March 27, 1931 – February 13, 1980
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.