David Poole Fronabarger
May 31, 1912
Big Spring, Texas, U.S.
|Died||November 8, 1969 (aged 57)|
(m. 1936; div. 1954)
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 appeared in the first few of Monogram Pictures East Side Kids films, then appeared in many low-budget Westerns, such as Producers Releasing Corporation's Texas Rangers series, where he was often billed as "Tex" O'Brien, alluding to his home state.
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.
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).
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 keen yachtsman, 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. He apparently had been experiencing symptoms of cardiac problems for several weeks, but did not seek medical attention.
|1942||Calling All Pa's||Joe Thunderstruck|
|1943||First Aid||Crandall K. Krumb, the Husband|
|1946||Treasures From Trash||Alonzo T. Mousebrain||Director and Screenplay Writer as David Barclay|
|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|
|1948||Ice Aces||Director as David Barclay|
|1948||You Can't Win||Director and Screenplay Writer as David Barclay|
|1948||Let's Cogitate||Director and Screenplay Writer as David Barclay|
|1949||Just Suppose||The Dad||Director as David Barclay|
|1950||Wrong Way Butch||Wrong Way Butch||Director as David Barclay|
|1952||I Love Children But...||The Dad/Papa Schlemiel||Director and Writer as David Barclay|
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