Giles French

This article is about the American sitcom. For the British soap opera, see Family Affairs. For other uses, see Family Affair (disambiguation).
Family Affair
Cast: Kathy Garver (Cissy), Anissa Jones (Buffy), Johnny Whitaker (Jody), Brian Keith (Bill Davis), and Sebastian Cabot (Mr. French)
Genre Sitcom
Created by Don Fedderson
Directed by Charles Barton
William D. Russell
Starring Brian Keith
Sebastian Cabot
Kathy Garver
Johnny Whitaker
Anissa Jones
Theme music composer Frank De Vol
Composer(s) Jeff Alexander
Nathan Scott
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 5
No. of episodes 138 (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Don Fedderson
Producer(s) Edmund Beloin
Henry Garson
Edmund L. Hartmann
Editor(s) James H. King
Charles Van Enger
Richard L. Van Enger
Sam Vitale
Cinematography Stanley Cortez
Paul Ivano
Michael P. Joyce
Philip Tannura
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time 25 minutes
Production companies Don Fedderson Productions
Family Affair Company
Distributor CBS Television Distribution (domestic)
NBC Universal Television Distribution (internationally)
Original channel CBS
Audio format Monaural
Original run September 12, 1966 (1966-09-12) – September 9, 1971 (1971-09-09)
Followed by Family Affair (2002)

Family Affair is an American sitcom that aired on CBS from September 12, 1966 to September 9, 1971. The series explored the trials of well-to-do civil engineer and bachelor Bill Davis (Brian Keith) as he attempted to raise his brother's orphaned children in his luxury New York City apartment. Davis' traditional English gentleman's gentleman, Mr. Giles French (Sebastian Cabot), also had adjustments to make as he became saddled with the responsibility of caring for 15-year-old Cissy (Kathy Garver) and the 6-year-old twins, Jody (Johnny Whitaker) and Buffy (Anissa Jones).

The show ran for 138 episodes. Family Affair was created and produced by Don Fedderson, also known for My Three Sons and The Millionaire.


William "Bill" Davis, originally of Terre Haute, Indiana, is a successful civil engineer who develops major projects all over the world. A wealthy bachelor often dating socialites, he lives in a large apartment at 600 E. 62nd Street in Manhattan (the address given by Mr. French when he registered Buffy and Jody for school), and has a quintessential gentleman's gentleman, Giles French. However, his quiet lifestyle is turned upside-down when his two nieces and nephew move in.

Bill's brother Bob and sister-in-law Mary had died in an automobile accident a year prior to the premiere episode. Their children, teen Cissy and her young twin siblings Buffy and Jody, had been dispersed among relatives in Terre Haute, but none wanted to continue raising the children, so they attempt to give the responsibility to Bill. "Uncle Bill" is not keen on the idea at first, but the children endear themselves to him. First Buffy comes along, followed by Jody, and finally Cissy. Initially mortified by the situation is Mr. French, who effectively becomes the children's nanny, on top of his valet duties. However as time passes they all become a family, albeit an accidental one.

When Sebastian Cabot became ill, Giles's brother, Nigel "Niles" French (John Williams) was introduced, working for the Davis family for nine episodes in 1967 while Giles is said to be in England visiting the Queen. In the last season, Bill hires a part-time housekeeper, Emily Turner (Nancy Walker) to assist Mr. French.

Various other characters were also seen regularly, including several acquaintances of Mr. French who are in service (most notably Miss Faversham (Heather Angel), colleagues of Bill, and friends of Cissy.


Guest stars

Guest stars included (alphabetically by last name):


Season Year Rating
1 1966–67 No. 15
2 1967–68 No. 5
3 1968–69 No. 5
4 1969–70 No. 5
5 1970–71 Not in Top 30[1]


Like Don Fedderson's other program, My Three Sons, Family Affair used a sixty-day production schedule for Brian Keith. All of his scenes for the season would be shot in two thirty-day blocks, while his co-stars would fill in after the actor's work was completed. This enabled Fedderson to harness actors like Keith and Fred MacMurray into television commitments, while still enabling each to make motion pictures. As a result, each season had a single director for each of the thirty-odd scripts.

