Birney, David 1939–

views updated

BIRNEY, David 1939–


Full name, David Edwin Birney; born April 23, 1939, in Washington, DC; son of Edwin B. (a special agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation) and Jeanne (maiden name, McGee) Birney; married Joan Concannon, 1961 (divorced); married Meredith Baxter (an actress), April 10, 1974 (divorced, 1989); children: (second marriage) Kathleen Jeanne, Peter David Edwin and Mollie Elizabeth (twins). Education: Dartmouth College, B.A. (with high distinction), English, 1961; University of California, Los Angeles, M.A., theatre arts, 1963. Avocational Interests: Skiing, sailing, poetry, literature, music, running.


Agent—Bret Adams Ltd., 448 West 44th St., New York, NY 10036.


Actor and director. Dartmouth College, Dartmouth, NH, visiting professor of drama, 1980, board of overseers, Hopkins Center for the Arts, 1986–87; Repertoire Theatre of Lincoln Center, New York City, member of company. Military service: U.S. Army, 1963–65.


Actors' Equity Association, Screen Actors Guild, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, National Endowment for the Arts, National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, California Confederation of the Arts, Players Club, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, March of Dimes '85, American Diabetes Association (co–chairperson, 1986–91), American Lung Association; U.S. Ski Team.

Awards, Honors:

Barter Theatre Award, 1965; Theatre World Award and Clarence Derwent Award, 1968, both for Summertree; Buffalo–Courier Express Award, 1972, for Romeo and Juliet; Photoplay Magazine Award, most promising newcomer, 1973, Sixteen Magazine Award, 1973, both for Bridget Loves Bernie; Los Angeles Weekly Award, best director, 1980, for A Life in the Theatre. Honorary degrees: Doctor of Humanities, Southern Utah State University, 1987.


Stage Appearances:

(Stage debut) Simon, Hay Fever, Barter Theatre, Abingdon, VA, 1965.

Streetsinger, Threepenny Opera, Barter Theatre, 1965.

Damis, Tartuffe, Barter Theatre, 1965.

Narrator, Pictures in the Hallway, Barter Theatre, 1965.

Cristoforov, The Public Eye, Barter Theatre, 1965.

Tolar, The Knack, Barter Theatre, 1965.

Never Too Late, Barter Theatre, 1965.

Algernon, The Importance of Being Earnest, Barter Theatre, 1966.

Orsino, Twelfth Night, Barter Theatre, 1966.

Tony, You Can't Take It with You, Barter Theatre, 1966.

Deschamps, Poor Bitos, Hartford Stage Company, Hartford, CT, 1966.

Fedotik, The Three Sisters, Hartford Stage Company, 1966.

Clov, Endgame, Hartford Stage Company, 1966.

Chorus, Under the Gaslight, Hartford Stage Company, 1967.

DiNolli, Enrico IV, Hartford Stage Company, 1967.

Silvio, Servant of Two Masters, Hartford Stage Company, 1967.

(Off–Broadway debut) Antipholus of Syracuse, The Comedy of Errors, Delacorte Theatre, 1967.

Dauphin, King John, Delacorte Theatre, 1967.

Chiron, Titus Andronicus, Delacorte Theatre, 1967.

Chorus, Egg of Head, MacBird, Village Gate Theatre, New York City, 1967.

Edmund, Ceremony of Innocence, American Place Theatre, New York City, 1968.

Young man, Summertree, Forum Theatre, New York City, 1968.

Wilson, "The Ruffian on the Stair," Kenny, "The Erpingham Camp," Crimes of Passion, Astor Place Theatre, New York City, 1969, then University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, 1969.

Cleante, The Miser, Vivian Beaumont Theatre, New York City, 1969.

Andocides, The Long War, Triangle Theatre, New York City, 1969.

Title role, Hamlet, University of Pennsylvania, 1970.

Yang Sun, The Good Woman of Setzuan, Vivian Beaumont Theatre, 1970.

Christy Mahan, The Playboy of the Western World, Vivian Beaumont Theatre, 1970.

Mars and Haemon, Antigone, Vivian Beaumont Theatre, 1970.

Jan and Hovstad, An Enemy of the People, Vivian Beaumont Theatre, 1970.

Adolphus Cusins, Major Barbara, Mark Taper Forum, Los Angeles, 1971.

Mercutio, Romeo and Juliet, Arena Stage, Buffalo, NY, 1972.

Valentine, You Never Can Tell, Arlington Park Theatre, Chicago, IL, 1973.

Romeo, Romeo and Juliet, American Shakespeare Festival, Stratford, CT, 1974.

King Arthur, Camelot, St. Louis Municipal Opera, St. Louis, MO, 1975.

Kentridge, The Biko Inquest, Mark Taper Forum, 1979.

