‘Family Affair’ Actress Kathy Garver Opened Up About Her Co-Stars’ Tragic Deaths

by Gwendolyn Plummer
Gwen is a writer, reader, hockey fan, concert goer, and lunchtime enthusiast.

Everything always looks like so much fun on sitcoms such as Family Affair. After all, the whole purpose of a sitcom is to make us laugh.

Acting on a show that aims to make people happy seems like it would be a joyous job, but sadly, things aren’t always peachy behind the scenes.

Despite working on a funny TV show, the cast of Family Affair was eventually plagued by tragedy. Only two members of the original cast are still alive today: Kathy Garver (who played Cissy) and Johnny Whitaker (who played Jody).

Other members of the Family Affair cast died far too young, or had tragic deaths. In an interview with Oprah, Kathy opened up about the loss of her co-stars.

Kathy still remembers the happy times with her cast mates, like how much trouble Sebastian Cabot (who played Giles French) had learning lines, and how great his chemistry was with Brian Keith, who played Uncle Bill.

Sadly, Sebastian died of a stroke just six years after Family Affair ended.

Kathy also remembers how much Brian Keith had in common with his character, Uncle Bill. In fact, Brian also had three adopted children in real life, and had a “wonderful, fond place in his heart for all children.” Tragically, Brian killed himself after a hard battle with cancer. “Brian, being who Brian is, he had been in charge of his own life, was going to be in charge of his own death,” Kathy said.

Finally, Kathy remembers Mary Anissa Jones, who played little Buffy, as always being “adorable” and “bright.” Mary struggled with being a child star, and died of an overdose at just 18.

Johnny Whitaker also struggled with drugs at a young age, but with the help of his family and an intervention, he went to rehab and overcame his addiction.

Do you remember watching Family Affair? It’s so sad to think that so much tragedy surrounded a show that brought joy to so many people.

Watch the video below to hear more from Kathy Garver, and please SHARE this story on Facebook.

Note: If you or any of your loved ones are struggling with suicidal thoughts, you can always reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by calling 1-800-273-8255. They are available 24/7 by phone or online chat.

Thumbnail Photos: OWN — Where Are They Now?

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