Brian Keith (born Robert Alba Keith, November 14, 1921 – June 24, 1997) was an American film, television, and stage actor who in his six-decade-long career gained recognition for his work in movies such as the Disney family film The Parent Trap (1961), the comedy The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming (1966), and the adventure saga The Wind and the Lion (1975), in which he portrayed President Theodore Roosevelt.
On television, two of his best-known roles were those of bachelor-uncle-turned-reluctant-parent Bill Davis in the 1960s sitcom Family Affair, and a tough retired judge in the 1980s light hearted crime drama, Hardcastle and McCormick. He also starred in The Brian Keith Show, which aired on NBC from 1972 to 1974, where he portrayed a pediatrician who operated a free clinic on Oahu, and in the CBS comedy series Heartland.
During the latter part of his life, Keith suffered from emphysema and lung cancer, despite having quit smoking ten years earlier. He had appeared in an endorsement campaign for Camel cigarettes in 1955. On June 24, 1997, he was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in his home in Malibu, California, two months after his daughter Daisy committed suicide. It was also reported that he had financial problems and suffered from depression throughout his final days.
Maureen O'Hara stated in an interview not long after Keith died that she believed he did not commit suicide. She stated that he had a large gun collection, and enjoyed cleaning them and showing them to people. She believed he might have been cleaning the gun or looking at it when it went off, and that his death was an accident and definitely not a suicide. She had just visited with him and said he was fine and in good spirits. Also, she stated he would not have committed suicide due to his Catholic beliefs.
Keith's family was joined by many mourners at a private funeral, including Family Affair co stars Kathy Garver and Johnny Whitaker, and Hardcastle and McCormick co star Daniel Hugh Kelly. Keith's ashes were interred next to those of his daughter Daisy at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.