His operatic singing voice and matinee idol looks won him an offer in 1944 to headline Rodgers and Hammerstein's Broadway hit "Oklahoma!" but Howard Keel stuck with his day job at the Douglas Aircraft Corporation, setting aside ambition to aid the Allied effort through the end of World War II. It was on London's West End that Keel caught the eye of British film producers, for whom he made his big screen debut in 1948. Stateside, Keel accepted an MGM contract and lead roles in such Technicolor musicals as "Annie Get Your Gun" (1950), "Show Boat" (1951), and "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" (1954), while proving himself a credible man of action in the British "Floods of Fear" (1958) and "Day of the Triffids" (1962), in which he saved the Earth from an invasion of asparaginous extraterrestrials. Though he rode tall beside John Wayne and Kirk Douglas in Burt Kennedy's "The War Wagon" (1967), film offers thinned out with the demise of the studio system. Supplementing his income with nightclub and summer stock appearances, Keel was on the verge of retiring when the producers of the popular primetime soap opera "Dallas" (NBC, 1978-1991) tapped him to play steel-spined oil baron Clayton Farlow through the end of the series' 13-year run. Capping his career in his seventies by returning to his roots as a singer, Keel released four albums of songs before his death in 2004 robbed the arts of a one-of-a-kind popular entertainer with classical appeal.