Kathy Garver

updated 11/28/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/28/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

DESPITE her big-sister bravado as Cissy on the late '60s series Family Affair, then-teenage Kathy Garver often found herself cowering, done in by fame itself. "I didn't know how to handle it," she says. "I became reclusive and afraid."

Even tougher, though, was the obscurity that followed. After the show's demise in 1971, Kathy's career de-escalated into regional theater stints and celebrity tennis tournaments. By the late '70s, Garver's blues had hit bottom. "My life seemed shallow," she recalls.

It would take love to lift her spirits. In 1981, Garver wed video executive David Travis; in 1991 she gave birth to son Reid. Now 45, Garver does commercial and cartoon voice-overs and is a vice president of Edutainment for Kids, an educational toy company started by a friend. Though she's sometimes nostalgic for her sitcom heyday, Garver prefers her private life today. "For the longest time, all I wished for was to have a baby, to make dinner and watch TV with my family," she says. "The other night I said to David, 'You know, this is all I ever wanted in my life.' "

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