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  • TGC's post about the jacket that Kim Darby wore in True Grit sent us to IMDb to see if there were any recent pictures of her. We noticed she had done a fair amount of work before her role in TG, and came here to comment on it, and discovered there was no thread dedicated to her. Now we realize her character wasn't exactly a "pal" but she was certainly a memorable character. Anyway, we hope Keith won't mind that we are starting this thread. We have followed his pattern in arranging the information. So without further adieu . . .

    kimdarby true grit.jpg

    Information from IMDb

    Date of Birth

    8 July 1947
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    Birth Name

    Deborah Zerby

    Mini Biography

    The child of professional dancers, Kim Darby began her career studying dance with her father as well as Nico Charisse. At fourteen, she was granted special admission to Tony Barr's acting workshop at Desilu Studios on the Paramount Pictures lot. He wrote later that it was her remarkable openness, honesty, emotional readiness and focus that convinced him to bring her into his adult class. These traits have become the signature of her work in a career that has now spanned a period of more than forty years.

    As a teenager, she earned her first acting roles in episodes of television shows including Mr. Novak, Dr. Kildare, The Eleventh Hour, Star Trek, and The Fugitive. Her reputation continued to grow with more work in film and television.

    She was twenty-one when producer Hal Wallis saw her in an episode of Run For Your Life and decided to offer her the coveted role of Mattie Ross, opposite John Wayne's Rooster Cogburn, in True Grit. The classic western earned Wayne his only Oscar and made Kim Darby a film star.

    Ms. Darby went on to star in a variety of productions, receiving a Golden Globe nomination for her work in Generation, and an Emmy Nomination for her role in the Rich Man Poor Man. Her feature films include The Strawberry Statement, The Grissom Gang, Better Off Dead, and Mockingbird Don't Sing; television movies include The Story of Pretty Boy Floyd, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, and Enola Gay.

    Still acting, since 1990 she has also been teaching her craft and is asked to give seminars at universities and film schools throughout the country. Her own training and lifelong experience over the last four decades has provided her with a rich perspective as well as a diverse collection of skills which she enjoys sharing with enthusiastic students.
    IMDb Mini Biography By: Doug Kramer


    James Westmoreland (6 February 1970 - May 1970) (divorced)James Stacy (20 March 1968 - 26 June 1969) (divorced) 1 child

    Daughter of Jon Zerby.
    Has one daughter with James Stacy.
    When her parents, The Dancing Zerbys, were appearing in a Las Vegas showroom, she made her debut at the age of three, when the comedian introduced her on stage as the manager of the show. She kept the role and stayed in the act until she was old enough to go to school.
    The daughter of dancers Jon Zerby and Inga Wiere, who were known as The Dancing Zerby's, a successful nightclub act in the 1940s and 1950s.
    Gives seminars in acting and directing at film schools and universities. Taught film acting and directing at UCLA for 17 years.
    Film acting and directing classes were mandated for all film students in the Entertainment Studies Department at UCLA, where she taught for 15 years (1990-2004).

    Filmography Actress:

