Tough start
Born as Charles Sebastian Thomas Cabot on July 6, 1918 in London, England. Sebastian Cabot held several non-acting jobs before he entered the ranks of professional actor himself. His father lost his business and young Sebastian became a garage helper at 14, finally becoming a garage mechanic. He had a turn as a chef as well as three years as a wrestler. Thankfully his wrestling career was ended by an injury. He was also employed as chauffeur to British actor Frank Pettingell.

Learning his trade
Sebastian Cabot got involved with performing by bluffing his way into parts, claiming to have performed roles he never had. It worked to some degree and he acquired knowledge enough to advance himself. He made his London debut in 1945 in A Bell For Adano at the age of 27. His first film acting role was a bit part in 1935's film Foreign Affaires. His first screen credited part was in 1936, appearing in the Alfred Hitchcock film Secret Agent. His work in film continued with many appearances until the early 60's. Cabot began the transition to the small screen during that period. He appeared in an episode of The Twilight Zone, playing Mr. Pip, a tour guide for the afterlife who had certain hidden (devilish) traits. Cabot also made an appearance in the game show Stump the Stars.

Finally famous
His most widespread fame occurred when he took the role of 'gentleman's gentleman' Giles French on the CBS Television Network's sitcom Family Affair. Sebastian Cabot was with the show for its entire run, from 1966 until 1971 except for a brief leave of absence.

Family Affair's concept wasn't original, having been done long before on radio's The Great Gildersleeve. Family Affair too was about a man being thrust into the role of father for orphaned relative children. The program dealt gently with the foibles of that relationship. Cabot's Mr. French was a kind of surrogate to Brian Keith's actual surrogate fatherhood. Between the two men they managed to deal with the issues faced by the children. The children were a teenaged girl named Sissy and grade school age twins Jody and Buffy. Sissy was played by Kathy Garver. Jody was played by Johnny Whitaker while his twin sister Buffy was played by Anissa Jones.

Mr. French was always well attired, as any good butler should be. He is remembered for his full beard and rotund figure, providing a stolid figure belied by his sometimes befuddled formality. His portrayal of that character seems to have typecast him to some degree, implanting his character on the collective psyche of a generation of TV viewers.

Sebastian Cabot didn't neglect opportunities for film work because of his TV duties. He was a popular voice artist, lending his talents to several animated features such as The Jungle Book and Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day. His most memorable role following Family Affair was probably his portrayal of Kris Kringle in the film remake of the classic Miracle on 34th Street.

Sebastian Cabot was wed in 1940 and remained married to his wife Kay until his death. They produced 2 children, the eldest a daughter named Annette, born in 1952. She was to follow in her father's footsteps, becoming an actress. Their second child was a son named Christopher, born in 1955. He too was to become an actor.

Sebastian Cabot was nominated for an Emmy Award in 1968 for his role of Mr. French on the popular TV sitcom Family Affair. He later won a TV Land Award in 2004 for that same role.

Gone too soon
Sebastian Cabot died of a stroke at the age of 59 on August 22, 1977. His death occurred at North Saanich, British Columbia, Canada. He had lived his final years near Sidney, British Columbia. He was cremated, and his ashes are interred at Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles, California. His resting place is near that of his co-star and good friend Brian Keith.

Partial Filmography:
1977 The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
1974 Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too!
1973 Miracle on 34th Street
1970 Foreign Exchange
1969 The Spy Killer
1968 Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day
1967 The Jungle Book
1965 The Redeemer
1965 The Family Jewels
1965 Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree
1963 Twice Told Tales
1963 The Sword in the Stone
1962 Heights of Danger
1960 The Time Machine
1960 Seven Thieves
1959 Say One for Me
1959 The Angry Hills
1958 Terror in a Texas Town
1958 In Love and War
1957 Johnny Tremain
1957 Dragoon Wells Massacre
1957 So Soon to Die
1957 Omar Khayyam
1957 Black Patch
1956 Westward Ho, the Wagons!
1955 Kismet
1954 The Love Lottery
1954 Romeo and Juliet
1953 Always a Bride
1953 The Captain's Paradise
1952 Ivanhoe
1952 Babes in Bagdad
1951 Midnight Episode
1951 Wonder Boy
1951 Old Mother Riley's Jungle Treasure
1950 The Wonder Kid
1950 Dick Barton at Bay
1949 The Spider and the Fly
1949 Old Mother Riley's New Venture
1949 Third Time Lucky
1949 Dick Barton Strikes Back
1949 The Adventures of Jane
1947 They Made Me a Fugitive
1947 Dual Alibi


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