in , ,

How Each Family Affair Cast Member Died

Family Affair was a beloved American sitcom that premiered on CBS in 1966.

Throughout television history, there have been a number of classic shows that have been so syrupy sweet that while watching them, you feel almost like you’re on the verge of falling into a diabetic coma. And while it’s looked back on as being one of the best sitcoms to hit the airwaves, Family Affair was definitely one of those almost too-sweet-to-stomach series.

Brian Keith, who had previously starred in The Parent Trap, played civil engineer Bill Davis who as a bachelor was trying his hardest to live his best life. Keith lived in a luxury penthouse condo on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Sharing his abode was Keith’s British butler, Giles French, played by Sebastian Cabot.

Suddenly Keith’s life got turned upside down when in walked three young people: five-year-old twins Jody and Buffy, played respectively by Johnny Whitaker and Anissa Jones, and their 15-year-old sister Cissy, played by Cathy Garver.

Tragically the trio’s parents were killed in a car accident, rendering them orphans. Reluctantly, Bill, being their only living relative, decided to invite them into his home and take care of them. What followed was a lighthearted sitcom that dealt with the evolution of the trio of orphan’s integration into Bill’s lavish uptown life.

The series was created by My Three Son’s showrunners Don Fedderson and Edmund L. Hartmann. The series was well-written and quite funny at times but what really made it the hit it became was the incredible chemistry and performances of it’s cast members.

As the show progressed, we got to see how this group of housemates pushed through their initial reservations, learned to love each other, and grew into a real family unit.

The series ran for 138 episodes spanning five seasons before coming to an end in 1971. From there, the cast all went their separate ways while working on their own follow-up projects. In the half-century since Family Affair came to a close, the majority of it’s cast members have passed away. Join Facts Verse as we explore how each Family Affair cast member died and what they ended doing career-wise before meeting their ends.

Sebastian Cabot – Giles French

This English actor was born Charles Sebastian Thomas Cabot on the sixth of July, 1918. After dropping out of school at 14, Cabot began working at a local mechanic’s garage while also working as a valet and chauffeur to British actor Frank Pettingell on the side.

Working with Pettingell led to Cabot developing an interest in acting as well as cooking. Lying about his experience, Cabot got a job working at a repertory company. Despite being awfully proud of himself for finding work despite not having any training, Sebastian was fired on his first day of work.

Despite this minor setback, his ambition remained intact. In time, his confidence led him to scoring a role in 1935s Foreign Affairs. The following year he had a credited role in the spy film Secret Agent.

For the next couple of decades, Cabot primarily acted in the UK. After arriving in the United States, he appeared in films such as Westward Ho, The Wagons in 1956 and 1960s The Time Machine. Throughout the 60s, he was a frequent guest star on a number of TV shows. His most notable TV show role prior to Family Affair was as a regular cast member in the detective series Checkmate, which ran from 1960 to 1962.

In 1966 he landed the role s Giles French in Family Affair and stuck with it until the show’s finale in 1971.

Throughout the 60s and 70s, Cabot worked extensively as a voice artist primarily in Disney productions. Some of these include The Jungle Book, The Sword and the Stone, and Winnie the Pooh.

From 1972 to 1973, Cabot portrayed Winston Essex in the horror series Ghost Story. He followed that up with an unforgettable performance as Kris Kringle in 1973s Miracle on 34th Street.

After surviving a stroke in 1971, Cabot had another stroke in 1977 that ended up claiming his life at the age of 59.

Not to get too off-topic, but if you’re enjoying this video so far, take a moment to show us a little support by giving it a like and subscribing to the Facts Verse channel.

Brian Keith – Bill Davis

Keith’s acting career spanned six decades. Throughout that time he appeared in a number of Disney films, including 1961s The Parent Trap and 1963s Johnny Shiloh.

In 1966, he appeared in the comedy film The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming. A decade later, he portrayed Theodore Roosevelt in The Wind and the Lion.

On TV, Keith is best known for playing the bachelor-turned-reluctant adoptive father Bill Davis on Family Affair. Years later, he played a tough-as-nails retired judge in the drama series Hardcastle and McCormick

From 1972 to 1974, Keith starred in The Brian Keith Show, a sitcom in which he portrayed a pediatrician who headed a free clinic on the island of Oahu.