    1. Cold Ones (2007) .... Barbs
    2. The Storyteller (2005) .... Mildy Torres
    3. You Are So Going to Hell! (2004) .... Louise
    4. "For the People" .... Janine Woods (1 episode, 2002)
      ... aka Para la gente (USA: Spanish title)
      - Textbook Perfect (2002) TV episode .... Janine Woods
    5. "Dark Realm" .... Tilly Lawless (1 episode, 2001)
      ... aka Monde des ténèbres, Le (France)
      - Emma's Boy (2001) TV episode .... Tilly Lawless
    6. Mockingbird Don't Sing (2001) .... Louise Standon
    7. NewsBreak (2000) .... Frances Johnson
    8. "The X Files" .... Kathy Lee Tencate (1 episode, 2000)
      ... aka The X-Files (USA)
      - Sein und Zeit (2000) TV episode .... Kathy Lee Tencate
    9. "Becker" .... Katherine (1 episode, 1999)
      - Point of Contact (1999) TV episode .... Katherine
    10. The Last Best Sunday (1999) .... Mrs. Summers
    11. "Profiler" .... Ilene Klinger (1 episode, 1996)
      - Cruel and Unusual (1996) TV episode .... Ilene Klinger
    12. The Secret of Lizard Woman (1996) (TV) .... Jo Howland
    13. Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995) .... Debra Strode
      ... aka Hall6ween (USA)
      ... aka Halloween 666: Curse of Michael Myers
      ... aka Halloween: The Origin of Michael Myers
    14. "Murder, She Wrote" .... Joan Kemp / ... (2 episodes, 1984-1995)
      - Film Flam (1995) TV episode .... Joan Kemp
      - We're Off to Kill the Wizard (1984) TV episode .... Laurie Bascomb
    15. Deadly Embrace (1989) (uncredited)
    16. Teen Wolf Too (1987) .... Professor Brooks
    17. "Crazy Like a Fox" .... Jenny Fenwick (1 episode, 1986)
      - A Fox at the Races (1986) TV episode .... Jenny Fenwick
    18. "Riptide" .... Beverly (1 episode, 1986)
      - A Matter of Policy (1986) TV episode .... Beverly
    19. "Scarecrow and Mrs. King" .... Elizabeth Sullivan (1 episode, 1985)
      - Over the Limit (1985) TV episode .... Elizabeth Sullivan
    20. Better Off Dead... (1985) .... Jenny Meyer
      ... aka Better Off Dead (USA)
    21. Embassy (1985) (TV) .... Sue Davidson
    22. First Steps (1985) (TV) .... Sherry Petrofsky
    23. "This Is the Life" (1 episode, 1985)
      - The Face of Gabriel Ortiz (1985) TV episode
    24. "Hotel" .... Jean Lawrence (1 episode, 1984)
      ... aka Arthur Hailey's Hotel
      - Ideals (1984) TV episode .... Jean Lawrence
    25. "E/R" .... Mrs. Johnson (1 episode, 1984)
      - Only a Nurse (1984) TV episode .... Mrs. Johnson
    26. "The Facts of Life" .... Doris Garrett (1 episode, 1984)
      - Joint Custody (1984) TV episode .... Doris Garrett
    27. "The Mississippi" (1 episode, 1984)
      - Abigail (1984) TV episode
    28. "Trapper John, M.D." .... Cassie Thomas / ... (2 episodes, 1983-1984)
      - A Little Knife Music (1984) TV episode .... Marsha Huber
      - Past Imperfect (1983) TV episode .... Cassie Thomas
    29. Summer Girl (1983) (TV) .... Mary Shelburne
      ... aka The Hands That Rob the Cradle
    30. Close Ties (1983) (TV) .... Evelyn
    31. "The Love Boat" .... Wendy / ... (3 episodes, 1979-1982)
      - Tomorrow Lady, The/Father, Dear Father/Still Life (1982) TV episode .... Sarah Curtis
      - Disco Baby/Alas, Poor Dwyer/After the War/Ticket to Ride/Itsy Bitsy: Part 1 (1979) TV episode .... Wendy
      - Disco Baby/Alas, Poor Dwyer/After the War/Ticket to Ride/Itsy Bitsy: Part 2 (1979) TV episode .... Wendy
    32. The Capture of Grizzly Adams (1982) (TV) .... Kate Brady
    33. "Fantasy Island" .... Rebecca Walters (1 episode, 1982)
      - Challenge, The/A Genie Named Joe (1982) TV episode .... Rebecca Walters
    34. Enola Gay: The Men, the Mission, the Atomic Bomb (1980) (TV) .... Lucy Tibbets
    35. "The Last Convertible" (1979) TV mini-series .... Ann Rowan
    36. Flatbed Annie & Sweetiepie: Lady Truckers (1979) (TV) .... Ginny LaRosa (segment "Sweetiepie")
      ... aka Flatbed Annie
      ... aka Girls of the Road (UK)
    37. The One and Only (1978) .... Mary Crawford
    38. "Family" .... Lily Barker (1 episode, 1978)
      - Princess in the Tower (1978) TV episode .... Lily Barker
    39. "Rich Man, Poor Man" (1976) TV mini-series .... Virginia Calderwood
      ... aka Rich Man, Poor Man - Book I
    40. "Baretta" .... Anne (1 episode, 1975)
      - The Goodbye Orphan Annie Blues (1975) TV episode .... Anne
    41. "Wide World Mystery" .... Helen (1 episode, 1975)
      - Mirror of Deception (1975) TV episode .... Helen
    42. "Thriller" .... Helen (1 episode, 1975)
      - Good Salary, Prospects, Free Coffin (1975) TV episode .... Helen
    43. "Archer" .... Leslie Griffith (1 episode, 1975)
      - The Body Beautiful (1975) TV episode .... Leslie Griffith
    44. "Petrocelli" .... Donna (1 episode, 1975)
      - The Kidnapping (1975) TV episode .... Donna
    45. "Police Story" .... Barbara Nations / ... (2 episodes, 1974)
      - Captain Hook (1974) TV episode .... Jennie Hill
