Family & Companions
Actor David Selby was fondly remembered by legions of fans for his first major TV role, Quentin Collins, the tormented werewolf-turned-immortal, on the gothic daytime serial "Dark Shadows" (ABC, 1966-1971). Classically trained on the stage, he suddenly found himself in the midst of a true pop-culture phenomenon when he joined the cast of the supernatural-themed soap opera in 1968. After appearing in the second feature film based on the series, "Night of Dark Shadows" (1971), Selby went on to appear in the under-appreciated action comedy "The Super Cops" (1973). Sporadic TV guest appearances and supporting film roles proceeded for a time before he took on a leading role in the long-running primetime melodrama "Falcon Crest" (CBS, 1982-1990). Other film roles included a turn in the family sports comedy "D3: The Mighty Ducks" (1996), and appearances on such highly regarded series as "Mad Men" (AMC, 2006-15). He also lent strong support to a film that tapped into the cultural zeitgeist in "The Social Network" (2010). With a career spanning more than 40 years, Selby continued to deliver charismatic performances in both film and on television, usually tinted with a bit of darkness, but always undeniably human.
Born David Lynn Selby on Feb. 5, 1941 in Morgantown, WV to parents Clyde and Sarah, he left for New York City after graduating high school to pursue a career in the theater. It proved more daunting than the 17-year-old Selby had envisioned, and before long he returned home. Soon after, he enrolled at West Virginia University, where he first earned a Bachelors of Science degree, followed by a Masters in Theater. After graduating, he apprenticed at the Barter Theatre in Virginia, where his height landed him the role of Abraham Lincoln in three separate productions. Selby quickly picked up steady work in the theater, touring in a production of "The Impossible Years" in 1967 before landing his star-making role in "Dark Shadows" (ABC, 1966-1971) one year later. As Quentin Collins, the immortal former werewolf, Selby reveled in the malicious melodrama his character cooked up week after week, with his popularity soon rivaling that of the show's vampiric star Barnabas Collins (Jonathan Frid). Throughout his time on the serial, the actor continued to appear on stage, most notably in Sam Shepard's "The Unseen Hand" (1970) and in David Rabe's "Sticks and Bones" (1971). When the latter show moved to Broadway, it was without Selby who was contracted to star in "Night of Dark Shadows" (1971), a feature loosely based on the by then cancelled show.
His popularity on the rise, Selby was tapped to co-star as the neglectful husband of Barbra Streisand, a bored Manhattan housewife prone to flights of fantasy, in the forgettable comedy "Up the Sandbox" (1972). He next teamed with actor Ron Leibman for what should have been a star-making performance in "The Super Cops" (1973), based on the true story of two NYC beat cops whose overly-enthusiastic tactics earned them the nicknames "Batman & Robin." Selby returned to television with guest appearances on episodics such as "The Waltons" (CBS, 1972-1981) and "Police Woman" (NBC, 1974-78), in addition to a Broadway production of "The Heiress" in 1976. Selby began to make headway on both TV and in film; first with the miniseries "Washington: Behind Closed Doors" (ABC, 1977), a lavish production based on John Ehrlichman's fictionalized account of the Watergate crisis. Soon after, he was cast alongside Jason Robards and Richard Jordan in the big-budget adventure "Raise the Titanic" (1980), based on the best-selling novel by Clive Cussler. In 1982, he took on the role of villainous Michael Tyrone for the final season of the short-lived primetime soap opera "Flamingo Road" (NBC, 1980-82) before joining the cast the far more popular serial "Falcon Crest" (CBS, 1982-90). For eight seasons, Selby played the ruthless, yet charming businessman Richard Channing who often did battle with Jane Wyman's Angela, the matriarch of a powerful vineyard empire.
Selby landed one of his most cherished roles when he was cast as the father of the modern Olympics in "King of the Olympics: The Lives and Loves of Avery Brundage" (syndicated, 1988). As his once jet black hair turned silver, Selby found himself cast more than once as a stern father in such films as "Dying Young" (1991) and "White Squall" (1996). In a definite change of pace, he took on the role of a lawyer whose kinky proclivities inadvertently lead to his being kidnapped in the independent film "Headless Body in Topless Bar" (1996). Back on television, Selby played an intelligence operative in charge of a covert mercenary group in "S.O.F. Special Ops Force" (syndicated, 1997-99). He had a supporting role in the lackluster holiday comedy "Surviving Christmas" (2004) alongside stars Ben Affleck and James Gandolfini. Keeping busy, Selby appeared in two back-to-back made-for-TV schlock fests "Larva" (SyFy, 2005) and "The Black Hole" (SyFy, 2006), prior to making recurring appearances on the cable sexual drama series "Tell Me You Love Me" (HBO, 2007-08). Soon after, he nabbed a minor role in one of the most acclaimed motion pictures of the year - "The Social Network" (2010) - David Fincher's film chronicling Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's meteoric raise to power and prominence. That same year, Selby published a memoir My Shadowed Past, a reminiscence of his years on "Dark Shadows" - the gothic daytime melodrama that provided him with his start and a loyal fan base that stuck by him for decades.
Cast (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
At age 17, moved to NYC to pursue an acting career; quit after a short time and returned home to West Virginia
Three years after graduating from college, made decision to be an actor; joined the Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Virginia; played Abraham Lincoln in three different productions
Worked at the Cleveland Playhouse in productions of "The Tempest" and "The Hostage"
Joined cast of the ABC Gothic soap opera "Dark Shadows"
Co-starred opposite Jill Clayburgh in "The Devil's Disciple" at Stratford, Connecticut
Originated the role of a Vietnam veteran in the Off-Broadway premiere of David Rabe's "Sticks and Bones" at the Public Theatre; did not reprise role when it transferred to Broadway
Feature film debut in "Night of Dark Shadows", a horror film loosely inspired by the ABC serial
Chosen by Barbra Streisand to be her leading man in "Up the Sandbox!"
Co-starred with Ron Leibman as "The Super Cops"
Broadway debut as Morris Townsend opposite Jane Alexander in "The Heiress"
Primetime acting debut in an episode of "The Waltons"; portrayed an art teacher attracted to Mrs. Walton (Michael Learned)
Co-starred in the ABC miniseries "Washington: Behind Closed Doors"
Cast as the nefarious Michael Tyrone on the NBC primetime serial "Flamingo Road"
Last film for a decade, "Rich and Famous"
Reteamed with Jane Alexander to appear in a Boston production of "Hedda Gabler"
Starred in the title role of the syndicated miniseries "King of the Olympics: The Lives and Loves of Avery Brundage"
Returned to features as Campbell Scott's father in "Dying Young"
Co-starred in the NBC miniseries "Jackie Collins' 'Lady Boss'"
Starred opposite Kelly McGillis on the Washington, DC staging of "Much Ado About Nothing" at the Shakespeare Theatre
Starred in the L.A. production of Australian playwright David Williamson's "Money and Friends"
Had atypical screen role as a corporate lawyer with kinky sexual tastes in the independent feature "Headless Body in Topless Bar"
Cast as Jeremy Sisto's severe father in "White Squall"
Starred opposite Ellen Burtsyn in a Houston production of Eugene O'Neill's "Long Day's Journey Into Night"; repeated role at the Hartford Stage Company in Connecticut in 1999
Debut as playwright, "Lincoln & James", about a civil service worker at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC
Acted in the one-person stage drama "St. Nicholas" at the Hartford Stage (July)
Made guest appearance on "Ally McBeal" (Fox)