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- Who is your favorite Bonanza character?: Little Joe
- Location: Cheshire, England
Date of Birth: - July 6th 1918
Date of Death: - August 22nd 1977
Birth Name: - Charles Sebastian Thomas Cabot
Sebastian Cabot was born on July 6, 1918 in London, England as Charles Sebastian Thomas Cabot. When his father’s business failed Cabot left school at the age of 14 and to help support his family, he began working in a garage and it was from those days that he developed a love for cars which remained until his death. He spent three years as a professional wrestler in London before the Second World War, quitting only after receiving an injury. Working as a chauffeur and valet for British actor Frank Pettingell, and gaining a smoothness of speech, he became interested in theatre and joined a repertory company. He also developed a love of cooking and, at the urging of his father, became a chef. It was during this period of time that he gained weight, ending up weighing around 260 pounds.
Looking for acting work on his own he first used an agency to help find him employment, but not having attended drama school he learned the hard way. He stated in later interviews that to secure his first roles he’d claimed to have performed various roles, that he’d heard his former employer Frank Pettingell and his actor friends discussing.
His formal acting career began with a bit part in ‘Foreign Affaires’ (1935) and then other bit parts and uncredited roles in British films followed until the early 1940s. In 1946, he portrayed Iago in a condensed short film version of ‘Othello’. He landed roles in British films ‘Third Time Lucky’ (1949),’The Spider and the Fly’ (1949), as the villainous Fouracada in ‘Dick Barton Strikes Back’ (1949); he was also in ‘Ivanhoe’ (1952) and ‘The Love Lottery’ (1954).
The Spider and the Fly 1949
Cabot as Fouracada in Dick Barton Strikes Back 1949 Cabot had begun to work as a voice actor. In the 1950s he was featured in a radio show called’ Horizons West’ a radio drama which followed the story of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and was the voice of Noah in the first recording of Igor Stravinsky's biblical 'musical play' ‘The Flood’ (1962). He also did voice parts for animated films such as Disney's ‘The Sword In The Stone’ (1963) as Sir Ector, and ‘Jungle Book’ (1967) as Bagheera.
His first TV role was in the 1955 TV series ‘Conrad Nagel Theater’, followed by ‘The Three Musketeers’ in 1956 in which he portrayed Porthos. Through the late 1950’s he starred in numerous and varied roles and it was in 1958 that he starred alongside Pernell Roberts in ‘Shirley Temple's Storybook’ series. He played the emperor next to Pernell’s role as Count DeSpard in ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes.’
Pernell Roberts as Count DeSpart with Sebastian Cabot as the Emperor in Shirley Temple's Storybook - The Emperor’s New Clothes 1958
He would meet up again with Pernell in 1960 when he took on the role of Don Antonio Luga in the 1960 Bonanza episode ‘The Spanish Grant’. Luga is the mastermind behind a Spanish noblewoman’s insistence that part of the Ponderosa belongs to her family and that she has an old Spanish Land Grant which validates her claim.
Cabot as Don Antonio Luga in The Spanish Grant
Cabot became a regular panellist on the television game show ‘Stump the Stars’ and he appeared on the NBC interview programme ‘Here's Hollywood’. In 1964, he hosted the short-lived television series, ‘Suspense’, and voiced and narrated a few other film and television projects including ‘Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree’ 1966. ‘Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day’ 1968. ‘Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, Too!’ 1974’ and ‘The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh’ 1977.
It was though, in 1966, that he took on one of his best known roles as that of Giles French in the sitcom ‘Family Affair’ starring alongside Brian Keith. The show ran from 1966 to 1971. In 1968 Cabot was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series for ‘Family Affair’ (1966). In 2004 he won the TV Land Award for Best Broadcast Butler in the TV series Family Affair (1966).
Cabot with his co-star Brian Keith and Kathy Garver in the sitcom Family Affair 1966-1971 When the ‘Family Affair’ series ended in 1971 Cabot continued with many varying roles in the many different and diverse TV series that followed. In 1973 he played Kris Kringle in the television movie remake of ‘Miracle on 34th Street’. It was a role in which he had to shave off his famous beard and wear an artificial one. Makeup artists were unable to whiten and fill his real beard out and it was the only way they could make him look like Santa Claus.
Cabot stared as Kris Kringle in the 1973 remake of Miracle on 34th Street Family - Sebastian was married to Kay from 1940 until his death in 1977 and together they had had three children. Two of his children are actors: Annette Cabot born in 1952 and Christopher Cabot born in 1955. Annette appeared with him in the episode ‘The Flip Side’ on the show ‘Family Affair’.
He lived his final years in Deep Cove, in the Victoria suburb of North Saanich, British Columbia, Canada. He died on August 22nd 1977 in a Victoria hospital, after suffering his second stroke in three years. He was cremated and his ashes were buried in Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles, close to his TV co-star of many years Brian Keith.
"When you feel like giving up, remember why you held on for so long in the first place."
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