Family Affair

Family Affair is an American sitcom that aired on CBS from September 12th, 1966 to September 9th, 1971.  The series explored the trials of well-to-do civil engineer and bachelor Bill Davis (Brian Keith) as he attempted to raise his brother’s orphaned children in his luxury New York City apartment.  Davis’ traditional English gentleman’s gentleman, Mr. Giles French (Sebastian Cabot), also had adjustments to make as he became saddled with the responsibility of caring for 15-year-old Cissy (Kathy Garver) and the 6-year-old twins, Jody (Johnny Whitaker) and Buffy (Anissa Jones).  The show ran for 138 episodes.  Family Affair was created and produced by Don Fedderson, also known for My Three Sons and The Millionaire.

William “Bill” Davis, originally of Terre Haute, Indiana, is a successful civil engineer who develops major projects all over the world.  A wealthy bachelor often dating socialites, he lives in a large apartment at 600 E. 62nd Street in Manhattan, and has a quintessential gentleman’s gentleman, Giles French.  However, his quiet lifestyle is turned upside-down when his two nieces and nephew move in.
Bill’s brother Bob and sister-in-law Mary had died in an automobile accident a year prior to the premiere episode.  Their children, teen Cissy and her young twin siblings Buffy and Jody, had been dispersed among relatives in Terre Haute, but none wanted to continue raising the children, so they attempt to give the responsibility to Bill.  “Uncle Bill” is not keen on the idea at first, but the children endear themselves to him.  First Buffy comes along, followed by Jody, and finally Cissy.  Initially mortified by the situation is Mr. French, who effectively becomes the children’s nanny, on top of his valet duties.  However as time passes they all become a family, albeit an accidental one.
When Sebastian Cabot became ill, Giles’s brother, Nigel “Niles” French (John Williams) was introduced, working for the Davis family for nine episodes in 1967 while Giles is said to be in England visiting the Queen.  In the last season, Bill hires a part-time housekeeper, Emily Turner (Nancy Walker) to assist Mr. French.
Various other characters were also seen regularly, including several acquaintances of Mr. French who are in service (most notably Miss Faversham (Heather Angel), colleagues of Bill, and friends of Cissy.

 

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