The Tragic & Sudden Death of David Janssen (2023)

David Janssen was an iconic television actor best known for his role as Richard Kimble in the beloved television series The Fugitive. That wasn’t his only time playing a starring role, however. Throughout his career, Janssen would play the title role in three other television series, and appear in countless other shows and films. He began his career in 1945, when he was just thirteen years old, and would continue acting right up until his tragic and unexpected death in 1980.

David Janssen was born on March 27th, 1931, to Harold and Berniece Meyer in a small village in southern Nebraska. When he was only five, however, his parents divorced, and Janssen’s mother took him to Los Angeles. She remarried a man named Eugene Janssen, whose name David Janssen used when beginning his career.

David Janssen appeared in his first film when he was only thirteen years old. By the time he was 25, he had already acted in a total of 20 films. Of course, the height of his career wouldn’t arrive until he was in his early thirties, after landing the starring role in the hit television film The Fugitive.

David Jenssen would go on to act in many more films and television shows, inspiring people all over the world with his winning personality and impressive acting skills. His millions of adoring fans counted on him to act in many more films and shows, and his tragic death in 1980 left the whole nation shocked. While he accomplished a great deal throughout his life, we can only imagine what else David Janssen could have done had he not died so young. Many of his fellow stars expressed a great deal of sadness at his passing, and remembered him as a kind and talented man.

In today’s video, we’re going to take a look at the long life and legacy of David Janssen, who will always be remembered for his amazing contributions to film and television. Make sure you stick around, because we’re also going to reveal what caused his sudden and tragic death.

(Video) The Tragic & Sudden Death of David Janssen

One of the World’s Biggest Stars

Even forty years after Janssen’s death, he is still remembered as being one of the biggest stars in the history of Hollywood. Even TV Guide ranked him number 36 on its 1996 list of 50 Greatest Stars of All Time. His career spanned a total of 35 years, and he continued to work hard right up until his death. He had an extensive filmography in both film and television, and he played dozens of significant roles throughout his career.

He inspired countless other actors, who were impressed by his acting skills and touched by his kind demeanor even when the cameras weren’t rolling.

David Janssen’s Tragic and Sudden Death

David Janssen drank and smoked heavily throughout his life, but his death at just 48 years old came as an unexpected tragedy all the same. Early in the morning on February 13th, 1980, David Janssen suffered a heart attack that would take his life. His wife, Dani Crayne, was horrified to discover that he was no longer breathing, and called 911 and the fire department. Tragically, however, David Janssen’s life had come to an end.

Celebrities all over the nation were devastated by the news, and many came to his funeral to pay their respects.

He Once Held Cher as a Baby

Today, Cher is recognized as a musical icon, so much so that she is often referred to as “The Goddess of Pop.” As a baby, of course, nobody knew just how famous she would become. When Cher was just three years old, her mother, Georgia Holt, had difficulty finding a babysitter when she was due to film a watch commercial. Right before filming, she saw an 18-year-old David Janssen and asked him to hold young Cher while she worked. Janssen, of course, agreed, and held Cher until her mother was finished filming.

(Video) In TRAGIC David Janssen SUDDENLY Revealed a SECRET to his Wife about Himself to his DEATH PAINFUL

He Was One of the Hardest Working Actors

Most people imagine that actors live a cushy lifestyle. After all, A-list actors are extremely high-paid, and live in luxury. Despite David Janssen’s reputation as a huge star, however, his work wasn’t at all easy. In fact, even today, he is still considered to be one of the hardest working actors in history. Janssen devoted much of his time to acting, and often spent 12 to 14 hours a day working! He would often skip out on fun social events, and even miss dinner as a result of his brutal schedule! Barry Morse, who was both a close friend as well as Janssen’s costar in The Fugitive, explained that every actor at the time knew he was the hardest working of them all.

He Was Incredibly Athletic in High School

Before David Janssen found his calling as an actor, he spent his youth involved in numerous sports. In high school, he was a star in both track and basketball. While he would never go on to become a famous athlete, he still remained quite fond of sports. In 1948, he even attempted a pole vault for some reporters who worked for the Hollywood Citizen News. Unfortunately, the pole vault didn’t go smoothly, and he ended up twisting his right knee.

The injury didn’t deter Janssen from continuing athletic stints, however, and in 1970, he hosted “Highlights of the Ice Capades” while wearing ice skates himself!

