William B. Keene

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William B. Keene
William Bigby Keene

(1925-02-23)February 23, 1925
DiedJanuary 10, 2018(2018-01-10) (aged 92)
OccupationTelevision judge
Spouse(s)Patricia Margaret Danskin (m.1947-2015; her death)

William Bigby Keene (February 23, 1925 – January 10, 2018)[1] was a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge from 1965 to 1984.[1] He is perhaps best known as a judge in the reality series Divorce Court.[2] He also appeared as Judge Herman Keene in the episode "Whistle Stop" in the legal drama L.A. Law.

William Bigby Keene was born on February 23, 1925 in Youngstown, Ohio, the son of James and Effie Keene. During his judicial career he was originally assigned to the trial of Charles Manson but was later replaced after Manson filed an affidavit of prejudice. He later presided over the trial of serial killer William Bonin and sentenced him to death (Bonin was executed in 1996) Keene graduated from the UCLA School of Law in 1952,[1] where he was a member of the first graduating class. A 1986 People magazine profile of Keene mentioned that during his college years he was friends with Watergate figures H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman. He was in private practice of law for 11 years and was a deputy district attorney before being appointed to the municipal bench in 1963. During his judicial career he was a co-founder of the International Academy of Trial Judges.[2][3]

Keene was married to Patricia Margaret Danskin from 1947 to 2015, when she died of cancer. They had two children: Andy Keene and Kerry Keene Padilla and six grandchildren. Keene died on January 10, 2018 at the age of 92.[4]


  1. ^ a b c Regents of the University of California Biographies, K section University of California History digital archives, Retrieved on February 24th, 2014
  2. ^ a b William B. Keene: Judge on ‘Divorce Court’ in the 1980s, Metropolitan News-Enterprise, Retrieved on January 11, 2014.
  3. ^ "WILLIAM BIGBY KEENE". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  4. ^ http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/latimes/obituary.aspx?pid=174601778

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