Philip Keatley was born in Vancouver, B.C. on August 29th 1929. Following graduation from North Vancouver High School and North Shore College, he attended the University of British Columbia, achieving a double major in English and History, which included courses in Theatre history and dramatic practice. While attending UBC, he became actively involved in the Player's Club and began his lifelong passion for the arts. During the summers he worked as a waiter for the Union Steamship Company. He continued his education at the London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art, studying English acting styles and major theatre movement, and spent a time in what Philip himself referred to as "a fling", acting in London. His credits included radio drama roles with the BBC, and repertory theatre parts which involved travelling around Britain. Philip returned to Canada and specifically Vancouver, and quickly became immersed in local theatre productions at the newly created Frederic Wood Theatre.
By the end of the 1950's, CBC's newly connected network across Canada and the restrictions imposed on production by the tiny Georgia Street studio were conspiring to bring about the end of TV drama on the West Coast. In response to this inevitability, Philip Keatley, Len Lauk, Frank Goodship and others began to look at the feasibility of doing drama on film. Cariboo Country, produced and directed by Philip, was the first film drama series produced by CBC and shot on location in the areas where the stories were set - in this case up in the Chilcotin plateau west of the Fraser River. Twenty-five scripts were written for the series by Paul St. Pierre over a four-year period and the shows were managed by production assistant Bob Gray (the title "Production Manager" didn't exist then). The series, which aired from 1959 to 1967, had a special accomplishment - every First Nations' character was played by an aboriginal person, and there were many such roles in the course of the series. Among them was Chief Dan George, introduced to audiences in the character of "Ol' Antoine". The Television Archives' web page of the Museum of Broadcast Communications stated that, "Cariboo Country, one of the most imaginative, innovative and evocative series ever broadcast by the CBC, was a hybrid of anthology and series programming originating in Vancouver". Three hour-long specials were subsequently developed from the series - The Education of Phylistine, How to Break a Quarterhorse and Sister Balonika. Education and Quarterhorse were honoured with numerous international awards and a Canadian Film Award.
Philip Keatley passed away on August 6, 2007 following complications arising from respiratory problems.
Written by Peggy Oldfield - August, 2007« Previous Personality Bio | Next Personality Bio »
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