Title role, Richard III, Hopkins Center, Dartmouth College, Dartmouth, NH, 1980.

(Broadway debut) Antonio Salieri, Amadeus, Broadhurst Theatre, 1983.

Title role, Hamlet, Solvang Theatre Festival, Solvang, CA, 1985.

David, Benefactors, Brooks Atkinson Theatre, New York City, 1986.

Adam, Diaries of Adam and Eve, Hopkins Center, 1987.

John Tanner, Man and Superman, Union Square Theatre, New York City, 1987–88.

Also appeared in Much Ado About Nothing; Love Letters; as Higgins, My Fair Lady; Gary, Present Laughter; title role, Richard II; title role, Macbeth, Orange County, CA.

Major Tours:

Brecht and Strindberg, Strolling Players Company, U.S. cities, 1967.

Sky Masterson, Guys and Dolls, U.S. cities, 1973.

Henry Higgins, My Fair Lady, U.S. cities, 1979.

Matt Friedman, Talley's Folly, U.S. cities, 1981.

Stage Director:

The Zoo Story, Barter Theatre, Abingdon, VA, 1965.

Yanks 3, Detroit 0, Top of the Seventh, American Shakespeare Festival, Stratford, CT, 1974.

A Life in the Theatre, Matrix Theatre, Los Angeles, 1980.

The Sorrow of Stephen, Dartmouth Repertory Theatre, Dartmouth, NH, 1980.

Diaries of Adam and Eve, Hopkins Center, Dartmouth College, Dartmouth, NH, 1987.

Film Appearances:

(Film debut) Neil Bowman, Caravan to Vaccares (also known as Le passager), Rank, 1974.

Sir John Gifford, Trial by Combat (also known as A Choice of Arms, Choice of Weapons, and Dirty Knight's Work), Warner Bros., 1976.

Frank, Good Bye, See You Monday (also known as Au revoir, a lundi; Bye, See You Monday; and See You Monday), 1979.

Don Richards, Oh God! Book II, Warner Bros., 1980.

Title role, Richard II, 1982.

Larry Turner, Prettykill (also known as Tomorrow's a Killer), Lorimar, 1986.

Aton, Nightfall, Concorde, 1988.

Senator Scanzano, Touch and Die (also known as Chi tocca muore), 1991.

Fed #2, The Naked Truth, 1992.

The duke, The Comedy of Errors, 2000.

Television Appearances; Series:

(Television debut) Second Mark Elliot, Love Is a Many Splendored Thing, CBS, 1968–69.

Oliver Harrell, A World Apart, ABC, 1970–71.

Bernie Steinberg, Bridget Loves Bernie, CBS, 1972–73.

Officer Frank Serpico (title role), Serpico, NBC, 1976–77.

Dr. Ben Samuels, St. Elsewhere, NBC, 1982–83.

Sam Dillon, Glitter, ABC, 1984.

Host, Beyond 2000, 1986.

Host, The Great American TV Poll, Lifetime, 1991.

Harry Chandler Moore, Live Shot, UPN, 1995.

Television Appearances; Miniseries:

John Quincy Adams (age 36–48), The Adams Chronicles, PBS, 1976.

Jonathan Ferrier, Testimony of Two Men, syndicated, 1977.

Daniel, "Daniel in the Lion's Den," The Bible (also known as Greatest Heroes of the Bible), NBC, 1978.

David, Master of the Game, CBS, 1984.

Lyon Burke, Jacqueline Susann's Valley of the Dolls (also known as Valley of the Dolls), CBS, 1985.

Thomas Strickland, Secrets (also known as Judith Krantz's "Secrets"), 1992.

Television Appearances; Movies:

Dr. Peter Peterson, Murder or Mercy, ABC, 1974.

Dave Andrews, Only with Married Men, ABC, 1974.

Willy Harvey, Bronk, 1975.

Paul Winkless, High Rise (also known as Someone's Watching Me!), NBC, 1978.

Tony Gianetti, High Midnight, CBS, 1979.

Jack Coker, OHMS, 1980.

Theo Marker, Mom, the Wolfman and Me, syndicated, 1980.

Henry Hawksworth, The Five of Me, CBS, 1981.

Carter Wells, The Long Journey Home, CBS, 1987.

Bill Landry, Love and Betrayal (also known as Throw Away Wives), Fox, 1989.

Colonel Hugh Kelso, Night of the Fox (also known as Le complot du renard), syndicated, 1990.

Philip Mendham, Always Remember I Love You, CBS, 1990.

Alan Hamel, Keeping Secrets, ABC, 1991.

Also appeared in The Champions—A Love Story.

Television Appearances; Pilots:

John, "The New House," Ghost Story, NBC, 1972.

Officer Frank Serpico, Serpico: The Deadly Game (also known as The Deadly Game), NBC, 1976.

Sam Dillon, Glitter, ABC, 1984.

