Actor Television actor

Don Keefer

Quick Facts

IntroActor from the United States
A.K.A.Donald Keefer, D. H. Keefer, Donald H. Keefer, H. Keefer, D. Keefer
Was Actor
Television actor
From United States of America
Type Film, TV, Stage, Radio
Birth 18 August 1916, Highspire
Death 7 September 2014, Sherman Oaks
(aged 98 years)


Donald Hood “Don” Keefer (August 18, 1916 – September 7, 2014) was an American actor known for the versatility of his roles. He was born in Highspire in Dauphin County near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. A founding member of The Actors Studio, Keefer’s film debut was as Bernard in the 1951 film, Death of a Salesman, based on the Arthur Miller play. His longest-lasting roles were in ten episodes each of the CBS series, Gunsmoke, starring James Arness, and Angel, a 1960–1961 sitcom featuring French-American actress Annie Fargé.

Early roles

Keefer appeared in dozens of television series, including the early anthologies, Fireside Theatre, Armstrong Circle Theatre, The Philco Television Playhouse, the United States Steel Hour, Alcoa Presents: One Step Beyond, and The DuPont Show with June Allyson. In 1957, Keefer appeared as McNair in the episode “Ito of Attu” of ABC Navy Log. That same year, he appeared with David Janssen as the character “Reagan” in “Big Score” of the CBS series, Richard Diamond, Private Detective. In 1958, he appeared as Ed Locke in the episode “Wild Green Yonder” of the syndicated crime drama State Trooper, starring Rod Cameron. In 1959, Keefer appeared as John Alastair in the episode “Death Is a Red Rose” of the Craig Stevens NBC crime drama Peter Gunn. Keefer was cast three times on CBS’s anthology, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, as Dr. Elkins in “The Indestructible Mr. Weems” (1957), as Pete Williams in “The Percentage” (1958), and as a tax clerk in “The Kiss-Off” (1961). He had small roles in some feature films, including Sleeper. In 1966 he played the role of Irving Christiansen in the movie The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming.

Personal life

On May 7, 1950, Keefer married the former Catherine McLeod (July 2, 1921 – May 11, 1997), formerly of Texas. At the time of her death, the Keefers were living in Sherman Oaks in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles County, California. There are three Keefer sons, Donald McLeod, John H., and Thomas James. He died at the age of 98 on September 7, 2014.

Western roles

Keefer’s Gunsmoke appearances included three half-hour episodes and seven full hour broadcasts which aired from 1957-1973:

  • “Wrong Man” (13 April 1957) – as the character Sam Rickers
  • “Bad Sheriff” (7 January 1961) – Chet
  • “Coventry” (17 March 1962) – Rankin
  • “Quint-Cident” (27 April 1963) – Nally
  • “The Pariah” (17 April 1965) – Newspaper editor
  • “Taps for Old Jeb” (16 October 1965) – Milty Sims
  • “Champion of the World” (24 December 1966) – Wally
  • “Gentry’s Law” (12 October 1970) – Floyd Babcock
  • “Waste: Part 1” (27 September 1971) – Drunk
  • “Kitty’s Love Affair” (22 October 1973) – Turner

Keefer appeared in more than a dozen other western series:

  • Wagon Train in “The Tom Tuckett Story” (NBC, 1960)
  • Hotel de Paree as Red Porterfield in “Sundance and the Barren Soil” (CBS, 1960)
  • Rawhide as Hames in “Incident of the Druid Curse” (CBS, 1960)
  • Have Gun – Will Travel, three episodes (CBS, 1957–1960)
  • Whispering Smith as Dr. Johnson in “The Deadliest Weapon” (NBC, 1961)
  • The Dakotas as a minister in “Feud at Snake River” (ABC, 1963)
  • Death Valley Days as a military officer in “The Hero of Apache Pass” (Syndicated, 1966)
  • Dundee and the Culhane as Johnson in “The Dead Man’s Brief” (CBS, 1967)
  • Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color as John Prentice in two episodes of the Gallegher miniseries. Roger Mobley played the part of Gallegher. (NBC, 1967)
  • The Iron Horse as Blake in “Sister Death” (ABC, 1967)
  • The Outcasts in “The Man from Bennington” (ABC, 1968)
  • Cimarron Strip as Bolt in “The Judgment” (CBS, 1968)
  • The Guns of Will Sonnett in two episodes (ABC, 1968–1969)
  • The Virginian in three episodes (NBC, 1966–1969)
  • The High Chaparral as a telegrapher in “Spokes” (NBC, 1970)
  • Alias Smith and Jones as Dr. Hiram Wilson in “The Man Who Murdered Himself” (ABC, 1971)
  • Nichols in “The Specialists” (NBC, 1971)
  • Bonanza as Billy Harris in “The Running Man” and as Tobias Temple in “The Rattlesnake Brigade” (NBC, 1971)
  • Kung Fu in two episodes (ABC, 1974 and 1975)