He Has a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

David Janssen was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his amazing contributions to television. The star’s ceremony took place on his mother’s birthday in the year 1989, and was specially placed right in front of David Janssen’s favorite ice cream shop from when he was a kid.

He Was a Heavy Smoker

David Janssen was notorious for being a heavy smoker. In fact, he was known to smoke four packs of cigarettes every day! Sadly, this heavy smoking certainly took a toll on his health.. After his death from a heart attack, an autopsy revealed that the smoking had caused a great deal of damage to both his lungs and mouth. Furthermore, his liver showed signs of severe alcoholism. Altogether, the cause of his death was likely from blockage to three of his main arteries, which was a result of his smoking.

Make sure you stick around until the very end, because we’re also going to reveal how David Janssen nearly had plastic surgery! And if you’re enjoying this video so far, please take a moment to like this video, and don’t forget to subscribe to Facts Verse for more!

(Video) The Life and Sad Ending® of David Janssen

He Was Beloved By Everyone

There are many famous celebrities who have millions of adoring fans, but when the cameras aren’t rolling, they are rude and difficult to work with. David Janssen, however, was never one of these people. All of his colleagues and friends were touched by Janssen’s bright and kind personality.

Janssen’s publicist, Frank Liberman, had countless famous clients throughout his career, including Nat “King” Cole, William Shatner, and Henry Fonda. Liberman himself confessed, however, that out of all his clients, Janssen was by far one of his favorites. Many other stars deeply mourned Janssen’s death, expressing just how kind and loving he was to everyone he met.

He Was Strongly Against the Vietnam War

An outspoken liberal Democrat all his life, David Janssen was majorly against the Vietnam War. However, because he was involved in the film The Green Berets, many mistakenly believed that he actually supported the war.

10. He Was Friends with Many Famous Actors

In his early days, David Janssen enlisted in the United States Army and was posted in Fort Ord, California. There, he met Martin Milner and Clint Eastwood, who were both also enlisted at the time. He would later attend University classes with Clint Eastwood, as well. While these were the first famous friends that David Janssen made, they certainly weren’t the last.

David Janssen was also very close friends with actor Richard Harris. When Harris learned of Janssen’s death, he was so upset that he sat out in the snow for several hours out of grief. Finally, David Janssen was also friends with Stuart Whitman, who happened to be driving by his house at the time of his death. Whitman saw ambulances and a fire truck, and rushed by to see what was the matter. He was stricken by Janssen’s death, but comforted his widowed wife, Dani Crayne, throughout the ordeal.

(Video) David Janssen's 2nd wife Reveals his Last Moments Before Tragic Ending

He Loved to Read

David Janssen was known for being an avid reader. He read whenever he had free time. Whenever he found a new book to read, he’d order two copies. One would be sent to his home in Los Angeles, and the other would be sent to his second home in Palm Springs. Being a rich and famous actor certainly has its perks!

He Almost Had Plastic Surgery

One of the worst things about Hollywood is how often it manufactures its actors into perfect models. Many women actors develop eating disorders based on the pressure to be thinner, and many other actors have plastic surgery to change their facial features.

At the beginning of his career, it was suggested to David Janssen that he have plastic surgery done on his ears in order to make them less prominent. Janssen was resolute, however, and refused to have the surgery. It’s a good thing he didn’t! David Janssen’s ears are part of what makes him so recognizable. Instead of trying to “fix” our features that make us unique, it’s better that we embrace them. After all, how boring would it be if everyone had the same features?

David Janssen was one of the most hardworking and influential stars of his time. Were you more surprised to learn that he was a kind and gentle man in real life, or that he refused to get plastic surgery performed on his ears? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to subscribe to Facts Verse for more!


Why did David Janssen have a heart attack? ›

He died in 1980 from a sudden heart attack at his Malibu home at the age of 48. Unfounded speculation holds that Janssen succumbed to alcoholism, a problem that plagued him most of his adult life.

How old is David Janssen? ›

Who married David Janssen? ›

David Janssen

How tall is David Janssen? ›

Is David Janssen of The Fugitive still alive? ›

Where is Janssen buried? ›

A photo of David Janssen's grave (star of The Fugitive), at Hillside Cemetery in Culver City.

Is David Jason still alive? ›

Sir David John White OBE (born 2 February 1940), known professionally by his stage name David Jason, is an English actor.
David Jason.
Sir David Jason OBE
OccupationActor, comedian
Years active1963–present
SpouseGill Hinchcliffe ​ ( m. 2005)​
PartnerMyfanwy Talog (1977–1995, her death)
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Who is Janssens wife? ›

David Janssen

How did Bill Raisch lose his arm? ›

During World War II, Raisch served in the U.S. Merchant Marines where he was badly wounded in early 1945 fighting a shipboard fire in which he was so badly burned he lost his right arm.