      - The Wyatt Earp Syndrome (1974) TV episode .... Barbara Nations
    46. This Is the West That Was (1974) (TV) .... Calamity Jane
    47. The Story of Pretty Boy Floyd (1974) (TV) .... Ruby Hardgrave
      ... aka Pretty Boy Floyd
    48. "Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law" .... Perry (1 episode, 1974)
      - I've Promised You a Father: Part 2 (1974) TV episode .... Perry
    49. "Marcus Welby, M.D." .... Perry (1 episode, 1974)
      ... aka Robert Young, Family Doctor
      - I've Promised You a Father: Part 1 (1974) TV episode .... Perry
    50. "Love Story" .... Ellie (1 episode, 1973)
      - Joie (1973) TV episode .... Ellie
    51. "Ironside" .... Samantha (1 episode, 1973)
      ... aka The Raymond Burr Show (USA: syndication title)
      - Downhill All the Way (1973) TV episode .... Samantha
    52. Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (1973) (TV) .... Sally Farnham
      ... aka Nightmare (Europe: English title: video box title)
    53. "Ghost Story" .... Cindy (1 episode, 1973)
      ... aka Circle of Fear (USA: new title)
      - Dark Vengeance (1973) TV episode .... Cindy
    54. "Cool Million" (1 episode, 1972)
      - Hunt for a Lonely Girl (1972) TV episode
    55. "The Streets of San Francisco" .... Holly Jean Berry (1 episode, 1972)
      - Pilot (1972) TV episode .... Holly Jean Berry
    56. The People (1972) (TV) .... Melodye Amerson
    57. The Grissom Gang (1971) .... Barbara Blandish
    58. Red Sky at Morning (1971) (uncredited)
    59. Norwood (1970) .... Rita Lee Chipman
    60. The Strawberry Statement (1970) .... Linda
    61. Generation (1969) .... Doris Bolton Owen
      ... aka A Time for Caring
      ... aka A Time for Giving (UK)
    62. True Grit (1969) .... Mattie Ross
    63. "Run for Your Life" .... Carol Sherman / ... (2 episodes, 1966-1968)
      - Carol (1968) TV episode .... Carol Sherman
      - Hang Down Your Head and Laugh (1966) TV episode .... Tina
    64. Flesh and Blood (1968) (TV) .... Faye
    65. "Bonanza" .... Trudy Loughlin (1 episode, 1967)
      ... aka Ponderosa (USA: rerun title)
      - The Sure Thing (1967) TV episode .... Trudy Loughlin
    66. "Judd for the Defense" .... Cassie Rossiter (1 episode, 1967)
      - Conspiracy (1967) TV episode .... Cassie Rossiter
    67. "Gunsmoke" .... Angel / ... (3 episodes, 1967)
      ... aka Gun Law (UK)
      ... aka Marshal Dillon (USA: rerun title)
      - Vengeance: Part 2 (1967) TV episode .... Angel
      - Vengeance: Part 1 (1967) TV episode .... Angel
      - The Lure (1967) TV episode .... Carrie Neely
    68. "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." .... Sandy True (2 episodes, 1967)
      - The Five Daughters Affair: Part II (1967) TV episode .... Sandy True
      - The Five Daughters Affair: Part I (1967) TV episode .... Sandy True
    69. Ironside (1967) (TV) .... Ellen Wells
    70. "The Road West" .... Sister Marie Aimee (1 episode, 1967)
      - Fair Ladies of France (1967) TV episode .... Sister Marie Aimee
    71. "Star Trek" .... Miri (1 episode, 1966)
      ... aka Star Trek: TOS (USA: promotional abbreviation)
      ... aka Star Trek: The Original Series (USA: informal title)
      - Miri (1966) TV episode .... Miri
    72. "The Fugitive" .... Ruth Simmons / ... (2 episodes, 1965-1966)
      - Joshua's Kingdom (1966) TV episode .... Ruth Simmons
      - An Apple a Day (1965) TV episode .... Sharon Wolfe
    73. "Ben Casey" .... Gail McBride (1 episode, 1966)
      - Where Did All the Roses Go? (1966) TV episode .... Gail McBride
    74. The Restless Ones (1965) .... April
    75. "The John Forsythe Show" .... Deidre Miller (1 episode, 1965)
      - 'Tis Better to Have Loved and Lost (1965) TV episode .... Deidre Miller
    76. "The Donna Reed Show" .... Katy Dalton (1 episode, 1965)
      - The Mysterious Smile (1965) TV episode .... Katy Dalton
    77. Bus Riley's Back in Town (1965) .... Gussie
    78. "Mr. Novak" .... Judy Wheeler / ... (2 episodes, 1963-1965)
      - The Silent Dissuaders (1965) TV episode .... Judy Wheeler
      - To Lodge and Dislodge (1963) TV episode .... Julie Dean
    79. "Wagon Train" .... Heather Heatherington (1 episode, 1964)
      ... aka Major Adams, Trail Master
      - The Story of Hector Heatherington (1964) TV episode .... Heather Heatherington
    80. "Dr. Kildare" .... Patsy Carey / ... (2 episodes, 1964)
      - What's Different About Today? (1964) TV episode .... Sandy Kimball
      - A Nickel's Worth of Prayer (1964) TV episode .... Patsy Carey
    81. "The Eleventh Hour" .... Gina Fields (2 episodes, 1964)
      - Does My Mother Have to Know?: Part 2 (1964) TV episode .... Gina Fields
      - Does My Mother Have to Know?: Part 1 (1964) TV episode .... Gina Fields
    82. "The Farmer's Daughter" .... Alexandra (1 episode, 1964)
      - Katy and the Prince (1964) TV episode .... Alexandra
    83. Bye Bye Birdie (1963) (uncredited) .... High school student

