David Janssen

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David Janssen
David Janssen Richard Kimble 1963.JPG
Janssen in The Fugitive (1963)
BornDavid Harold Meyer
(1931-03-27)March 27, 1931
Naponee, Franklin County
Nebraska, US
DiedFebruary 13, 1980(1980-02-13) (aged 48)
Malibu, California, U.S.
Cause of death
Heart attack
Resting place
Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in Culver City, California
OccupationAmerican film/television actor
songwriter
Years active1945–1980
Spouse(s)Ellie Graham (1958–1970)
Dani Crayne (1975–1980)
 
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David Janssen
David Janssen Richard Kimble 1963.JPG
Janssen in The Fugitive (1963)
BornDavid Harold Meyer
(1931-03-27)March 27, 1931
Naponee, Franklin County
Nebraska, US
DiedFebruary 13, 1980(1980-02-13) (aged 48)
Malibu, California, U.S.
Cause of death
Heart attack
Resting place
Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in Culver City, California
OccupationAmerican film/television actor
songwriter
Years active1945–1980
Spouse(s)Ellie Graham (1958–1970)
Dani Crayne (1975–1980)

David Janssen (March 27, 1931 – February 13, 1980) was an American film and television actor who is best known for his starring role as Dr. Richard Kimble in the television series The Fugitive (1963–1967). Janssen also had the title roles in three other series, Richard Diamond, Private Detective, Harry O and O'Hara, U.S. Treasury.

In 1996 TV Guide ranked him number 36 on its 50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time list.[1]

Early life[edit]

Janssen was born as David Harold Meyer in Naponee, a village in Franklin County in southern Nebraska, to Harold Edward Meyer, a banker (May 12, 1906 – November 4, 1990) and Berniece Graf (May 11, 1910 – November 26, 1995). Following his parents' divorce in 1935, his mother moved with five-year-old David to Los Angeles, California, and later married Eugene Janssen (February 18, 1918 – March 30, 1996) in 1940 in Los Angeles. Young David used his stepfather's name after he entered show business as a child.

While Janssen's birth father was Jewish, he was reared in the Lutheran faith of his mother, states biographer Michael Phelps.[2][3] He attended Fairfax High School in Los Angeles. His first film part was at the age of thirteen, and by the age of twenty-five he had appeared in twenty films and served two years as an enlisted man in the United States Army. During his Army days, Janssen became friends with fellow enlistees Martin Milner and Clint Eastwood while posted at Fort Ord, California.

Acting career[edit]

in TV series The Fugitive, 1963–1967 (final episode)

Janssen appeared in many television series before he landed programs of his own. In 1956, he and Peter Breck appeared in John Bromfield's syndicated series Sheriff of Cochise in the episode "The Turkey Farmers". Later, he guest starred on NBC's medical drama The Eleventh Hour in the role of Hal Kincaid in the 1962 episode "Make Me a Place", with series co-stars Wendell Corey and Jack Ging. He joined friend Martin Milner in a 1962 episode of Route 66 as the character Kamo in the episode "One Tiger to a Hill."

Janssen starred in four television series of his own:

At the time, the final episode of The Fugitive held the record for the greatest number of American homes with television sets to watch a series finale, at 72 percent in August 1967.

His films include To Hell and Back, the biography of Audie Murphy, who is considered the most decorated soldier in the military history of the United States; John Wayne's Vietnam war film The Green Berets; opposite Gregory Peck in the space story Marooned, in which Janssen played an astronaut sent to rescue three stranded men in space, and The Shoes of the Fisherman, as a television journalist in Rome reporting on the election of a new Pope (Anthony Quinn).

He starred as a Los Angeles police detective trying to clear himself in the killing of an apparently innocent doctor in the 1968 film Warning Shot.

Janssen played an alcoholic in the 1977 TV movie A Sensitive, Passionate Man, which co-starred Angie Dickinson and an engineer who devises an unbeatable system for blackjack in the 1978 made-for-TV movie Nowhere to Run, co-starring Stefanie Powers and Linda Evans. Janssen's impressively husky voice was used to good effect as the narrator for the TV mini-series Centennial (1978–79); he also appeared in the final episode.

Though Janssen's scenes were cut from the final release, he also appeared as a journalist in the film Inchon, which he accepted to work with Laurence Olivier who played General Douglas MacArthur.[4]

At the time of his death, Janssen had just begun filming a television movie playing the part of Father Damien, the priest who dedicated himself to the leper colony on the island of Molokai, Hawaii. The part was eventually reassigned to actor Ken Howard of the CBS series The White Shadow.

Personal life[edit]

In 1974

He was married twice. His first marriage was to Ellie Graham on August 23, 1958 in Las Vegas, Nevada. They divorced on August 25, 1970. From October 4, 1975 until his death, he was married to sometime actress and model Dani Crayne Greco.[5]

Death[edit]

Janssen died of a heart attack on the morning of February 13, 1980, at his home in Malibu, California, two days into the filming of Father Damien. Two days earlier, he told his wife, Dani, that he had a bad dream that he was being carried in a coffin following a heart attack.[6] He is interred at the Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in Culver City, California.

Filmography[edit]

Partial filmography[edit]

TV Movies[edit]

Television[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ TV Guide Guide to TV. Barnes and Noble. 2004. p. 596. ISBN 0-7607-5634-1. 
  2. ^ David Janssen – My Fugitive
  3. ^ Michael Phelps website
  4. ^ http://www.davidjanssen.net/chron17.htm. Retrieved June 30, 2012.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ Dani Greco was born Darlyne Danielle Swanson, December 25, 1934 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She was previously married to singer Buddy Greco from whom she was divorced in April 1974.
  6. ^ Ripley's Believe It or Not! 2010

External links[edit]