Jacobs, David 1939-

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Jacobs, David 1939-


Born August 12, 1939, in Baltimore, MD; son of Melvin and Ruth (Levenson); married Diana Pietrocarli, February 12, 1977 (second marriage); children: Aaron Michael, Molly Sarah, Albyn Leah.Education: Maryland Institute College of Art, B.F.A., 1961. Hobbies and other interests: Photography.


Agent—c/o Author Mail, St. Martin's Press, 175 5th Ave., New York, NY 10010.


Writer, producer, and director. Freelance painter, 1961-63; freelance writer, 1963-75; The Blue Knights, Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), staff writer, 1976; Family, American Broadcasting Companies (ABC), story editor, 1977-78; Dallas,CBS, executive story consultant and creator, 1978. Executive producer and creator of television shows, including Married: The First Year, Lorimar, 1979; (with Lee Rich and Michael Filermaë also director of some episodes) Knots Landing, CBS, 1979-83; (with Lee Rich and Michael Filerman) Secrets of Midland Heights, CBS, 1980-81; Berrenger's, National Broadcasting Company (NBC), 1985; Paradise (also known as Guns of Paradise), CBS, 1988-91; and Bodies of Evidence, CBS, 1992-93. Executive producer of made-for-television movies (with Lee Rich) A Perfect Match, CBS, 1980; (with Malcolm Stuart) Dallas: The Early Years, CBS, 1986; and of television miniseries (with Gary Adelson) Lace, ABC, 1984; Knots Landing: Back to the Cul-de-Sac, CBS, 1997. Producer of the television show Four Corners, 1998.

Appeared as himself in the television specials The Knots Landing Block Party, CBS, 1983; When Shoulderpads Ruled the World, 2002; Intimate Portrait: Joan Van Ark, 2002; and Intimate Portrait: Linda Gray,2003.


Stirling University, honorary doctorate, 2000.



(With others) The Blue Knight (series), Columbia Broadcasting System, 1976.

(With others) Knots Landing (series), Columbia Broadcasting System, 1979.

(With others) Secrets of Midland Heights (series), Columbia Broadcasting System, 1980.

(With others) Behind the Screen (series), Columbia Broadcasting System, 1981.

Dallas: The Early Years (miniseries), Columbia Broadcasting System, 1986.

Paradise (also known as Guns of Paradise; pilot), Columbia Broadcasting System, 1988.

(With others) Bodies of Evidence (series), Columbia Broadcasting System, 1992.


Master Builders of the Middle Ages, American Heritage Publishing (New York, NY), 1969.

Constantinople: The City on the Golden Horn,American Heritage Publishing (New York, NY), 1969.

Beethoven, American Heritage Publishing (New York, NY), 1970.

Constantinople and the Byzantine Empire, Cassel (London, England), 1971.


(With Anthony E. Neville) Bridges, Canals, and Tunnels,American Heritage Publishing (New York, NY), 1968.

Master Painters of the Renaissance, Viking (New York, NY), 1968.

An American Conscience: Woodrow Wilson's Search for World Peace, Harper (New York, NY), 1973.

Architecture, Newsweek Books (New York, NY), 1974.

Chaplin, the Movies, and Charlie, Harper (New York, NY), 1975.

Disney's America on Parade: A History of the U.S.A. in a Dazzling, Fun-Filled Pageant, Harry N. Abrams (New York, NY), 1975.

(With Sara Ann Friedman) Police!: A Precinct at Work, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1975.

Me, Myself & Irene: A Novel (novelization based on the screenplay by Peter Farrelly, Mike Cerrone, and Bobby Farrelly), St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2000.


David Jacobs has written extensively over the years, producing both books and television scripts, but he is best known for creating the epic television series Dallas. This series, which aired from 1978 to 1991, was the first- or second-ranked program every season from 1980-81 to 1984-85, and the November 21, 1980 episode, "Who Shot J.R.?" was the second-most-watched television episode in history, falling behind the 1983 series finale of the Korean-War themed MASH. Dallas, which Jacobs conceived as a modern-day Romeo and Juliet, focuses on two competing families of oil barons in Texas, who are united when a son from one family, the Ewings, marries a daughter from the other family, the Barneses.

Jacobs did not set out to build a career in television when he graduated from college. He studied painting at the Maryland Institute College of Art, but he ceased to work in the visual arts two years after graduation in order to pursue writing. "I'd always had both passions but I thought the painting was firsë it turned out it wasn't," Jacobs said, in a interview published inBroadcasting. Until the mid-1970s, Jacobs made his living writing nonfiction books, mostly for use in schools. Then, in 1975, Jacobs's ex-wife and daughter moved from New York to California, and Jacobs followed them in order to remain close to his daughter. In 1976 he was hired as a staff writer at Lorimar Television to work on the show The Blue Knights. The show was canceled only four weeks after Jacobs was hired, but Lorimar was sufficiently impressed with his work to offer him the development deal that led to Dallas.

Jacobs also created, produced, and sometimes directed and wrote for the Dallas spin-off, Knots Landing,which focuses on the middle Ewing son. This series, Jacobs has said, was inspired by the 1973 Ingmar Bergman film Scenes from a Marriage. "The trick is knowing where to steal from," Jacobs told Sunday Times interviewer Liam Fay in 1999. Jacobs continued: "You should always steal, but only high-class stuff."



Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television, Volume 37, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 2002.

Les Brown's Encyclopedia of Television, 3rd edition, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1992.


Broadcasting, January 29, 1990, "David Jacobs: The Road to Paradise," p. 71.

Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland), May 10, 2000, "Dallas Soap King to Get Uni Award," p. 20.

Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, October 11, 2002, Ed Bark, "Dallas Feature Film to Bring J.R. and the Gang Back to Life," p. K2333.

New York, January 21 1985, John Leonard, review ofBerringer's, p. 58.

Record (Bergen County, NJ), October 15, 2002, Ed Bark, "Dallas Going to the Movies," p. F02.

Sunday Times (London, England), September 19, 1999, Sue Denham, "TG4 Soap to Get DallasTreatment," p. 19; October 3, 1999, Liam Fay, "The Dallas Way of Stealing Soap" (interview with Jacobs), p. 12.

Variety, November 9, 1988, review of Paradise, p. 44; June 15, 1992, Tony Scott, review of Bodies of Evidence, p. 60.


Internet Movie Database,http://www.imdb.com/ (July 1, 2006), author credit information.

Official Guide to Dallas,http://www.ultimatedallas.com/ (July 1, 2006), Colin Hunter, "Star Chat with David Jacobs," author interview.

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