Allan McKeown

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Allan McKeown
File:Allan McKeown.jpg
McKeown at the 1990 Emmy Awards
Born John McKeown
(1946-05-21)21 May 1946
London, England
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Los Angeles, California
Occupation Producer
Years active 1979–2013
Spouse(s) Tracey Ullman (m. 1983-2013; his death; 2 children)

John McKeown[1] better known as Allan McKeown (21 May 1946 – 24 December 2013) was an English UK and US television and stage producer.

Early life

John "Allan" McKeown was born in Ealing, London on 21 May 1946. His parents Edith (Humphries) McKeown and Victor Albert McKeown moved first to Hackney and then to Hainault in Essex. His father was the Clerk of Works at the new estate. Educated at Beal Grammar school in Ilford, he left early and became a trainee hairdresser at Vidal Sassoon in Bond Street. He was a figure in the London scene of the 1960s, and in 1966 he opened his own salon.

As a hairdresser, he worked on a number of films and TV shows, Sunday Night at the London Palladium and films Villain, Get Carter and XYZ.

Television producer

In 1969 he changed course and became a producer at James Garrett and Partners, at the time the largest TV commercials producer in the UK. He was appointed Managing Director shortly after joining.

He left to form a production company Witzend with Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais. Initially making commercials then the feature film Porridge. McKeown was the executive producer for Central Television's Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, with Clement and La Frenais as the show's main writers.[2]

He was one of the first independent television producers in the UK. McKeown not only produced in Britain with his company, WitzEnd, but also produced in the US for all of the networks.

In 1986, Witzend acquired Selectv, and in the process became a public company. The company grew as it added Alomo, a venture with writers Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran to its stable of production companies.

In 1990, McKeown was a founding member of the Meridian consortium. The consortium was awarded the ITV television franchise for the South East of England. McKeown was responsible for all of Meridian's comedy programming. In 1994 Selectv (the cable channel) was launched its programming, mainly programs produced by McKeown. In March 1996, McKeown accepted £51 million for SelecTV, now a broadcaster and a major supplier of television programs, from Pearson, the owner of the Financial Times.

McKeown returned to the US producing the HBO comedy series, Tracey Takes On... for wife, Tracey Ullman. The series won six Emmy Awards.

McKeown invested in the media launching web site, an international distribution web site. The company was sold in March 2000.

In 2007, McKeown launched Allan McKeown Presents, LLC.

McKeown produced the Indian comedy series, Mumbai Calling. He also produced wife Ullman's American sketch comedy series, Tracey Ullman's State of the Union (2008–10).


The success of the West End's Anyone For Denis?, and the Broadway show, The Big Love, McKeown turned his attention to theater full-time. He produced the massively successful Jerry Springer: The Opera, winning the Olivier Award for Best Musical. He also produced, Lennon, the musical based on the life of John Lennon.

Personal life

McKeown and Tracey Ullman married in 1983. They have two children and lived in both England and the United States. In 2006, McKeown and Ullman topped the "Wealthiest British Comedians" list, with an estimated net worth of £75 million.[3]


McKeown died on 24 December 2013 in Los Angeles, California, from prostate cancer.[4]






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External links