David Brian

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David Brian
David Brian Mr District Attorney 1954.JPG
Brian in 1954
Born (1914-08-05)August 5, 1914
New York City, New York, USA
Died July 15, 1993(1993-07-15) (aged 78)
Sherman Oaks, California, USA
Other names Brian Davis
Occupation Film and television actor
Years active 1935–1974 <–> 1983–1984
Spouse(s) Bonita Feidler (?–1948) (divorced)
Lorna Gray (m. 1949–93) (his death)

David Brian (August 5, 1914 – July 15, 1993) was an American actor and dancer. (One source says that he was born August 5, 1911.[1] A second source listed his age as 82 when he died, which would support the 1911 birth year.)[2]

Early years[edit]

Brian was born Brian Davis in New York City.[1] After schooling at City College, he found work as a doorman, before entering show business with a song-and-dance routine in vaudeville and in night clubs. He did a wartime stint with the United States Coast Guard during World War II and returned to acting on the New York stage after the war.


Persuaded by Joan Crawford to try his hand at film acting, Brian joined her in Hollywood and, in 1949, signed a contract with Warner Bros.. The New York City native appeared in such films as The Damned Don't Cry! and Flamingo Road with Joan Crawford, and Beyond the Forest with Bette Davis. He also had a role in the film Springfield Rifle, which starred Gary Cooper and in the John Wayne movie The High and the Mighty (1954) as Ken Childs.

Brian's most critically acclaimed performance was as the fair-minded, resourceful Southern lawyer defending condemned, but innocent Juano Hernandez from a vicious, bigoted lynch mob, in Intruder in the Dust (1949). For this role, he was nominated for a Golden Globe Award as Best Supporting Actor.`[3]


In the 1950s and 1960s, Brian was active in television with guest roles in dozens of shows ranging from dramatic to comedic, from CBS's Rawhide to NBC's I Dream of Jeannie. In 1954 and 1955, he portrayed the lead character on the crime drama TV show, Mr. District Attorney.[2]

On January 15, 1963, Brian guest starred in the episode "Protective Custody" of NBC's Laramie western series as Walt Douglas, an official of the stage line, who arrives in Laramie seeking his estranged daughter, Alicia, portrayed by Anne Helm. Series character Jess Harper (Robert Fuller) knows Alicia as a saloon hostess using the name Lenora. Alicia is involved with two outlaws, Cass and Willard, played by Ron Hayes and Gregory Walcott, respectively, who aim to steal a mining payroll. Series character Slim Sherman (John Smith) tries to bring about reconciliation between Walt and Alicia, but Alicia shoots her father. Slim keeps the wounded Walt and Alicia at his relay station pending a hearing while Cass and Willard plan to seize the payroll when it is dropped off at the relay station.[4]

In 1968, he portrayed the character of "John Gill", Kirk's professor from Starfleet Academy and figurehead "Führer" on the Naziesque planet of Ekos, in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Patterns of Force".


Brian has a star in the Television section of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It was dedicated February 8, 1960.`[5]

Personal life[edit]

Brian was married to Bonita Fiedler; they divorced in 1949.[2] In 1950, she filed a paternity suit against him, seeking his support for a son born to her. The suit claimed that Brian had admitted to being the baby's father. Brian's attorney, on the other hand, said that Brian did not think he was the child's father. At the time of the suit, Brian was married to Adrian Booth, an actress[6] who was also known as Lorna Gray.[1] On August 11, 1951, a jury found in Brian's favor after another man testified to having been intimate with the mother "several times during the year before the child was born."[7]

Brian's marriage to Booth also had legal problems. In 1949, columnist Jimmie Fidler reported that Booth's "recent marriage to actor David Brian has been set aside by an L.A. judge because of illegalities in his divorce from a former mate."[8]


Brian died July 15, 1993, of heart disease and cancer in Sherman Oaks, California.[1] He was survived by his wife, Adrian Booth.[2]

Partial Filmography[edit]


In 1963, Brian played the Mormon pioneer Jacob Hamblin in the episode "The Peacemaker" of the syndicated western television series Death Valley Days. In the story line, Hamblin works feverishly to hold the peace treaty with the Navajo after a white man kills some Indians who come onto his property. Bing Russell, Michael Pate, and Richard Webb also appear in this episode. At the end of the broadcast one of Hamblin's grandsons appeared with host Stanley Andrews, who noted an historical marker which honors Hamblin's work on behalf of peace on the frontier.[9]


  1. ^ a b c d Aaker, Everett (2006). Encyclopedia of Early Television Crime Fighters. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-6409-8. Pp. 68-70.
  2. ^ a b c d Pace, Eric (July 19, 1993). "David Brian, 82, Actor, Is Dead; Starred in 'Mr. District Attorney'". New York City. The New York Times. Retrieved 8 April 2016. 
  3. ^ "Golden Globe Awards for 'David Brian'". Golden Globe Awards. Retrieved 8 April 2016. 
  4. ^ "Laramie: "Protective Custody", January 15, 1963". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved September 23, 2012. 
  5. ^ "David Brian". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Retrieved 9 April 2016. 
  6. ^ "David Brian Named in Paternity Suit". California, Long Beach. Long Beach Independent. September 7, 1950. p. 14. Retrieved April 7, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  7. ^ "David Brian Wins Paternity Case". Utah, Ogden. Ogden Standard-Examiner. August 11, 1951. p. 2. Retrieved April 7, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  8. ^ Fidler, Jimmie (October 2, 1949). "In Hollywood With Jimmie Fidler". Louisiana, Monroe. Monroe Morning World. p. 4. Retrieved April 7, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  9. ^ "The Peacemaker on Death Valley Days". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved August 4, 2015. 
  10. ^ "Testimony of Evil". 30 March 1961 – via IMDb. 
  11. ^ "Fargo". 25 February 1963 – via IMDb. 

External links[edit]