Actor. Born in Bayonne, New Jersey, he was the son of actor Robert Keith and actress Helena Shipman. He grew up on the road with his parents, who toured in plays. His first film was in 1924 at age 3 in "Pied Piper Malone". His parents divorced and his father went to Hollywood and started his television and movie career. His mother continued to do stage and radio and her mother and grandmother helped to raise him on Long Island. He read at a very early age and he was reading books way beyond his age level. He acted in radio programs and on stage. He worked as an extra in several films before speaking roles and subsequent stardom. He joined the Marines and was a machine gunner. He served from 1941-45. He was awarded the Air Navy Medal. He then returned to New York and started his acting career on Broadway with plays, like "Mr. Roberts" and "The Moon is Blue". His biggest break came in 1966 when he landed the role of "Uncle Bill" on the popular television situation comedy "Family Affair", a role which garnered him three Emmy nominations for Best Actor. The show made him a household name. He went on to star in such television series as "The Brian Keith Show", "Heartland", and "Hardcastle and McCormick". He also made over 60 movies in his career. He married three times, first to Frances Helm, then in 1955 to Judith Landon, and finally in 1970 to Hawaiian actress Victoria Young. He fathered a total of four children, but also adopted three others with Judith Landon. His first son died in childhood. One of his children with Victoria Young was Daisy Keith, who also became an actress, appearing with her father in the short-lived series "Heartland" in 1989. During the later part of his life he suffered from emphysema and lung cancer. He was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at the age of 75. He is buried next to his daughter Daisy, who also committed suicide just 2 months earlier.
Bio by: Jane Stacy Eubanks