David Beaird_peliplat
David Beaird_peliplat

David Beaird

Director  | 
Popularity: 1000+
Date of birth: 08/19/1952
Date of death: 02/06/2019
City of birth: Shreveport, Louisiana, USA

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Born in Shreveport, Louisiana on August 19, 1952, David was the third child of Jack Gray Beaird Sr. and Mary Jane Hunter. He was a graduate of Chicago's Goodman School of Drama. In Chicago, he began his professional career as an actor, playwright, director, and acting coach that spanned four decades. At 19, David won acclaim for his role in "Look Homeward, Angel" as the character Eugene Gant. The Chicago Tribune called him, "a young man who will one day be a consummate and famous actor." After a number of successful acting roles, he founded the Wisdom Bridge Theatre in 1974 on a shoestring budget. The theatre's name was inspired by a painting whose subtitle read: "The bridge to wisdom is in the continual asking of questions." This was David's method. Using his plays to ask big questions, David built Wisdom Bridge into a critically-acclaimed avant-garde theatre, with innovative stagings of "Cyrano de Bergerac" and "Twelfth Night". There he also developed one of his original plays, "Dignity," a life story of Socrates. He even adapted the comic strip, "The Wizard of ID" and staged it with a life-sized dragon puppet. By 1975, when David was 22, the Shreveport Times called him, "the nation's youngest theatrical genius" who was "setting the Chicago theatrical world on its ear." He left the Wisdom Bridge in 1977 due to health problems. In the 1980's he headed to Hollywood where he wrote (or rewrote) and directed a series of films, including "Octavia" (1984), "The Party Animal" (1984), "My Chauffeur" (1986), "It Takes Two" (1988) and "Pass the Ammo" (1988), a satire of televangelism that was presciently made before the Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker scandal made news. Directing films was new territory and David recalled having to be told to say "action" and "cut" during his early turns as director. While "Party Animal" was a wild and bawdy romp, with "My Chauffeur" he was channeling screwball comedies of the 1930's. "It Takes Two" was also a romantic comedy. His films had commercial success and led to other offers, not all of which he wanted to pursue. He did want to pursue theatre and in California, David founded the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks, which was close enough to his house at the time that he could walk to work. He ran acting classes at the theatre that became very popular. There was often the chance for students to work in the theatre in exchange for tuition. These classes gave actors a chance to work through material they would later audition elsewhere, which helped many land roles and certainly saved a lot of embarrassment. It was at the Whitefire that David began staging "Scorchers", a play he had written about a cajun wedding night in the bayou. The play ran for at least two years and won several awards. The theatrical success of "Scorchers" led to a film version that was released in 1991. Although the budget for the film was fairly low, the strength of the material, and no doubt the charisma of the director, helped attract numerous stars to appear. Faye Dunaway, Emily Lloyd, James Earl Jones, Denholm Elliot, and Jennifer Tilly all contributed their talents. The opening monologue of the film is particularly captivating. In it, the character Jumper, played by David's lifelong friend and collaborator, Leland Crooke, describes his baptism in the mystical Lost River: "I hit that water. I swam in pure sunlight, and turned old but got caught young forever." In 1992, he created the television series "Key West", in which an Ohio factory worker played by Fisher Stevens wins the lottery and goes off to live the writer's life in Florida, with Hemingway as his inspiration. David wrote, directed and produced much of the series, but ultimately felt hemmed in by the way the television network tried to control his work. Stevens begins one episode by saying: "Writing is a solitary exercise... It cannot be done by committee. You have to dig deep down into your gut with no distractions and with discipline." This summed up at least part of David's objection to the television writing process and perhaps helps explain why the show was his only major television writing credit. Returning to the theater, David brought his heartstopping tale of greed and family dysfunction, "900 Oneonta," to the London stage in 1994. The play opened at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre but then, due to popular demand and rave reviews, moved to the Old Vic. With Jon Cryer, Ben Daniels, Sophie Okonedo, and Leland Crooke in the cast, the darkly-comic show was a hit and garnered an Olivier award nomination for best play. "Disturbingly hilarious& nails you breathless to your seat" went one write-up from the Evening Standard. "900 Oneonta" also played in New York City at the Circle Repertory in 1996. Attesting to its appeal, the play had a long and successful run at LA's Odyssey Theatre, with the main London cast members returning in the cast. In 2001, David married Shevonne Marie Durkin. They had been together since 1993, when they met and fell in love while working on a project called "Wasted Grace." At one audition, asked to read her lines differently, Shevonne jumped up on David's desk and belted them out. She got the part, of course. With her playfulness, loyalty and intelligence, Shevonne helped to ground and complete David. They shared many happy years together. David worked for many years on a project that dealt with the power of Buddhism. In "The Civilization of Maxwell Bright," a misogynist played by Patrick Warburton (a Whitefire acting veteran) is humanized by an Asian mail-order bride who also happens to be a Buddhist nun. The film's subject, according to David, was "how one person pulls the other out of hell." It screened at festivals in 2005. After that, his high-profile public output dropped off. His health suffered. But he never ceased to be an outlandish storyteller, a captivating presence, a lifelong seeker, and a generous soul. There are many stories that encapsulate David's generosity. It was a key part of his character. He would help a family with their mortgage, surprise panhandlers with large donations, pick up big dinner checks, give away a car, or, repeatedly, share his home with family and friends. He left his door unlocked and was open to visitors. He always looked for ways to help others, sometimes simply by giving them his profound attention, sometimes by whisking them out of truly harmful circumstances and giving them a new start. He also had a profound connection with animals, starting with his childhood dog Skipper. His dog Zeus, with whom he loved to sing, is still waiting for him to come home and sing again. David helped many people, both personally and professionally, by believing in their abilities. His belief was catching, and people used it to begin believing in themselves. He went out of his way to encourage and celebrate the creativity of others and sought, in his own relaxed and tolerant way, to support his friends and family. He had faith in his personal artistic vision and tried to protect it from whatever self-styled experts or critics said. Just as Jumper had in "Scorchers", David had found Lost River and hoped everyone else could find it too: "The secret, most precious, most beautiful things in your heart -- and in life -- just ain't on any map. But you been there, you know they real, they true whether you can prove it or not & Anything you yourself done swum in, believe."

Known For
Key West_peliplat

Key West

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My Chauffeur_peliplat

My Chauffeur

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The Party Animal_peliplat

The Party Animal

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