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Keefe Brasselle

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Full Name  John Brasselli
Name  Keefe Brasselle
Cause of death  liver disease
Role  Film actor
Occupation  Actor, producer
Grandchildren  Hayley Sanchez
Years active  1942-1973

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Born  February 7, 1923 (1923-02-07) Elyria, Ohio, U.S.
Died  July 7, 1981, Downey, California, United States
Spouse  Arlene DeMarco (m. 1956–1967), Norma Jean Aldrich (m. 1942–1956)
Children  Melissa Brasselle, Rosana Brasselle, Erin Keefe Brasselle
Movies  A Place in the Sun, The Eddie Cantor Story, Three Young Texans, Bring Your Smile Along, If You Don't Stop It You'll Go
Similar People  Melissa Brasselle, Ida Lupino, George Stevens, Henry Levin, Sidney Lanfield

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Keefe Brasselle (February 7, 1923 – July 7, 1981) was an American film actor, television actor/producer and author. He is best remembered for the starring role in The Eddie Cantor Story (1953). The film was a response to the wildly successful The Jolson Story and Jolson Sings Again starring Larry Parks. The Eddie Cantor Story, however, could not equal the success of the Jolson films and Brasselle's career did not launch as anticipated. In 1953, Braselle hosted an episode of The Colgate Comedy Hour with comedian/dancer Dick Wesson as a promotional tie-in for the film.


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Early years and career

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In 1956, Braselle married the singer Arlene DeMarco (28 January 1933 – 19 February 2013). They divorced in 1967.

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Brasselle had a close friendship with CBS executive James Aubrey. Brasselle started his own production company and Aubrey granted Brasselle's company three television series without any previous script, pitch or pilots. The insider-chicanery resulted in a lawsuit against Aubrey and Brasselle launched by CBS shareholders. There were rumors that Aubrey had no choice in the matter due to threats from the Mafia, with which Brasselle was known to be connected.

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In 1961, an Edison Township, New Jersey nightclub owned by Brasselle burned under suspicious circumstances. Fire officials came across six empty cans of gasoline at the scene, while their caps and spouts were found separately in a paper bag.

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In the summer of 1963, Brasselle starred in a summer replacement series for The Garry Moore Show. Called The Keefe Brasselle Show, the program featured actress Ann B. Davis as herself in three episodes. During the 1964-1965 season, Brasselle's "Richelieu Productions" banner produced three new but untested series: The Baileys of Balboa, The Cara Williams Show, and The Reporter, starring Harry Guardino. Those series suffered from poor ratings. Aubrey was removed as president of CBS Television in February 1965 after a long court battle. Brasselle later wrote a novel that was a thinly disguised account of his relationship with Aubrey and the network, The CanniBalS (1968), followed by a sequel, The Barracudas (1973), in which he attacked several showbiz figures he'd worked with, including comedian Jack Benny.

Later years and death

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Other career highlights include appearances in the films Never Fear (1949) and A Place in the Sun (1951). Brasselle struggled to find work after his CBS experience.

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He died from liver disease in 1981 at age 58.


  • Never Fear (1949)
  • A Place in the Sun (1951)
  • The Eddie Cantor Story (1953)
  • Battle Stations (1956)
  • References

    Keefe Brasselle Wikipedia

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