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Darby as a guest-star on Marcus Welby, M.D. and Owen Marshall, Counsellor at Law in 1974
July 8, 1948 |
Los Angeles, California, US
(m. 1968; div. 1969)
(m. 1970; div. 1970)
Early life and film career
Darby was born Deborah Zerby in Los Angeles, California, the daughter of professional dancers Inga (Wiere) and Jon Zerby (the "Dancing Zerbys" or "Dancing Zerbies"). Her father nicknamed her Derby saying "I thought Derby Zerby would be a great stage name". Her mother was from Budapest. Her mother's siblings were comedians who performed as the Wiere Brothers.
Darby performed as a singer and dancer under the name "Derby Zerby".
Darby began acting at age fifteen. Her first appearance was as a dancer in the film Bye Bye Birdie (1963). Among her best-known roles are True Grit, in which she played a fourteen-year-old when she was twenty-one years of age; Gunsmoke (1967 episodes "The Lure" and "Vengeance"); Bonanza (1967 episode "The Sure Thing"); The One and Only (1978); Better Off Dead (1985); and Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995).
Darby's television roles included two appearances on the NBC series Mr. Novak, starring James Franciscus; she was cast as Julie Dean in "To Lodge and Dislodge" (1963) and as Judy Wheeler in "The Silent Dissuaders" (1965). Darby also appeared about this time on The Eleventh Hour, The Fugitive, The Donna Reed Show, Ironside, and in the first season of Star Trek as the title character in "Miri".
Darby was cast in an episode of the NBC sitcom The John Forsythe Show ("'Tis Better Have Loved and Lost", 1965). and as Angel in the two-part Gunsmoke episode "Vengeance." She appeared in the episode "Faire Ladies of France" (1967) of the NBC western series The Road West starring Barry Sullivan and a Bonanza episode "A Sure Thing" (1967) as Trudy Loughlin, guest starring Tom Tully as Burt Loughlin, her father. She also appeared in 3 episodes of Gunsmoke: "The Lure" (1967) as Carrie Neely, "Vengeance: Part 1" (1967) as Angel, and "Vengeance: Part 2" (1967) again as Angel. She was cast in the 1972 movie, The People, which also starred William Shatner, reuniting them from their Star Trek appearance. She also played the unhinged Virginia Calderwood in the first television miniseries, Rich Man, Poor Man with Nick Nolte, Peter Strauss, and Susan Blakely in 1976.
Darby also had the central role of Sally Farnham in the made-for-TV horror film Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (1973). Her subsequent television roles included guest appearances on Crazy Like a Fox, The Love Boat, The Streets of San Francisco, Riptide, and Becker.
In the late 1980s, she began to teach acting in the Los Angeles area and has been an instructor in the Extension Program at the University of California, Los Angeles since 1992. Darby also appeared as a female convict in an episode of The X-Files ("Sein und Zeit", 1999) who falsely confesses to the murder of her son who disappeared under mysterious circumstances related to a current occurrence being investigated by Fox Mulder and Dana Scully.
In 2014, she played Stacia Clairborne, a partially blind witness to a crime, in the episode "Prologue" of the show Perception.
Darby continues to make guest appearances on television and to make occasional films.
Darby has been married twice. In 1968, she married James Stacy, with whom she had one child: Heather Elias (Stacy) (born 1968) Their marriage ended in divorce in 1969. In 1970, she married William Tennent; the marriage ended in divorce later that same year.
- Bye Bye Birdie (1963)
- Bus Riley's Back in Town (1965)
- The Restless Ones (1965)
- The Karate Killers (1967)
- Flesh and Blood (1968)
- True Grit (1969)
- Generation (1969)
- The Strawberry Statement (1970)
- Norwood (1970)
- The Grissom Gang (1971)
- A Glimpse of Tiger (1971, abandoned)
- The People (1972, TV movie)
- Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (1973, TV movie)
- The Story of Pretty Boy Floyd (1974, TV movie)
- This Is the West That Was (1974, TV movie)
- The One and Only (1978)
- Flatbed Annie & Sweetiepie: Lady Truckers (1979, TV movie)
- Enola Gay: The Men, the Mission, the Atomic Bomb (1980, TV movie)
- Summer Girl (1983, TV movie)
- First Steps (1985, TV movie)
- Embassy (1985, TV movie)
- Better Off Dead (1985)
- Teen Wolf Too (1987)
- Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)
- The Last Best Sunday (1999)
- Newsbreak (2000)
- Mockingbird Don't Sing (2001)
- You Are So Going to Hell! (2004)
- Dead Letters (2007)
- Mr. Novak (1963, 1965)
- "Hang Down Your Head and Laugh" (1966), episode of the television series Run for Your Life
- "Joshua's Kingdom" (1966), episode of the television series The Fugitive
- "Miri" (1966), episode of the television series Star Trek
- Gunsmoke (1967), 3 episodes
- Ironside (1967), television pilot film for the NBC series of the same name
- Bonanza, "The Sure Thing", 1967
- "Vengeance" (1967), Season 13 Episode 4 of the television series Gunsmoke as Angel, Part I & II with James Stacey
- The Streets of San Francisco (1972), made-for-television pilot for the TV series (The pilot episode was adapted from the novel Poor, Poor Ophelia by Carolyn Weston.)
- "Dark Vengeance" (1973), episode of the television series Circle of Fear
- "Joie" (1973), episode of the television series Love Story
- Rich Man, Poor Man (1976), TV miniseries
- The Last Convertible (1979), TV miniseries
- The Love Boat (1979, 1982)
- "Sein und Zeit", (1999), episode of The X-Files
- Susan Sackett (1995). Hollywood Sings!: An Inside Look at Sixty Years of Academy Award-nominated Songs. Billboard Books. p. 200. ISBN 9780823076239.
- "The Zest of Jon Zerby". Daily News of Los Angeles. July 16, 1997.
- Adrian Room (2010). Dictionary of Pseudonyms. McFarland. p. 132. ISBN 9780786457632.
- Margaret Ronan (1970). Faces on Film: New Comers and Oldtimers on the Big Screen. Scholastic Book Services. p. 66.
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