Brian Keith (November 14, 1921 – June 24, 1997) was an American stage, film and television actor.
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. Keith also portrayed 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.
Photo features Brian Keith in a Camel's advertisement.