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Brian Keith Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (3) | Trade Mark (2) | Trivia (89) | Personal Quotes (32)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 14 November 1921Bayonne, New Jersey, USA
Date of Death 24 June 1997Malibu, California, USA  (suicide)
Birth NameRobert Keith Richey Jr.
Height 6' 1" (1.85 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Son of character actor Robert Keith and stage actress Helena Shipman. He grew up on the road with his parents while they toured in plays. First appeared at age 3 in film Pied Piper Malone (1924) with his father. Began acting in radio programs and on stage before World War II. Joined the Marines and served as a machine gunner. Returned to Broadway stage after the war and branched out into television and film. Worked as an extra in several films before achieving speaking roles and subsequent stardom.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Spouse (3)

Victoria Young (January 1970 - 24 June 1997) (his death) (2 children)
Judith Landon (23 June 1954 - 2 May 1969) (divorced) (5 children)
Frances Helm (3 January 1948 - 23 June 1954) (divorced)

Trade Mark (2)

His gruff voice
His curly hair.

Trivia (89)

His first son died in childhood. Daughter, Daisy Keith committed suicide 10 weeks before her father's suicide, aged 27.
Son of Robert Keith and Helena Shipman.
Father, with Victoria Young, of Bobby and Daisy Keith.
Buried in Westwood Village Memorial Park in Los Angeles, California.
At the time of his death, he was suffering from emphysema and terminal lung cancer, as well as mourning the recent gunshot suicide of his 27-year-old daughter, Daisy Keith, only ten weeks prior. His own suicide happened after he returned from a stay at a hospital.
Plays the role of a historical president of the United States in both of John Milius's films about Theodore Roosevelt. In The Wind and the Lion (1975) he co-starred as Roosevelt himself. In the prequel, Rough Riders (1997), he had a bit part as TR's predecessor, William McKinley (at a time when Roosevelt was President McKinley's Assistant Secretary of the Navy).
He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Television at 7021 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
Was fluent in Russian.
Before he was a successful actor, he began acting in stock productions and on radio.
His third wife Victoria Young co-starred with him on The Brian Keith Show (1972), she played a nurse.
He graduated from East Rockaway High School in East Rockaway, New York, in 1939.
He served as a machine gunner in the United States Marine Corps in World War II, and received an Air Medal.
Actor Daniel Hugh Kelly was said he to be a huge fan of his while he was growing up. His favorite movies that Keith starred were The Rare Breed (1966) and Nevada Smith (1966). Years later, he would land a co-starring role opposite Keith in Hardcastle and McCormick (1983), and stayed on the show until its cancellation in 1986.
Shortly before future Family Affair (1966) co-star, Johnny Whitaker, co-starred with him, he appeared in the movie The Russians Are Coming the Russians Are Coming (1966), where Keith was so impressed by Johnny's acting that he invited him to co-star in Keith's new sitcom, the same year.
Actors Kathy Garver and Johnny Whitaker were said to be huge fans of his when they were both growing up. They both co-starred alongside him on Family Affair (1966), and stayed on the show until its cancellation in 1971.
Was raised in Long Island, New York, by his grandmother.
His mother, Helena Shipman, died on October 26, 1983.
Though he started acting at age three, he wasn't in films until he was 31.
Was offered the role of Deke Thornton in The Wild Bunch (1969), but turned it down, because he was under contract working on Family Affair (1966).
Beat out three other actors for the role of the title character in Hardcastle and McCormick (1983).
Was diagnosed with emphysema and lung cancer. He also had financial problems and was depressed by the suicide of his daughter, which eventually led to his own suicide.
Remained good friends with Johnny Whitaker and Kathy Garver, during and after Family Affair (1966).
His hobbies included: partying, golfing, swimming, spending time with family, cooking, sailing, horseback riding, reading and painting.
Was very disappointed when Family Affair (1966), was canceled at the end of the fifth season, because CBS began leaning towards more adult-oriented sitcom fare.
