champion in Kentucky prior to his pursuit of an acting career.
No Retreat, No Surrender:
McKinney moved to Hollywood in the mid-1980s and found fame within few months. He auditioned for the lead in American Ninja (1985) but was turned down due to his youth. Instead his film debut would come playing Jason Stillwell in 1986 martial arts film No Retreat, No Surrender, which also starred Jean-Claude Van Damme, J.W. Fails and Tai Chung Kim. The movie grossed $5 million at the US box office (and spawned two sequels). Although this success was moderate compared to similar movies of the time, such as the Rocky series or The Karate Kid series, it remains a cult classic film to many people around the world. McKinney reportedly turned down the chance to reprise his role for the 1987 sequel, considering the filming location 'inconvenient' and with an element of persuasion from Jean-Claude Van Damme, who also turned it down.
Early in his career, McKinney had guest starring roles on series such as Gimme a Break! (1985-86), Highway to Heaven (1987) and ALF (1989). He reportedly turned down the chance to star in American Ninja 3, again apparently considering the filming location inconvenient, and instead accepted his first recurring role in a TV series. He appeared as the first Ned Ashton on the ABC soap opera General Hospital, from 1988 to 1991. In 1990, he won the Soap Opera Digest Award for "Outstanding Male Newcomer: Daytime" for his performance.
After departing General Hospital, McKinney starred in 1993 TV film Sworn to Vengeance and (unrelated) 1996 feature Sworn to Justice. The cast of the latter included Cynthia Rothrock, Tony Lo Bianco, Brad Dourif, Mako and Walter Koenig.
Guiding Light and final films:
His second recurring role in a TV series was also his longest, appearing as Matt Reardon in the CBS soap opera Guiding Light from 1994 to 2000 and 2005 to 2009, when the series was canceled.
During his first stint in Guiding Light he filmed a minor role in 1999 film Pop. McKinney left the soap in 2000 and continued to appear in minor roles in relatively obscure independent films, including 2000's Cupid & Kate, 2001's Supertalk, 2002's Carnival Knowledge and 2004's Savage Faith, which would prove to be his final film appearance.
Shortly before his return to Guiding Light in 2005, reprising the role of Matt Reardon, McKinney commented in an interview that he had been busy doing several independent films in recent years saying "you'll probably never see which is unfortunately where so many of those end up."
On a recurring basis, he appeared in more episodes of the long-running soap, up to and including its final episode in 2009.
Retirement from acting:
Following the cancellation of Guiding Light, McKinney's final role was as 'Ellis', for 14 episodes on another long-running CBS soap opera, As the World Turns, in May 2010. He was uncredited in this role. His final appearance was broadcast in the US on May 6, 2010.
It was also in 2010 that McKinney has retired from acting at the age of 48. However, in 2011, McKinney was asked to star in the recurring role of a doctor on the ABC soap opera One Life to Live. McKinney accepted and his role began on October 14, 2011, and his role on the show lasted two episodes.
Married and children:
McKinney is married to Maronda, they have two children: a son named Cole Madsen and a daughter named Madison Taylor.
McKinney is currently the vice president of a small home improvement business in the suburbs of Westchester, New York, McKinney has worked for his company since 2001 while maintaining his acting interests.
No Retreat, No Surrender (1986),
'Sworn to Justice (1996),
Carnival Knowledge (2002),
Savage Faith (2004),
Sworn to Vengeance (1993),
Cupid & Cate (2000),
ALF - 1 episode (1986),
General Hospital unknown episodes (1988 - 1991),
Gimme a Break! - 2 episodes (1985 - 1986),
Guiding Light - 128 episodes (1997 - 2009),
Highway to Heaven - 1 episode,
As the World Turns - 14 episodes (2010) (uncredited)