Philip McKeon Dead At 55, Former Child Actor & Brother Of ‘Facts Of Life’ Star Nancy Passes After Illness

Actress Nancy McKeon attends The Paley Center for Media's PaleyFest 2014 Fall TV Preview
Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images

Former child actor Philip McKeon has died at the age of 55. Known primarily for his role in the Linda Lavin show Alice, Philip is said to have passed away after a lengthy illness. He was not particularly prominent in the world of celebrities these days, but many remember him fondly from the roles he had as a child and a teenager.

While Philip had plenty of acting roles of his own, many also knew him as the older brother of Facts of Life actress Nancy McKeon. While Philip had distanced himself from the entertainment industry in later years, Nancy did Dancing with the Stars not long ago, partnering with Valentin Chmerkovskiy.

According to People, Philip died this morning. Family spokesman Jeff Ballard confirmed the former actor’s death, noting Philip’s loyalty, kindness, and sense of humor. Ballard added that Philip’s loved ones are devastated and thoroughly heartbroken.

Philip played the character of Tommy Hyatt on the long-running sitcom Alice. In addition to that series, which aired from 1976 through 1985, the actor appeared on shows such as CHiPs, Fantasy Island, and The Love Boat. His last acting roles were in the early ’90s, according to his IMDb page.

In addition to his numerous television and film roles, Philip worked on Broadway, also being a child model. In fact, it is said that Linda Lavin initially spotted him during a Broadway performance and hand-picked him to play her son, Tommy, in Alice.

After Alice, Philip worked in the news department of Los Angeles radio station KFWB for a decade. He then moved to Wimberly, Texas, and continued to work in the radio industry there.

Philip is survived by his sister, Nancy, and his mother, Barbara. Nancy posted about her brother semi-regularly on her Instagram page, sharing photos of the two together to honor National Sibling Day as well as his birthday.

Nancy doesn’t post on her Instagram page all that often. However, she did share a sweet Instagram tribute to Philip in honor of his birthday on November 11.

“A huge happy birthday to my big brother! It’s been a tough time lately… but as we’ve always said…we’ll get through it together… love you Dude,” wrote Nancy.

Some of Nancy’s Facts of Life co-stars added comments and birthday wishes for Philip. Mindy Cohen, Kim Fields, and Lisa Whelchel all noted their love for Nancy’s brother — and many of Nancy’s fans wished him a happy birthday, as well.

Nancy’s caption seems to touch upon the fact that her brother had been navigating some troubles, likely a reference to his illness. Little more about what led to Philip’s death has been publicly detailed at this point. Regardless, fans who remember him from his childhood acting days are mourning his passing.