Known for movies

Short Info

DiedFebruary 13, 1980, Malibu, California, United States
SpouseDani Crayne, Ellie Graham
MarkQuiet, low-key acting style
FactWas also a songwriter.

David Janssen was an American actor who is best known for his role as Dr. Richard Kimble in the television series The Fugitive. He was born on March 27, 1931 in Naponee, Nebraska, the only child of Berniece (née Zehner) and Harold Edward Janssen. His father was a lawyer and his mother was a schoolteacher. Janssen’s father died when he was four years old and his mother moved the family to Hollywood, California. Janssen attended Fairfax High School where he excelled in sports and was a member of the track team. After graduation, he enrolled at the University of California, Los Angeles on a track scholarship. However, he dropped out after one semester to pursue a career in acting.

Janssen began his acting career in the 1950s with guest starring roles on various television series. His first film role was in the 1956 film noir The Killer Is Loose. In 1963, he was cast as Dr. Richard Kimble in The Fugitive. The series ran for four seasons and ended in 1967. Janssen reprised his role in the 1993 film adaptation of The Fugitive. He also appeared in films such as The Green Berets (1968), Airport (1970), and The Swiss Conspiracy (1976).

In the 1980s, Janssen starred in the television series Harry O. He also had a recurring role on Magnum, P.I. as Jonathan Quayle Higgins III. Janssen’s final television appearance was in an episode of Diagnosis: Murder in 1996. He retired from acting after being diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Janssen died from the disease on February 13, 1980 at the age of 48.

During his career, Janssen appeared in over 50 films and television series. He was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama for his work on The Fugitive. Janssen had a net worth of $5 million at the time of his death.

General Info

Full NameDavid Janssen
DiedFebruary 13, 1980, Malibu, California, United States
Height1.83 m
ProfessionActor, Songwriter
EducationFairfax High School


SpouseDani Crayne, Ellie Graham
ParentsBerniece Graf, Harold Edward Meyer
SiblingsJill Janssen, Teri Janssen


AwardsGolden Globe Award for Best TV Star - Male
NominationsGolden Globe Award for Best New Star of the Year – Actor, Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Series, Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Dramatic Series
MoviesThe Green Berets, Hell to Eternity, Once Is Not Enough, Marooned, Birds of Prey, Warning Shot, Two-Minute Warning, The Shoes of the Fisherman, Macho Callahan, Nowhere to Run, Ring of Fire, The Swiss Conspiracy, Man-Trap, A Sensitive, Passionate Man, To Hell and Back, Moon of the Wolf, Inchon, Twenty...
TV ShowsCentennial, Harry O, O'Hara, U.S. Treasury, The Fugitive, Richard Diamond, Private Detective, Biography, The Word (US)

Social profile links


#Marks / Signs
1Deep, whiskey-tinged voice
2Quiet, low-key acting style


1[on Fred Silverman, ABC's programming chief, who canceled Harry O (1973) after two seasons] Silverman wanted more sex and violence in the show. I wanted more humor - more relationship between myself and Anthony Zerbe.
2[on high school athletics] I broke a cartilage in my left knee cap while pole vaulting. Calcium formed in my knee, and it is still very painful at times. As for being against athletics in high school - on the contrary, I'm all for it! We don't want to produce a generation of eggheads, do we?
3Good living I've learned, not inherited.
4[on Jack Webb, the producer of O'Hara, U.S. Treasury (1971)] Jack Webb marches to a drummer that is not my drummer.
5[on why he takes so many acting roles]: I have always considered myself basically unemployed. I'm from Nebraska and I feel guilty when I'm not working.
6[on his divorce from his first wife Ellie]: After 11 years of marriage I dived into what I considered a newfound freedom. I was working hard and playing hard. Flying my own plane to parties all over the country and down to Mexico, having what I thought was a great time. I participated in life on what might be considered the grand scale, before I decided I had one hangover too many, one party too many, one charted plane and 14 servants too many. Too many cars that I never got around to drive.
7TV is my sleeping pill.


