Alice star Philip McKeon dies aged 55 following a long illness

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The older brother of Facts of Life star Nancy McKeon went on to work as an actor onstage and onscreen, and scored his big break in 1976, when he was tapped to play Tommy Hyatt on US sitcom Alice, based on Martin Scorsese's 1974 romantic comedy, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore.

Philip McKeon, the former TV child star best known for playing Tommy Hyatt on the CBS sitcom Alice, has passed away, according to a family spokesperson. He said more details about where and how McKeon died were withheld at his family's request. Fantasy Island and The Love Boat, in 1984 were some of the ABC shows he was also involved in. He acted in the films Ghoulies 4 and Return To Horror High.

Alongside the post, Sheen shared a black-and-white photo of himself with McKeon from "No Day at the Beach" - the episode of the 1980s NBC anthology series Amazing Stories that they starred in together.

"Shared some wonderful moments in the "trenches" with Phil McKeon many moons ago".

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"Over the past few decades, he was always a flawless gentleman and an ebullient spirit", Sheen wrote, adding that McKeon's goofy smile "was pure gold". "And his goofy af smile, was pure gold", said Sheen.

He is survived by his mother, Barbara, and his sister, actress Nancy McKeon. "R.i.p. young man. Much much too soon, you cut out". McKeon played Tommy opposite Linda Lavin as Alice from 1976 until 1985. For the last several years, he had been working as the host of his own radio show in Wimberly, Texas.

After he stopped acting, McKeon worked in the news department of a Los Angeles radio station for a decade.

The news came a month after Philip's famous sister Nancy wished him a happy 55th birthday to her 40K Instagram followers.