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Caroline McWilliams Was Michael Keaton's Only Wife Who Passed Away 11 Years Ago — Remembering Her

Edduin Carvajal
Apr 21, 2021
06:30 A.M.
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Actress Caroline McWilliams, who was married to Michael Keaton for eleven years, passed away from complications of multiple myeloma, a type of cancer from malignant plasma cells.


Born on April 4, 1945, McWilliams grew up in Barrington, Rhode Island, before majoring in drama at Carnegie Mellon University and the Pasadena Playhouse.

She debuted on TV in 1967 in an episode of “Dundee and the Culhane.” Her breakthrough role came in 1969 when she portrayed Janet Mason Norris in “The Guiding Light.”

Michael Keaton and wife Caroline McWilliams on June 19, 1989 at Mann Bruin Theater in Westwood, California | Photo: Getty Images



After being part of the soap opera for six years, she left in 1975 and joined the cast of other TV series, including “Soap,” “Benson,” “Nearly Departed,” and “Beverly Hills, 90210.”

While Michael Keaton’s ex-wife was primarily known for her job on-screen, she also had an extensive theater career, working in Broadway and Off-Broadway productions like “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” and “The Rothschilds.”

Michael Keaton on February 09, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California | Photo: Getty Images


If that wasn’t enough, McWilliams also has writing and directing credits to her name for the short film “Let’s Get a Divorce” and even directed stage plays.

According to McWilliam’s sister, Kelly-Jo Dvareckas, the late entertainer felt she “hit her stride” when she started working as a director. All in all, she was a creative artist, but her most important job was being a mom.

Caroline McWilliams (white clothes) and the cast of "Benson" on September 13, 1979 | Photo: Getty Images



Most details of Michael Keaton and Caroline McWilliams’ relationship were kept away from the spotlight. They tied the knot in 1982 and welcomed their only son, Sean Douglas, the following year.

Unfortunately, their relationship didn’t stand the test of time. In January 1990, the “Batman” actor filed for divorce, but the former couple remained close friends even after parting ways.


Keaton has described McWilliams as a “remarkable mom” who came from a good family. Apart from that, he has given McWilliams a lot of credit for their son, even pointing out that Douglas is the “great guy he is” thanks to her.

[Keaton was told] that dealing with McWilliams’ death would be harder than he thought.



Speaking of Douglas, he didn’t follow in his parents’ footsteps but is still an artist. Nowadays, he is a talented singer-songwriter who has worked on Jason Derulo’s “Talk Dirty” and “Wiggle.”

Apart from that, he is also behind Demi Lovato’s “Heart Attack” and has collaborated with record-breaking musicians like Madonna, the Backstreet Boys, and Michael Bolton.


In August 2014, Douglas married Rachel Bartov and even wrote and performed a song for her during the ceremony. His popularity skyrocketed after accompanying his dad to the Golden Globes ceremony in January 2015.

The two were part of arguably the most adorable moment of the ceremony. When Keaton took the stage to accept his award for Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical for “Birdman,” he praised his relationship with Douglas. He said:

“My best friend is kind, intelligent, funny, talented, considerate, thoughtful. [...] He also happens to be my son Sean. I love you with all my heart, buddy.”



On February 11, 2010, Caroline McWilliams’ passed away from complications of multiple myeloma – a type of cancer from malignant plasma cells – at her home in Los Angeles, California.

Shortly after her passing, Michael Keaton admitted that two of his siblings, who also lost ex-spouses, told him that dealing with McWilliams’ death would be harder than he thought.


His feelings were “odd,” the actor explained, but not necessarily in a bad way, mainly because they had remained friends. Keaton also said that his bond with Douglas had always been tight, but it got tighter after McWilliams’ death.

Caroline McWilliams’ legacy lives on through her son, who is a father himself. Just like Keaton, Douglas keeps most details of his personal life away from the spotlight.


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