The Cast Of ‘Family Affair’ Then And Now 2023


UPDATED 2/8/2023

Imagine enjoying the single life and taking things at your own leisurely pace, when all of a sudden three children fall into your Manhattan bachelor pad and you go from total freedom to the responsibility of parenthood. There will surely be some hiccups — and America watched those sweet learning experiences for five seasons in the late 1960s. It was so successful that they attempted a reboot of the same name in 2002. But Even though the original brought joy and comfort to many households, the surviving members of the cast believe deeply in The Family Affair Curse, which resulted in great misfortune and even death.


Today we’re checking out this unconventional family and seeing what they’ve been up to since the show ended. Be sure to give this video a thumbs up as it helps our channel out a bunch, and subscribe so you never miss an episode! Let’s go revisit with a true bachelor.

Brian Keith (Bill Davis)

Brian Keith in the cast of Family Affair and after / Everett Collection

Uncle Bill Davis’ life as a bachelor is completely flipped upside down when first, his eighteen-year-old niece is dropped off a year after her parents died since she was not getting along with her interim family. By the end of the episode, her younger twin siblings come to join the fun. Keith was very warm and paternal with the children, tough but never mean, and his calming smile soothed all the family affairs.

RELATED: Kathy Garver Opens Up About The Tragic Death Of Her ‘Family Affair’ Co-Stars

Brian Keith was born to actor parents, his father being Robert Keith who, co-starred with Sinatra and Brando in 1955’s Guys and Dolls. A three-year-old Brian even joined dad for two films, such as Pied Piper Malone in 1924. In the early ’50s, as an adult, he began getting breaks of his own, like seven episodes of the series Suspense, and in 1956 he co-starred with Anne Bancroft in the very well-received crime drama Nightfall.

Keith in one of his final roles, Walter and Emily, alongside Cloris Leachman / © NBC/courtesy Everett Collection

Before headlining a TV series for the first time, Keith landed a role in 1956’s Crusader. Then he co-starred with Paul Newman in The Young Philadelphians, before heading on over to Disney and getting his feet wet working with twins.

The Parent Trap in 1961 is probably his best-known work, but he’d become even more of a household name with his three-time Emmy nominated role in Family Affair. The series had a 60-day production schedule, but Brian would film his scenes in only 30, so the other actors had to work around him. This freed him up for any film roles that might come up, like 1967’s Reflections in a Golden Eye, another Brando film, this time with Liz Taylor as well. In 1972 he starred in The Brian Keith Show. Brian really never slowed down, not on the big screen or the small. The 1975 saga The Wind and the Lion, starring Sean Connery, and in which he played President Roosevelt,  was his biggest production to date. By the ’80s he was back on TV, headlining Hardcastle and McCormick, as Judge Hardcastle.

His final credits were posthumous; the very last one coming in 1999 with a film called Follow Your Heart. Brian died in 1997, tragically of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after he had been battling emphysema and lung cancer. It was reported he was suffering from depression and financial problems. He died two months after his daughter, Daisy, also committed suicide.

Now, what’s interesting about this is that actress Maureen O’Hara stated that she didn’t believe Brian committed suicide. She said that he had a very large gun collection and often enjoyed cleaning them and showing them to people. She suggests it may have been an accident while cleaning the gun, but sadly we’ll never know.

Kathy Garver (Cissy)

Garver and her TV-sibling Whitaker / Everett Collection / ImageCollect

Cissy was a gregarious teenager and a great big sis, often taking responsibility for her challenging, younger siblings, Buffy and Jody.

Kathy Garver stepped onto the scene in 1953 and became noticed three years later as one of the young slaves in the Cecil B DeMille film, The Ten Commandments. She held several minor roles before, and as a freshman majoring in speech at UCLA, she secured her Family Affair role, which ended up changing her life.

Garver today / ImageCollect

In the ’70s and ’80s, she transitioned to voice work, performing in 24 episodes of the animated Happy Days spinoff, The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang, and multiple Spider-Man cartoons.

Today at 77 years old, she’s still very much at it, currently with eight projects in the works according to her IMDB. We last saw her in the game show To Tell the Truth, where Kathy did her best Dolly Parton imitation. And just like Dolly, Kathy is still enjoying her rockin’ years.

Johnny Whitaker (Jody)

Johnny Whitaker on the cast of Family Affair and today / Everett Collection / ImageCollect

Jody is an adorable and recognizable character with his red hair and freckles and is one-half of the twins. He was a responsible kid, so the opposite of Dennis the Menace. Jody was grounded and sincere.

Johnny Whitaker began acting in commercials in the early 60s, and In 1966, he acted in a major feature, The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming, which also starred Brian Keith. During his time as a child actor, we saw him guest-star on several popular shows, including two episodes of Green Acres and three of Gunsmoke. He continued his massively successful child acting career with 1973’s Sid and Marty Krofft created Saturday morning series, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters. That same year he was a terrific Tom Sawyer in the film of the same name.

