The Life and Sad Ending of David Janssen

David Janssen rose to fame when he nailed a leading role in “The Fugitive.” The actor’s persistence led him to stardom — but it was cut short by his sudden death.

After his family settled down in Hollywood, teenage Janssen developed an interest in acting. At the age of 18, he signed a contract with 20th Century-Fox and debuted his acting in the 1945 film, “It’s a Pleasure,” as shown in his IMDb profile.

The Nebraska-born actor, however, got into an early setback due to his physical features. The studio dropped him off as they were disappointed by his odd hairline and big prominent ears.

David Janssen in a tux and top coat in New York, circa 1960. | Photo: Getty Images


After his disappointments in the past, Janssen redeemed himself as an actor. He became a memorable figure in “The Fugitive,” as reported by Closer Weekly.

He got several calls from strangers each week because of his role as Dr. Richard Kimble. “I’ve had many surprises in my acting career,” he said in a past interview.

He died of a heart attack on February 13, 1980, just a month away from his birthday.

David Janssen with is wife Dani in New York, circa 1970. | Photo: Getty Images


The Fugitive was a drama television series about a doctor wrongly accused over his wife’s murder. It was a hit from 1963 until 1967, as stated by IMDb.

The “Harry O” was his final TV show where he played private detective and former cop Harry Orwell. As his life changed, Janssen became a heavy drinker and a heavy smoker that led to a sad ending, as reported by Closer Weekly. Read full story at source—>>

10 thoughts on “The Life and Sad Ending of David Janssen

  1. So did I. Time moved on and I forgot about this fav tv series. David Janssen had the look and demeanor that won our hearts. He was innocent. Have a good week Neil and thanks for stopping by and responding.

  2. Loved David Jansen on the fugitive! I have the whole dvd collection of his series!!

  3. So did I. Jansen portrayal is the original and the best. 👍Safeguard your priceless collection! Have a superb weekend!

  4. I was just a kid when The Fugitive with David Janssen ran in the 60’s. I was totally captivated by it then. And I’m enjoying every episode in reruns today. Janssen was so compelling! (I was so sad when I learned of his untimely death). The storyline was so great, I enthusiastically watched the movie version with Ford and Jones many times over.

  5. Hi Art! What a series! We were all on edge not wanting him to get caught but every week there was a close call!

  6. Yes! And that magic still works today! Oh and what a parade of stars went through that show. A true testament of its success!

  7. Yes many his contemporaries got their start in the Fugitive. Jansen won my heart because he was so perfect for the part. His face, expressions and overall demeanor with the plot carried well. No remakes could ever top the Jansen series.

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