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David Janssen - My Fugitive Hardcover – July 10, 2009


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This ineptly written tribute to actor David Janssen by his first wife of 12 years (they were divorced in 1970) celebrates his career, centering on the 1963-67 TV series The Fugitive, in which he portrayed Richard Kimble, a doctor who is on the run after being falsely accused of murdering his wife and sentenced to death. Copiously illustrated with photos of his life and with film stills, the book, as told to Florida paralegal Phelps, discusses the actor's heavy drinking and womanizing, as well as Ellie Janssen's stormy marriage to "a great man" who died of an apparent heart attack at age 48 in 1980. One doubts that this minor actor is well enough remembered for his wife's memoir to find an audience.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

With the success of the movie The Fugitive, a biography of the actor who, on TV, first realized the character comes as no surprise. This one promises to be pretty reliable, for its author is Janssen's erstwhile wife, Ellie (Phelps is her as-told-to scribe). In the late 1960s, Janssen left Ellie for a starlet; the tabloid press, much smaller then, had a field day. Ellie kept a low profile thereafter and had to be coaxed to participate in this book. She paints a loving portrait of the man who initially won her from Frank Sinatra and whom millions felt they knew from his starring roles in Richard Diamond, Private Eye, The Fugitive, and Harry-O. Far more famous for those small screen roles, Janssen made movies, too, but his career was marred by frequent unemployment and bouts of heavy drinking. Noteworthy for its subtle and gentle insights into dealing with the benefits and drawbacks of TV fame, this is a warm recollection of a decent and talented man. Mike Tribby
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 150 pages
  • Publisher: Blue Line Publishing House, Inc.; Fourth Edition, Hardcover, Photos edition (July 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081190797X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811907972
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #408,932 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Cheri S. Fogle on September 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Growing up watching the weekly show, THE FUGITVE, was a night most women would actually put their ironing down, and set down and watch TV. It wasn't only the action and suspense of the show, but for most of us it was we all were secretly in love with, David Janssen. He gave most of us, the excitment we needed in our lives at one moment or a other. Janssen took us into his world as the Fugitive, and Michael Phelps took us there again, with his truthfulness about David.
Author, J.D.MIchael Phelps, in his magnificiant writing, brought all this back so we could read his book and re-live it, in another time in our lives, and by taking us into the most personal parts of Davids life, we never knew about. After reading this book, I had to read it the second time, to make sure I didn't miss one part of Davids life, that Phelps delivered in this book.
Even the most negative things that came out in his life became exciting, showing me that a man I watched on TV, was not only a handsome man, a great actor, who took our breath away, in each episode, but Michael Phelps showed us he was also in his life in Hollywood, a very passionate man, who lived life to its fullest.
With each chapter about David and his wife, his affairs, his drinking, Phelps brought it all to life, but leaving us still, with so much respect for Janssen.
Phelps did a outstanding job of showing us another side a a man, but making us all still remember him as the wonderful actor he was. Phelps did a OUTSTANDING JOB,in this journey through Janseen life. I applaud Phelps for giving me the chance to read and enjoy this book. I will look forward to reading Author Phelps other books.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By M. E. Field on August 11, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I'm surprised more hasn't been written about Janssen by others. This seems to be the only in depth look at his life and it would be interesting to hear from others who would be less subjective.

She tells about their rough times together but only alludes to many years of good times. I would have liked to have read a few ancedotes about the good ones as well.

Maybe its the cynic in me but some of the book relates more about a woman who couldn't let go of a man who no longer loved her than a biography of Janssen. She also implies that his second wife duped him into signing a will leaving everything to wife number two and may have even failed to come to his aid when he suffered his heart attack. I'd love to hear the opposing views on all of this. The "will" is in the book but all the claims against it are conspicously missing.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Roxiann D. Hill on April 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
I have been waiting along time for this book and i really enjoyed it....I feel that Ellie and David made a lovely couple and it really touched my heart to read all the ups and downs that they went thur during their marriage. I hope that Ellie finds some peace in her life..........Sincerely, a true fan....Roxiann D. Hill, Indpls, IN
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 2, 1998
Format: Hardcover
All 120 episodes of the tv series "The Fugitive" out shine the movie version, although Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones were excellent. This book proves to be an insightful and significant look into the life of David Janssen. He died too young. I would like to hear more about how he REALLY died.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By grumpydan VINE VOICE on September 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover
"David Janssen, My Fugitive" has been re-released by Michael Phelps (not the Olympic swimmer) and was co-written with Mr. Janssen's first wife Ellie. I remember the television show "The Fugitive" from my childhood and enjoyed catching a glimpse of what his life was life before and during that show. I knew that he had died young, but this book doesn't explain much as Ellie was no longer married to David at the time of his death. When reading this book, I can sense that Ellie still loved her ex-husband and it must have been hard to chronicle her relationship with him. It was a nice short trip down memory lane.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Thriller Writer on March 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
David Janssen, to anyone who loves Sixties television, was one of the most charismatic actors of his time. He was best known for role as Dr. Richard Kimble, aka "The Fugitive", a series which captivated a nation from 1963 to its ratings-record finale in 1967.

In this first authorized biography of the esteemed actor, who died suddenly in 1980 at the age of 48, writer Michael Phelps manages to weave (along with co-writer Ellie Janssen, the actor's wife of twelve years) a compelling and enjoyable true story that covers the life of the actor, with an emphasis on the period in which he rocketed to stardom until his untimely, mysterious death. The book is also the story of Ellie Janssen and the highs and lows of her time with David. (And, as a bonus, there are 16 pages of celebrity photos relating to Janssen's career.)

The combination of the show business and relationship stories make for a book that you won't be able to put down. The book is an insight into the lives of "the beautiful people" that we see everyday on the screen; but sometimes their lives aren't so beautiful. And Michael Phelps manages to do an outstanding job in capturing it all in his narrative. Ultimately, it is a story about how Ellie, despite the challenges of being married to a huge star with human flaws, fell in love and never stopped loving David, right up to the time of his death and beyond.

"David Janssen--My Fugitive" is an interesting, informative, and enjoyable read. I recommend it highly.
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