Who attended David Janssen Funeral? ›

He did a lot of his own flying in Birds of Prey (1973) (Flying Magazine, June 1988, p. 30). Pallbearers at his funeral on February 17, 1980 included Rod Stewart, Gregory Peck, Gene Kelly, Richard Harris, Milton Berle, Linda Evans's husband Stan Herman, and Suzanne Pleshette's husband Tom Gallagher.

How old is David Jason now? ›

Is David Jason married? ›

Why was The Fugitive TV show Cancelled? ›

Sheppard was acquitted in a second trial in November of 1966, 'The Fugitive,' which was then in the middle of its fourth season, began to slip in the ratings. For this reason, the producers were smart not to wait for the ax to fall and risk having the series cancelled without doing a finale.

Is Richard Kimble still alive? ›

According to Donna Taft, Kimble was living in San Pedro, California, with Karen Christian, a woman he first met during his time as a fugitive, when he died of complications of alcoholism in 1980 at the age of 48.

How old is Kid Jensen The DJ? ›

Who jumped off the dam in The Fugitive? ›

In the 1993 film, The Fugitive, Harrison Ford's character makes a heart-stopping leap from the top of the dam to elude capture. Ford actually did stand on this precipice, although it was a temporary tunnel built for the film overlooking the drop. The scene involved six dummies valued at well over $40,000.

How much was David Janssen paid for The Fugitive? ›

1. According to Mel Proctor's The Official Fan's Guide to The Fugitive, David Janssen's "salary" was 20% of the show's earnings plus $10,000 per week. He also owned 20% of the show. Needless to say, The Fugitive made Janssen a multimillionaire.

Why was Harry Cancelled? ›

Harry O was picked up for a second season and continued to gain viewership and critical acclaim. Then-ABC president Fred Silverman, though, decided to take the network in a different direction and cancelled the series in favor of Charlie's Angels.

What is Jansen known for? ›

Janssen Pharmaceuticals is a pharmaceutical company headquartered in Beerse, Belgium, and wholly-owned by Johnson & Johnson. It was founded in 1953 by Paul Janssen.

How many people work for Jansen? ›

Local offices in more than 30 countries. More than 14,000 employees. Research & Development investments of more than €1.5 billion annually.

Does Jansen have booster? ›

Persons receiving a dose of an mRNA vaccine followed by a Janssen vaccine, are eligible for a booster dose 2 months after receipt of the Janssen vaccine.

Did David Jason fly hang glider? ›

When the hang glider scene was filmed, David Jason, who is a trained hang glider pilot, scuba diver, and swims with dolphins, wanted to actually fly the glider himself, but the BBC said it was too risky for him to fly it, for insurance reasons.

Is David Jason A Millionaire? ›

Best known for his role as Derek "Del Boy" Trotter in the comedy series "Only Fools and Horses", he made his beginnings in acting in the far 1964. Jason made his first appearance on the small screen, i.e., in a TV soap opera called Crossroads.
David Jason Net Worth.
Net Worth:$10 Million
Nationality:United Kingdom
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What happened in the last episode of Open All Hours? ›

Did Rosemary Forsyth date David Janssen? ›

Trivia (5)

Once involved with actor David Janssen from 1968-1971.

Why was Dr Kimble's wife killed? ›

He works for pharmaceutical company, Devlin Mcgregor. He is sent by the main antagonist to murder Kimble after Kimble discovers that the company's new drug, Provasic, was causing severe liver damage. He instead murders Kimble's wife.

Was there a final fugitive episode? ›

Is the story of Dr Richard Kimble a true story? ›

Dr. Richard Kimble--a.k.a. “The Fugitive"--is not based on the real-life sensational Cleveland murder case involving Dr. Sam Sheppard, who was convicted in 1954 of killing his wife but was later retried and set free in 1966.

Who was the star of The Fugitive? ›

The Fugitive is a 1993 American action thriller film based on the 1960s television series of the same name created by Roy Huggins. The film was directed by Andrew Davis and stars Harrison Ford, Tommy Lee Jones, Sela Ward, Joe Pantoliano, Andreas Katsulas, and Jeroen Krabbé.

