Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Summer Nose-talgia #14: Kim Darby -- Happy Birthday Today to the Veteran Actress! She's a Real Grup!

In the 1960s whenever TV producers needed a young actress to play the part of a sensitive girl, they turned to Kim Darby.  In the 1970s when they needed a sensitive teen, they turned to Kim Darby.  In the 1980s when they needed a sensitive young woman, they turned to Kim Darby.  Heck, even John Wayne turned to Kim Darby when he needed a sensitive albeit gutsy young gal to play opposite him in 1969's Oscar-winning movie True Grit.  Kim Darby, born on this date in 1947 and celebrating her 67th birthday today, has always been the consummate actress -- professional, talented, no fuss, mature beyond her years -- who never delivered less than excellent work in all of her many film and especially TV roles.

You could hardly watch a top network drama during the '60s and '70s without running into actress Kim Darby guest-starring in an episode.  From The Farmer's Daughter to Dr. Kildare to Wagon Train to Mr. Novak to The Donna Reed Show to Ben Casey to The Fugitive to Ironside to The Man from U.N.C.L.E. to Gunsmoke to Bonanza to Judd for the Defense to Run for Your Life to Marcus Welby, M.D. to Police Story to Baretta to Fantasy Island to The Love Boat to The Streets of San Francisco and many more, Kim was on them all, often more than once. Even after making True Grit she alternated big screen and TV roles throughout her busy career.

Kim was a popular choice for work in the TV movie format, including the science fiction tale The People in 1972, the classic thriller Don't Be Afraid of the Dark in 1963, Flatbed Annie & Sweetiepie: Lady Truckers opposite Annie Potts in 1979 and many others.

Kim also co-starred (and received an Emmy Nomination) in what was most assuredly the most powerful miniseries event of its day, the immensely popular Rich Man, Poor Man in 1976:

Kim Darby -Rich Man Poor Man from Mondo Justin on Vimeo.

In addition to her acclaimed role in True Grit, Kim starred in an interesting collection of big screen motion pictures including Norwood, The Strawberry Statement, The One and Only, Generation, and The Grissom Gang.  Her TV guest-star credits burgeoned to include Trapper John, M.D., The X-Files, Murder, She Wrote, Becker, Scarecrow and Mrs. King, and many others including the very recent Perception.

Last but certainly not least, Kim joined the illustrious selection of actors and actresses who achieved popular culture godlike status by portraying the title character of the original Star Trek episode "Miri".  Her role was a vulnerable young human-like girl on the verge of becoming a woman and catching the deadly virus that infects and kills all grown-ups -- Grups -- on their planet.  It's one of the more memorable episodes if for nothing else other than the sinister "Nah nah nah nah nah..." chant that the group of feral children drone as they surround a hostage Captain Kirk -- William Shatner in full Shatner-esque glory.  The wonderful character actor Michael J. Pollard co-starred in the episode, too; that's a lot of acting talent in one episode.  First enjoy the newer shorter trailer from the recent syndicated run of the show, then the original trailer and finally a great scene with Kirk and the kids:

We recommend watching the entire episode on StarTrek.com, of course, by clicking here.

In addition to her acting roles, Kim Darby continues her work as a respected and sought-after acting professor and coach. You can visit her official website by clicking here; lots of great material there, too.

It's almost hard to believe that Kim Darby has been a fixture on movie and TV screens for more than fifty years.   American entertainment would not have been the same without her consistently intelligent and uniquely honest portrayals throughout her long career.

Happy Birthday to the wonderful Kim Darby!

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