Lucas Cord, Powers Play, CBS, 1986.

Television Appearances; Specials:

Brother Martin, "Saint Joan," Hallmark Hall of Fame (also known as Play of the Month: St. Joan), NBC, 1967.

Mr. Fenning, I Think I'm Having a Baby, CBS, 1981.

NBC team contestant, Battle of the Network Stars XIV, ABC, 1983.

Dr. Bernard Lacey, Seal Morning, PBS, 1985.

The Night of 100 Stars II, ABC, 1985.

Host, Missing … Have You Seen This Person? (documentary), NBC, 1985.

Host, Diabetes: Update '86, Lifetime, 1986.

Narrator, A Job to Be Done, PBS, 1987.

Adam, The Diaries of Adam and Eve, PBS, 1988.

Dr. Rolo DeVito, 15 and Getting Straight, CBS, 1989.

Himself, The Perfect Pitch (documentary; also known as Brilliant But Cancelled: The Perfect Pitch), TRIO, 2002.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

Michael Sander, "The Minerva Tapes," The F.B.I., ABC, 1971.

Damage Controlman Third Class Dillon, "Follow the White Brick Road," Hawaii Five–O, CBS, 1972.

Terry Alexander, "Cain's Mark," Cannon, CBS, 1972.

Guest performer, "Episode #137," Rowan & Martin's Laugh–In, NBC, 1973.

Officer Joe Waldron, "Captain Hook," Police Story, NBC, 1974.

Randy Murphy, "Love, Honor and Swindle," McMillan and Wife, NBC, 1975.

MacDonald "Mac" Guthrie, "If Mine Eye Offends Me," Medical Center, CBS, 1975.

Shawn Berry, "The Bloody Nose," Police Woman, NBC, 1975.

Woody Waldron, "Murder—Eyes Only: Parts 1 & 2," Hawaii Five–O, CBS, 1975.

Dr. Jeff Restin, "The Wrong Medicine," Cannon, CBS, 1975.

Nick Matero, "A Touch of Sight," Medical Center, CBS, 1976.

Neil Rugger, "Clown of Death," The Streets of San Francisco, ABC, 1976.

Officer Andrew Dooly, "Officer Dooly," Police Story, NBC, 1976.

"The Ordeal," Bronk, CBS, 1976.

Mike, "Marooned: Parts 1 & 2," The Love Boat, ABC, 1978.

Sergeant Alan Boardman, "The Sheikh/The Homecoming," Fantasy Island, ABC, 1978.

Congressman John Richard Carr, "The Silk Trap," Hawaii Five–O, CBS, 1978.

Joe Alcott, "Malicious Mischief," Family, ABC, 1979.

Paulo De Matzee, "Venetian Love Song/The Arrangement/Arriverderci, Gopher/The Gigolo: Parts 1 & 2," The Love Boat, ABC, 1982.

Dr. Myron Mandel, "Tooth and Consequences," The Twilight Zone, CBS, 1986.

Franchesco, "Prediction: Murder," Murder, She Wrote, CBS, 1989.

Jack McCarthy, "The Con Man," Matlock, NBC, 1989.

Lawrence Erlich, "The Great Twain Robbery," Murder, She Wrote, CBS, 1990.

Captain Williams, "The Earthman," The Ray Bradbury Theatre, USA Network, 1992.

Earl Harper, "The Monte Carlo Murders," Murder, She Wrote, CBS, 1992.

Lawrence Baker, "The Legacy of Borbey House," Murder, She Wrote, CBS, 1993.

(In archive footage) Jack McCarthy, "The Murder Game," Matlock, ABC, 1994.

Jim Deacon, "Who Killed the Motor Car Maverick?," Burke's Law, CBS, 1995.

Buddy Pomus, "I Can't Get No Satisfaction," The Love Boat: The Next Wave, UPN, 1998.

Cadmus, "Prophets and Loss," Sliders, Sci–Fi Channel, 1998.

Senator Letant, "Tears of the Prophets," Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, syndicated, 1998.

Father Elias, "The Portents," Poltergeist: The Legacy, Sci–Fi Channel, 1999.

Also appeared as Harry Langley, "The Ingenious Reporter," Great Mysteries, ITV; himself, "John Hiatt," Sidewalks Entertainment.

Television Work; Movies:

Co–executive producer, The Long Journey Home, CBS, 1987.

Television Work; Specials:

Stage production director and executive producer, The Diaries of Adam and Eve, PBS, 1988.



The Miser, Caedmon, 1969.

An Enemy of the People, Caedmon, 1971.

Taped Readings:

Life 1001 by John–Roger and Peter McWilliams, Dove, 1990.

"The Imperial Icehouse," The Collected Stories by Paul Theroux, 1998.


Television Specials:

The Diaries of Adam and Eve, PBS, 1988.