Who was original fugitive? ›

David Janssen starred as Dr. Richard Kimble, a physician who is wrongfully convicted of his wife's murder and sentenced to death.
The Fugitive (1963 TV series)
The Fugitive
Original releaseSeptember 17, 1963 – August 29, 1967
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How many seasons of The Fugitive are there? ›

Can David Jason fly a plane? ›

Even some veteran Only Fools and Horses fans are surprised to learn that David Jason is a qualified helicopter pilot. Although he does mention the very cool skill in his autobiographies, the Del Boy actor is much more well known for his comedy acting than his flying.

What is Jason statements net worth? ›

As of November 2022, Jason Statham's net worth is estimated to be $90 Million. Jason Statham is an English actor, and a former model and competitive diver, from Shirebrook, Derbyshire.

What Colour are David Jason's eyes? ›

WITH his wide blue eyes, bushy white beard and small frame, you could say Sir David Jason was born to play a cheeky misfit wizard.

What's David Jason doing now? ›

How is Sir David Jason doing now? Jason is doing well and is a patron of Shark Trust - A UK charity working worldwide to protect sharks. He is a qualified helicopter pilot and in October 2013, he released an autobiography called David Jason: My Life, which was shortlisted for a literary award that year.

How old is Sophie Jason? ›

Does David Jason have a dog? ›

I have a yellow labrador, Tuffy, and a little rescue dog, Bella, who is the boss.

Why did Bing Crosby have a heart attack? ›

According to Giddens research, Bing had severe coronary artery disease (blocked arteries of the heart that develop slowly over many years) as well as heart valve disease (rigid heart valves).

How many stents does David Crosby have? ›

Crosby now has eight stents in his heart, diabetes, hepatitis C, and a transplanted liver. When Crowe asks him why he's still alive, Crosby is as bewildered as anyone else. “No idea, man,” he replies.

Are Crosby and Nash still feuding? ›

Although Graham Nash's relationship with former bandmate David Crosby has been estranged over the years, the two joined up for an upcoming compilation of covers.

What did Crosby say about Eddie Van Halen? ›

The singer-songwriter caught backlash online when he said that Van Halen “does not move me much” and that he didn't “care that much” about the guitarist's music. Crosby also said that Van Halen's musical skills paled in comparison to those of Jimi Hendrix. “Hendrix changed the world of guitar.

What happened to Dr Richard Kimble? ›

Convicted in Ohio of murdering his wife, Marilyn. He spent a number of years in prison. Subsequently retried and exonerated. Went on to work as a professional wrestler, "The Killer." Died in 1970.

Why did Harry quit being a royal? ›

More than two years have passed since Harry and Meghan decided to take a step back from being involved in the royal family. They resigned from all their royal duties permanently in an effort to avoid the intense media scrutiny and pressure that they said they had faced.

Why did Will and Harry fall out? ›

According to multiple royal biographies, the brothers first began to pull away from each other in fall 2016, when Harry first began dating Meghan. William reportedly said he thought his brother was moving too fast with the relationship, and Harry was said to have taken offense at his brother's tone.

Why did everyone turn into Harry? ›

So that the Death Eaters and Voldemort would not be able to distinguish the real Harry because after all, he was the only target they were interested in.

Did they actually crash a train in The Fugitive? ›

Spectacular Corrections bus and train collision in 1993's "The Fugitive" wasn't Hollywood fakery. Vehicles still crumpled from the $1.5 million stunt crash along an old railroad bed.

Did they crash a real train in The Fugitive? ›

The scene was shot on a stretch of the Smoky Mountain Railroad using the most practical special effects of all, a real train and a real bus.

Is FBI getting Cancelled? ›

FBI has been renewed through the sixth season. Season five will debut on September 20, 2022.


1. Died on This Day February 13th Edition - The Life and Sad Ending®
(The Life and Sad Ending)
2. Why the TURN OUT to his FUNERAL was so massive after "THE FUGITIVE"S" David Janssen's early passing!
(LandumC goes there)
3. David Janssen biography
(Celebrity Posters)
4. David Carradine TOOK his Own Life TRAGICALLY after having a body PART REMOVED - PAIN DEATH
(Most Actor & Actress Hollywood)
5. THE TIM CONWAY COMEDY HOUR Episode 2 1970 David Janssen and Barbara Feldon
(Dave's Faves)
6. 10 Minutes Ago / We Have Extremely Sad News For 82-year old David Jason As He Is Confirmed To Be...
(Allan Radio)
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