1Close friend of Jerry Orbach, whom he met doing a stage play in Dayton, Ohio, during the summer of 1959. Janssen had the lead in Mister Roberts and Orbach appeared as the character Mannion.
2Younger half-brothers: Larry and Lee Meyer (twins born in 1942).
3Quinn Martin's eulogy for David Janssen on February 17, 1980: He was a true professional, a superstar.
4Patrick Macnee on David Janssen: The best television actor by far of anybody was David Janssen.
5On ice skates, David Janssen hosted "Highlights of the Ice Capades" (NBC-TV, Nov. 4, 1970).
6Was also a songwriter.
7Linda Evans on David Janssen: I never met anyone who didn't adore David. To this day I still miss that guy; he was one of a kind. (from Evans' 2011 memoir "Recipes for Life").
8Linda Evans, his costar in Harry O: Guardian at the Gates (1974), and Jean Seberg, his costar in Macho Callahan (1970), both have said that David Janssen was their moms' favorite actor.
9Advised Farrah Fawcett to turn down Charlie's Angels (1976).
1018-year old David held a 3-year-old Cher when her mother Georgia Holt couldn't get a babysitter while filming a watch commercial.
11Was a voracious reader. He'd buy two copies of whatever book he wanted to read, one for his home in L.A. and one for his home in Palm Springs.
12He was against the Vietnam War, although his involvement in The Green Berets (1968) caused many to think he supported US involvement in the conflict.
13David was the son of Berniece Mae (Graf) and Harold Edward Meyer. He took on the surname of his stepfather, Eugene Janssen. His paternal grandparents were William Meyer and Myra Angela Wert. His maternal grandparents were Werner Daniel Graf and Verna Eliza Waggoner. His ancestry was German, and some Swiss-German and Scottish-Irish.
14Contributed a turkey pot pie recipe to Diana Millay's cookbook "I'd Rather Eat Than Act." Diana Millay was his co-star in Target: The Corruptors: The Middle Man (1962).
15Frank Liberman, a veteran Hollywood publicist who had many famous clients, represented David Janssen for 16 years and has cited Janssen as one of his favorite clients: "He was wonderful. He was one of the brightest men I've ever known. Very articulate.".
16Excelled at basketball in high school.
17Pallbearers at his funeral on February 17, 1980 included Rod Stewart, Gregory Peck, Gene Kelly, Richard Harris, Milton Berle, Linda Evans's husband Stan Herman, and Suzanne Pleshette's husband Tom Gallagher.
18He did a lot of his own flying in Birds of Prey (1973) (Flying Magazine, June 1988, p.30).
19Angie Dickinson on David Janssen: He was a great gentleman, a great date, and a great love. [Vanity Fair, December 31, 2007].
20Deborah Raffin on David Janssen: I was frightened by his rough, tough image. He's totally different, sensitive, considerate, a true gentleman. (The Indianapolis Star, July 26, 1975, p. 14).
21He was a top track star at school.
22Called his highly successful TV series "The Fuge.".
23Worked frequently for Dick Powell on TV.
24Made 21 TV movies, which includes two mini-series.
25A close friend of Richard Harris, who was so upset by Janssen's death that he sat outside a cathedral in New York for hours in the snow upon hearing the news.
26Was close friends with Stuart Whitman.
27Best remembered by the public for his starring role as Dr. Richard Kimble on The Fugitive (1963).
28As a contract player at Universal-International in the 1950s, he attended Universal's acting classes with a fellow Universal contractee, Clint Eastwood. The two became friends, and Eastwood is still friends with Janssen's widow, Dani.
29Mother, Berniece Janssen.
30His last role was in the film Inchon (1981). Even though he died before the movie was completed, his part was not deleted (this was a widespread rumor).
31Brother of Teri Janssen and Jill Janssen.
32Twisted his right knee in 1948 while pole vaulting for reporters from the Hollywood Citizen News.
33He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, only about a block away from the Chinese Theater. When it was placed there, it was in front of David's favorite ice cream shops as a child. The star dedication was on his mother's birthday in 1989.
34His mother and both of his sisters appeared as extras in The Fugitive (1963).
35Born at 10:00am-CST.




