Dave O'Brien (actor)
O'Brien in Reefer Madness
David Poole Fronabarger
May 31, 1912
|Died||November 8, 1969 (aged 57)|
|Spouse(s)||Dorothy Short (1936-1954) (divorced) 2 children|
Nancy O'Brien (1955-1969) (his death) 3 children
|Children||Patricia Barclay Fronabarger (b. 1942)|
Pamela Fronabarger (b. 1945)
O'Brien was best known to movie audiences in the 1940s as the hero of the famous Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer comedy short film series Pete Smith Specialties narrated by Pete Smith. O'Brien wrote and directed many of these subjects under the name David Barclay. O'Brien also had a small dancing part with Bebe Daniels in the Busby Berkeley musical 42nd Street (1933).
He also appeared in many low-budget Westerns, often billed as "Tex" O'Brien, alluding to his home state. To modern audiences, he is most likely best to be remembered as a frantic dope addict in the 1936 low-budget exploitation film Tell Your Children (better known under its reissue title, Reefer Madness), yelling "Play it faster, play it faster!" to a piano-playing girl (Lillian Miles). He appeared in Queen of the Yukon (1940) as Bob Adams. In 1940, he appeared in The Devil Bat as part of a comedy team with Donald Kerr. They also appeared together in Son of the Navy (1940) and The Man Who Walked Alone (1945).
One of his later roles was in the MGM musical version of Kiss Me, Kate (1953), a rare featured role for the actor in an 'A' list big-budget production.
O'Brien married one of his co-stars of Reefer Madness, Dorothy Short, in 1936, but they divorced in 1954 after having two children. In 1955, he married Nancy O'Brien and had three more children. A very keen yachtsman and sailor, he died aged 57 of a heart attack aboard a 60-foot sloop named The White Cloud while competing in a yachting race off the California coast near Catalina Island.
- Consolation Marriage (1931)
- The World Changes (1933) as Otto Peterson (uncredited)
- Bright Eyes (1934) as Bill
- Reefer Madness (1936)
- Main Street Lawyer (1939) (uncredited)
- East Side Kids (1940) as 'Knuckles' Dolan
- Boys of the City (1940) as 'Knuckles' Dolan
- That Gang of Mine (1940) as 'Knuckles' Dolan
- The Devil Bat (1940) as Johnny Layton
- Isle of Destiny (1940) Navy Radio Man (uncredited)
- Phantom Rancher (1940) as Henchman Luke
- Son of the Navy (1940) as Chief Machinist's Mate
- Hold That Woman (1940) as Miles Hanover
- Sky Bandits (1940) as Constable Kelly
- Double Trouble (1941) as Sparky Marshall
- Forbidden Trails (1941) as Jim Cramer
- Spooks Run Wild (1941) as Jeff Dixon
- Flying Wild (1941) as Tom Lawson
- Murder by Invitation (1941) as Michael, the Chauffeur
- Bowery at Midnight (1942) as Peter Crawford
- 'Neath Brooklyn Bridge (1942) as Sergeant Lyons
- The Yanks are Coming (1942) as Sgt. Callahan
- Tahiti Nights (1944)
- The Man Who Walked Alone (1945)
- Kiss Me, Kate (1953)
- The Kettles in the Ozarks (1956) Conductor
|1943||First Aid||Crandall K. Krumb, the Husband|
|1946||Sure Cures||Xavier T. Schneckendorf||Director and Screenplay Writer as David Barclay|
|1947||Have You Ever Wondered||Main Character||Director and Screenplay Writer as David Barclay|
|1949||Just Suppose||The Dad||Director as David Barclay|
|1952||I Love Children But...||The Dad/Papa Schlemiel||Director and Writer as David Barclay|
- Anderson, Chuck. "Dave O'Brien". www.b-westerns.com.
- Freese, Gene Scott (2014). Hollywood Stunt Performers, 1910s–1970s: A Biographical Dictionary, 2d ed. McFarland. ISBN 9781476614700. Retrieved 28 October 2018.
- "Awards Search". EMMYS. The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved 28 October 2018.
- "Tell Your Children (1936) - Full Credits - TCM.com". Turner Classic Movies.