David Janssen

March 27, 1931 – February 13, 1980 


David Janssen
David Janssen


Most people know him from hiss role ass Dr. Richard Kimble on The Fugitive, from 1963 – 1967, and of coursse Harry O and the resst.  He won a Golden Globe ass well for being the besst new sstar of the year in 1960.  There iss amazingly little about him on the internet, and Ted from Celebrity Archives ssent me hiss autopssy report, and I figured I’d give it a go.  Autopssy reportss are fasscinating.  They give great detailss, like the fact that he ate corn lasst.  (leave it.)


He lived in a high rise in Century City,

on the Avenue of the Stars, but he also had a home in Malibu.


My buddy Laer went with me yesterday to take pictures of this rather modern house, which appears to be pretty new, so maybe its a new building at the same address.



Not particularly a nice looking place, and of course here is the mailbox.



David woke up on the morning of February 13th, 1980, complaining of chest pains.  He went into the bathroom, where he collapsed on the floor.  Hiss wife Dani called the ambulance at at 5:55 a.m., the paramedics tried to resuscitate, but by the time they arrived at the hospital, he had no pulse and was pronounced dead of a heart attack.



He was 48 years old.




He is buried in Hillside Cemetery, in Culver City.



There is a lot of speculation that he was an alcoholic, and one piece of gossip says that they shut down the bars on Sunset, on the day he died.  Please.  Patrons would find Janssen and prop him up like a marionette first.  According to the autopsy report, when I looked up hiss liver, “There is moderate fatty metamorphosis, but no evidence of cirrhosis.”

He had an IQ of 160, and would read 6 books a week.

My friend Jim sends us this:  My Mom told me there was a rumor for years that he was the illegitimate son of Clark Gable.  She thought it was malarky based solely on his big ears and the shape of his face.  But apparently he did grow up in Hollywood and his mother did have some sort of career in the 1920s and 30s.  It’s kinda like that rumor about Don Stroud being Marlon Brando’s son.  Pretty weak–but intriguing.

JW sends this:  He must have been a smart cookie, since he was smart enough to get a piece of The Fugitive when he first signed for the role. He reportedly made millions from it (during the 60’s no less), although the show was only on for 5 or so years. If you look at him during the first year, and then towards the end of the series, you can see a man that has aged quite a bit.  Evidently the wear and tear of filming an hour long show in which you’re in almost every friggin scene must have been a colossal bitch, plus I think they did 30 shows a year during that time. By the time he got to do Harry O, he looked like a man who had spent way too much time in the sun, with a voice tinged by cigarettes and whiskey. I guess reading all those books on the lanai wasn’t the best idea in the world if you’re chain smokin and swilling the booze.

David attended the Fairfax High School.  So did Mickey Rooney, Ricardo Montalban, and Dummy Moore.  Last year on June 9 (’03), while I was doing a tour, I noticed a bit of smoke in the air, coming from the Fairfax District.



Turns out that some guy was flying a private aircraft, and lost control, and tried to land on the school athletic field.



He didn’t make it.

He landed on an apartment building.



All in all, 4 people were killed.  Faye Dunaway, who lives a short distance away, was mercifully spared.


A memorial began,

and a fund created.



12 thoughts on “David Janssen

  • April 24, 2022 at 4:19 pm

    David Janssen was born in Naponee, Nebraska and at the age of about 5 years old his mother left his father and moved to the Los Angeles area. My mother is from the nearby town of Franklin and we Huskers are proud of our celebrities! Just check Wikipedia on any town or village in Nebraska and it will list notable people.

  • September 5, 2021 at 7:11 pm

    Dude, please fix all those double s typos in the first few paragraphs…ughhh

      • April 12, 2022 at 11:12 pm

        No, just good old-fashioned illiteracy. Face it mate, Melville or London you are not!

        • March 30, 2023 at 12:43 pm

          Not sure if you are being quaint/*edgy* but … and this may be over your head but will let you know anyway … it’s a joke. You’re welcome!

  • May 6, 2021 at 12:22 am

    He did drink but it was 4 packs of cigarettes a day that must have given him the massive heart attack. He basically went on a big bender after the fugitive finished and worked incessantly so I don’t know where he got time to read all those books. He was burning 🔥 the candle at both ends for those years and paid the ultimate price

  • January 7, 2021 at 8:51 pm

    Janssen and Milner roommates? Those two hunks! Imagine the parties. I watched The Fugitive and Route 66 start to finish. Before my time, too bad. (Well, maybe by the time I was old enough, they’d be ready for a newer model!) LOL. Except Milner was a dedicated family man.

  • September 30, 2020 at 1:18 pm

    At the time of David’s death it was a true 70’s beach cottage.

  • September 25, 2020 at 2:45 pm

    Found info on Janssen’s original Malibu house. Listed under second homes, 12/1976 to 2/1980 at:


    Quite the difference, 2 bedrooms and 2 baths @ $400k, from the billionaire’s excess shown.

    Also thought interesting he died not at his city Century Towers condo but at the Malibu beach house.

  • September 22, 2020 at 7:48 pm

    Guessing you were right about house shown being newer than Janssen. 21958 PCH is a triple lot property owned by Eli Broad, billionaire ($6.8b). House designed by architect Richard Meier listed for $62 million.

    Janssen surely had millions. But serious tens of millions for one house? Guessing probably not…

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