David Selby was born and raised in Morgantown
WV, a town near the WV/OH border near the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. He
is of Irish/Hungarian/Welsh descent, and his people have lived in WV for generations.
His father, Claude, worked as a carpenter; his mother, Sarah, who died in 1998, was the inspiration for his first published
volume of poetry My Mother’s Autumn. He himself has been married
for over forty years to the former Claudeis (Chip) Newman, whom he met when she attended a play of his while in college. The Selbys have three grown children, a son and two daughters. Their son Jamison was born during the airing of the 1897 storyline of Dark Shadows and is named
for one of its characters. Jamison is an actor and writer who also wrote the radio play Return to Collinwood which
was performed at the 2003 Dark Shadows festival.
When still in HS acting caught David Selby’s
interest (as he speaks of in his poem “Teacher” from Happenstance, the second of his volumes of poetry),
and when in college he changed his major from Business to Theater. Like most
young actors in those days, he worked for a good many Theater/Repertoire companies learning and honing his craft playing classic
roles – and seeing a good deal of the country as he did so. During this time he also managed to earn a Masters degrees from UWV in Morgantown, WV and was awarded his
Doctorate from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale IL. (For those interested
in such things, his thesis – which David Henesy speaks of him staying after hours to sneak off on the DS office’s
copy machine – was on the history of the American Place Theater in NYC. Amusingly
enough, quite a few of the classic Star Trek actors and guest star stable had worked for this well known repertoire company
in their early days in NYC.) Selby also holds an honorary Doctorate from UWV,
awarded when he was one of their Commencement speakers in 2004.
In 1968 the Selbys moved to NYC, and DS
was waiting to hear back from Brooklyn College about a teaching position when he received a call from his agent, asking him
to read for a daytime soap. He got the role of a silently menacing ghost named
Quentin Collins on the supernaturally themed soap Dark Shadows, and was catapulted into instant fame and teen idol-dom. He remained on the soap until its cancellation in 1971, then went on to star in the
second Dark Shadows movie, Night of Dark Shadows.
In the 70s and 80s Selby worked steadily
in movies such as Supercops, Rich Kids, Raise the Titanic and
Up the Sandbox , co starring with many of the best known and most respected actors of the period. During this time he also made his Broadway debut starring with Jane Alexander in The Heiress, as
well as appearing off Broadway in such productions as Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Eccentricities of a Nightingale, The Devil’s Disciple and Joe Papp’s production of Sticks
and Bones. His work from this period can also be seen on the TV series The
Waltons, Family, Kojak and Police Woman, among others.
In the early 80s he appeared on the final
season of the series Flamingo Road, playing the role of Michael Tyrone. Soon after that series ended, he was cast as dastardly newspaper publisher Richard
Channing in the nighttime serial Falcon Crest, created by Walton’s creator Earl Hamner Jr. Selby played Richard Channing until the series ended in 1990, and was nominated for Soap Opera Digest awards
three times, winning once for Best Actor in a Nighttime soap.
The 1990’s found Selby as busy as
ever: He appeared in small but pivotal supporting roles in movies such as Intersection, Dying Young and D3:The
Mighty Ducks, guest starred in such TV series as Touched by an Angel and appeared in the syndicated series Soldier
of Fortune/Special Ops Force, appeared at Hartford Stage in Connecticut in
productions of Long Day’s Journey into Night and St. Nicholas,
recorded a number of Radio plays with LA Theaterworks and did voice work for the WV Public TV animated feature The Griffin
and the Minor Canon, wrote his career retrospective In and Out of the
Shadows and has continued to write plays.
One of these plays, Lincoln and James, is currently being developed as a screenplay. Another, Final Assault, directed by his son Jamison, was presented by the Charleston Stage
Company in 2003.
His most recent projects include a mix
of independent features, big budget motion pictures and Sci Fi channel originals. Three
projects which are in the can but not yet released are the Sci Fi channel original Black Hole and the movies End
Game and Unknown.
For up to the minute info on these pending
projects as well as Dr. Selby’s previous work, please visit the official website, davidselby.com or the incredibly fact filled and impeccably researched fan site, criseydes david selby site. Fansites are only as accurate as their information sources, and any news which
is not cited as originating with one of these official sources, or an official Dark Shadows source such as Shadowgram, Collinwood.net or darkshadowsfestivals.com is likely to be at best inaccurate or at worst, a rumor with no basis in fact.