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      David Birney

      David Birney

      Highest Rated: 86% Someone's Watching Me! (1978)

      Lowest Rated: 43% Oh, God! Book II (1980)

      Birthday: Apr 23, 1939

      Birthplace: Washington, D.C., USA

      Since his primetime debut in the early 1970s, this handsome, dark-haired TV actor seemed to be on the brink of superstardom, but had the ill fortune of never appearing on a hit series. David Birney was the toast of the Dartmouth College drama program and worked extensively in theater before such TV series as "Bridget Loves Bernie" (CBS, 1972-73), "Serpico" (NBC, 1976-77) and "Glitter" (ABC, 1984) gave him a different profile. After military service, Birney joined the Barter Theatre Company in Abingdon, VA, where he made both his professional acting (in Noel Coward's "Hay Fever") and directing ( with Edward Albee's "The Zoo Story") debuts. He went on to appear with various regional theaters, including the Hartford Stage Company, before making his New York debut with Joseph Papp's New York Shakespeare Festival in "A Comedy of Errors" in 1967. Birney appeared alongside Stacy Keach and Rue McClanahan in "MacBird" (1967) won praise for his turn in the off-Broadway show "Summertime" the following year. Numerous other stage roles followed, although his theater work became sporadic after 1975 when TV roles became more plentiful. Birney did make a belated Broadway debut in 1983 stepping into the role of Salieri in Peter Shaffer's award-winning play "Amadeus." The actor made his TV series bow as the young lover Mark Elliot on the CBS soap opera "Love Is a Many Splendored Thing" in 1968. Two years later, he segued to the ABC daytime drama "A World Apart." But audiences came to recognize Birney for his primetime work beginning as Bernie Steinberg, the Jewish cab driver with writing aspirations married to an Irish-American Roman Catholic bride. "Bridget Loves Bernie" attempted to recreate the "Abby's Irish Bride" and "Cohens and Kellys" successes of the early part of the 20th Century, but the show lasted a mere season. (Birney married his co-star, Meredith Baxter, whose fame was to eclipse his when she starred in "Family Ties" in the 80s. They divorced in 1989.) Birney was an impressive John Quincy Adams in the 1976 PBS miniseries "The Adams Chronicles." Later that year, he stepped into Al Pacino's shoes as "Serpico," but the small screen version only lasted one season. In 1982, Birney was in the original cast of the NBC medical series "St. Elsewhere" as Dr. Ben Samuels, the young doctor who had slept with every woman in the hospital. Conflicts with the producers on the direction and status of his role led to his leaving the series after a year. He hooked up with producer Aaron Spelling with the short-lived "Glitter," as a star reporter for a magazine. A decade later, Birney was the smarmy news anchor on the equally short-lived UPN series "Live Shot" (1995). As a frequent player in TV-movies and miniseries, Birney had better luck demonstrating his range and talent. He made his TV debut playing Brother Martin, hearing the confession of "Saint Joan" in a 1967 NBC "Hallmark Hall of Fame" production. He offered a strong performance as one of the leads in the syndicated miniseries "Testimony of Two Men." His longform star status increased when he played Lyon Burke, the lawyer whose becomes involved romantically with one young woman and professionally with two others, in "Jacqueline Susann's Valley of the Dolls 1981." Birney served as executive producer of "The Long Journey Home" (CBS, 1987) and wrote "The Diaries of Adam and Eve," a stage project about relationships he performed with then-wife Meredith Baxter-Birney that was filmed for PBS in 1989. More recently, Birney was Alan Hamel, the husband of Suzanne Somers in the 1991 ABC biopic "Keeping Secrets" and the adoptive father of a confused Stephen Dorff in "Always Remember I Love You" (CBS, 1990). Birney's feature film appearances were sporadic. He debuted in the low-budget "Caravan to Vaccares" (1974) but is probably better recalled as the advertising executive whose daughter sees the Almighty in "Oh God! Book II" (1980). David Birney died on April 29, 2022 in Santa Monica, CA at the age of 83.

