Apr 21, 2015

Philip McKeon after Alice

Philip McKeon was one of the biggest teen stars of the 1970s, mostly for his role as Tommy Hyatt, son of single mom Alice Hyatt (Linda Lavin) on Alice (1976-85), and also because he was the brother of Nancy McKeon, the tomboy Jo on The Facts of Life (1979-88).   But he had a respectable career in buddy-bonding and gay-vague roles, without Linda and Nancy around.

Born in 1964, the tall, grinning blond got his start as a child model at age 4, and soon moved on to television commercials and theater.  Linda Lavin saw him in Jason and Medea, a retelling of the Greek myth, and recommended him for Tommy.

While working on Alice, Phil did the usual Love Boat/ Fantasy Island guest shots, plus Leadfoot (1982), a cautionary tale about a teen who drives too fast, thus jeopardizing his life and that of his best friend Murph (played by fellow teen star Peter Barton).

In an episode of Amazing Stories (1986), Phil plays a World War II solder who is saved, along with other members of his platoon, by the outcast Arnold (Larry Spinack), who may have been a ghost. There's some glimmers of buddy bonding.

In Red Surf (1989), a drug dealer named True Blue (Phil) is busted by the police, talks too much, and draws the ire of crime boss Calavera (Rick Najera).  So his two buddies, Atilla (Doug Savant) and Remar (George Clooney) must rush to the rescue.

He also starred in a few horror movies before moving into direction (Edge of Nowhere, The Young Unknowns) and production, including Where the Day Takes You (with David Arquette as a bisexual prostitute), Teresa's Tattoo (with a full contingent of 1980s hunks, including Matt Adler, C. Thomas Howell, and Lou Diamond Philips),  Murder in the First, and The Jacket. 

Both Phil and Nancy McKeon have been the subject of gay rumors, but they haven't made any public statements.