director, producer, actor, writer
Born February 22, 1921 in Manchester, England, UK
David Greene had a varied early career, beginning with his first job as junior reporter for the Walthamstow Guardian. Life as a journalist was not to be his forte, however. During the years spanning the mid- to late 1930's, he tried his luck variously in the furniture removal business, as a deck hand and as a hospital porter, before signing on with the Merchant Navy at the onset of World War II. He lasted a year before being invalided out in 1941. Becoming affiliated with the Everyman Theatre in London as its publicity manager, he finally found his vocation in the acting profession and subsequently enrolled at RADA. From 1948, he performed in repertory which included a season or two at the Old Vic. Movies followed, with supporting roles in films like The Wooden Horse (1950). While travelling through Canada with the touring Broadway Company of 'Anthony and Cleopatra' in 1952, Greene decided to accept an offer from the Canadian Broadcasting Company to join their television department. He emigrated officially in 1953, and moved to New York three years later. By the end of the decade, he had become one of the most sought-after TV directors in the business. Working on both sides of the Atlantic, he helmed episodes of popular action and adventure series like Sir Francis Drake (1961) and The Defenders (1961). He also directed the occasional feature. Three of these stand out. His first, The Shuttered Room (1967), was a macabre story, loosely based on H.P. Lovecraft. Greene's eye for off-beat location, combined with his clever use of subjective camera technique, gave the film a striking visual sense and considerably heightened its suspense value. Sebastian (1968), with its stark Orwellian visions of London, was a stylish espionage thriller about code breaking that did not take itself all that seriously. It boasted an excellent cast, headed by Dirk Bogarde, Susannah York and Lilli Palmer, and was directed with style, fairly obscuring the numerous incongruities within the plot. Third of the trio, The Strange Affair (1968), was a gritty, somewhat unpleasant, tale of police corruption and obsession set in swinging 60's London. More overtly violent than its predecessors in the genre, it imported Greene's American experience into British film and is worth viewing chiefly for the director's taut handling. Once again back in the U.S. from the mid-1970's, Greene directed several instalments of the popular miniseries Rich Man, Poor Man (1976) and then specialised in made-for-TV films, also occasionally working as producer or executive producer. Arguably, his most successful spell in the medium was between 1976 and 1979, winning three of his four Emmy Awards for Outstanding Directing of a Drama Series or Special. The oft-married Greene retired in 1999 and died in April 2003, aged 82.