LOS ANGELES – JAN 18: Johnny Whitaker at the 40th Anniversary of “Knots Landing” Exhibit at the Hollywood Museum on January 18, 2020 in Los Angeles, CA / ImageCollect

Sadly though, Johnny wasn’t in the clear in terms of troubles as he grew up. He struggled hard with addiction, especially after a failed marriage and giving up his Mormon beliefs. He was arrested twice and states in an interview that he “lost everything.” His family held an intervention and presented him with an ultimatum — get clean or get excommunicated. Thankfully, he was able to overcome his struggles and become sober. Since then, he has become a certified mental health professional as a drug and alcohol counselor.

Apparently, Johnny and his TV-sibling Kathy Garver had some bad blood in the last few seasons. But A few years back, the two reunited to bury the hatchet.

Johnny apologized on Oprah’s Where Are They Now? segment and Kathy responded, “If you had, at any time in all of the gigs that I set you up for, called me and said, ‘Thank you,’ that would have been very nice.” In recent years, he’s returned to acting! Today, at 63 years old, he couldn’t pass up a returning role in the 2016 Amazon reboot of Sigmund and the Sea Monsters. We’ve also seen him recently in 2021 in an episode of the series TV Therapy.

Sebastian Cabot (Giles French)

Working on Family Affair was one of Sebastian Cabot’s later projects / Everett Collection / ImageCollect

Giles French was Bill Davis’ butler and a second father figure for the kids. Cabot was brilliant as this Gentleman’s Gentleman, who always appears so very proper and gruff, but was also really and sincerely charmed by these three kiddos. As a job, Cabot enjoyed acting in this series, as that happiness helped make Family Affair so wholesome and family-friendly.

One of his final credits involved becoming the face of Christmas / Everett Collection

Sebastian Cabot began acting professionally in 1935. He became known for playing the Wazir in the 1955 film Kismet and as Dr. Carl Hyatt in the TV series Checkmate in the early 60s.

Sebastian was also a known voice actor, specifically in a number of Disney animated films, including 1963’s The Sword in the Stone and the Winnie the Pooh series as the narrator! His Winnie the Pooh work was his last — specifically in The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh in 1977. Sebastian died that same year at age 59 after suffering a stroke.

Heather Angel (Miss Faversham)

Actress Heather Angel / Twitter / Everett Collection

Angel played Giles French’s good friend. Heather Angel stepped into the entertainment world in 1931. Her first co-starring role was in 1933’s Berkeley Square, co-starring with Leslie Howard.

Before stepping into her Family Affair role, she lent her voice to some very memorable film roles — as the voice of Alice’s sister in 1951’s Alice in Wonderland and then as Wendy Darling’s mother in 1953’s animated retelling of Peter Pan.

The last time we saw Heather was in 1979 in the mini-series Backstairs at the White House. Heather died in 1986 at age 77, a passing that is still mourned to this day online.

Anissa Jones (Buffy)

Joining the cast of Family Affair was one of the earliest moves of her career / Everett Collection / Facebook

Buffy is your classic little girl who loved her prized toys and became very upset when she lost them. Especially her prized possession, her Mrs. Beasley doll.

Anissa Jones played the role of Buffy and it was her very first role in Hollywood. She also played the role of Carol Bix in the Elvis Presley comedy The Trouble with Girls in 1969). But these roles, and one final appearance on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In in’ 71, would be it for Anissa.

Sadly, Anissa Jones was struggling with drug addiction, and at just 18 years of age she died from an accidental drug overdose. It was a combination of cocaine, PCP, Quaalude, and Seconal. The coroner for the case even described it as one of the most severe he’d ever seen. Just six days after Anissa’s death, Dr. Don Carlos was arrested and charged with illegally prescribing Seconal to Jones in addition to other drugs-for-profit charges. In total, the doctor was charged with 11 offenses, but died while awaiting trial, just four months after Anissa. A terribly sad end to such a promising young star, and one that is still discussed in mournful detail on social media platforms.

Mrs. Beasley

Mrs. Beasley is something of a star in her own right / Everett Collection / Walmart

We could hardly leave off the doll. Anissa was basically required to carry that doll everywhere. Fun fact: the first episode when the kids arrive, Mrs. Beasley didn’t have eyeglasses on, but by episode two and beyond she found her prescription apparently.

The iconic doll still gets lots of love today / Amazon

This toy became so popular that producer Don Fedderson insisted that the character of Buffy remain perpetually six years old, even as Anissa grew into her teens. In promotional appearances, Jones was even required to bind her chest and carry the Mrs. Beasley doll. The visual tricks worked. The line of replica Mrs. Beasley dolls sold very well and continued for years after the series’ cancellation. So who out there owns a Mrs. Beasley doll? Please let us know in the comments below. Also, share any favorite episodes that you recall as well. We wanna hear from you. After all, these actors and characters will never die, so long as we remember them.

The cast of Family Affair / Everett Collection

RELATED: ‘Family Affair’ Star Anissa Jones Suffered Such A Loss Of Identity, That It Led To Her Suicide

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