His future Family Affair (1966) co-star, Kathy Garver, had guest-starred with him twice: on an episode of one of his short-lived series, Crusader (1955), and just before his death, she worked with him on the aforementioned Spider-Man (1994) cartoon series.
His father, Robert Keith, died on December 22, 1966.
Was a heavy smoker until 1986, just the decade before he was diagnosed with lung cancer.
His father Robert Keith and mother Helena Shipman were both actors.
His widow Victoria Young guest-starred with him on 2 episodes of Hardcastle and McCormick (1983).
Remained friends with Daniel Hugh Kelly during and after Hardcastle and McCormick (1983).
His third wife, Victoria Young, was almost 23 years his junior.
Was an active Republican.
The younger of two children.
Was a close friend of Charlton Heston.
Had four biological children and adopted three more.
His parents, Robert Keith and Helen Shipman, were married in 1919.
Suffered an eye injury on the set of Hardcastle and McCormick (1983). [1985].
Stepson of Peg Entwistle, who was a Broadway actress.
His parents were divorced when he was 4.
Of British descent.
Was originally going to be an actor, but it was delayed by World War II.
Had enjoyed playing his role on Hardcastle and McCormick (1983).
Had a son, Michael, who died in 1963.
Stepson of Dorothy Tierney.
Was also good friends of John Mills's entire family.
Made a comeback with a successful TV series by the time he was 62.
Before he was a successful actor, he also worked in carnivals.
Was raised in the same area as Telly Savalas.
Attended Michael Landon's funeral in 1991.
Best remembered by the public for his starring role as Uncle Bill Davis on Family Affair (1966).
Like Brian himself, his stepmother Peg Entwistle also commit suicide. She jumped from the "H" of the famous Hollywood Sign in 1932.
His daughter Daisy Keith co-starred with him on his final show Heartland (1989).
Changed his first name from Robert to Brian Keith, prior to becoming an actor.
Brian Keith passed away on June 24, 1997. After his death, he voiced on his final episode of Spider-Man (1994), along with his final film appearance in Follow Your Heart (1999).
Never retired from acting.
Guest starred on the first episode of Murder, She Wrote (1984).
Acting mentor and friends of Kathy Garver and Daniel Hugh Kelly.
A cowboy buff.
Had boasted of telling CBS executives 'to go fly a kite,' when they suggested toning down his series The Westerner (1960) to make it appropriate for children.
Commuted from Los Angeles to Hawaii to film The Brian Keith Show (1972), every week for 2 seasons.
He was disgusted in his role on Crusader (1955), because he thought the character was too much a souped-up action hero, not enough a regular guy.
With the success of Family Affair (1966), Keith was able to star in another sitcom The Brian Keith Show (1972).
Was raised Roman Catholic.
Appeared on the front cover of TV Guide three times.
Had a 200 acre ranch in Redlands, California.
Spent 7 years on the New York stage in Summer stock and live television before moving to California to get into films.
After his discharge from the Marine Corps in 1945 after 4 years service he tried to become in an officer in the Merchant Marine but failed due to not being good enough at algebra.
Father of Michael, Mimi, Robert and Daisy, and adoptive father of Barbara, Betty and Rory.
His son, Robert, was named after him and Keith's grandfather.
His father Robert Keith was originally from Indiana.
Acting ran in his family.
Met a young, unfamiliar actor James Drury in the movie, Ten Who Dared (1960), and became friends until Keith's suicide in 1997.
His grandmother, Apker, taught young Brian to read books over his age level.
His third wife, Victoria Young, is Hawaiian.
Used to live not too far from best friend Michael Landon.
Met actor Michael Landon on an episode of Crusader (1955). The two became good friends from 1956 until Landon's death in 1991.
His mother, Helena Shipman, was originally from Aberdeen, Washington.
Began his career as a contract player for Paramount in 1953.
Had a dog named Mush.
His final film Rough Riders (1997) was dedicated to his memory.
His second wife Judy Landon was an actress and dancer. They were married for 15 years until their divorce in 1969.
His widow Victoria Young and son Bobby Keith are both artists.
He was Don Fedderson's first choice for Uncle Bill Davis in Family Affair (1966).
Owned a 41 ft. yacht 'Maialoha' off Waikiki.
Was a spokesperson for Camel Cigarettes in the 1950s.
Resided in Malibu, California, for over a quarter of a century, until his death in 1997.
Depression ran in his family.
A reclusive person.

