David Janssen was an American film and television actor who is best known for his starring role as Dr. Richard Kimble in the television series The Fugitive and as Harry Orwell on Harry O.
Janssen was born as David Harold Meyer in Naponee, Nebraska to Harold Edward Meyer, a banker and Berniece Graf. Following his parents’ divorce in 1935, his mother moved with five-year-old David to Los Angeles, California. She eventually married, to Eugene Janssen on September 29, 1940 in Los Angeles. Young David used his stepfather’s name after he entered show business as a child. He attended Fairfax High School in Los Angeles. His first film part was at the age of 13, and by the age of 25 he had appeared in twenty films and served two years as an enlisted man in the United States Army. During his Army days Janssen became friends with fellow enlistees, Martin Milner and Clint Eastwood.
Janssen appeared in many television series before he landed programs of his own. In 1956, he and Peter Breck appeared in John Bromfield’s syndicated series Sheriff of Cochise in the episode “The Turkey Farmers”. Later, he guest starred on NBC’s medical drama The Eleventh Hour in the role of Hal Kincaid in the 1962 episode “Make Me a Place”, with series co-stars Wendell Corey and Jack Ging. He joined Milner in a 1962 episode of Route 66 as the character Kamo in the episode “One Tiger to a Hill.”
Janssen starred in four television series of his own: