British TV and theater exec was married to Tracey Ullman
While working for Fox and Paramount in the U.S., he married singer and actress Ullman (pictured with him) in 1983. Together they won an Emmy for outstanding variety musicial comedy series for HBO’s “Tracey Takes On…” and later created “State of the Union” for Showtime.
McKeown was born in Ealing, England, and started his career as a hairdresser for clients including the Beatles, Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Caine and Richard Burton. He created hairstyles for ’60s films such as “If” and “Get Carter” before deciding to become a producer of commercials.
He joined James Garrett and Partners, then formed his own production company, Witzend, which produced the films “Porridge” and “To Russia With Elton” in addition to commercials.
Witzend grew into public company SelecTV, and in 1990 McKeown became a founding member of the Meridian consortium, which won the ITV television franchise for the southeast of England. McKeown sold his stake in SelecTV to Pearson in 1996.
One of the first independent TV producers in the U.K., he served as exec producer on shows for British TV including “Auf Wiedersehen Pet,” “Shine on Harvey Moon,” “Lovejoy” and “Birds of a Feather.”
McKeown later produced “Jerry Springer the Opera” at the National Theatre, which won the Olivier Award in 2004 for best new musical, and in 2005, he produced “Lennon the Musical” on Broadway with Yoko Ono.
He is survived by his wife Tracey, daughter Mabel and son Johnny.