Personal Quotes (32)

In other words...you can't be a misogynist and expect women to appreciate you.
New Year's Eve though it's a custom. We invite over friends who, like ourselves don't drink at all, or else very lightly.
[on trying to live a long life]: If I live to be a hundred -- and I hope I do -- I won't have time to read all the books I want to read, or talk to the people I want to know. Not party talk. That's a waste of time. Real talk.
[on his handsomeness]: What for? I don't go to the Daisy or any of that. We don't give parties under a striped awning out over the lawn for two hundred people, four of whom we like.
[on his popularity while playing the forty-five something Uncle Bill Davis on Family Affair]: This is the type of show I love, because it reminds me of what happiness I have with my wife and our children.
[About leaving Family Affair (1966) to spend time in Hawaii, before casting as Hardcastle]: I get tired of sitting home and doing nothing. If I'm doing something eight months of the year, I don't mind loafing the other four. But, lately, I've been finding fewer and fewer movies I'd like to do. And when that happens, I get hard to live with. Then this thing came along. I read it. I liked it. This character Hardcastle: I figured I could live with him for five years if I had to. There was something going on there. You don't get a helluva lot of character in series TV. They're more likely to star the car.
[Who became very antsy about the car that was needed in every script]: I don't pay any attention. The stunt people take care of all that. All I do is get in and out of the Coyote [the car Skid drove, which required anyone riding in it to enter and exit through the window], which is no mean trick. You can't get into the S.O.B. without bending yourself into a pretzel. Me, I'd rather drive a pickup.
[on beating out 3 others actors for the role of Hardcastle]: I never heard of these guys. Of course, I can be talking to 40 Academy Award winners and never know the difference. People in Muncie, Indiana, probably know more about them than I do. But I figure what the hell, if they're smart enough to hire me, they must have something."
The only attraction is the time. I work just 70 days a year on the show. I can still make two, three movies a year if I want to. If it were Bonanza (1959), walking around the Ponderosa, tied up nearly all year, no-o-o chance. That's a fate worse than death.
[on accepting the role as Hardcastle]: You learn to read a pilot script. A pilot isn't designed to be good, but only to spell out to the network what it is that's going to make people tune in. Everything has to be either stark drama or screamingly funny with everybody dropping their pants all the time. You read most pilots and tell yourself, 'no, no, no, that's not life!' So you go with the character and ignore the hardware.
I never gave a hoot, I just took what came along.
[In 1991]: A car is a car, it won't make you handsome or prettier or younger. And if it improves your standing with the neighbors, then you live among snobs.
[As he was describing what Family Affair (1966) was about]: It's the same setup as The Parent Trap that I did for Disney. The clothes, the apartment, servants, all that jazz.
[In 1971]: If I were producing the picture, I would have hired somebody like Gig Young. You know, the millionaire type with the clothes and a membership in the country club. There was no similarity between this clean-cut character and the guy with the tobacco hanging out of his mouth that I played in 'Ten Who Dared.' I guess Walt figured I could do more than one thing, and I like that. It's tough playing the same guy over and over. Since then, everything I've done at Disney has been different.
I played a real nothing named Wally.
[In 1966]: I like the kids. Aren't you going to ask about them? Yours or the ones in the show?
[Who said about starring in his own movies]: I've made I don't know how many pictures. Forty, I guess. I've seen only about a half dozen of them. We made Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967) in Rome, last spring. I really enjoyed working with Liz and Brando and that great director, John Huston. But the kind of picture I enjoy seeing is something like The Parent Trap (1961). That was a charming thing with Hayley Mills playing my twin daughters. I saw that four times. I even took my wife's parents to see it. I like it so much I forgot I was in it, as a matter of fact.
[In 1969]: I hope to get some time off this spring for a vacation.
[In 1968]: You have the responsibility to conduct yourself in the best way you know how to do.
[In 1972]: I have to admit that I didn't mind it. We all got along well, and the kids were unspoiled. But towards the end, I was getting tired of it.
The main thing is to live, if possible, where you feel comfortable.
[on the cancelation of Family Affair (1966)]: We were getting bored, five years is a longtime. I didn't want to do it in the first place. My agent argued with me. He said, 'Do the pilot, it'll never sell. Grab the money and run.' Ten days later, it was sold.
[When he used to work in carnivals]: Gypsies believe you have to go out and meet life; take what comes. You aren't supposed to know what lies ahead, and those who want to know are cheating. They're called marks, the suckers, and you tell them anything.
[on revisiting The Westerner (1960) for the first time in 1975]: It was fifteen years since I had seen it. I watched every one. We always remember things as being better than they were, and only four or five of these were really good. But those four or five were as good as anything anybody has ever done.
[While starring in the movie Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967)]: I don't want to play the same guy all the time. I've got three or four scripts at home in which I play somebody's father or uncle, but it's the same old junk. I like to play characters.
[In 1997]: I was willing to deal with the emphysema, but now I don't think there's much point trying to live on.
[Of his last days]: Forgive me, but I don't want to live anymore. The pain is too bad. There's no point in trying to prolong this agony.
She told me: 'How can you love me looking like this? It would be better if I were gone. No matter what I do I'm going to die, and the sooner the better as far as I'm concerned.'
[Who at one point was cast as a general]: They originally talked to me about that, and I came to Hollywood to do a TV special. We were just about finishing that when they called me about this thing, so I went up to talk with the director. Ronald Neame. We sat around and told stories I went back to finish the special, and he called me and asked if I wanted to play the Russian. I said, 'What for?' Well, he decided while we were telling the stories that I had an ear for it, so I said, 'Sure, when?' He said, 'Monday,' It was now Friday!
[When told he was to speak only Russian during filming]: Terrific, they gave me six whole days to learn the Russian language.
[In 1977]: Russians put different emphasis in their sentences. When we may stress the last word in a sentence, they may emphasize a word in the middle of it.
[In 1979]: Well, I can walk 20 miles and it won't bother me, but to stand still for 15 minutes is absolute torment! I remember that one day we were standing there and I was griping and Natalie Wood leaned over and said, 'There'll come a day when we'll look back to the good old days when we were just standing here looking at the screen' . . . and that came pretty soon, because we had an explosion. In the picture, pieces of the meteor fly off and one of them hits New York and devastates the city.

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