LOS ANGELES – “A Family Affair” follow-up is in the works.
Kathy Garver recently finished filming the first three episodes of “Aunt Cissy,” in which she will reprise her role as Cissy, whom she portrayed on the original series from 1966 to 1971.
The actress told Fox News that the new series follows Cissy after she grows up and has two kids. “They’re teenagers and she’s never been married. So what is she going to do with them?” she teased.
And the show will try to put a fresh spin on some of the most familiar names from the beloved sitcom. “It gives a wink and a nod to the original ‘Family Affair’ but it’s a stand-alone sitcom. Very funny with French who is the antithesis of the original Mr. French,” Garver says, referring to the bearded and burly family helper who was originally played by Sebastian Cabot. “His name is Carlo and he very handsome,” she adds, with an innocent giggle.
In this rendition, Garver says she is the female version of Uncle Bill (Brian Keith), aka Aunt Cissy and instead of the kids being 6, they’re 16 and 17.
Diane Brewster (second from left) tries to make friends with Anissa Jones, Kathy Garver, and Johnny Whitaker (left to right) in a scene from the TV series, “Family Affair.” 1967.
“And French is Spanish Latino and very hot!” she gushes. “He’s my live-in and I’m an actress and I live in Los Angeles. So we filmed it all here and I’ve got two best friends that are crazy and a couple kind of crazy next-door neighbors. So it’s like a whole ensemble, fun cast.”
The show will feature six episodes in its initial run and per Garver, will be coming out in the spring of 2020. “We’re editing right now,” she reveals, noting that there’s a lot of tension and a lot of fun that has already accrued in the first three episodes.
“It gives a wink and a nod to the original ‘Family Affair’ but it’s a stand-alone sitcom.”
— Kathy Garver
While the show is a spin on the original “Family Affair,” which Garner says is the perfect way to appease the fans that have been asking for a reboot, she explains that it can definitely stand on its own. “It appeals to a big demographic, which we’re really proud of,” she explains.
Garver looks back on her days on the original show fondly, adding that the children on the show, like herself, were all well cared for.
Johnny Whitaker and Kathy Garver of the original “Family Affair.”
“It was a very nice cast. Nobody was yelling or saying expletives at each other. And so there was kind of a calmness and Brian Keith was very calm and Mr. French, Sebastian Cabot, who was so English kept this all very proper in what we were doing,” she says.
The actress says she was one of the lucky ones to come out of her childhood acting experience with a smile on her face. “I think that you either have that the highs like Ron Howard and Brooke Shields or the lows of people who unfortunately have committed suicide or gotten into drugs,” she says, noting that while she has a glass of chardonnay every night, she has never touched narcotics.
“Also the ones that were able to survive and do well, their parents took care of their money. So when they were 18 they had money or when they quit the series and were in a very difficult tween-er position, they had money and a family to support them,” she adds.
Actress Kathy Garver arrives at the TV Land Awards in Universal City, Calif., in 2009. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic via Getty Images)
Garver says her parents were very supportive, and her mother saved every penny she made for her. “I went to college and I graduated from college and it was just kind of a given that they would, of course, save my money for me,” she says while attending the Hollywood Museum Celebrates the 55th Anniversary of “Gilligan’s Island” event.
The “Family Affair” star notes, however, that coming up as a child actor in today’s times seems a lot harder than she had it due to “all the psychological problems, which are worse today because on social media they say things like, “That was really horrible sweater that you wore on that show,’” she says.
The actress says that she’s found herself on social media and has definitely seen trolls in action. But she doesn’t let their comments bother her. “If anybody says anything horribly political or insulting, they’re just, ‘Adios.’ They are just de-friended immediately,” she stated.