      Highest rated movies

      Someone's Watching Me! poster
      Someone's Watching Me!
      Oh, God! Book II poster
      Oh, God! Book II

      Photos

      Filmography

      Movies

      Credit
      No Score Yet No Score Yet King Richard II Unknown (Character) - 2001
      No Score Yet No Score Yet Touch and Die Scanzano (Character) - 1991
      No Score Yet No Score Yet Keeping Secrets Alan Hamel (Character) - 1991
      No Score Yet 42% Night of the Fox Hugh Kelso (Character) - 1990
      No Score Yet No Score Yet Always Remember I Love You Philip Mendham (Character) - 1990
      No Score Yet No Score Yet Love and Betrayal Bill Landry (Character) - 1989
      No Score Yet 12% Nightfall Aton (Character) - 1988
      No Score Yet No Score Yet The Long Journey Home Carter Wells (Character) - 1987
      No Score Yet No Score Yet Prettykill Larry Turner (Character) - 1987
      No Score Yet No Score Yet Seal Morning Dr. Bernard Lacey (Character) - 1985
      No Score Yet No Score Yet Glitter Sam Dillon (Character) - 1984
      No Score Yet No Score Yet The Five of Me Henry Hawksworth (Character) - 1981
      43% 38% Oh, God! Book II Don Richards (Character) - 1980
      No Score Yet No Score Yet Mom, the Wolfman, and Me Theo Marker (Character) - 1980
      No Score Yet No Score Yet OHMS Jack Coker (Character) - 1980
      No Score Yet No Score Yet High Midnight Tony Giannetti (Character) - 1979
      No Score Yet No Score Yet Bye, See You Monday Unknown (Character) - 1979
      86% 43% Someone's Watching Me! Paul Winkless (Character) - 1978
      No Score Yet No Score Yet Stories of the Bible Daniel (Character) - 1978
      No Score Yet No Score Yet Dirty Knight's Work Sir John Gifford (Character) - 1976
      No Score Yet No Score Yet Serpico: The Deadly Game Officer Frank Serpico (Character) - 1976
      No Score Yet No Score Yet Bronk Willie Harvey (Character) - 1975
      No Score Yet No Score Yet Hawaii Five-0: Murder Eyes Only Dillon (Character) - 1975
      No Score Yet No Score Yet Only With Married Men Dave Andrews (Character) - 1974
      No Score Yet 20% Caravan to Vaccares Bowman (Character) - 1974
      No Score Yet No Score Yet The Haunting of Penthouse D Perry (Character) - 1974
      No Score Yet No Score Yet Murder or Mercy Dr. Peter Peterson (Character) - 1974
      No Score Yet No Score Yet Double Play Unknown (Character) - 1972

      TV

      Credit
      No Score Yet 66% Without a Trace Unknown (Guest Star) 2007
      No Score Yet No Score Yet Poltergeist: The Legacy Unknown (Guest Star) 1999
      91% 88% Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Letant (Guest Star) 1998
      No Score Yet 69% Sliders Unknown (Guest Star) 1998
      14% No Score Yet Love Boat: The Next Wave Unknown (Guest Star) 1998
      44% No Score Yet Live Shot Unknown (Character) 1995
      43% No Score Yet Burke's Law Jim Deacon (Guest Star) 1995
      No Score Yet 66% Murder, She Wrote Unknown (Guest Star) 1989-1990 1992-1993
      No Score Yet No Score Yet The Ray Bradbury Theater Captain Williams (Character) 1992
      No Score Yet No Score Yet Matlock Unknown (Guest Star) 1989
      No Score Yet No Score Yet Glitter Sam Dillon (Character) 1984-1985
      No Score Yet No Score Yet Fantasy Island Unknown (Guest Star) 1978
      No Score Yet No Score Yet Testimony of Two Men Unknown (Character) 1977
      No Score Yet No Score Yet The Streets of San Francisco Neil Ruggers (Guest Star) 1976
      No Score Yet No Score Yet Cannon Terry Alexander (Guest Star) 1972 1975
      No Score Yet No Score Yet Police Woman Shawn Barry (Guest Star) 1975
      No Score Yet No Score Yet McMillan and Wife Unknown (Guest Star) 1975
      No Score Yet No Score Yet Police Story Officer Joe Waldron (Character) 1974
      No Score Yet No Score Yet Wide World Mystery Unknown (Character) 1974
      No Score Yet No Score Yet Bridget Loves Bernie Bernie Steinberg (Character) 1972-1973
      No Score Yet No Score Yet Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In Guest 1973
      No Score Yet No Score Yet What's My Line? Guest 1973