Brian Keith Poster


Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (2)  | Trade Mark (2)  | Trivia (56)  | Personal Quotes (32)

Overview (4)

Born in Bayonne, New Jersey, USA
Died in Malibu, California, USA  (self-inflicted gunshot suicide)
Birth NameRobert Alba Keith
Height 6' 1½" (1.87 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>

Family (2)

Spouse Victoria Young (9 January 1970 - 24 June 1997)  (his death)  (2 children)
Judy Landon (23 June 1954 - 2 May 1969)  (divorced)  (5 children)
Frances Helm (3 January 1948 - 23 June 1954)  (divorced)
Parents Shipman, Helena
Robert Keith

Trade Mark (2)

His gruff voice
His curly hair.

Trivia (56)

Keith was predeceased by two of his children: his first son, Michael, who died in childhood in 1963, and his daughter, Daisy Keith, who committed suicide at age 27.
Keith was the younger of two children, both sons, born to actors Robert Keith (died December 22, 1966) and Helena Shipman (died October 26, 1983), who married in 1919 and divorced in 1925.
Had four biological children (Michael, Mimi, Robert and Daisy) and three adopted children (Barbara, Betty and Rory). His first son, Michael, died in childhood in 1963. His 27-year old daughter, Daisy Keith, committed suicide 10 weeks before her father followed suit while battling terminal cancer. His son, Robert, was named for his father and grandfather.
At the time of his death, Keith was suffering from emphysema and terminal lung cancer. He had been a heavy smoker until 1986, quitting a decade before his diagnoses. He was also mourning the death of his 27-year-old daughter, Daisy Keith, who had committed suicide 10 weeks earlier. He also had financial problems. All of these were contributing factors to Keith's own suicide on June 24, 1997. His last work appeared after his death: voice-over work in the final episode of Spider-Man: The Animated Series (1994), and an on-screen appearance in Follow Your Heart (1999). He is interred in Westwood Village Memorial Park, Los Angeles, California.
Played the role of a real president of the United States in both of John Milius's films featuring Theodore Roosevelt. In The Wind and the Lion (1975), he co-starred as Roosevelt, himself. In Rough Riders (1997), Keith had a bit part as Theodore Roosevelt's predecessor, William McKinley (during the period when Roosevelt served as President McKinley's Assistant Secretary of the Navy).
He was posthumously awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7021 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on June 26, 2008.
Keith's third wife and widow, artist Victoria Young, was almost 23 years his junior. A native of Hawaii, she guest-starred with him on two episodes of Hardcastle and McCormick (1983). On The Brian Keith Show (1972), she played a nurse. She and Keith had two children, Bobby (an artist) and Daisy Keith (who committed suicide, predeceasing both her parents).
Attended and graduated from East Rockaway High School in East Rockaway, New York (1939).
He served in the United States Marine Corps in World War II, and received an Air Medal. He was the rear-facing gunner on an SBD Dauntless, a scout/dive bomber, used extensively by the Marine Corps and Navy, that saw a great deal of action in the Pacific during WWII. His weapons were twin-mounted .30 caliber Browning machine guns.
Actor Daniel Hugh Kelly was said to have been a huge fan of Keith, while growing up. His favorite movies in which Keith starred were The Rare Breed (1966) and Nevada Smith (1966). The two men remained friends during and after Hardcastle and McCormick (1983). 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.
When future Family Affair (1966) co-star Johnny Whitaker appeared in the movie The Russians Are Coming the Russians Are Coming (1966), Keith was so impressed by Johnny's acting that he invited him to co-star in Keith's new sitcom.
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 with the show until its cancellation in 1971.
Was raised in Long Island, New York, by his grandmother.
Although Keith had been acting since age three, he didn't appear in his first film until age 31. Before making his mark on screen, he acted in stock theater productions and on radio.
Was offered the role of Deke Thornton in The Wild Bunch (1969), which he turned 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).
Remained good friends with Johnny Whitaker and Kathy Garver, during and after Family Affair (1966).
Keith's hobbies included: 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 its fifth season during CBS's shift to more adult-oriented sitcom fare.
His future Family Affair (1966) co-star Kathy Garver had guest-starred with him twice: on an episode of his short-lived series Crusader (1955), and, just before his death, on Spider-Man: The Animated Series (1994).
Was close friends with Charlton Heston.
Despite suffering an eye injury on the set of Hardcastle and McCormick (1983), he enjoyed his role on the series.
His ambition to follow his father into acting was delayed by World War II.
Was also good friends with John Mills' entire family.
Made a comeback with a successful TV series when he was age 62.
Before he found success as an actor, Keith 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).
Keith was the stepson of two actresses, first, Peg Entwistle, who committed suicide, jumping from the "H" of the famous Hollywood Sign in 1932. His second stepmother, Dorothy Tierney, remained wed to his father until the latter's death.
Changed his first name from Robert to Brian Keith, before becoming an actor.
He never retired from acting until his death.
Guest starred on the first episode of Murder, She Wrote (1984).
Acting mentor and friends with Kathy Garver and Daniel Hugh Kelly.
Had boasted of telling CBS executives 'to go fly a kite' when they suggested toning down the content of his series The Westerner (1960) to make this more appealing to children.
Commuted from Los Angeles to Hawaii to film The Brian Keith Show (1972), every week for two 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).
Appeared on the front cover of TV Guide three times.
Owned a 200-acre ranch in Redlands, California and a 41-foot yacht 'Maialoha' off Waikiki.
Spent seven years on the New York stage in summer stock and live television before moving to California to find work in films.
In 1945, seeking a commission as an officer in the Merchant Marine after four years' service in the Marine Corps, Keith was rejected due to his poor scores in algebra.
Father of Michael, Mimi, Robert and Daisy, and adoptive father of Barbara, Betty and Rory. His first son, Michael, died in childhood in 1963. His daughter Daisy Keith co-starred with him on Heartland (1989). His son, Robert, was named after his father (who was birth with the forename Robert) and his paternal grandfather.
His father Robert Keith was from Indiana.
Met a young actor James Drury while making the film Ten Who Dared (1960); they became and remained friends until Keith's suicide on June 24, 1997.
Used to reside not too far from his 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 on July 1, 1991.
His mother, Helena Shipman, was originally from Aberdeen, Washington.
Began his career as a contract player for Paramount Pictures in 1953.
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 on May 2, 1969.
He was always producer Don Fedderson's first choice to play Uncle Bill Davis in Family Affair (1966).
Was a commercial spokesperson for Camel Cigarettes in the 1950s.
Resided in Malibu, California, for over a quarter of a century, until his death on June 24, 1997.
He was cast as the Russian astrophysicist Dr. Dubov in Meteor (1979) and Soviet Premier Gorny in World War III (1982) because he spoke fluent Russian.
Some people (esp. film goers) often confuse Keith with Van Heflin, due to the similarities of their body and facial structures (sans Heflin's distinctive eyes) and their gruff voices.

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 (1966)]: 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 (1961), 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 (1960). I guess Walt Disney 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 (Elizabeth Taylor) and Brando (Marlon 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, about Meteor (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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