    Filmograph - Herself:

    1. Halloween: 25 Years of Terror (2006) (V) .... Herself
    2. Lesley Ann Warren: A Cinderella Story (2000) (TV) .... Herself
      ... aka Celebrity: Lesley Ann Warren (Australia)
    3. "The David Frost Show" .... Herself (1 episode, 1970)
      - Episode dated 11 November 1970 (1970) TV episode .... Herself

    Archive Footage:

    1. Hollywood Screen Tests: Take 1 (1999) (TV) (uncredited) .... Herself
    2. Rodgers & Hammerstein: The Sound of Movies (1996) (TV) (uncredited) .... Liesl (screen test)
    3. The Karate Killers (1967) .... Sandy True
  • Kim Darby had a decent career before True Grit, and has been very successful in the time since as well, as evidenced by her full filmography spanning the years from 1963 to 2007.

    Her character Mattie Ross was one you loved to hate, she was so very annoying! She only appeared one time with John Wayne, in his Academy award-winning

    True Grit (1969) .... Mattie Ross

    Interestingly enough, she appeared with John Wayne co-stars Jim Hutton and Pedro Armendariz Jr. in a made-for-TV horror movie in 1973,

    Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (1973) (TV) .... Sally Farnham
    (see a clip from it in the YouTube forum)

    She and Glen Campbell worked again just a year after True Grit, in a film called

    Norwood (1970) .... Rita Lee Chipman

    You can read more about her at the following web sites -

    Kim Darby Official Site
    Kim Darby's MySpace

    Another interesting thing, that I heard recently, is that she is dating Johnny Crawford (who played Chuck Connor's son in The Rifleman).

  • Thanks for thread Jim, and yes the format does looks remarkably familiar!!
    One support, that I momentarily considered, then passed by.
    As we all know, she was no 'Pal'' but in my eyes any co-star,
    falls into the the Pals profiles.

    Interestingly, Mia Farrow was the first choice for

    True Grit

    but she was unavailable.

    When Darby arrived on the set, she had a brusque attitude.
    She was often rude, and seemed determined to show,
    that she was not impressed by working with John Wayne.

    Duke considered her a spoiled brat, and quickly realized,
    they did not have much in common.
    He said,


    I went over and tried to get some rapport...
    but I didn't have much luck

    Director did everything to make a sympathetic relationship,
    it was not easy, but the end result, was that she played a a great part.
    The producer Hal Wallis. noted,
    the picture was a winner, Duke was extaordinary,
    and Darby matched him with precision.

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited 5 times, last by ethanedwards ().

  • Thanks for thread Jim, and the format looks remarkably familiar!!

    Hey . . . we learned from the BEST! And your position as the MASTER provider of the "Pals" threads is not in any danger. Having put together just one has provided us with an even greater respect for your work in that area.

    While none of us considers her a 'pal' they were certainly more pal-sy by the end of the movie, when her character wanted his to be buried next to her. And he jumped a four-rail fence for her, right?

