Updated: Jul 21
Most fondly remembered for her starring role as “Cissy” in the long-running hit CBS television series, Family Affair, Kathy Garver has continued garnering critical acclaim in movies, stage, radio, voice-over animation, as an author and audiobook narrator.
Kathy was in born in Long Beach, California. She entered UCLA at just 17 years old while also working professionally. During her teenage years, Kathy added radio and stage to her burgeoning film and television career.
Kathy had already been working professionally (she was a slave in the iconic Ten Commandments with Charlton Heston) when, as a freshman, majoring in Speech at UCLA, when she was tested for a television series entitled Family Affair. Kathy was deemed “perfect” to star as “Cissy” with Brian Keith as “Uncle Bill” and Sebastian Cabot as “Mr. French,” she embraced the role for five years in one of the warmest and most enduring series of the 1960s and ’70s. The show continues to be popular today pleasing old and new audiences worldwide – a true classic.
After Family Affair ended, Kathy starred in an Israeli musical stage version of the TV series, even learning Hebrew phonetically for her role. Later, she continued her dramatic studies at London’s prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where she portrayed Juliet in Romeo and Juliet. Dramatic and comedic productions in the states followed including starring roles in My Fair Lady, Sunday in New York, A Midsummer’s Night Dream and the Trojan Women. She later returned to UCLA to earn a Master’s Degree in Theater Arts.
It was a pleasure to be able to chat with the upbeat and vivacious Kathy Garver about all the fun she’s been having and her upcoming film “Old Man Jackson” by Johnny Ray Gibbs due out in December.
When did you add author to your long list of accomplishments?
Kathy Garver: In 2015 my memoir, Surviving Cissy: My Family Affair of Life in Hollywood was released and sold out in three months – it has recently been released in paperback. In 2016 I published, X-Child Stars: Where Are They Now?.
How did you get started writing cookbooks
Kathy Garver: I love to garden and to cook. There is something really nurturing and satisfying about getting your fingers in the soil or chopping vegetables you’ve grown yourself. My first cookbook was The Family Affair Cookbook, a tasty trip down memory lane complete with anecdotes and photos. It was a success and inspired me to compile my next cookbook, Holiday Recipes for a Family Affair, which was published in 2019.
What about being the hostess for the TV Talk Show, TV Dinners tvdinnerstv.com?
Kathy Garver: I welcome fellow classic TV Stars to my kitchen and we prepare fabulous fun time meals and chat about television, their life, and the show that made them famous. Invited Guests include Jerry Mathers & Tony Dow (Leave It To Beaver), Pat Priest & Butch Patrick (The Munsters), Billy Mumy & Angela Cartwright (Lost in Space), Burt Ward(Batman). If the readers have any favorites they would like to see talking and cooking in the TvDinners© kitchen, they can email their choices to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The cookbook TV Dinners with a Side Dish of Stars is available and it celebrates the 55th anniversary of Family Affair. Family Affair: A Pictorial Scrapbook will be released in September.
Tell us about your latest film “Old Man Jackson” by Johnny Ray Gibbs.
Kathy Garver: It has been so much fun shooting this film, especially because it also stars my dear friend, Butch Patrick who was Eddie in The Munsters. Mr. Jackson is an award-winning automotive mechanics shop owner, who is also a high-strung hypochondriac. He realizes he has no children of his own to pass the legacy that his grandfather started, he has a premonition that inspires him to accomplish one last mission.
Thanks for sharing with us Kathy.
Kathy Garver has served on the board of the Young People’s Committee of the Screen Actors Guild and as a volunteer for Book Pals, Kathy has used her experience to help guide new actors in the business. She is also involved in such charities as Child Help (which aids abused children) Rose Resnick LightHouse for the Blind and Make a Wish Foundation.
Currently, Kathy keeps it a family affair on her YouTube channel cooking show Cooking with Kathy and Scot that includes her husband a classic meat and potatoes man, and her son Reid, a vegetarian, who demonstrates yummy veggie recipes.
Kathy will soon be launching a podcast called All Things Classic with the director, writer, producer John Norton.
A regular on the comic conventions and autograph shows, Kathy will be returning to greet fans later this year.