Angel and other comedies

On Angel, Keefer portrayed the neighbor “George”, husband of “Susie”, a character played by Doris Singleton, a veteran of the original I Love Lucy series. Marshall Thompson (1925–1992) played Johnny Smith, a young architect and the husband of Fargé’s Angel Smith character. Keefer’s Angel roles include:

  • “Goodbye Young Lovers”
  • “Voting Can Be Fun” (13 October 1960)
  • “Angel’s Temper” (10 November 1960)
  • “The Valedictorian” (15 December 1960)
  • “The Dowry” (19 January 1961)
  • “The Joint Bank Account” (2 February 1961)
  • “Call Me Mother” (9 February 1961)
  • “Phone Fun” (22 March 1961)
  • “Unpopular Mechanics” (19 April 1961)
  • “The Trailer” (10 May 1961)

Keefer appeared in other sitcoms, including:

  • Window on Main Street in “Girl with the Rose Colored Eyes” (CBS, 1962)
  • Car 54, Where Are You? as Dr. R.L. Mitchell, psychiatrist, in “Remember St. Petersburg” (1962)
  • The Real McCoys as Harry Porter in “The Peacemakers” (CBS, 1963)
  • My Favorite Martian, two episodes (CBS, 1964)
  • The Munsters (CBS, 1965)
  • The Jack Benny Program (NBC, 1965)
  • The Farmer’s Daughter (ABC, 1966)
  • Petticoat Junction (CBS, 1966)
  • The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming as Irving Christiansen (film, 1966)
  • Bewitched (ABC, 1966)
  • That Girl (ABC, 1966)
  • Love on a Rooftop in “My Father, the TV Star” (ABC, 1967)
  • The Andy Griffith Show, two episodes (CBS, 1967 and 1968)
  • The Good Guys (CBS, 1969)
  • Green Acres (CBS, 1970)
  • Alice (CBS, 1984)
  • Lucy and Desi: Before the Laughter as Grandfather Ball in television movie (CBS, 1991)
  • ^

Dramatic episodes

Keefer appeared as Cromwell in the 1968 episode “Assignment: Earth” of the NBC science fiction series Star Trek. Earlier, he was cast in three episodes of CBS’s The Twilight Zone: as Dan Hollis in “It’s a Good Life” (1961), as Spiereto in “Passage on the Lady Anne” (1963), and Fred Danziger in “From Agnes – With Love” (1964).

His other drama roles include:

  • Appointment with Adventure (“The Royal Treatment” episode of the CBS anthology series, 1955)
  • Richard Diamond, Private Detective, as Reagan in “The Big Score” (1957)
  • Going My Way, as Mr. Ewbank in “One Small Unhappy Family” (ABC, 1963)
  • The Fugitive as Ben Haddock in “Where the Action Is” (ABC, 1964)
  • Slattery’s People as George Farnum in “Question: What Did You Do All Day, Mr. Slattery? (CBS, 1965)
  • Mission: Impossible as Zubin in “The Trial” (CBS, 1967)
  • Felony Squad as Harry Jocelyn in “A Most Proper Killing” (ABC, 1967)
  • The F.B.I., four episodes (ABC, 1966–1971)
  • Chase in “Vacation for a President” (NBC, 1974)
  • Marcus Welby, M.D. as Dr. Marvin in “Don’t Talk About Darkness” (1972) and as Larry Sabberly in “The Mugging” (ABC, 1974)
  • S.W.A.T. as Captain Wallen in “Terror Ship” (ABC, 1975)
  • The Streets of San Francisco as Dr. Mayhill in “Clown of Death” (ABC, 1976)
  • The Waltons as Arnie Shimerdy in “The Go-Getter” (CBS, 1977)
  • Barnaby Jones as Mr. Greening in “Programmed for Killing” (1974), as Dave Blevins in “Silent Vendetta” (1976), as Professor Albertson in “The Killer on Campus” (1977), and Tully Kupper in “Target for a Wedding” (CBS, 1979)
  • Quincy, M.E., three episodes (NBC, 1979–1982)
  • Highway to Heaven as Dr. Washburn in “For the Love of Larry” (NBC, 1986)
  • All My Children as Horace Willoughby (ABC, 1986)
  • Picket Fences as Billy Shauger in “The Snake Lady” (1992) and “Heart of Saturday Night” (CBS, 1995)
  • Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman as Old Benny Rockland in “Brutal Youth” (ABC, 1996),

Keefer’s last role was as a beggar at a courthouse in the 1997 film Liar Liar.