day-by-day chronology
photo galleries
more stuff
discussion board
contact us

Home > Day-by-Day Chronology >

Chapter 15  -  SETTING UP HOUSE WITH DANI  (Apr 1972-Jul 1974)
    "a hi-rise condo-MOW's to pay the bills"

previous page
next page

This page is currently in a preliminary thumbnail version only. A more detailed page with pictures is in the works....




David Janssen, his "O'Hara US Treasury" series cancelled, is without a steady job or permanent home. New gal pal Dani Greco, now separated from singer-husband Buddy, also has a real estate problem. Together they rent a penthouse condominium in Century City at 2220 Avenue of the Stars. It's a place they'll eventually buy and expand.

may David continues to enjoy country club life in Palm Springs while the condo is worked on. He ferries regularly to Los Angeles for business meetings and social engagements with Dani. At a party late in the month at attorney Paul Ziffren and wife Mickey's Malibu house he sees another Hollywood peer in the throws of personal change. Robert Wagner is there with ex-wife Natalie Wood. David's wry comment: "This looks like a re-run".

may 29

David begins work on "The Longest Night", the next in a series of TV movies he will do. Much of this work is unremarkable.

jun 15 "The Longest Night" ends production.

late jun

Another TV film begins production close on the heels of finishing the last. For "Moon of the Wolf" David travels to Louisiana.

jun 28

back in California, attends a function at the Century Plaza Center in Century City near his condo.

There he crowns his mother ‘Queen of the Shubert Theater'.

jul 7

runs out of gas on Santa Monica Boulevard in his Rolls Royce. By coincidence mother Berniece happens to be driving by and takes him to get gas and back to his car.

jul 22

helps friend Bob Hope by travelling to Baltimore to appear on his hurricane Agnes Flood Relief Telethon.

aug may have taken a trip to Europe.


With a feature film career still failing to ignite, David begins production on MOW "Birds of Prey" in Salt Lake City, UT. This film reunites him with "Fugitive" producer Alan Armer and director Billy Graham. His portrayal of a traffic helicopter pilot Harry Walker gave fans a opportunity to see Janssen do good work again when supported by a good script. In the films opening moment airborne David sings "Itty Bitty Fishes", a song that he sang as a young child in Nebraska winning him a talent contest.


travels to Israel to star in an independent feature film called "Sabra Command" (which is barely released under the title "Prisoner In the Middle" several years later). The film is plagued with financial and creative problems. And David is far from fond of the experience.

Another film with US actors called "Billy Two Hats" is shooting at the same time and David and Dani enjoy the company of that film's star Gregory Peck and wife Veronique. Dani would often do the cooking. Determined to get what she wanted, she found a non-kosher butcher shop that would sell pork for spaghetti sauce and a bakery that would make a cake during Hanukah. Cooking whole meals on a hot plate, she overloaded circuits and blew the electricity on several occasions in the building where they lived.


Anxious to return to the California, David flies directly back, making a refueling stop in Athens and clearing customs in NY.

Is able to attend a memorial service for Louella Parsons, the famous Hollywood press agent, who'd taken a liking to David earlier in his career.

He plans some time off saying, "Tis the season to be jolly---unless (agent) Abby Greshler has other plans for me...." Abby does, but not until after Christmas.



late jan

Restless David takes the series television bait again and begins filming a one-hour pilot called "Harry O". This pilot is the first of two which will be done. This episode, “Such Dust As Dreams Are Made On”, is a work-in-progress in the slow process by which detective Harry Orwell comes to fruition. Gifted writer Howard Rodman has created a character which will eventually become a perfect fit for Janssen.

feb Friend Ralph Stolkin dies. Stolkin, who for a time in the early 50's had control of RKO Studios from Howard Hughes, made his fortune in Chicago under suspect circumstances. Both he and another friend with ties to organized crime, lawyer Sid Korshak, were 2 people Janssen enjoyed hanging out with. He most likely found their power and larger-than-life personalities intriguing.

late feb

David is quoted as saying he will marry Dani Greco (who is not yet officially divorced). In the meantime, David stops paying alimony to Ellie which will soon spark another legal battle.

mar 11

The "Harry O" pilot airs on ABC but does not sell. Variety’s review is critical: "The pilot’s intent seemed to be an approximation of the mood and motivation of the Dashiell Hamett-Raymond Chandler school of private eyes, but one assumes it read better than it played....Janssen’s semi-sullen interpretation of the lead did not look too much like a character viewers could grow fond of..."

mar 17

David’s maternal grandfather Werner Graf dies in Oregon at the age of 91. The next day he does not attend but takes his mother to the airport to go to the funeral.

mar 31

attends a John Ford tribute in LA with Dani. They meet President Nixon in a receiving line where the two men speak about David's TV work as a treasury agent and a fugitive. When Dani is introduced to the President, he asks her, “How do YOU do?”. She replies, “I took over where Lt. Gerard left off---I got him.”


With Dani now firmly installed as David's partner, some vestiges of David's pre-Dani life start to disappear. Loyal secretary Victor Gentile stops working for David and the office at 9255 Sunset maintained since 1966 is dismantled. Longtime publicist (and fellow tenant) Frank Liberman is let go. In terms of the key brain trust, only agent Abby Greshler survives.


another TV film goes into production. Hijack! (shot as "Fast Freight" ) co-stars Keenan Wynn. He salary is $25,000 for about 2 weeks of work.


attends with Dani a fundraiser for the City of Hope at the Forum sports arena in Los Angeles.

