Keefe Brasselle

Keefe Brasselle
Born John Brasselli
(1923-02-07)February 7, 1923
Elyria, Ohio, U.S.
Died July 7, 1981(1981-07-07) (aged 58)
Downey, California, U.S.
Occupation Actor, producer

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.

In 1956, Braselle married the singer Arlene DeMarco[1] (28 January 1933–19 February 2013)[2]. They divorced in 1967.[3]

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 Mafia threats, with which Brasselle was known to be connected.[4]

In 1961, an Edison Township, New Jersey nightclub owned by Brasselle burned under suspicious circumstances.[5] Fire officials came across six empty cans of gasoline at the scene, while their caps and spouts were found separately in a paper bag.[5]

In the summer of 1963, he starred in a brief summer replacement series for Garry Moore called The Keefe Brasselle Show. During the 1964-65 season, Brasselle's "Richelieu Productions" banner produced three new but untested series: The Baileys of Balboa, The Cara Williams Show, and The Reporter. 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 Barricudas (1973), in which he attacked several showbiz figures he'd worked with, including comedian Jack Benny.

Later years and death

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.

He died from liver disease in 1981 at age 58.

External links

  • Keefe Brasselle IMDb profile


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