Monday, September 08, 2014
Family Affair: Triumph and Tragedy
Family Affair was a hit sitcom that aired on CBS from 1966-1971. It starred Brian Keith as Bill Davis, a wealthy man living in Manhattan. Sebastian Cabot played his distinguished English butler. Bill's brother and sister-in-law were killed in a car accident so he raised his 2 nieces and nephew. The kids moved in with him into his New York high rise apartment. The kids were the 6-year-old twins Buffy and Jody, played by Anissa Jones and Johnny Whitaker respectively. The 15-year-old niece was Cissy, played by Kathy Garver. The show lasted for 138 episodes. It was created by Don Fedderson, known for being the man behind My Three Sons. Family Affair was nominated for many Emmy awards, but never won. Many stars guested on the show such as Eve Plumb (The Brady Bunch), Vic Tayback (Alice), Jamie Farr (MASH), Leif Garrett and more.
Anissa Jones, who played the little girl, Buffy, was known for always having her doll with her. The doll was named Mrs. Beasley and the toy company Mattel turned it into a best selling product. Anissa had trouble overcoming her role as the twin girl with the doll. She auditioned for the role of Iris in the film Taxi Driver. This part eventually went to Jodie Foster. She tried out for the role of Reagan in The Exorcist, which went to Linda Blair. Jones' parents went through a tough divorce in 1965 and there was a custody battle over the kids. As a teen, she got into drugs and shoplifting. On her 18th birthday she got control of $180,000 from a trust fund that was her money from her acting career. Sadly, in 1976 at age 18, Anissa Jones died of a drug overdose. The medical examiner found cocaine, PCP, Quaaludes and Seconal in her system. Her brother died of a drug overdose in 1984 at age 24.
Tragedy once again struck the cast of Family Affair in 1997 when Brian Keith died of a self inflicted gunshot wound.
* Some information from imdb.com and en.wikipedia.org.