    If I remember correctly, Duke had also considered the singer Karen Carpenter for the role.

    Chester :newyear:

  • I've always viewed Darby as an odd duck. I think her part in True Grit was her most memorable work. It's a shame she had a bad attitude. She might have learned something from JW.


    "I have tried to live my life so that my family would love me and my friends respect me. The others can do whatever the hell they please."

  • Many of you may be unaware that our member Jeffrey Wayne Sutherland, in addition to being a John Wayne impersonator, is also an accomplished celebrity interviewer with his own cable TV show, Jeff's Star Talk.

    I discovered that at the 2009 Golden Boot Awards, Jeff interviewed (among others) Kim Darby of True Grit fame and Fess Parker, who just passed away this week. I thought you might enjoy seeing the clip.

    Kim Darby is the first brief interview, followed by Fess Parker, finishing the segment with Morgan Woodward.



  • That is one of the great things about this board, the members looking for and sharing all these great clips and facts with each other. Thanks for sharing this, Jim and Sue.


    "I couldn't go to sleep at night if the director didn't call 'cut'. "

  • Thanks for posting that, Chester. I really enjoyed it. First time I've seen Kim Darby in about 35 yrs. And Morgan Woodward, he was one of my favorite character actors. Ther was no mistaking him on screen with that deep prominent voice. And I wonder if most people know that he was a regular on The Life And Legen Of Wyatt Earp for a couple of years as Shotgun Gibbs. He had a big bushy mustache but, that deep voice was still there. And, he was also "The Man With No Eyes", in Cool Hand Luke. The guard who never spoke, wore the sunglasses and was quick with the rifle.

  • That's funny that Kim Darby would say what she said, I heard from a few sources that she didn't like Duke and there was friction from time to time. She just had a baby and was a difficult person to work with at the time. Now that's what I read and heard from others. It was good to see Fess Parker there and hear about his time between Davy to Daniel including the competition between the networks. Very interesting. Thanks Chester and Mrs for the clip.

    Cheers :cool: Hondo


    "When you come slam bang up against trouble, it never looks half as bad if you face up to it"

    - John Wayne quote

  • Wow. Kim Darby looks and sounds exactly the same.
    As you say Mike, it's most odd that we have all grown up,
    understanding that she didn't like and get on with Duke!!
    Duke is even quoted as saying
    he didn't get on with here and that she was
    a spoiled brat, see the Kim Darby thread.
    On this she said the complete opposite.
    I have also copied these couple of posts to
    the Kim Darby thread.
    Great also to see Fess Parker.

    Best Wishes
    London- England

  • Looking at her work over time. She was a busy person with television and the silver screen. She didn't seem to stay long with shows only appearing once in most of them, and the movies were one time deals. Most of the movies were unmemorable from what I see, not knowing most of them, the others recycle movies that were fair at best. Not one I can see that I would have except True Grit. I do remember her in Star Trek, but don't recall her in anything else.

    I guess what I am saying is she may be a fine actress, but her filmography is not very impressive. There in not a movie that stands out that gives her a name except True Grit and I think she cursed it. Of course that is my opinion. Some of you may be more into her work than I am.

    Cheers :cool:


    "When you come slam bang up against trouble, it never looks half as bad if you face up to it"

    - John Wayne quote

  • The thanks go to Jeff Sutherland, for his insight in interviewing these folks while they're still standing tall and kickin'.

    As for Kim Darby, I suspect that the years and adult maturity could override any negative thoughts from her youth. At the same time, this was the biggest thing that had ever happened in her life, working on True Grit with some big stars. Good for her, that she was at the event!

    Chester :newyear:

  • I have sent messages to Miss Darby about her experience in True Grit. I don't my letters were received. Does anyone know how to get in touch with Miss Darby?

  • Is it me or did it look like Kim Darby as Mattie Ross in True Grit was completely in love with the movie Icon in the last seen of True Grit. I have tried contacting her to ask how she was able to put that emotion on screen. To me it seemed so real. Any thoughts?

  • Is it me or did it look like Kim Darby as Mattie Ross in True Grit was completely in love with the movie Icon in the last seen of True Grit. I have tried contacting her to ask how she was able to put that emotion on screen. To me it seemed so real. Any thoughts?

    I have placed your posts into this the dedicated thread.
    Maybe you will find the posts contained within this thread interesting
    and maybe in some way answers your question

    Best Wishes
    London- England