David Selby's performance as Quentin Collins helped propel Dark Shadows to its highest ratings, during the 1897 storyline.
in: 305 episodes
# 646, December 16, 1968
# 1230, March 12, 1971
Morgantown, West Virginia; February 5, 1941
Official Website: DavidSelby.com
David Selby was born and raised in Morgantown, West Virginia, and
he attended West Virginia University, where he fell in love with
acting. He also fell in love with a fellow student, while doing
a summer stock production of Honey in the Rock in Beckley,
West Virginia, in 1961. He and Claudeis (Chip) Newman married in
The Selbys moved to New York after David landed the role of David
Merrick, a young writer, in six-month national tour of The Impossible
Years. Next were off-off-Broadway productions of For God
and Country and Mrs. Corrine, followed by Yes,
My Darling Daughter at the Equity Library Theatre.
David joined the cast of Dark Shadows, in an unusual role:
For his first several weeks on the show he didn't speak; he played
Quentin Collins, a silent, extremely menacing ghost who traumatized
youngsters Amy and David, and drove everyone out of Collinwood.
though, the actor got a chance to talk when the storyline was shifted
to the past again, to 1897, to explore Quentin's history.
the 1897 flashback, Dark Shadows shot to its highest ratings.
A merchandising blitz was launched, and David was among the cast
members at its center. His image was featured on bubble gum cards,
posters, and the covers of paperback books. One set of trading cards (Quentin
Postcards) featured no one but David. He even recorded a duet with
Nancy Barrett ("I Wanna Dance With You"), which was released
as a single in 1969. Click here to read more
about the DS collectibles.
When Jonathan Frid decided not to play Barnabas in the sequel to
House of Dark Shadows, the story was written to center
instead on Quentin Collins, and David made his movie debut in 1971
taking the lead role in Night of Dark Shadows.
More films followed, including Up the Sandbox (1972, starring
Barbra Streisand), Supercops (1974), Raise the Titanic
(1980), and Rich and Famous (1981, the final directorial
work by legendary George Cukor).
David has carved out an impressive stage career with many Broadway
appearances -- including Ghandi (1970), The Heiress (1976, with
Jane Alexander), The Eccentricities of a Nightingale (1976, with
Betsy Palmer), and I Won't Dance (1981, with DS day player
Other stage appearances include The Children's Hour, with
Joanne Woodward and Shirley Knight at the Berkshire Theatre Festival;
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, with Sandy Dennis; The Devil's
Disciple, with Jill Clayburgh at the American Shakespeare Festival;
and Much Ado About Nothing with Kelly McGillis at the Shakespeare
Theatre in Washington, D.C.
actor made his first West Coast TV appearance in 1974, as a charming
art teacher who tempted Olivia, the devoutly married matriarch of
The Waltons. Other guest-starring roles followed, including
parts on Police Woman, Kojak, and Family.
the 1977 mini-series Washington: Behind Closed Doors, David
played an amoral member of the U.S. President's staff -- "someone
you could actively dislike," he said. He enjoyed the chance
to stretch his "bad guy" acting muscles. Also in the cast
were Lara Parker and Thayer David.
one season, in 1981, David again got to play an evil character,
as the vengeful Michael Tyrone on the nighttime soap Flamingo
Road, costarring Morgan Fairchild and Mark Harmon.
creator Earl Hamner remembered the positive experience of working
with David on that show, so after Flamingo Road was canceled, Hamner
sought him out for a leading role in his already-established nighttime
soap, Falcon Crest. From 1982 to '90, David played power-hungry
Richard Channing, a scheming newspaper publisher constantly clashing
with his mother, Angela, played by movie veteran Jane Wyman. His
wife, Maggie, was played by DS alum Susan Sullivan (pictured below).
Selby family was still based in New York, but David was often in
California working in television and film. "They have a saying
in West Virginia, 'You have to go where the coal is'," he said.
Splitting his time between the coasts meant long separations from
his family, so in 1982, David, Chip, and their three children moved
hiatus from Falcon Crest, David played a character similar
to Richard Channing. He starred as the founder of the Olympic games
in King of the Olympics: The Lives and Loves of Avery Brundage,
a 1988 TV movie.
After Falcon Crest was canceled, David appeared in several
movies, including Dying Young (1991, with Julia Roberts
and Campbell Scott), White Squall (1996, directed by Ridley
Scott), and the Disney film D3: The Mighty Ducks (1997).
He had a memorable cameo in 2004's Surviving Christmas, starring Ben Affleck
and James Gandolfini.
1997 he starred in another TV series: Soldier of Fortune.
(The show's lead character, played by Brad Johnson, had a familiar
last name: Quentin.) His recent guest-star appearances have included
roles on Touched By An Angel (1998) and Ally McBeal
many years, David has been involved with L.A. Theatre Works, recording
classics before a live audience for National Public Radio. Among
his numerous appearances, he recreated his stage role in The
Perfectionist, starred in State of the Union with
Lindsey Crouse, and starred with Shirley Knight in Horton Foote's
Young Man from Atlanta. He also played Mitch in a BBC/Canadian Public
Radio recording of A Streetcar Named Desire, and was Captain
Queeg in The Caine Mutiny for NPR and the BBC. Other voice-acting
work includes the part of the Griffin in the award-winning animated
film The Griffin and the Minor Cannon for PBS.
is also a playwright: He has appeared in his self-penned Lincoln
and James at the Dark Shadows Festival and at several
other venues including West Virginia University. He also adapted
it into a screenplay. Lincoln and James is about the caretaker
of Abraham Lincoln's Washington, D.C., statue, who encounters the
spirit of the dead president. David also wrote Final Assault,
a play about the conflict between a coal mining company and environmentalists.
Writing talent runs in the Selby family: son Jamison wrote Return to Collinwood, a radio drama presented at the 2003. DS Festival (starring his dad and other original cast members). A recording of the drama was released on CD the following year.
and Chip formed Locust Grove Press to publish David's first book,
In and Out of the Shadows, featuring poetry he wrote and
photos from throughout his career. Next they released My Mother's
Autumn, David's poetry about his mother’s death. (It
was also released as an audio book on CD.) His most recent book
is another poetry collection, Happenstance.
DSO Exclusive Photo: David Selby on stage at the 2003 DS Festival, reprising the role of Quentin in his son's drama Return to Collinwood. Also pictured: costars Kathryn Leigh Scott and Nancy Barrett. See more.