Inchon1981David Feld
City in Fear1980TV MovieVince Perrino
High Ice1980TV MovieGlencoe MacDonald
The Golden Gate Murders1979TV MovieDet. Sgt. Paul Silver
S.O.S. Titanic1979TV MovieJohn Jacob Astor
Centennial1978-1979TV Mini-SeriesPaul Garrett / Narrator
Biography1979TV SeriesHost
The Word1978TV Mini-SeriesSteve Randall
Covert Action1978Lester Horton
Nowhere to Run1978TV MovieHarry Adams
Superdome1978TV MovieMike Shelley
Golden Rendezvous1977Charles Conway
Police Story1977TV SeriesSgt. Joe Wilson
A Sensitive, Passionate Man1977TV MovieMichael Delaney
Warhead1977Tony Stevens
Mayday at 40,000 Feet!1976TV MovieCaptain Pete Douglass
Two-Minute Warning1976Steve
Stalk the Wild Child1976TV MovieDr. James Hazard
Harry O1973-1976TV SeriesHarry Orwell
The Swiss Conspiracy1976David Christopher
Once Is Not Enough1975Tom Colt
Fer-de-Lance1974TV MovieRuss Bogan
Smile Jenny, You're Dead1974TV MovieHarry Orwell
Little Boy Lost1974ShortEddie Loman
Pioneer Woman1973TV MovieRobert Douglas
Hijack!1973TV MovieJake Wilkenson
Cannon1973TV SeriesIan Kirk
Birds of Prey1973TV MovieHarry Walker
Moon of the Wolf1972TV MovieSheriff Aaron Whitaker
The Longest Night1972TV MovieAlan Chambers
Night Chase1970TV MovieAdrian Vico
Macho Callahan1970Diego Callahan
Generation1969Jim Bolton
Marooned1969Ted Dougherty
Where It's At1969A.C.
The Shoes of the Fisherman1968/IGeorge Faber
The Green Berets1968George Beckworth
The Fugitive1963-1967TV SeriesDr. Richard Kimble / Thomas Barrett / Steve Carver / ...
Warning Shot1967Sgt. Tom Valens
My Six Loves1963Marty Bliss
Naked City1961-1963TV SeriesCarl Ashland / Blair Cameron
The Dick Powell Theatre1963TV SeriesKenneth 'Ken' Morgan
The Fugitive1963TV MovieDr. Richard Kimble / James Lincoln
The Eleventh Hour1962TV SeriesHal Kincaid
Route 661962TV SeriesKarno Starling
Kraft Mystery Theater1962TV Series
Belle Sommers1962TV MovieDanny Castle
Cain's Hundred1962TV SeriesDan Mullin
Checkmate1962TV SeriesLen Kobalsky
Follow the Sun1962TV SeriesJohnny Sadowsky
General Electric Theater1962TV SeriesPat Howard
Target: The Corruptors1962TV SeriesRobbie Wilson
Adventures in Paradise1961TV SeriesScotty Bell
Man-Trap1961Vince Biskay
Twenty Plus Two1961Tom Alder
Ring of Fire1961Sergeant Steve Walsh
King of the Roaring 20's: The Story of Arnold Rothstein1961Arnold Rothstein
Death Valley Days1961TV SeriesDr. Bill Breckenridge
Richard Diamond, Private Detective1957-1960TV SeriesRichard Diamond / Chuck Garrett
Hell to Eternity1960Sgt. Bill Hazen
Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse1959TV SeriesRoss Ingraham
Zane Grey Theater1957-1959TV SeriesDix Porter / Seth Larker / Tod Owen / ...
The Millionaire1957-1958TV SeriesDavid Barrett / Peter Miller
Alcoa Theatre1957-1958TV SeriesJim McCandless / Mike Harper
Lafayette Escadrille1958Duke Sinclair
You Are There1957TV SeriesGrat Dalton
Conflict1957TV SeriesSid Lukes
The Girl He Left Behind1956Capt. Genaro
Showdown at Abilene1956Verne Ward
Mr. Black Magic1956ShortMaster of Ceremonies
The Sheriff of Cochise1956TV SeriesArnie Hix
Away All Boats1956Talker (uncredited)
Matinee Theatre1956TV SeriesPaul Merrick
Francis in the Haunted House1956Police Lieutenant Hopkins
The Toy Tiger1956Larry Tripps
Lux Video Theatre1955-1956TV SeriesJohnny Reynolds Jr. / Joe Davies / Ralph
Never Say Goodbye1956Dave Heller
The Square Jungle1955Jack Lindsay
The Nat 'King' Cole Musical Story1955ShortNarrator (uncredited)
All That Heaven Allows1955Freddie Norton (uncredited)
To Hell and Back1955Lieutenant Lee
The Private War of Major Benson1955Young Lieutenant
Francis in the Navy1955Lt. Anders
Cult of the Cobra1955Rico Nardi
Chief Crazy Horse1955Lt. Colin Cartwright
Leave It to Harry1954ShortQuiz Show Host
Back at the Front1952Soldier (uncredited)
Yankee Buccaneer1952Beckett
Bonzo Goes to College1952Jack (uncredited)
Untamed Frontier1952Lottie's Dance Partner (uncredited)
Francis Goes to West Point1952Cpl. Thomas (as Dave Janssen)
No Room for the Groom1952Soldier (scenes deleted)
Boston Blackie1951TV SeriesArmored Car Driver
Swamp Fire1946Emile's Eldest Son (uncredited)
It's a Pleasure1945Davey / boy referee (uncredited)
Crusade of YouthShort

Sound Department

All That Heaven Allows1955looping - uncredited
To Hell and Back1955looping - uncredited
The Private War of Major Benson1955looping - uncredited
There's Always Tomorrow1955looping - uncredited
The Shrike1955looping - uncredited
The Purple Mask1955looping - uncredited
The Girl He Left Behind1956looping - uncredited
Pillars of the Sky1956looping - uncredited
Showdown at Abilene1956looping - uncredited
The Kettles in the Ozarks1956looping - uncredited
World in My Corner1956looping - uncredited
The Second Greatest Sex1955looping - uncredited
Kiss of Fire1955looping - uncredited


