David Selby

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This article is about the American actor. For the Australian wheelchair basketballer, see David Selby (basketball).
David Selby
Born David Lynn Selby
(1941-02-05) February 5, 1941 (age 74)
Morgantown, West Virginia
Occupation Actor
Years active 1968–present
Spouse(s) Claudeis Newman (1963–present), 3 children

David Lynn Selby (born February 5, 1941) is an American character and stage actor. He has worked in movies, soap operas and television. Selby is best known for playing the roles of Quentin Collins on the ABC-TV serial Dark Shadows, (a role he played from 1968 to its ending in 1971 and again in the recent audio revival), and as the evil and compassionate estranged son of Angela Channing (played by Jane Wyman), Richard Channing, on the primetime CBS soap opera Falcon Crest (a role he played from 1982 to 1990).

Life and career[edit]

Youth and education[edit]

Selby was born in Morgantown, West Virginia, the son of Sarah E. McIntyre Selby and Clyde Ira Selby, a carpenter.[1] He attended West Virginia University in his hometown, earning Bachelor of Science and Master's degrees in theater, followed by a Ph.D. from Southern Illinois University.


He eventually brought his Dark Shadows character to film with the second Dark Shadows movie, Night of Dark Shadows, released in 1971, after the TV series' cancellation. In 1973 he costarred in the short-lived sitcom Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (based on the film of the same name). In 1979, Selby also turned down the role of Gary Ewing on Knots Landing, hence, the role was ultimately given to Ted Shackelford, who guest-starred on Dallas, with Joan Van Ark. A year before joining Falcon Crest in 1982, he played the villainous Michael Tyronne on the final season of the NBC primetime serial Flamingo Road.

When Richard Channing was originally written into Falcon Crest, he was considered a villain. However, over the years the character became more of a hero (arguably due to Selby's rather sympathetic portrayal of the Channing), and was an audience favorite. For his eight seasons on Falcon Crest, he had developed a wonderful on- and off-screen chemistry with Jane Wyman, mirroring their mother/son relationships. In 1989, Selby was devastated to hear about his co-lead and friend's medical leave from the show, at the beginning of Falcon Crest's ninth and final season, that he alongside Lorenzo Lamas (who played Selby's on-screen nephew) and Susan Sullivan (who played Selby's on-screen wife), he visited the ailing star at the hospital. That same year, his screen time had been expanded for most of the last season. Long after the series was cancelled, and while co-starring opposite his old friend Jane Alexander in the short-lived series, Tell Me You Love Me, Selby was grief-stricken when Wyman died in 2007.

Selby's film credits include Up the Sandbox (1972) with Barbra Streisand, The Girl in Blue (1973), The Super Cops (1974), Rich Kids (1979), Raise the Titanic (1980), Rich and Famous (1981), Intersection (1994), White Squall (1996), D3: The Mighty Ducks (1996) and Surviving Christmas (2004). In 2010, he appeared in The Social Network as the attorney representing the Winklevoss brothers. He has recently reprised the role of Quentin Collins for a new series of Dark Shadows audio dramas from Big Finish Productions.

On the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birthday, Selby appeared onstage with President Barack Obama and portrayed Lincoln in a scene from the play The Heavens are Hung in Black at the historic reopening of Ford's Theatre. He played Abraham Lincoln again in the Touched by an Angel episode, "Beautiful Dreamer".

He appeared in the Mad Men (season 3) episode, "The Arrangements", and will appear in the film Equals.

More recently, in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (film), a 2012 two-part direct-to-video animated film adaptation of the 1986 comic book The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller, Selby portrayed Police Commissioner James Gordon.


His writing includes the plays Lincoln and James and Final Assault as well as the poetry collections My Mother's Autumn and Happenstance. His novels are Lincoln's Better Angel and The Blue Door. A Better Place combines memoir and social commentary to discuss Selby's West Virginia upbringing. In 2010, Selby published My Shadowed Past, chronicling what it was like to work on Dark Shadows during the turbulent late 1960s and early 1970s.


West Virginia University in 1998 awarded Selby its first Life Achievement Award from the College of Creative Arts, and an honorary doctorate in 2004.


  1. ^ "David Selby Biography (1941-)". Filmreference.com. 1963-08-10. Retrieved 2014-06-04. 

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