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Interview by Mark S. Orr
April 27, 2012
David Lynn Selby is an American character and stage actor, playwright and poet. He has worked in
movies, soap operas and television. Selby is best known for playing the roles of Quentin Collins on the
ABC-TV serial, Dark Shadows (a role he played from 1968 to its ending in 1971), and as the evil and
compassionate estranged son of Angela Channing (played by Jane Wyman), Richard Channing, on the
prime-time CBS soap opera Falcon Crest (a role he played from 1982 to 1990).
Selby's movie credits include co-starring roles with Barbra Streisand in Up the Sandbox (1972) and with
Ron Leibman in The Super Cops (1974), White Squall, D3: The Mighty Ducks, Raise the Titanic, and
Surviving Christmas (2004). In 2010, he appeared in The Social Network as the attorney representing the
Winklevoss brothers. He has recently reprised the role of Quentin Collins for a new series of Dark Shadows
audio dramas from Big Finish Productions. On the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birthday, Selby
appeared on stage with President Barack Obama and portrayed Lincoln in a scene from the play The
Heavens Are Hung in Black at the historic reopening of Ford's Theatre.
His writing includes the plays Lincoln and James and Final Assault as well as the poetry collections My
Mother's Autumn and Happenstance. His novels are Lincoln's Better Angel and The Blue Door. A Better
Place combines memoir and social commentary to discuss Selby's West Virginia upbringing. In 2010, Selby
published My Shadowed Past, chronicling what it was like to work on Dark Shadows during the turbulent
late 1960s and early 1970s.
Selby and fellow Dark Shadows actor Jonathan Frid (who passed away only a few weeks ago on April 13)
will both be appearing in cameo roles in the upcoming release of the new Dark Shadows film starring
Johnny Depp, Jackie Earle Haley, Eva Green, Bella Heathcote, Michelle Pfeiffer, Thomas McDonell, Gulliver
McGrath, Chloe Moretz and Helena Bonham Carter and 1970's musician Alice Cooper.
|Selby as Abraham Lincoln in a scene from the play
The Heavens Are Hung in Black at the historic
reopening of Ford's Theatre.
Original Dark Shadows LP album from 1969 with music by Robert Cobert. This
album was released on the Phillips label and came with a poster of David Selby
and Jonathan Frid.
Promotional photograph for the new film release of Dark Shadows starring Johnny Depp,
Michelle Pfeiffer, Eva Green, Helena Bonham Carter......coming to theaters May 11, 2012.
Selby and Lara Parker (Angelique) at Pinewood Studios visiting the set of new Dark
Shadows movie-June 2011. www.davidselby.com
|Original cast of the dark Shadows TV soap opera series 1966-1971.
|David Selby as Quentin Collins
in Dark Shadows 1966-1971
|Dark Shadows trading card
#38. 1969 Dan Curtis
Barnabas: "It will take a
miracle to save him now".
Dark Shadows Original Cast Members 1966-1971:
Jonathan Frid -- Barnabas Collins (594 episodes, 1967-1971)
Grayson Hall --. Dr. Julia Hoffman (474 episodes, 1967-1971)
Nancy Barrett -- Carolyn Stoddard (402 episodes, 1966-1971)
Joan Bennett -- Elizabeth Collins Stoddard (387 episodes, 1966-1971) (died 1990)
Alexandra Isles --Victoria Winters (343 episodes, 1966-1968)
Louis Edmonds -- Roger Collins (321 episodes, 1966-1971)
Kathryn Leigh Scott -- Maggie Evans (309 episodes, 1966-1970)
David Selby --- Quentin Collins (307 episodes, 1968-1971)
David Henesy -- David Collins (276 episodes, 1966-1970)
Lara Parker-- Angelique (269 episodes, 1967-1971)
Thayer David --. Professor Timothy Stokes (224 episodes, 1966-1971)
John Karlen -- Willie Loomis / ... (182 episodes, 1967-1971)
Joel Crothers -- Joe Haskell / ... (169 episodes, 1966-1969)
Roger Davis -- Jeff Clark (128 episodes, 1968-1970)
Christopher Pennock -- Cyrus Longworth (127 episodes, 1970-1971)
David Ford -- Sam Evans (109 episodes, 1966-1968)
Jerry Lacy -- Gregory Trask (109 episodes, 1967-1971)
Mitch Ryan -- Burke Devlin (107 episodes, 1966-1967)
See complete cast list here: Complete Cast List
|This 1969 DS collectors
card set had 66 cards and
was released in 1969. The
backs of the cards are
puzzle pieces. Dark
Shadows still enjoys a
large fanbase; between
them and regular vintage
these card series are
expensive and difficult to
Thank you so much for agreeing to be interviewed for my website. I'm a long time fan of your work,
especially your work on the cult hit TV series Dark Shadows. I, like thousands of others of my generation
that watched the original series, have the same memories of rushing home from school to catch the 4
o'clock airing of the gothic soap opera Dark Shadows. There was nothing else like it on TV, with it's
witches, warlocks, vampires, ghosts and werewolves. It had amazing plot twists and turns and a storyline
that was nearly impossible to comprehend dating back from the 1960's to centuries before. Dark Shadows
put the fictional town of Collinsport, Maine on the map for the ages and I expect Maine has seen nothing
quite like it before or since. Oh yeah...there is that one guy from Maine...a writer and movie making
machine, I think his name is King.. Between Dark Shadows and Stephen King, I think Maine has done
pretty good for itself theatrically, at least for fans of the horror genre.