Due to the popularity of the series with girls, Buffy's doll, “Mrs. Beasley”, which she often carried with her, was marketed as a Mattel talking toy in the United States.


As discussed by Kathy Garver on the final season’s DVD features, the show’s cast suffered several deaths. Anissa Jones died of a drug overdose in 1976 at age 18. Sebastian Cabot died of a stroke in 1977 at age 59. In 1997, two months after the suicide of his daughter, and having lived with cancer for some time, Brian Keith committed suicide by gunshot.[2] In 2002, Gregg Fedderson died of cancer at age 53.

DVD releases

MPI Home Video has released all five seasons of Family Affair on DVD in Region 1 by MPI Home Video (under license from the Don Fedderson estate).

DVD Name Ep No. Release Date Special Features / Notes
Season One 30 June 27, 2006
  • Family Affair: Behind the Scenes with Kathy Garver
  • Photo Gallery
Season Two 30 November 21, 2006
  • "An Affair to Remember" (interview with Kathy Garver)
  • "Memories" (5-minute piece with Garver showing Family Affair memorabilia)
Season Three 28 March 27, 2007
  • The Family Affair Reunion Special
Season Four 26 October 30, 2007
  • A Conversation with Johnny Whitaker
  • "The Child Stars"
Season Five 24 February 26, 2008
  • A visit by Kathy Garver to the CBS Studio City lot where the series was filmed
The Complete Series 138 November 25, 2008
  • Repackaging of Seasons 1–5 in a slimmer case

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Recipient Result
1967 Emmy Award Outstanding Writing Achievement in Comedy Edmund L. Hartmann
For episode "Buffy"
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy William D. Russell Nominated
Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series Brian Keith Nominated
1968 Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series Brian Keith Nominated
Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series Sebastian Cabot Nominated
Outstanding Comedy Series Edmund L. Hartmann Nominated
1969 Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series Brian Keith Nominated
Outstanding Comedy Series Edmund L. Hartmann Nominated
1971 Golden Globe Award Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy
2004 TV Land Award Best Broadcast Butler Sebastian Cabot Won
2008 Favorite Nanny Sebastian Cabot Nominated
2010 Young Artist Award Former Child Star "Lifetime Achievement" Award Kathy Garver Honored

Revival series

A revival of Family Affair by Sid and Marty Krofft aired on The WB Television Network from September 12, 2002 to March 13, 2003. This version was produced by Sid & Marty Krofft Pictures, Pariah Films and Turner Television and lasted for 16 episodes (14 of the 16 were aired). It was filmed in the same CBS Studio City lot as was the original series. Although the one-hour pilot had good ratings, the subsequent episodes declined against competition such as Friends. Johnny Whitaker and Kathy Garver appeared in the Christmas episode.

Revival cast

Appearances in other media

In the pilot of the television show The Critic, film critic Jay Sherman reviews the (fictional) movie adaption of the show. In the starring role was Marlon Brando, who was "paid 8 million dollars" for the film.

In 1970, Gold Key Comics, an imprint of Western Publishing, published a comic book adaptation of Family Affair.

Merchandising efforts centered on Anissa Jones. Several books were published, including the 1970 hardback Family Affair: Buffy Finds A Star by Gladys Baker Bond and Buffy's Cookbook. There were dolls (Mattel's Talking Buffy, and Mrs. Beasley, Buffy's doll on the show) and various other toys.[3]

A Mrs. Beasley doll, with her glasses missing, appears in the music video for the song California Tuffy by the Geraldine Fibbers.


External links

  • Internet Movie Database
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Family Affair – Classic TV website with Episode Guide, Theme and Gallery
  • Fan Page – Cast bios, collectibles, links and more on the 1960s television series Family Affair.