Charles Sebastian Thomas Cabot (July 6, 1918 – August 22, 1977) was an English film and television actor, best remembered as the gentleman's gentleman, "Giles French," in the 1960s sitcom Family Affair.
Cabot was born in London, England. His career began with a bit part in Foreign Affaires (1935); his first screen credit was in Alfred Hitchcock's Secret Agent (1936). Other British films such as Love on the Dole, Pimpernel Smith, Old Mother Riley: Detective, and Old Mother Riley: Overseas followed. In 1946, he portrayed Iago in Othello. By 1947, Cabot had relocated to Hollywood, and landed roles in such films as They Made Me A Fugitive, Third Time Lucky, The Spider and the Fly, Ivanhoe, Babes in Baghdad, The Love Lottery, Westward Ho the Wagons, and the 1954 Italian version of Romeo and Juliet as Lord Capulet. In 1960 he appeared in George Pal's production of H.G. Wells' The Time Machine as Dr. Hillyer. He was also the voice of Noah in the first recording of Igor Stravinsky's biblical "musical play" The Flood (1962). He did voice parts for animated films such as Disney's Jungle Book (1967) as Bagheera, The Sword In The Stone (1963) as Sir Pellinore, and the narrator of Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day (1968) and Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree (1966).
At about this time Cabot began taking on television work, appearing in such series as Along the Oregon Trail, The Adventures of Hiram Holliday, Checkmate (with co-stars Anthony George and Doug McClure), The Beachcomber, on Frank Lovejoy's detective series, Meet McGraw, and an appearance in The Twilight Zone episode "A Nice Place to Visit," as the white-suited, courtly provider of a vain but disillusioned man's every wish. He appeared with James Best in the 1959-1960 western series Pony Express in the episode entitled "The Story of Julesburg." Cabot was also a regular panelist on the TV game show Stump the Stars. He also appeared on the NBC interview program Here's Hollywood. In 1964, Cabot hosted the short-lived television series, Suspense, and voiced or narrated a few other film and television projects, before he was cast as Giles French in the CBS series Family Affair with Brian Keith and Kathy Garver. He also appeared in an episode of Bonanza circ 1960.
Cabot did not halt his other film and television work during the run of Family Affair; in fact, he took a leave of absence from the series at one point — (his stand-in: an actor often typecast as a butler or a detective - veteran British character actor John Williams, who played French's brother Nigel in Family Affair) and he worked well in voice roles (Bagheera in The Jungle Book; the narrator of Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day; the above mentioned Stravinsky recording; host of Journey to Midnight as well as the voice of Sir Ector in The Sword in the Stone (1963)). But he was so vivid as French that he never shook the image even after Family Affair finally ended production in 1971. He received another role as the host (Winston Essex) of Ghost Story, a supernatural anthology. Perhaps Cabot's most memorable role following the series' demise was in the television remake of Miracle on 34th Street.
Cabot appeared in another Christmas project, the television film The City That Forgot About Christmas (1974), and narrated two more Pooh projects, Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, Too! and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, before his death of a stroke in North Saanich, British Columbia, Canada, at age 59. He lived his final years near Sidney, British Columbia.
Cabot had a two-year stint as one of the three leads on Eric Ambler's 1960 detective show Checkmate, which co-starred Doug McClure. He also released an album of spoken recitations of songs by Bob Dylan, as Sebastian Cabot, actor/Bob Dylan, poet., in 1967. Two tracks from this album appear on the Rhino Records compilation Golden Throats: The Great Celebrity Sing Off.
In 1977, it was in his modest home in Deep Cove, near Victoria, British Columbia, where Cabot suffered a stroke - his second in three years. Cabot was taken to a Victoria Hospital, where he died on August 22, 1977 at the age of 59. He was survived by his wife Kathleen; his two daughters, Annette and Yvonne; and his son, Christopher Cabot. His great-niece, two great-great nephews and two great-great-great nephews and nieces live in Wales. Sebastian Cabot's cremated remains are buried in the urn garden in Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles, California, interred within yards of TV co-star Brian Keith.