James Stewart is there and seeks the advice of TV series vet Janssen.

He's started to film his new series "Hawkins" and is unaccustomed to the quick pace associated with the small screen.

David tries to offer council but probably doesn't gloat about his own secret weapon---his photographic memory. This enables him to pick up a script and learn his lines very quickly, a skill Mr. Stewart may not be blessed to share.


films a special 2-hr. season premiere for "Cannon" for producer Quinn Martin. Some of his old "Fugitive" crew still works for the company and the series stars William Conrad was that show's deep-voiced narrator. Some of the shooting is on location in the Nevada City/Grass Valley, CA area.

aug 5

goes to Del Mar where friend director Marty Ritt's horse runs and wins.

aug 28

tapes "The Democratic National Telethon-America Goes Public" TV special, at CBS Television City.


travels to Alberta, Canada to co-star with Joanna Pettet in the "Pioneer Woman" TV movie and snags another quick $25,000.

In the meantime, ABC still is trying to retool the "Harry O" project as a project for Janssen. Though the 1st pilot was poorly reviewed, the ASI Research audience liked Janssen and wanted to see him in another role that showed him firm and capable, but sensitive underneath, with the vulnerability that endeared him to TV audiences for 4 years on "The Fugitive". David is paid a holding fee and another pilot is commisioned.


A 2nd "Harry O" pilot, this one in 2 hour TV movie form and called ‘Smile Jenny, You’re Dead’, begins production. Howard Rodman again writes the script incorporating producer Jerry Thorpe's suggestion they use qualities of the real David Janssen they got to know during the making of the 1st pilot.

nov 30

Janssen makes the first of several court-ordered appearances having missed 19 bi-monthly alimony payments since February (totalling $35,625) and facing charges of contempt of court. Ex-wife Ellie is now being represented by celebrity attorney Marvin Mitchelson. David, bringing evidence of his current financial status, appeals for a reduction in his alimony.

dec 10

David prevails in his legal matter. Judge Wells makes his decision ordering David to pay his back alimony but reduces future payments to $2200 monthly with an ending date of 12/31/78. David complies shortly thereafter using money from the just completed "Harry O" pilot 2.

dec 12

attends a premiere in Beverly Hills with Dani of a film called "Kazablan".

It's a typical night on the town. Dani efficiently runs the social calendar which has the couple very frequently "on the scene" and invited to the right parties. Columnist Joyce Haber a year earlier put the couple on her "Fun A" list along with Lucille Ball & her husband Gary Morton, Carol Burnett & Joe Hamilton, Dinah Shore & Burt Reynolds.. The "Super A" list is reseved for higher stock people like the Reagans, Sinatra, Astaire, and Cary Grant.

With a knack for money and investments, she has also taken over "the books" in David's life--an area that he certainly needs some help in.

dec 27

In a followup in court legal proceeding, back alimony is confirmed as having been paid, and contempt charges are officially dropped in time for New Years.



feb 3

‘Smile Jenny, You’re Dead’, the revamped "Harry O" TV movie/pilot airs on ABC to more satifying results.

The prospect of becoming a TV series star for the fourth time seems likely. Faced with another succession of days with early alarm clocks, he has this to say: “That doesn’t bother me. My Nebraska upbringing will take care of that...I recall my grandparents and my mother telling me ‘We’re all from the farm. Get up early and get to it.' If you slept late you were either a bum or terribly wealthy. In either case you were a bum.”

His official ABC bio for the show is unusually forthcoming with respect to his less-than-perfect side. It reveals past gambling losses, peptic ulcers, psychoanalysis, and leaving his wife Ellie on their 10th wedding anniversary. His rationale: “I was sick and tired of the glittering bios. You might as well tell the truth. It always comes out anyhow; you might as well put it out front.”


shoots ‘Fer-De-Lance', a TV movie for CBS with Hope Lange with a hokey 'snakes on a submarine' premise. As this film is concluding he is announced for a big screen project, a role in "Once Is Not Enough", the film treatment of the Jacqueline Susann novel for Paramount Pictures. It's a rare movie role in what has been of late and will continue to be mostly a TV career.

mar-apr whlie waiting for his movie to start, and a network decision on "Harry O", Janssen does a number of small projects. He does a Joe Namath roast on the Dean Martin Comedy Hour, and makes an 11-minute United Way charity film called "Little Boy Lost" which pairs him again with Joanna Pettet from the previous year's "Pioneer Woman". He also films and narrates a 20-minute industrial film for Alsco Anaconda, an aluminum siding company, intended to be a motivational selling tool for its dealers!

apr 2

attends the Motion Picture Academy Awards.


Janssen begins filming "Once Is Not Enough" in New York, followed by studio work in California. In it he plays a Norman Mailer-like writer who gets seduced by the daughter (Deborah Raffin) of the film produce/father she is trying to get back at (Kirk Douglas). Janssen reportedly inherits the role from first choice Anthony Quinn.  And he does a nude scene...

apr 23

Dani and Buddy Greco's divorce is final.


goes to Turkey as a guest of the government--a trip which has been in the works since April. He may have combined this with a stopover in Monaco to play in a celebrity tennis tournament. Janssen returns to get ready for production of season 1 of "Harry O" which has been greenlit for production.


previous page
next page



home | biography | day-by-day chronology | credits | photo galleries | more stuff | links | discussion board | contact us

Copyright © 2003-2012 • The David Janssen Archive • All rights reserved
Images and text may not be reproduced without permission