Brian Keith

Brian Keith

Infobox actor
name = Brian Keith

imagesize = 200px
birthname = Robert Keith Richey Jr.
birthdate = birth date|1921|11|14|mf=n
birthplace = Bayonne, New Jersey, USA
deathdate = death date and age|1997|6|24|1921|11|14|mf=n
deathplace = Malibu, California, USA
othername = Robert Keith Jr.
spouse = Victoria Young (1970-1997) Judy Landon (m. 1955) Frances Helm (div. 1955)
emmyawards =

Brian Keith (November 14, 1921 – June 24, 1997) was an American stage, film and television actor.


Early life, military service

Brian Keith was born Robert Keith Richey, Jr. in Bayonne, New Jersey, to actor Robert Keith and stage actress Helena Shipman, a native of Aberdeen, Washington. [Van Gelder, Lawrence. [ "Brian Keith, Hardy Actor, 75; Played Dads and Desperadoes"] , "The New York Times", June 25, 1997. Accessed December 12, 2007. "Mr. Keith, whose full name was Robert Brian Keith Jr., was born in Bayonne, N.J."] He made his acting debut in the silent film "Pied Piper Malone" (1924) at the age of three. From 1927 through 1929, Keith's stepmother was Peg Entwistle, the failed actress who committed suicide by jumping from the "H" in the famous Hollywood sign. After high school in East Rockaway, New York he joined the United States Marine Corps (1942-1945). He served during World War II as an air gunner and received an Air Medal.

Acting career

After the war, Keith became a stage actor, branching out into films and then television. A strong and capable actor, Keith spent many years playing second leads and gruff sidekicks. He won much acclaim for his starring role in Sam Peckinpah's short-lived "The Westerner" (1960). His biggest break, however, came in 1966 when he landed the role of "Uncle Bill" Davis on the popular television situation comedy "Family Affair", a role that earned him three Emmy nominations for Best Actor. The show made him a household name. 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.

He was offered the role of Deke Thornton in "The Wild Bunch" by Sam Peckinpah, but turned down due to his commitment on "Family Affair", leading to a falling-out between the two former friends.

He is also fondly remembered for his role as the father of twins in the 1961 film "The Parent Trap," costarring Hayley Mills and Maureen O'Hara. His performance as Theodore Roosevelt in "The Wind and the Lion" (1975) is also particularly well-remembered and regarded, being considered among the best portrayals of an American president on film. Ironically, Keith would also portray Roosevelt's predecessor,William McKinley.

Keith went on to star in such television series as "The Brian Keith Show", "Heartland", and "Hardcastle and McCormick". He also starred in the six-part television series "The Zoo Gang", about a group of former underground freedom fighters from World War II, as "Stephen 'The Fox' Halliday". The show also starred Sir John Mills, Lilli Palmer, and Barry Morse.

Keith spoke fluent Russian, which led to his casting as a Russian in two roles: the Soviet Premier in "World War III" with Rock Hudson; and as a Soviet scientist in "Meteor" with Natalie Wood. In "The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming", where he played the unexcitable police chief of an island where a Soviet submarine runs aground, however, his character had to have Russian translated to him by Alan Arkin's character.

In his last film, Keith played President William McKinley in "Rough Riders" (1997). Director John Milius dedicated "Rough Riders" to "Brian Keith, Actor, Marine, Raconteur."

On June 26, 2008, the Hollywood Walk of Fame installed a star in Brian Keith's honor on the world famous sidewalk in California.

Personal life

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. During the later part of his life, Keith suffered from emphysema and lung cancer, despite having quit smoking ten years earlier (he had posed for Camel cigarettes in an endorsement campaign in 1955). Keith was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on June 24, 1997, two months after his daughter Daisy had committed suicide.

He is buried next to Daisy at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.



*"Da" (1978)
*"Darkness at Noon" (1951)
*"Mister Roberts" (1948)
*"Heyday" (1946)


*Spider-Man (1994 TV series) - Uncle Ben
*":" (Syndicated, 1993)
*"Walter and Emily" (NBC, 1991–1992)
*"Heartland" (CBS, 1989)
*"Pursuit of Happiness" (ABC, 1987)
*"The Murder of Sherlock Holmes" (Pilot for "Murder, She Wrote") (CBS, 1984)
*"Hardcastle and McCormick" (ABC, 1983–1986)
*"Archer" (NBC, 1975)
*"The Zoo Gang" (ITV, 1974)
*"The Brian Keith Show" (NBC, 1972–1974)
*"Family Affair" (CBS, 1966–1971)
*"Fear in a Desert City" (Pilot for "The Fugitive") (1963)
*"The Westerner" (NBC, 1960)
*"The Crusader" (CBS, 1955–1956)


*"Rough Riders" (1997)
*"The Second Civil War (1997)
*"" (1996)
*"Under a Killing Moon" (1994)
*"Wind Dancer" (1993)
*"After the Rain" (1990)
*"Welcome Home" (1989)
*"Young Guns" (1988)
*"Death Before Dishonor" (1987)
*"Sharky's Machine" (1981)
*"Charlie Chan and the Curse of the Dragon Queen" (1981)
*"The Mountain Men" (1980)
*"Meteor" (1979)
*"Centennial" (1978)
*"Hooper" (1978)
*"Nickelodeon" (1976)
*"Joe Panther" (1976)
*"The Wind and the Lion" (1975)
*"The Yakuza" (1975)
*"Scandalous John" (1971)
*"Something Big" (1971)
*"The McKenzie Break" (1970)
*"Suppose They Gave a War and Nobody Came?" (1970)
*"Gaily, Gaily" (1969)
*"Krakatoa, East of Java" (1969)
*"With Six You Get Eggroll" (1968)
*"Reflections in a Golden Eye" (1967)
*"Way… Way Out" (1966)
*"Nevada Smith" (1966)
*"The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming" (1966)
*"The Rare Breed" (1966)
*"The Hallelujah Trail" (1965)
*"Those Calloways" (1965)
*"The Pleasure Seekers" (1964)
*"The Raiders" (1964)
*"A Tiger Walks" (1964)
*"Savage Sam" (1963)
*"Moon Pilot" (1962)
*"The Deadly Companions" (1961)
*"The Parent Trap" (1961)
*"Ten Who Dared" (1960)
*"The Young Philadelphians" (1959)
*"Appointment with a Shadow" (1959)
*"Villa!" (1958)
*"Violent Road" (1958)
*"Sierra Baron" (1958)
*"Desert Hell" (1958)
*"Fort Dobbs" (1958)
*"Hell Canyon Outlaws" (1957)
*"Chicago Confidential" (1957)
*"Run of the Arrow" (1957)
*"Dino" (1957)
*"Nightfall" (1957)
*"Storm Center" (1956)
*"5 Against the House" (1955)
*"Tight Spot" (1955)
*"The Violent Men" (1955)
*"The Bamboo Prison" (1954)
*"Jivaro" (1954)
*"Alaska Seas" (1954)
*"Arrowhead" (1953)
*"The Other Kind of Love" (1924)
*"Pied Piper Malone" (1924)


*" [ BrainyQuote / Maureen O'Hara] "

External links

* [ America's "Uncle Bill" Ends His Own Life]
* [ Camels And Brian Keith Ad 1955]

NAME= Keith, Brian
ALTERNATIVE NAMES= Jr., Robert Keith Richey
DATE OF BIRTH= November 14, 1921
PLACE OF BIRTH= Bayonne, New Jersey, U.S.
DATE OF DEATH= June 24, 1997
PLACE OF DEATH= Malibu, California, U.S.

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