Keith Larsen

Keith Larsen (born Keith Larsen Burt,[1] June 17, 1924 – December 13, 2006)[2] was an American actor, screenwriter, director, and producer who starred in three short-lived television series between 1955 and 1961.[3]

Keith Larsen
Larsen with wife Susan at home, 1954.
Born
Keith Larsen Burt

(1924-06-17)June 17, 1924
DiedDecember 13, 2006(2006-12-13) (aged 82)
NationalityAmerican
OccupationActor
Spouse(s)
Susan Cummings
(m. 1953; div. 1960)

Vera Miles
(m. 1960; div. 1971)

Trang Thu Nguyen
(m. 1983)
Children3

Background

Larsen was born in Salt Lake City in 1924.[4] He was of Norwegian descent. During World War II, he served in the United States Navy. After he was demobilized he became involved in stage acting in Santa Monica, California.[3]

Career

Larsen was tapped by a talent scout to play a small uncredited role in 1951 movie Operation Pacific. In 1952, Larsen played Ens. Barney Smith, an aircraft carrier fighter pilot, in the film Flat Top. In 1953, Larsen played the title role of Ed Reed, the Kid in the film Son of Belle Starr, in which his character tries to live an upright life despite the heritage of his two lawless parents, Belle Starr and Jim Reed.

Larsen's career was most notable for his work in four weekly television series, including playing Bart Adams in The Hunter (1954),[5]:487 Brave Eagle (1955), Northwest Passage (1958) (in which he starred as Major Robert Rogers),[5]:772 and The Aquanauts (1960).

In the 1955–1956 television season, Larsen starred in the 26-week CBS western Brave Eagle.[5] Larsen portrayed Brave Eagle, a peaceful young Cheyenne chief. The program was unusual in that it reflected the Native American viewpoint in the settlement of the American West. Larsen's principal co-stars were Kim Winona (1930–1978) as Morning Star, Anthony Numkena, a Hopi Indian then using the stage name Keena Nomkeena, as Keena, Brave Eagle's foster son, and Bert Wheeler (1895–1968) as Smokey Joe.[6]

He guest starred in 1957 on three CBS programs, as Paul in the "Anitra Dellano Story" of The Millionaire, and in two anthologies, as Howard in "The Blackwell Story" on Playhouse 90, and as Eddie Seabord in the episode "Father and Son Night" on General Electric Theater, hosted by future U.S. President Ronald W. Reagan.[3]

In the 1958–1959 season, Larsen starred in the M-G-M/NBC series Northwest Passage, the story of Major Robert Rogers, an American soldier in upstate New York during the French and Indian War. Buddy Ebsen co-starred as Sergeant Hunk Marriner and Don Burnett as Ensign Towne.[7] In 1959, Larsen guest starred on the CBS series Men into Space in the role of Jim Nichols in the episode " Christmas on the Moon".[3]

In 1960–1961, Larsen appeared as 36-year-old former Navy diver Drake Andrews in the CBS adventure series The Aquanauts, an Ivan Tors Production renamed in March 1961 as Malibu Run. His co-star was Jeremy Slate (1926–2006). A sinus operation required Larsen to withdraw from the show, and he was replaced by Ron Ely as Mike Madison. The script line indicated that the character Andrews had rejoined the Navy.[8]

After The Aquanauts, Larsen appeared as Jack Bennett in the 1961 episode "Blondes Prefer Gentlemen" of the ABC series The Roaring Twenties, with Donald May, Rex Reason, and Dorothy Provine. His other television roles, all in 1960, were as John Edwards in "The Hostage" episode of the ABC and syndicated western series, Tombstone Territory, as John Napier in "Nightmare Crossing" episode of NBC's The Man and the Challenge, and as the Indian, Blue Raven, in the episode "Seed of Hate" in NBC's western Wichita Town.[3]

Larsen's later acting work was in films: Women of the Prehistoric Planet (1966), The Omegans (1968) with Ingrid Pitt, Mission Batanagas as Colonel Turner (1968), Night of the Witches as Reverend Ezra Jackson (1970), The Trap on Cougar Mountain (1972), Whitewater Sam in the title role (1977), and his last appearance, Young and Free (1979). He also directed and produced some of these same films.[3]

Personal life

Larsen was married three times. In 1953, he wed actress Susan Cummings. They have one child. After their divorce, he married actress Vera Miles on July 16, 1960. He was married to Vera Miles until 1971. Their son, Erik Larsen, was born in April 1961. After Larsen and Miles divorced, he married Trang Thu Nguyen in 1983. The couple had one child. The marriage ended when Larsen died, aged 82, in Santa Barbara, California.

Filmography

Year Title Role Notes
1951Operation PacificCrewmanUncredited
1951Flying LeathernecksCharlieUncredited
1952PaulaInternUncredited
1952The Rose Bowl StoryBronc Buttram
1952Flat TopEns. Barney Smith / Barney Oldfield
1952Torpedo AlleyMinor RoleUncredited
1952HiawathaPau PukKeewis
1953Fort VengeanceCarey Ross
1953Son of Belle StarrThe Kid
1953War PaintTaslik
1954Arrow in the DustLieutenant Steve King
1954Security RiskTed Noland
1955Dial Red ORalph Wyatt
1955Chief Crazy HorseFlying Hawk
1955WichitaBat Masterson
1955Night FreightDon Peters
1955Desert SandsEl Zanal
1957Last of the BadmenRoberts
1957Badlands of MontanaRick Valentine
1957Apache WarriorKatawan - aka The Apache Kid
1966Women of the Prehistoric PlanetCmdr. Scott
1967Caxambu!Emil Garrat
1968Mission BatangasColonel Turner
1968The OmegansChuck
1970Aru heishi no kakeCaptain White
1970Night of the WitchesPreacher Ezra Jackson
1972Trap on Cougar Mountain
1979Young and Free
1982Whitewater SamWhitewater Sam(final film role)

References

  1. "Hundreds of Utahns Greed 'Valiantly Onward' Stars". The Salt Lake Tribune. Utah, Salt Lake City. July 21, 1963. p. 54. Retrieved April 9, 2018 via Newspapers.com.
  2. "Social Security Death Index". Rootsweb.ancestry.com. Retrieved January 13, 2009. Some websites have incorrectly cited Larsen's year of birth as 1925.
  3. "Keith Larsen". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved January 13, 2009.
  4. Goldrup, Tom and Jim (2016). The Encyclopedia of Feature Players of Hollywood, Volume 2. BearManor Media. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  5. Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. p. 133. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7.
  6. Brave Eagle
  7. Total Television, p. 608
  8. Total Television, p. 55

Other sources

  • McNeil, Alex Total Television (New York: Penguin Books, 1996)
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