David Janssen

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David Janssen

Born

3/27/1931, Naponee, Nebraska, USA

Died

2/13/1980

Birth Name

David Harold Meyer

Gender

Male
9.5
out of 10
User Rating
44 votes

Biography

EDIT
Dark-haired (with distinctive high temples), gravel-voiced seldom-smiling American actor, is in show business as a child. After an apprenticeship at Universal, he became perhaps television's most successful actor ever, especially in the series Richard Diamond (1957-1959), The Fugitive (1963-1966), O'Hara, U.S. Treasury (1971, the movie sequel), and Harry…more

Credits

Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • David Janssen made training films for the American troops while serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.

    • David Janssen had three ribs broken (in a fight scene with Brian Keith) during the filming of Fear in a Desert City (the pilot episode of The Fugitive).

    • Instead receiving a salary for his role in The Fugitive, David Janssen negotiated a contract earning him ten percent of series' profits. By the time The Fugitive was finished Janssen had earned more than $4.5 million.

    • Though David Janssen was married twice, he had no children of his own. Nevertheless, there were stepchildren from both marriages.

    • Some of the pallbearers at David Janssen's funeral were Gene Kelly, Gregory Peck, Milton Berle, Richard Harris and Rod Stewart.

    • Between 1964 and 1976, David Janssen was on the cover of TV Guide eight times.

    • David Janssen's mother (Berniece Graf) was a teenage Miss Nebraska who also worked as a Ziegfeld Follies showgirl.

    • David Janssen was interred in the Hillside Memorial Cemetery at the Mausoleum, Memory Court in Culver City, California.

    • While serving in the U.S. Army, David Janssen became friends with Clint Eastwood and Martin Milner.

    • The producers at Twentieth Century-Fox didn't like 18-year-old David Janssen's big ears so they used rubber cement to pin them back. This didn't give the results they wanted, so they asked Janssen to have his ears altered surgically. He refused.

    • In 1944, David Janssen won the "Mr. Hollywood, Jr." Award at the Hollywood Bowl sponsored by Screen Children's Guild.

    • In 1966 David Janssen won the Golden Globe Award from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association as Best Actor in a Television Series for 1965 (The Fugitive).

    • David Janssen wrote the lyrics to the song "My Sensitive, Passionate Man" from the 1977 movie My Sensitive, Passionate Man.

    • David Janssen used his stepfather's name after he entered show business as a child.

    • David Janssen had gotten his first film part at age 13.

    • In 1961, David Janssen starred in an unsold pilot for a TV series called The Insider. Janssen played Hollywood agent Dan Castle and the series focused on his efforts to help his clients with their problems.

    • David Janssen's last film role was in Inchon (1981). However, his part was edited out of the film before it was released.

    • David Janssen won a contract with Universal Studios in 1951 and entered their Talent Program.

    • David Janssen was married twice. His first marriage was to Ellie Graham and lasted from 1958 until 1970. His second marriage was to Dani Crayne and lasted from 1975 until his death from a heart attack in 1980.

    • David Janssen was nominated three times for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Continued Performance By An Actor In A Leading Role In A Dramatic Series. Mr. Janssen's nominations were for his series The Fugative. He played the part of Dr. Richard Kimble. Mr. Janssen was also nominated for a Golden Globe twice for the same series and role. He won once in 1966.

    • David Janssen has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Mr. Janssen's star is for television and is located at 7011 Hollywood Blvd.

  • Quotes

    • David Janssen: (Referring to The Fugitive in a 1964 TV Guide interview) Production values contribute to the success of the series. Most shows would use some kind of model boat in a tank and that's exactly what it would come out looking like.

    • Thirty minutes after the final episode of The Fugitive aired, Janssen appeared on Joey Bishop's late night talk show with the following declaration:

      David Janssen: I killed her Joey. She talked too much.

    • (David Janssen reacts to producer Quinn Martin's critique of his mannerisms)

      Quinn Martin: I counted two bug-eyes, one ear tug, and one chin pull. Tired?

      David Janssen: You rat, you caught me.

    • David Janssen: (Referring to his role as Richard Kimble) It's difficult keeping the character fresh and reaching deeper into his character to find more things he can do."

    • David Janssen: I'm from Nebraska, and I feel guilty when I'm not working. If I'd stayed in the picture business, making two a year, sitting around the rest of the time, I'd go crazy.

    • David Janssen: (Reflecting on his life when he was young and unmarried) Most of my pay check went to my tailor, barber and masseur. I was less than responsible. I had no obligations except to my own pleasure.

    • David Janssen: (Responding in a TV Guide interview about his ulcer) Thinking causes ulcers… Thinking gets rid of ulcers. I thought mine away.

    • David Janssen: TV is my sleeping pill.

    • David Janssen: (in an interview about his nervousness before starting a film project) I start getting traumatic about a week before the starting date. I run around getting the decks cleared so I won't be bothered by external duties after a picture or a TV job begins. And the day before--like this--I'm a minor wreck.

    • David Janssen: (describing the roles he played in films as "The Agreer") The star of the picture would approach me and ask, "Don't you think so, Harry?" and I would answer, "I'm with you, Jack. I'll back you up all the way." Then I'd disappear.

SUBMIT REVIEW
  • David Janssen was an original. He had a sadness about him, even when he smiled. He had my heart the first time I laid eyes on him. Even though I was just a kid, he was everything I thought to be ideal in a man.moreless

    10
    I believe I have seen just about everything David Janssen has done. From the big screen to television, his talent has never waivered. His mysterious personna was a large part of his appeal, at least to this reviewer. Although being a 'baby-boomer', I became aware of David Janssen, in an early 1960's movie called "Dondi". The plot revolved around a small group of U.S. troops overseas, during the Christmas holiday. A bunch of misfits, they befriend an orphan they call "Dondi". In the beginning, it's a hilarious and touching game of hide-and-go-seek from their gruff and pure Army, commanding officer! However, upon receiving orders to ship home, they sadly believe that is the last they will ever see of their new little friend. (But, don't run for that extra box of Kleenex just yet!) "Dondi" has plans of his own! If you like heartwarming entertainment, this is a 'must-see'!moreless
  • A Likable Tough Guy

    9.5
    When I first saw David Janssen I wasn't impressed. He seemed too quiet and when he did speak, his voice was hushed. But I didn't write him off. I continued watching him. Once I got used to his personality, I began to see how versatile he was as an actor. He could play a mild-mannered doctor on the run (in the Fugitive) or a hardened private detective (in Harry O).



    He was popular with both men and women. Men liked him because he could be the macho tough guy, defeating the bad guys. Women liked his charm and gentle side, being able to stop and communicate with genuine concern.



    His personal vices of smoking and drinking caught up with him at the young age of 48 and he was gone, dead from a heart attack. Thankfully, through TV and movies, his legacy lives on.moreless
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