Before we get started I just want to say how sorry I am at the loss of your acting friend from Dark Shadows,
Jonathan Frid. We will all miss Barnabas Collins and hope he is in another realm doing his thing as we
speak. I read your touching letter about your last meeting with him, holding his hand to help him off the
curb and your sentiment about him leaving on a long journey.
My deepest sympathies to you and all the cast-mates from the show.
So let us get "goth" and revisit Collinsport, Collinwood and The Blue Whale. When were you introduced to
director Dan Curtis and how did the part of Quentin Collins end up being played by you?
After I did a scene in his office he asked me to come to the studio. He looked at me on camera. Next
thing I knew, I had the job.
What was it like working with the other cast members? Any standout friendships and did you help develop
the character of Quentin?
All the actors were from the New York stage, and were good...well trained. I have remained friends
with many of them. Anytime an actor plays a role for a long period of time, he has influence on the
character and how it will be played.
Did you enjoy the subject matter of the show, the gothic element and the setting (Blue Whale, Collinwood,
Widow's Cliff etc)....or was it more just like any other acting job? For me...I was introduced into the great
world of scary movies through Dark Shadows...vampires etc. I love all the old horror films and shows.
I did not know anything about the show before I was cast. I love gothic stories...not all by any means.
Was filming as serious as it seemed to be or were there light-hearted and fun moments on set? Any good
There was always fun just sitting around talking before rehearsing. John Karlen (Willie Loomis)
trying to break me up a couple of times while we were shooting. Having drinks at the bar up the
street after a day's work. While we worked hard and were serious about the day's work, the cast
members enjoyed each other as many still do today.
Did you have any idea the show would become such a classic? Did any of the other actors have any idea?
I had no idea but that makes it all the more rather wonderful. The fans took over the show.
Many people I've spoken with who watched the original series are really protective of it. What do you think
of the new movie about to be released and Tim Burton and Johnny Depp's adaptation of the characters? I
know a lot of us fans have some trepidation about the movie spoofing the TV show.
I have not seen the film. Tim and Johnny did not approach the film lightly. None of the team did.
They put a lot of thought and creative energy into the work. Wait until you see it. You will see the
care that was taken with the production.
What part will you play in the new movie and who are the other originals who will make appearances?
We just make appearances at the mansion....no lines. But Jonathan (Frid), Lara (Parker), Kathryn
(Leigh Scott), and myself had a delightful time.
Off topic for a moment, I'd like to ask about your many portrayals of Abraham Lincoln on stage. Can you
tell us a bit about those performances and how they came to be?
I went to graduate school in Ill. I was tall and they needed someone to play Lincoln in a summer
stock company. Later I did a TV production for ABC. Then my relationship with Ford's Theatre,
where I have done two plays involving Lincoln, has been one of the most rewarding of my career.
You were a cast member of the very popular "Falcon Crest" for several years. I remember your
appearance on "The Walton's" as well and also the Dark Shadows films among other projects. Do you
have a favorite?
No favorite....good characters - I would say Quentin Collins (Dark Shadows) and Richard Channing
Do you keep in touch with your DS cast-mates? I like to think that everyone is friends and remain in close
contact...ha....I thin that would be cool.
We stay in contact and see each other always at the conventions and sometimes at other events.
(Dark Shadows Festival, the official Dark Shadows Convention held annually since 1983, usually in
New York or Los Angeles, features appearances by cast and crew in question and answer sessions
and autograph sessions, a banquet with the stars, a memorabilia room of Dark Shadows
merchandise for sale, performances by the stars and more).
What projects are you working on now aside from the part in the new Dark Shadows movie?
I'm working on a new play (Divine Rivalry) at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego. And a film to be
shot in June.
*Divine Rivalry, written by Michael Kramer with D. S. Moynihan, transports audiences to 16th-
century Florence, where two of the world’s greatest artists, Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci,
face off in a painting competition orchestrated by political mastermind Niccolò Machiavelli (The
And finally...what do you think of how vampires are portrayed in today's TV shows, novels and movies. Any
thoughts on Stephen King or Anne Rice's depictions of vampires and monsters and especially the glitter,
glammed up romanticized vampires of the Twilight saga.
All actors, once they have the role, bring their own take to it, put their stamp on it. I must admit, I
have never seen True Blood or Twilight. All such shows have fans and that is how it should be and
all actors are grateful. No one more so than this actor.
Thanks David and thanks Brigid!
|Click to play "Quentin's Theme".
Music by Robert Cobert
|Collectors World Online Interviews by Mark Sean Orr
INTERVIEW WITH DAVID SELBY
|David Selby will portray
Piero Soderini in the
West Coast premiere of
Divine Rivalry at the Old
Globe in San Diego.
|Dark Shadows - (1897) Quentin helps Barnabas escape from Edward