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Tim Considine, who co-starred on the television serials The Adventures of Spin and Marty and The Hardy Boys before portraying the oldest brother on the first five seasons of My Three Sons, has died. He was 81.
Considine died Thursday in Los Angeles at his home in Mar Vista, his son, Christopher, told The Hollywood Reporter.
The second son of a prominent MGM producer, Considine made an impressive onscreen debut at age 12 when he portrayed the faithful son of a forlorn comedian (Red Skelton) in The Clown (1953). Years later, his character, a shell-shocked soldier, was called a coward and slapped by George C. Scott in the best picture winner Patton (1970).
He also wrote with his older brother, John Considine, a 1966 episode of NBC’s Tarzan, starring Ron Ely, that morphed into the 1970 feature Tarzan’s Deadly Silence.
Considine starred as the likable Spin Evans opposite David Stollery as spoiled rich kid Marty Markham on The Adventures of Spin and Marty. The series of shorts, set at a Western-style summer camp for boys called the Triple R Ranch, premiered as part of ABC’s The Mickey Mouse Club in November 1955.
In 1956 and ’57, Considine starred in two more sets of Spin and Marty serials and portrayed amateur sleuth Frank Hardy opposite Tommy Kirk as his younger brother, Joe, in The Hardy Boys: The Mystery of the Applegate Treasure and The Hardy Boys: The Mystery of the Ghost Farm.
After playing Buzz Miller, the rival of Kirk’s Wilby Daniels, in the Disney classic The Shaggy Dog (1959), Considine, then 19, reunited with Fred MacMurray to star as Mike Douglas on ABC’s My Three Sons. Don Grady and Stanley Livingston played his brothers, Robbie and Chip, respectively; all were being raised by their widowed dad, Steve (MacMurray), an aeronautical engineer.
In 1964, Considine — who had written two episodes of My Three Sons and directed another — told producers that he was quitting. “I gave them a year’s notice and told them I didn’t want to do it anymore,” he said in a 1997 interview. “I got along great with ’em, I loved them all, I was just tired of doing that. I wanted to move on.”
The heads-up gave the writers time to figure out how to keep the show’s title. When Mike marries Sally Ann Morrison (Meredith MacRae) and leaves town in the sixth-season opener, neighborhood kid Ernie Thompson, played by Barry Livingston (Stanley’s real-life younger brother), is adopted. Mike was never seen and rarely even mentioned on the show again.
Timothy Daniel Considine was born in 1940 on New Year’s Eve in Los Angeles. His father, John W. Considine Jr., was an MGM-based producer on the Oscar best picture nominees Broadway Melody of 1936 (1935)and Boys Town (1938); his mother, Carmen, was the daughter of theater tycoon Alexander Pantages. (Actress Marion Davies, the mistress of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, served as maid of honor at his parents’ wedding at L.A.’s Ambassador Hotel in 1932.)
He said Skelton had a huge influence on him as they worked on The Clown, a remake of the 1931 tearjerker The Champ, starring Jackie Cooper.
“I didn’t know anything about acting, I probably never did,” he said. “I was very intimidated by the whole deal. He just made me love him, and I really related to him as a father.”
In 1954 films, Considine played the son of William Holden and June Allyson’s characters in Robert Wise’s Executive Suite and was paired with Stollery for the first time in Greer Garson’s Her Twelve Men. He then read for a TV program called The Marty Markham Story, which was based on a 1942 book by Lawrence Edward Watkin.
“I got the part of Marty Markham. I didn’t want [to play him] because he was this snotty little rich kid,” he recalled in a 2010 interview. “I said I’d like to be this other guy who’s really cool in it, his friend Spin. My agent went back to Disney Studios and said my guy wants to do it, but only if you make Spin an equal-size part to Marty. And so it became Spin and Marty.”
Annette Funicello joined the cast of Further Adventures of Spin and Marty in 1956, and Considine and Stollery worked again with the beloved Mouseketeer on her own 1958 serial, Annette.
After My Three Sons — the series ran another seven seasons without him — Considine appeared on such shows as Bonanza, The Fugitive, Medical Center, Gunsmoke and The Smith Family and in the 1973 film The Daring Dobermans. He also showed up as the town mayor in 2000’s The New Adventures of Spin and Marty: Suspect Behavior.
He was named a Disney Legend in 2006.
An auto-racing aficionado, Considine stepped away from acting to concentrate on writing and photography, and his published books included 1979’s The Photographic Dictionary of Soccer, 1983’s The Language of Sport, 1997’s American Grand Prix Racing: A Century of Drivers & Cars and 2018’s Twice Around the Clock: The Yanks at Le Mans.
He also occasionally substituted for William Safire in the “On Language” column in The New York Times Magazine.
His brother John played the mean Reginald Love on the NBC soap opera Another World and co-wrote the Robert Altman film A Wedding (1978).
In addition to his son and brother, survivors include his wife, Willett, whom he married in 1979; his sister, Erin; and his grandchildren, Ethan and Tyler. He was married to actress Charlotte Stewart (Eraserhead, Miss Beadle on Little House on the Prairie) from 1965 until their 1969 divorce.
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