Has produced an Emmy-nominated biography, and written countless screenplays and TV pilots.
Member of Adelphi University’s Profiles in Success program.
Co-founder of the Third Age Foundation
Screenwriter and Producer
Favorite Adelphi professor: Richard Clemo
Chose Adelphi because: “I could commute from Brooklyn, and it had a great theatre program.”
Member of: Gold Mask and Alpha Phi Beta
Advice to Adelphi students: “Keep breathing and stay mindful.”
Lucky Enough to Do What He Wanted to Do
In the winter of 1963, David Debin ‘65 played the lead role in an Adelphi University production of Under the Yum Yum Tree. He and his cast were selected to take the show on a USO tour to visit Navy outposts in Greenland, Iceland, New Foundland, and Labrador.
Mr. Debin also led an ensemble of Adelphi actors as they took A Thurber Carnival to the Yale Drama Festival. His work has repeatedly brought him to new and interesting places.
In 1967, Mr. Debin was producing community theater in Mineola, New York, when he was invited to move to Los Angeles to work on The Dating Game and the recently created Newlywed Game. Moving to the Sunset Strip and the Hollywood of the 1960s was a cultural shock for the Brooklyn native. However, a fascinating job interviewing potential contestants for some of the most popular TV shows of the day soon eased the transition. Today, Mr. Debin looks back and can only acknowledge, “I was lucky to live in the greatest of times.”
Mr. Debin moved from writing the Newlywed Game’s questions to writing screenplays and TV pilots. He co-wrote the screenplay for Dick Tracy and sold it to Universal pictures. It became the first major studio acquisition of a big-budget film based on a comic strip, the precursor of Batman, Superman, Spiderman, and others. He sold his second screenplay, Goldie and the Boxer, to NBC TV. It became the highest rated Movie of the Week of the 1979 season.
With then-wife, the actress Stockard Channing, Mr. Debin formed Little Bear Productions and produced the Emmy-nominated biography, Silent Victory, about Kitty O’Neil, a deaf woman who became a leading Hollywood stunt woman. Among other TV movies, he went on to produce the 1981 mini-series Starmaker, starring Rock Hudson and Melanie Griffith. He later served as writer-producer of The Heat for MGM and CBS, and Everything’s RelatiNice ve starring Jason Alexander.
In the early 1990s, Mr. Debin’s interests shifted from television and film to books. His first novel, Nice Guys Finish Dead, was published by Random House. He also wrote The Big O and Murder Live at Five, and is a member of the Writer’s Guild of America, the Mystery Writers of America, and the Author’s Guild. Mr. Debin shares his devotion to writing by teaching creative writing at Antioch University in Santa Barbara.
In 1990 he wrote and produced the TV pilot Young at Heart, with Jonathan Winters, then left Los Angeles and “a business that values youth most highly.” Together with Dr. Peter Brill, Mr. Debin co-founded the Third Age Foundation. Realizing that many people, including himself, eventually reach an age where the demands and rewards of a career and raising a family begin to fade and retirement promises little fulfillment, they work to provide information and support to people who need help and direction in the aging process.
The foundation helps members of the baby boom generation to find ever-increasing levels of passion, purpose, and joy. They host a weekly radio show and group meetings, and provide information and assistance through books, workshops, and their popular website www.thirdagefoundation.com. Mr. Debin and Dr. Brill have just completed their most recent book, Find Your J-Spot: Joy in Mid-life and Beyond. The foundation has over 500 members and is growing rapidly.
Mr. Debin lives in Montecito, California, with his wife, Berna. When he isn’t spending time with their two grandchildren, the foundation, or his friends, he enjoys gardening, hiking in the mountains, and days on the beach near his home.
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