Peg Entwistle's Stepson Brian Keith Followed Her Footsteps In A Dark Way

The following article includes descriptions of suicide.

Hollywood attracts countless creative hopefuls seeking to make it big in entertainment. A few achieve great success while thousands of others toil to get even 15 minutes of fame. Peg Entwistle came to Los Angeles to make her mark as an actress, and along the way her path crossed briefly with a future star Brian Keith. While they had very different career trajectories, both performers ended up experiencing tremendous sadness before meeting a tragic end.

Entwistle, born Millicent Lillian, showed great promise as an actress (via Harper's Bazaar). She came to the United States with her father from her native Wales when she was young. Entwistle took to the Broadway stage at the age of 17. She appeared in such plays as 1927's "Tommy" and 1931's revival of George Bernard Shaw's "Getting Married," per Playbill.

Around this time, Entwistle met an actor named Robert Keith, who was 10 years her senior (via BBC). She was only 19 years old when she agreed to marry him. They wed in New York City in 1927, according to the Los Angeles Times. Unfortunately for Entwistle, this union was not the stuff of fairy tales — their relationship turned sour quickly.

Entwistle ended her life after a failed career

Keith withheld some details about himself from Entwistle, and she felt misled by the actor, according to the Los Angeles Times. He had been twice married before and had a young son from his marriage to actress Helena Shipman (via IMDb). That son was Brian Keith, who made his film debut at the age of three in the silent movie "Pied Piper Malone," per the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

In addition to being upset by her husband's deception, Entwistle also claimed that he abused her. In her divorce trial, she stated that her husband had grabbed her and pulled out some of her hair. After the divorce, Entwistle continued to work in theater and tried to break into film. She landed a role in the crime drama "Thirteen Women" (1932), which got her a contract with RKO Pictures, per BBC. But her part got cut down dramatically in the final edit and she was dropped by the movie studio before the film even made it to theaters.

Broke and despondent, Entwistle left her uncle's Los Angeles home and hiked up to the Hollywoodland sign on September 16, 1932, according to the The Lewiston Sun. Her body was found two days later, and it appeared that she had jumped off the sign's letter H to her death. Entwistle left behind a note that "I am afraid I am a coward and I am sorry for many things. If I had only done this long ago I could have saved a lot of pain" according to the Oakland Tribune.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Brian Keith thrived as an actor for years

Compared to his onetime stepmother, Brian Keith had a remarkably long tenure as a performer in film and television. Entwistle had been only 24 years old when she died, and by the time Keith was this age he was only getting started. He had served in the U.S. Marines during World War II before beginning his acting career in earnest, according to the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Keith started out as a stage actor, much like Entwistle. He made two appearances on Broadway in 1951, per Playbill. But he had better luck with film and television. He had a sizable role in the 1953 western "Arrowhead" playing opposite Charlton Heston and Jack Palance. Keith worked steadily through the 1950s and 1960s, starring in such films as "The Parent Trap" (1961) with Hayley Mills and Maureen O'Hara and "With Six You Get Eggroll" (1968) with Doris Day. Keith may be best remembered, however, for playing gruff, but loveable Uncle Bill on the popular television series "Family Affair," which ran from 1966 to 1971 (via Associated Press). He earned three Emmy Award nominations for his work on the show

Problems may have overwhelmed Keith

Keith's professional good fortune continued into the 1970s and 1980s, per Associated Press. He tackled both comedy and drama, starring in "The Brian Keith Show" and "Archer." In the mid-1980s, Keith starred with Daniel Hugh Kelly in "Hardcastle & McCormick," playing a retired judge. He had an opportunity to work with his daughter Daisy on the short-lived comedy "Heartland" in 1989, but he wasn't able to recapture his earlier success.

After another attempt at TV success with the sitcom "Walter & Emily" in the early 1990s, Keith only landed a few guest spots and smaller roles. He used his distinctly low and rough-around-the-edges voice for a few animated series, including "Spider-Man." By 1997, Keith was trying to cope with a barrage of problems. He experienced some financial trouble that year as well as several health issues, including battling lung cancer and emphysema, according to Variety. Shortly before his own death, Keith was dealt another devastating blow. His daughter Daisy died by suicide (via Associated Press). She shot herself but didn't leave a note.

Like his former stepmother, Keith reached a breaking point emotionally. He took his own life at his home in Malibu, California, only weeks after his daughter's death. Keith had been in the hospital prior to his death, but the 75-year-old actor left to go home. It was there that he shot himself. Some speculated that Keith had wanted to die on his own terms, rather than wait for cancer to take him.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.