The late Brian Keith was honored posthumously with the 2,365th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Leron Gubler, President and CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, presided over the ceremony. Guests included Kathy Garver and Daniel Hugh Kelly. Victoria Y. Keith accepted the award on his behalf. The star was sponsored by his fans.
7021 Hollywood Boulevard on June 26, 2008.
Well-known fixture of American stage, television, and screen, Brian was born Robert Alba Keith on November 14, 1921 in Bayonne, New Jersey. His parents were vaudevillians Robert Keith and Helena Shipman.
Brian had an early exposure to stage life, as well as an appearance, at age three, in the silent film, Pied Piper Malone. After that his budding acting career was mostly shelved for over twenty years.
At age nineteen, in the summer of 1941, he joined the Marine Corps, serving throughout the duration of World War II, with two years in combat as a tail gunner. He was discharged in 1945 and subsequently awarded the Air Medal for his service in the Solomon Islands Campaign, as well as the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign medal with three bronze stars.
After his discharge, Keith took up the family trade, settling in New York as a stage actor. He performed in many Broadway productions, including Mr. Roberts and The Moon is Blue. He also appeared in innumerable programs in the pioneering medium of television, credited as Robert Keith, Jr.
In 1953 he was cast with Charlton Heston and Jack Palance in the Paramount picture, The Arrowhead. From then on, he managed parallel movie and television careers that spanned five decades. Among his most memorable movie roles was that of Teddy Roosevelt in The Wind and the Lion, but he played a myriad of parts, from a Russian scientist in Meteor, to a beleaguered family man in With Six You Get Egg Roll. He is perhaps most fondly remembered for his role as the father of twins in the 1961 film The Parent Trap, co-starring Hayley Mills and Maureen O'Hara.
In television he was equally versatile, from his early days in such playhouse productions as Alfred Hitchcock Presents, through nine series of his own, including Sam Peckinpah's groundbreaking program, The Westerner, and Stephen Cannell's Hardcastle and McCormick. It was his role as Uncle Bill, in Family Affair that was his best-known. He garnered three Emmy nominations during the five-year run of that series.
In his last film, Rough Riders, in1997, Mr. Keith played President William McKinley. Director John Milius dedicated Rough Riders to "Brian Keith, Actor, Marine, Raconteur."
He was a man of courage and honor, a hard-working professional, and, to his many fans, a beloved entertainer over a long and diverse career. He is remembered fondly.
Special note: Keith's star is next to the star of his friend Walt Disney.