Bayonne, New Jersey, USA
Place of Death
Malibu, California, USA
Cause of Death
Claim to Fame
Profile Bio Text
Brian Keith (November 14, 1921 – June 24, 1997) was an American film, television, and stage actor, who in his four decade-long career gained recognition for his work in movies such as the 1961 Disney film, The Parent Trap, the 1966 movie, The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming, and the 1975 movie, The Wind and the Lion. On television, two of his best known roles were that of a widowed uncle turned bachelor, Bill Davis, in the 1960s sitcom, Family Affair, and the title character of a tough judge, in the 1980s drama, Hardcastle and McCormick. He also starred in his own sitcom which featured actresses Shelley Fabares and Victoria Young, his real-life ex-wife.
The movies Keith led in the box office, including, The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming (1966), led him to his biggest break in 1966, the role of Uncle Bill Davis on CBS`s popular television situation comedy Family Affair. This role that earned him three Emmy Award nominations for Best Actor in A Comedy Series. The show made him a household name. It was also the answer to such successful 1960s and 1970s sitcoms that dealt with widowhood and/or many single parent issues such as: The Andy Griffith Show, My Three Sons, The Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction, Here`s Lucy, Julia, The Courtship of Eddie`s Father, The Brady Bunch, The Partridge Family and Sanford And Son. When CBS requested that he pose for Christmas publicity shots connected with Family Affair, Keith refused on the basis that this was exploitative of the holiday. During its first season in 1966, the show was an immediate hit, ranking #15 in the Nielsen Ratings, and became an overnight sensation. Keith once again returned to series television in 1983 with, Hardcastle and McCormick, the latter in the role of a cranky retired judge named Milton C. Hardcastle. Familiar actor Daniel Hugh Kelly co-starred as ex-con Mark McCormick in the ABC crime drama with elements of comedy. The chemistry of Keith & Kelly were both a hit in the 1980s. Keith continued playing the role until its cancellation in 1986.
Keith married three times, first to Frances Helm; then, in 1955, to Judith Landon; and finally, in 1970, to Hawaiian actress Victoria Young (née Leialoha), who later appeared on The Brian Keith Show (1972–1974) as Nurse Puni. Keith fathered four children but also adopted three others with Judith Landon. Daisy Keith, one of his children with Victoria Young, became an actress and appeared with her father in the short-lived series Heartland in 1989. He attended the funeral of longtime friend Michael Landon in 1991. During the later part of his life, Keith suffered from emphysema and lung cancer despite having quit smoking ten years earlier (he appeared in an endorsement campaign for Camel cigarettes in 1955). He was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in Malibu, California on June 24, 1997, two months after his daughter Daisy committed suicide. It was also reported that he had financial problems and suffered from depression throughout his final days. Keith`s family were joined by many mourners at a private funeral, including Family Affair co-stars Johnny Whitaker and Kathy Garver, and Hardcastle & McCormick co-star Daniel Hugh Kelly. His remains are buried next to those of his daughter Daisy at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.
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Full Name at Birth
Robert Keith Richey Jr.
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Brian Keith (November 14, 1921 – June 24, 1997) was an American film, television, and stage actor who in his six decade-long career gained recognition for his work in movies such as the 1961 Disney family film The Parent Trap, the 1966 comedy The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming, and the 1975 adventure saga The Wind and the Lion, in which he portrayed Theodore Roosevelt.
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