|Born||in Big Spring, Texas, USA|
|Died||in Catalina Island, California, USA (heart attack)|
|Birth Name||David Poole Fronabarger|
|Height||6' 3" (1.91 m)|
Mini Bio (2)
Former chorus boy who would become a star in "B" westerns, and later a successful comedy writer (under the name David Barclay) and TV director. O'Brien is notable as one of the relatively few success stories to emerge out of the drek of poverty row, where he blissfully worked for nearly a decade before landing work in the hypo-nasal Pete Smith's series of novelty shorts at MGM. In the mid-50's he gravitated toward comedy writing working on the Red Skelton Show, striking up a longtime friendship with series co-writer Sherwood Schwartz.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: Bill Takacs <email@example.com>
Born in Texas as David Poole Fronabarger on May 31, 1912, Dave O'Brien was a multi-faceted performer who entered Hollywood as a chorus boy in the early 1930s (he can be briefly spied in 42nd Street (1933) just after Bebe Daniels's "You're Getting to be a Habit With Me" number). His sheer perseverance and desire to succeed in Hollywood precluded any misgivings about working at less prestigious studios. He nailed meatier roles at poverty row outfits, most famously in Reefer Madness (1936) (original title "Tell Your Children", better known as "Reefer Madness") in the ludicrous role as the guy who overdoses from smoking weed. He then slid over to ailing Grand National to fill the jack boots of RCMP Renfrew while pulling double duty backing up Dorothy Page in the studio's oddball "singing cowgirl" oaters which proved to be the studio's last gasp at life. O'Brien then moved up the Gower Gulch ladder - relatively speaking - by supporting the East Side Kids at Monogram. During this period he landed a juicy role in one of the few nominally interesting PRC releases, The Devil Bat (1940), starring Bela Lugosi. PRC itself was at the very bottom rung of Hollywood, yet O'Brien happily worked throughout the war years (he was classified 4F for the draft) there in both its ultra low-budget "Billy the Kid" westerns, starring an increasingly disgruntled Buster Crabbe and in all 22 of its marginally better Texas Ranger entries, some starring Tex Ritter. He took time out to appear in Columbia's Captain Midnight (1942) serial and became wildly popular with kids. O'Brien became known to better heeled audiences in the post-war period as the perpetual bungler in Pete Smith Specialty shorts at MGM, which continued to be released through 1955. In these, he usually played a typical suburban homeowner who had endless losing run-ins with leaky faucets, exposed wires, untrainable dogs, dangerous industrial machinery, balky lawnmowers, etc. O'Brien usually appeared in pantomime over the sarcastically hypo-nasal narration of Mr. Smith. These shorts are now reappearing fairly often as "From the Vault" filler between movies on the Turner Classic Movie channel (TCM). His work at MGM in the 50s included a cameo in the lavish Kiss Me Kate (1953). Multi-talented, he became recognized as a comedy writer (as David Barclay) in the 1950s, ending his varied career as a senior writer on the popular long running The Red Skelton Hour (1951). His long time friend, producer Sherwood Schwartz, recalled that O'Brien was extremely self-conscious about his lack of formal education and felt handicapped by his poor spelling and use of grammar. His inventive scripts for Skelton were the product of a dictation process with O'Brien rattling off ideas, lines and gags in writers' bullpen sessions similar to those seen in the later Dick Van Dyke Show. Whether nearly illiterate or not, O'Brien became a highly successful comedy writer and widely respected among his peers. A longtime sailing enthusiast (an avocation that had been a major factor in ending his first marriage), he collapsed form a heart attack while piloting his 60-foot racing sloop "White Cloud" to victory in the Marina del Rey-to-Catalina Island race in 1969. His last words were reportedly, "This is the happiest day of my life!". He was survived by his wife Nancy, two sons, Jib, Skippy and three daughters, Patty, Pam and Wendy. He was just 57 years old.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jack Backstreet
|Nancy Lee Lister||(1955 - 8 November 1969) ( his death) ( 3 children)|
|Dorothy Short||(1936 - 1954) ( divorced) ( 2 children)|