Keith got his start on Broadway, making his debut in 1948s Mister Roberts. His first film role was in 1957s Dino alongside Sal Mineo. Acting was something that he always wanted to do since he was a child, so when he achieved his dream, he was nothing short of ecstatic. His career ultimately spanned the better part of 50 years.

His last film role was in 1997s Rough Riders. In June of that year, at the age of 75, Keith died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his home in Malibu.

It’s believed that he chose to take his own life after being diagnosed with cancer. It’s also reported that he was dealing with financial troubles and depression in his final days.

Maureen O’Hara, Keith’s lifelong friend and former Parent Trap co-star, believed that Keith’s death was accidental. She claimed that Keith often liked to show off his firearm collection and speculated that he accidentally pulled the trigger while cleaning one of his pieces.

Anissa Jones – Buffy Davis

Jones was born in Lafayette, Indiana, on March 11, 1958. When she was eight years old she was cast as Family Affair’s Buffy. Sadly, that would be one of the only roles she would ever play. Outside of guest appearances on talk shows such as The Merv Griffin Show and The Dick Cavett show, Jones only other acting role was playing the character Carol Bix in the Elvis Presley-led movie The Trouble With Girls in 1969.

Around noon on the 28th of August, 1978, after spending the previous evening partying with her boyfriend Allen Butch Koven in the beach town of Oceanside, California, Jones was found dead in a bedroom belonging to the father of one of her friends.

Her autopsy report indicated that her death was caused by a drug overdose. Later it was determined that her death was accidental. She was just 18 years old when she died.

Heather Angel – Miss Faversham

Heather angel played Mr. French’s friend Miss Faversham on Family Affair between seasons one and five. Some of her other notable roles included playing Mrs. Darling, Wendy’s mother in 1953s Peter Pan and voicing Alice’s sister in 1951s Alice in Wonderland.

Her career began on stage in 1926. She made her Broadway debut appearing in a production of Love of Women in 1937. Just a few years prior to that, she appeared in her first film, 1931s City of Song.

Angel would remain active as an actress until 1979. Her final role was in the film Backstairs at the White House.

In 1986, Angel died of cancer in LA.

John Williams – Nigel “Niles’ French

This Tony-Award-winning British actor is best remembered for his role as chief inspector Hubbard in Alfred Hitchcok’s Dial M For Murder. He also gave a notable performance in Billy Wilder’s 1954 film Sabrina.

On Family Affair, Williams played the second ‘Mr French’ during the show’s first season.

Born in Buckingshire, England, in 1903, Williams began his acting career in 1916, appearing in stage productions like Peter Pan, The Ruined Lady, and The Fake.

After moving to New York in 1924, he began appearing on Broadway. Over the next four decades, he would appear in more than 30 Broadway plays. He made his Hollywood debut in the 1930 film The Chumps and continued to appear in films and TV shows, mostly in supporting roles, until 1978 when he retired.

Williams died of heart failure at age 80 on May 3, 1983, in La Jolla, California.

Nancy Walker

Born on May 10, 1922, to vaudevillian parents, Walker made her first appearance on the NBC radio program Coast to Coast in 1937. She would go on to have a long, successful career in the entertainment industry that spanned nearly six decades.

Over the course of her career as an entertainer, Walker worked as an actress and comedian on the stage, screen, and television. She later also took a stab at filmmaking, directing films and television shows – most notably lending her skills to The Mary Tyler Moore Show where she also made a handful of appearances as a guest star.

Later on she would become a recurring character on The Mary Tyler Moore Show’s spinoff series Rhoda. Her most memorable role was that of Mildred on McMillan & Wife. On Family Affair, Walker played the character Emily Turner during the show’s fifth season.

The four-foot-eleven actress died of lung cancer at the age of 69 on March 25, 1992.

That about wraps up this rundown of all of the Family Affair cast members who have died.

Who was your favorite Family Affair cast member, and did you know that Brian Keith, the actor who played Uncle Bill Davis, took his own life in 1997? Let us know in the comments section down below.

Before you go, take a moment to show us a little love by giving this video a like and subscribing to the Facts Verse channel. While you’re at it, tap the bell to turn on notifications. That way, you can keep up with all of our latest and upcoming content without missing a beat.

As always, thanks for watching! We’ll see you soon with more videos covering some of your favorite Hollywood films, television shows, and stars.

Blaze Starr Lived Her Life Like an Erotic Dream

Henry Fonda Was No Hero After All, He Had Dark Secrets