Robert Keith (actor)

Robert Keith (born Rolland Keith Richey, February 10, 1898 – December 22, 1966) was an American stage and film actor who appeared in several dozen films, mostly in the 1950s as a character actor.

Robert Keith
Robert Keith, 1953
Rolland Keith Richey

(1898-02-10)February 10, 1898
DiedDecember 22, 1966(1966-12-22) (aged 68)
Resting placeHoly Cross Cemetery, Culver City
Years active1924–64
  • Laura Corinne Jackson (married 1917–before 1919)
  • Helena Shipman (married after 1920–1926)
  • Peg Entwistle
    (married 1927–1929); divorced
  • Dorothy Tierney
    (married 1930–1966); his death
ChildrenBrian Keith (1921–1997)

Early life and career

Keith was born Rolland Keith Richey in Fowler, Indiana, the son of Mary Della (née Snyder) and James Haughey Richey.[1] His first wife was Laura Anne Corinne Jackson, the daughter of a prominent Cedar Rapids, Iowa family.

He is noted for the variety of his performances both as weak-willed and strong characters such as the father in Fourteen Hours (1951) and a psychopathic killer in The Lineup (1958).

His best known performances are as the ineffectual police chief and father of biker Marlon Brando's love interest in the 1953 film The Wild One and as tougher, no-nonsense cop, this time Brando's antagonist, in the film musical, Guys And Dolls.

Keith had a starring role in Douglas Sirk's Written on the Wind. He had roles on television, including a role as Richard Kimble's father in The Fugitive and lead roles on episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents ("Ten O'Clock Tiger" & "Final Escape") and The Twilight Zone ("The Masks"), which was his last screen effort, in the role of Jason Foster, the rich New Orleans patriarch to a self-centered, greed-riddled family waiting for their benefactor to die.

Personal life

Keith's second wife was stage actress Helena Shipman, with whom he had a son, actor Brian Keith. On April 18, 1927, Keith married Peg Entwistle, an actress who was a decade his junior. They were divorced in 1929, with Entwistle citing abuse and domestic cruelty in her divorce filing [2]. Entwistle, a well-known Broadway actress, committed suicide by jumping from the "H" of the famous Hollywoodland Sign in 1932. He remained married to his fourth wife, Dorothy Tierney, until his death on December 22, 1966.

Partial filmography


  1. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 5, 2006. Retrieved January 28, 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. Zeruk, James Jr (2013). Peg Entwistle and the Hollywood sign suicide : a biography. McFarland. p. 114. ISBN 1476612196. Retrieved June 18, 2019.
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