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Meet Katie Garver Who Played 'Family Affair's Cissy Davis and Now Looks Unrecognizable at 75

Ksenia Novikova
Jul 14, 2021
04:02 A.M.
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The 75-year-old stage and film actress Kathy Garver rose to fame when she was cast in the 1960's show "Family Affair." Garver shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon, despite her age.

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Garver released a memoir titled "Surviving Cissy: My Family Affair of Life in Hollywood" in September 2015. In it, she discussed her multi-dimensional career as both an actress and author.

She also revealed that she is now working on a spinoff of the famous "Family Affair" called "Aunt Cissy." The cast of the new show would include the grandchild of one of the actors who were part of the original show.

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GARVER'S LIFE AND CAREER

The actress made great strides in her life and career as she grew up from the teenage Cissy Patterson-Davis, a fan-favorite from "Family Affair."

Before landing the role that shaped her career, Garver played a child slave in the 1956 film "The Ten Commandments." She also appeared in several television shows between 1952 and 1966 before she stepped into Cissy's shoes.

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Her acting spans more than six decades in total, and she landed her first role in "The Red Skelton Hour" when she was just seven years old. Garver also pursued voice-over acting and, more recently in her life, producing as well. She said:

“I continued to do plays and do guest stars on TV, and then I discovered the wonderful world of voice over.”

She voiced the characters Angelica Jones, Storm, and Firestar in the animated "Spider-Man" from the early 1980s. Children's entertainment is Garver's passion.

Kathy Garver at the Golden Halo Awards on December 5, 2014 | Source: Wikimedia Commons

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She provided the voices for "The New Yogi Bear Show" and "Jojo's Bizarre Adventure," as well as authored children's audiobooks. Garver joked that her schedule seems to get busier the older she gets.

Garver recently has been focused on producing. She is an executive producer on the movie "Old Man Jackson" and an associate producer on the film "The Executive." She is also the producer for thriller film "Medusa." The actress appeared in the movie "Helen's Last Love" in 2017.

Kathy Garver at the 5th Annual TV Land Awards held in Santa Monica, California on April 14, 2007. | Source: Getty Images

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THE UNSTOPPABLE

It seems like Garver has achieved what she wanted to do in life, but that's not the case. Even at the age of 75, the talented lady loves to spend her time working on something or the other. While talking about what's been keeping her busy, Garver said:

"It seems that, for some reason, the older I get, the more I do."

People have loved watching Garver blow life into Cissy's character, but not many people know that she has been writing, producing, and coaching her juniors. She's definitely not leaving the industry anytime soon.

Kathy Garver arrives at the 7th Annual TV Land Awards held on April 19, 2009 | Source: Getty Images

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“FAMILY AFFAIR” ALLEGED CURSE

Even though most people remember “Family Affair” for its impact on several families during the late 60s and early 70s, there is one aspect that is both surprising and mysterious: the tragic deaths of some members of the cast.

Out of the most important members of the family in the show, the only ones who are still alive are Garver and Johnny Whitaker, who played Jody Davis on the show.

Brian Keith (Uncle Bill) committed suicide in June 1997 after he reportedly suffered from depression and had financial problems. Sebastian Cabot (Giles French) died of a stroke. Anissa Jones (Buffy Davis) died of a drug overdose at the age of 18.

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FRIENDSHIP WITH BRIAN KEITH

Garver revealed that it was easy to get along with the cast of "Family Affair" because they all liked each other a lot. She also added how Brian Keith had supported her during a low time in her life:

"When Robert Kennedy was assassinated, I was so upset. Yet he was so comforting. He gave me a hug and was just so understanding."

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Garver adored Brian Keith for his loving personality and the memories that she made with him. She also recalled what a talented actor he was.

Kathy Garver with her co-stars of Family Affair | Source: Wikimedia Commons

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GARVER’S RELATIONSHIP WITH WHITAKER

Instead of becoming closer after experiencing those tragic events, Whitaker and Garver’s relationship became strained. Thankfully, Oprah Winfrey made a sort of intervention, and now they appear to be on good terms.

The reunion between the last two surviving “Family Affair” stars was shared on YouTube as part of an episode of “Oprah: Where Are They Now?”

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In it, Whitaker is shown saying that he wanted to apologize to the actress if there was anything that he did that made her have harsh feelings. Even though nothing went public ever, Garver confirmed that there was indeed a problem between them.

She wanted Whitaker to show some gratitude towards her for setting up gigs for him throughout the years, but he never did that, and that's what made her upset.

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Finally, Whitaker pointed out that nothing was done to hurt his on-screen sister and that he was sorry, and Garver accepted his apology.

Garver has a son, Reid, and lives in California with her husband, David Travis. With writing, acting, and producing under her belt, Hollywood hasn't seen the last of Kathy Garver yet.

Similarly, Jack Nicholson has also lived an interesting life. He managed to succeed in his acting, screenwriting, and directing career while living life with his four exes and five kids.

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