|Born||David Alexander Hess
September 19, 1936
New York City, New York, United States
|Died||October 7, 2011
Tiburon, California, United States
|Other names||David Dante, David Hill|
|Occupation||Actor, Songwriter, Film producer, Film director, Composer|
David Alexander Hess (September 19, 1936 – October 7, 2011) was an American actor, singer, and songwriter.
He began his professional career as a songwriter for Shalimar Music in 1957. He composed "Start Movin'" for Sal Mineo and "Rockin' Shoes" for the Ames Brothers. In 1959 he recorded a cover version of Cliff Richard's "Living Doll" for Kapp Records and it became a mild placed charter for him on the US Billboard charts. He wrote songs for Elvis Presley throughout the 1950s and 1960s, which include "I Got Stung", "Come Along", and "Sand Castles". "Your Hand, Your Heart, Your Love" became a 1960s hit when it was performed by Andy Williams. In 1962, Hess wrote and recorded "Speedy Gonzales," (as David Dante) which became a #6 single for Pat Boone in the US and a #2 in the UK, selling more than eight million copies worldwide. Hess then recorded two solo albums for Kapp Records, again topping the charts, this time with a Top Ten folk hit called "Two Brothers."
In 1969, he became head of A&R at Mercury Records in New York. There he linked up with Western classical composer John Corigliano, and together they wrote the Grammy award-winning rock opera, The Naked Carmen, which became a big hit of the Berlin Ballet Week in 1970. His work with Mercury also included And the Children Toll the Passing of the Day, a 1969 album he wrote for Irish actor Malachy McCourt.
In 1972, his career split off into several new directions with his starring role in the Wes Craven horror classic Last House on the Left (1972), for which he also composed the soundtrack. In that movie, he was noted to have been a reckless, merciless character. He went on to score Buck at the Edge of Heaven, a children's film based on a collection of Jack London stories. The film won the top prize for film and direction at the Giffoni Film Festival. He also had roles in Hitchhike and The House on the Edge of the Park.
A subsequent job offer from PolyGram's German affiliate gave Hess the opportunity to move to Munich, Germany, and a multilingual career in film dubbing from 1972 to 1976 which in turn led him to writing the English language shooting scripts for such German directors as Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Reinhard Hauff, and his present collaborator, Peter Schamoni.
In 1980, he directed his first American feature film, To All a Good Night, for Media Home Entertainment in 1980. He also appeared in two horror films directed by Ruggero Deodato, La Casa sperduta nel parco (1980) and Camping del terrore (1987). He appeared as a villain in Wes Craven's Swamp Thing in 1982.
In 1991, he played the part of the American in Peter Schamoni's Max Ernst—My Wanderings, My Unrest (1991). From 1993 to 1995 he produced Niki de Saint Phalle: Wer ist das Monster - du oder ich? (1996).
In later years, he released two albums, Caught Up In The Moment and Live & Unplugged in Hollywood, 2002. He lived in Northern California, just outside San Francisco, with his wife Regina Mardek, with whom he had three children. He worked on several tracks for the horror film Cabin Fever (2003), directed by Eli Roth.
In 2013 One Way Static Records released the soundtrack to Last House on the Left on vinyl, compact disc, cassette and digital download. This was intended as a posthumous tribute and the liner notes on the release include extensive writings by David's family, colleagues and friends. This edition was repressed on a limited, hand numbered picture disc for Record Store Day 2014.
|1970||Cold Sweat||Michel Constantin||Voice; uncredited|
|1972||The Last House on the Left||Krug Stillo|
|1976||The Swiss Conspiracy||Sando|
|1977||Yung chun ta hsiung||Voice|
|1977||Autostop rosso sangue||Adam Konitz|
|1980||The House on the Edge of the Park||Alex|
|1986||Armed and Dangerous||Gunman #4|
|1986||Let's Get Harry||Mercenary|
|1987||Camping del Terrore||Robert Ritchie||also known as Body Count|
|1991||Omicidio a luci blu||Sergeant Flanagan|
|1991||Buck ai confini del cielo||Dan|
|1995||Jonathan degli orsi||Maddock|
|2001||Nutcracker||John Gard/Clyde Fairfax|
|2004||Zombie Nation||Aaron Singer III|
|2005||Zodiac Killer||Mel Navokov|
|2006||The Absence of Light||Whiplash|
|2007||Go Together||Aldo Modisco|
|2009||Smash Cut||Able Whitman|
|1976||21 Hours at Munich||Berger||Television film|
|1977||Baretta||Bosco||Episode: "All That Shatters"|
|1981||Jacqueline Susann's Valley of the Dolls||Robaire||Television film|
|1983||Knight Rider||Donny||Episode: "Short Notice"|
|1985||Sadat||Israeli Soldier||Television film|
|1985||The Fall Guy||Episode: "Reel Trouble"|
|1986||The A-Team||Episode: "Dishpan Man"|
|1991||Die Kaltenbach-Papiere||Television mini-series|
|1997||Noi siamo angeli||Manuel Delgado||Episodes: "Due facce da galera", "La fortuna piove dal cielo"|
|2010||Royal Pains||Bob Ambrose||Episode: "In Vino Veritas"|
|1980||To All a Good Night||Director|
|1996||Niki de Saint Phalle: Wer ist das Monster - du oder ich?||Producer||Documentary|
|1999||The Green Monster||Producer||Television documentary|
|2004||Zombie Nation||Production executive|
|2010||Steel Drums, No Guns||Director, producer||Short documentary|
|2011||Sketchy House||Executive Producer|
|1964||The Ed Sullivan Show||Soundtrack writer: "Speedy Gonzalez"; episode: season 17, episode 21; uncredited|
|1966||Frankie and Johnny||Soundtrack writer: "Come Along"; uncredited|
|1966||Paradise, Hawaiian Style||Soundtrack writer: "Sand Castles"|
|1972||Last House on the Left||Soundtrack writer, performer, lyrics, music composer|
|1989||Roger & Me||Composer|
|1993||Lo Kolel Sherut||Soundtrack writer; episode: season 3, episode 8|
|2002||Cabin Fever||Soundtrack writer, performer: various|
|2003||Celluloid Crime of the Century||video documentary short|
|2008||Manhunt||Soundtrack writer, performer|
|2009||Melancholie der Engel|
|2011||Sketchy House||Composer, performer|
- "The Dead Rock Stars Club - 2011 July To December". thedeadrockstarsclub.com. Retrieved October 13, 2011.
- Staff (October 13, 2009). "TRINITY OF TERRORS Guest Spotlight: The BADDIES of 1972's THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT! - David Hess". Fangoria. Archived from the original on 2009-10-15. Retrieved 2013-01-17.
- Hess, David (Guest); Morrison, John (Host) (September 25, 2011). Aspect Ratio - September 2011 (Television Production). San Rafael, CA: Community Media Center of Marin. Retrieved 2013-01-17.
- Slotnik, Daniel E. (October 13, 2011). "David Hess, Songwriter and Actor, Dies at 75". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-01-17.
- David Hess at the Internet Movie Database
- Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know: An Interview with David Hess - The Terror Trap - February 2011
- One Way Static Records (David's Record Label)
- David Hess recordings listed on Discogs