David Wayne was born
Wayne James McMeekan on January 30th , 1914
in Traverse City Michigan.
The chance came in 1936 when the Cleveland
exposition revived the Globe theater with streamlined Shakespeare.
He won the role of Touchstone in "As You
Like It." In 1938, he made his first New York stage
appearance in "Escape This Night".
Rejected by the army he volunteered as an ambulance driver for
the British in North Africa. Two weeks before being shipped out to
Europe he married Jane Gordon, daughter of Jean
Gordon of the Metropolitan and actress. They had been playing in
summer stock and knew each other quite a while. He was erroneously reported as being killed in
action when the Germans were victorious at the Battle of Tobruk in North
Africa. After the U.S joined the war he served in the US Army
Of motion pictures he says: "I am not at all convinced the actor has enough responsibility of creation in films. It is too much a technician's field. That is why I think the movie actor should return to the theater from time to time to enrich himself." His motion picture roles proved as varied a blend as his stage work, from a small-town barber who ages 56 years in the 1952 underrated film "Wait Till the Sun Shines, Nellie," a hillbilly in "With a Song in My Heart" (1952) to theatrical impresario Sol Hurok in "Tonight We Sing" (1953).
He did two co-starring stints with
Marilyn Monroe We're Not Married (1952), and as a landlord in "How to
Marry a Millionaire" (1953).
In 1957 Wayne was nominated for an Emmy for an
appearance in the "Heartbeat" episode of "Suspicion," a suspense
anthology. Wayne portrayed schizophrenic Joanne Woodward's long-suffering
husband in Three Faces of Eve (1957). Una Merkel , who co-starred
with Wayne his Fox years once said "I loved David Wayne. I think he's one of
the finest actors we have. He's so good they don't know what to do with
One place where they evidently did know what to do with Wayne was television, where he worked steadily from 1948 onward. He was a regular on the weekly series "Norby" (1955). Besides playing such prominent personages as Andrew Carnegie, Mark Twain and even "Old Scratch" (with Edward G. Robinson in a 1961 telecast of "The Devil and Daniel Webster"), he appeared in classic individual episodes of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" and "Twilight Zone". In episode "Escape Clause," David played a hypochondriac who, in an effort to escape his dependence on pills and fear of his environment, made a pact with the Devil. In exchange for his soul, he won immortality. Devotees of the Caped Crusader and Boy Wonder could occasionally see Wayne as the Mad Hatter, a "Batman" nemesis in 1966-67. As Dr. Dutton he was trying to find a cure for the "Andromeda Strain" in 1971. He was the duke in a 1974 remake of "Huckleberry Finn". His crusty Inspector Queen in the Ellery Queen TV-series (1975-1976) must be the definitive depiction of The Old Man although Wayne lacked the moustache so often mentioned in the books.
In 1977 he moved to Los Angeles.
In addition, Wayne appeared with New York's Lincoln Center Repertory, and
was one of the hosts of the NBC weekend radio potpourri Monitor. Most of the public now will remember him as
Willard (Digger) Barnes on "Dallas" (1978). He also had a
role in "House Calls" (1980).
He passed away in Santa Monica, California February 9, 1995 from Lung Cancer. He was 81 years old.
David Wayne made Stanislawsky's credo his own: "Love
the art in yourself rather than yourself in the art."
Additional video & audio sources
Last updated May 27, 2016
b a c k t o L i s t o f S u s p e c t s