Tim Considine, one of the most popular young Disney actors of the 1950s before originating the role of the oldest brother on the 1960s sitcom My Three Sons, died Thursday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 81.
His death was announced by his son Christopher, and shared on Facebook by My Three Sons co-star Stanley Livingston, who played Chip Douglas to Considine’s Mike. “Tim and I have been friends for more than 70 years,” Livingston wrote, adding “He will be missed by all those who knew him. I love you Bro.”
Considine was already known to television audiences — particularly youngsters — by the time he was cast for the 1960 debut on ABC of My Three Sons. He had played Spin Evans on the mid-’50s Mickey Mouse Club serial “The Adventures of Spin and Marty,” and, later in the decade, Frank Hardy (to Tommy Kirk’s Joe Hardy) on the Club‘s “The Hardy Boys” serial.
He appeared in yet a third Club serial, “Annette” starring Annette Funicello, and in 1959 took on the big-screen role opposite his future My Three Sons castmate Fred MacMurray in Disney’s hit comedy The Shaggy Dog.
Considine was born on December 31, 1940, in Los Angeles into a show business family; his father, John W. Considine Jr., was the producer of such films as Boys Town and Young Tom Edison, and his mother was the daughter of theater magnate Alexander Pantages. He launched his own acting career at age 11 when he played the son of Red Skelton’s character in 1953’s feature film The Clown.
Other roles soon followed, both in film (Executive Suite starring William Holden and June Allyson) and television (The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, The Great Gildersleeve). Cast as a student in the 1954 Greer Garson feature Her Twelve MenConsidine met another young cast member named David Stollery, who the following year would portray Marty Markham to Considine’s Spin on the “Spin and Marty” serial.
His breakthrough to adult audiences arrived with My Three Sonsthe hit comedy that starred MacMurray as widower Steven Douglas and his trio of boys: Considine’s Mike, middle son Robbie (Don Grady) and youngest Chip (Livingston).
Considine chose to leave the series after its first five of its eventual 12 seasons (Livingston’s younger real-life brother Barry Livingston was recruited to play a newly adopted son, Ernie, to maintain the accuracy of the show’s title). He made guest appearances on TV shows throughout the 1960s (Bonanza, The Fugitive, Medical Center) and ’70s (Ironside, Gunsmoke, The Smith Family).
Considine featured prominently, if briefly, in the Oscar-winning 1970 film Patton, playing the role of a “shell-shocked” soldier who gets slapped across the face by George C. Scott’s unsympathetic Gen. George S. Patton in what is perhaps the movie’s most unshakably memorable scene.
Drifting away from acting in the ensuing decades — he had a cameo in Disney’s 2000 reboot The New Adventures of Spin and Marty — Considine devoted himself to writing, photography and his love of automobiles. He authored The Photographic Dictionary of Soccer (1979), The Language of Sport (1982), and American Grand Prix Racing: A Century of Drivers and Cars (1997), and occasionally filled in for William Safire in the “On Language” column in The New York Times Magazine.
In addition to his son Christopher, Considine is survived by wife, Willett; two grandchildren; sister Erin; and brother John Considine, an actor known for Another World, Santa Barbara and Murder, She Wroteamong other roles.