Lady Godiva of Coventry1955voice dubbing - uncredited
Francis in the Navy1955voice dubbing - uncredited
The Man from Bitter Ridge1955voice dubbing - uncredited
Revenge of the Creature1955voice dubbing - uncredited
Man Without a Star1955voice dubbing - uncredited
Smoke Signal1955voice dubbing - uncredited


A Sensitive, Passionate Man1977TV Movie lyrics: "My Sensitive, Passionate Man"


Father Damien: The Leper Priest1980TV Movie dedicatee


The 30th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards1978TV SpecialHimself - Presenter: Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series
TV: The Fabulous Fifties1978TV MovieHimself - Host of Action Segment
AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Bette Davis1977TV Special documentaryHimself (uncredited)
Circus of the Stars1977TV Special documentaryHimself - Performer
Dinah!1975-1976TV SeriesHimself
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson1965-1976TV SeriesHimself - Guest / Himself / Man in Film Clip
The Mike Douglas Show1975-1976TV SeriesHimself - Co-Host / Himself - Actor / Himself
Joys1976TV SpecialHimself
The Annual National Sports Awards1975TV SpecialHimself - Presenter
The Bob Hope Show1964-1975TV SeriesHimself
The Merv Griffin Show1966-1975TV SeriesHimself
Selling with Success1974Documentary shortHimself - Host / Narrator
AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to John Ford1973TV Special documentaryHimself
Hollywood's Talking1973TV SeriesHimself
The 29th Annual Golden Globe Awards1972TV SpecialHimself
The Kraft Music Hall1970TV SeriesHimself
Dinah's Place1970TV SeriesHimself
The Tim Conway Comedy Hour1970TV SeriesHimself
The Dean Martin Show1968-1969TV SeriesHimself
The Movie Game1969TV SeriesHimself
Monsanto Night Presents Lena Horne1969TV MovieHimself
The Joey Bishop Show1967-1969TV SeriesHimself
Laugh-In1969TV SeriesHimself
The Shoes of the Fisherman1968/IIDocumentary shortHimself (uncredited)
The Donald O'Connor Show1968TV SeriesHimself
The Don Rickles Show1968TV SeriesHimself
Your All-American College Show1968TV SeriesHimself - Presenter
The Moviemakers1968/IIDocumentary shortHimself
Cinema1967TV Series documentaryHimself
The Hollywood Palace1965TV SeriesHimself - Host
The 34th Annual Academy Awards1962TV SpecialHimself - Audience Member
The New March of Dimes Presents: The Scene Stealers1962TV SpecialHimself
Here's Hollywood1961TV SeriesHimself
About Faces1960TV SeriesHimself
The Arthur Murray Party1959TV SeriesHimself
The Juke Box Jury1958TV SeriesHimself
This Is AmericaDocumentary short

Archive Footage

The Sixties2014TV Mini-Series documentaryDr. Richard Kimble - The Fugitive
Moguls & Movie Stars: A History of Hollywood2010TV Mini-Series documentaryGeorge Beckworth
La imagen de tu vida2006TV SeriesDr. Richard Kimble
Svengoolie1997TV SeriesRico Nardi
Biography1995TV Series documentaryHimself
Texaco Presents: A Quarter Century of Bob Hope on Television1975TV SpecialHimself
The Hollywood Palace1970TV SeriesHimself
Frontier Justice1958-1961TV SeriesDanny Ensign


Won Awards

1989Star on the Walk of FameWalk of FameTelevisionOn 1 May 1989. At 7011 Hollywood Blvd.
1974Bronze WranglerWestern Heritage AwardsFictional Television DramaPioneer Woman (1973)
1967Audience CameraGolden Camera, GermanyThis year asking for the favorite foreign language TV series star.
1967Most Popular Male StarPhotoplay Awards
1966Golden GlobeGolden Globes, USABest TV Star - MaleThe Fugitive (1963)
1961Golden LaurelLaurel AwardsTop Male New Personality

Nominated Awards

1967Primetime EmmyPrimetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Dramatic SeriesThe Fugitive (1963)
1966Primetime EmmyPrimetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Dramatic SeriesThe Fugitive (1963)
1965Golden GlobeGolden Globes, USABest TV Star - MaleThe Fugitive (1963)
1964Primetime EmmyPrimetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Series (Lead)The Fugitive (1963)
1963Golden AppleGolden Apple AwardsMost Cooperative Actor
1961Golden GlobeGolden Globes, USAMost Promising Newcomer - MaleHell to Eternity (1960)

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

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