The Untold Truth of Kim Darby’s Life, Career and Marriage

March 22, 2024
6 mins read

Who is Kim Darby?

American actress Deborah Zerby – aka Kim Darby – was born in Los Angeles, California USA on 8 July 1947, so Cancer’s her zodiac sign. She’s had roles in over 80 movies and TV series, and is probably still best known for playing Mattie Ross, one of the main characters in the 1969 adventure western movie “True Grit”, which Henry Hathaway directed, and which also starred Glen Campbell and John Wayne. It follows a US Marshal and a Texas Ranger who’ve teamed up to catch a murderer, and the film won seven of its 14 award nominations, including an Oscar win for Best Actor in a Leading Role (John Wayne).

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Education and early life

Kim was raised in Los Angeles by her American father Jon Derby and Hungarian mother Inga (nee Wiere), both of whom were professional dancers, and members of the dancing group ‘The Dancing Zerbys’; she was nicknamed ‘Derby’ by her father as he believed that ‘Derby Zerby’ would be a good stage name.

Kim began taking dancing lessons at the age of seven, but then instead fell in love with acting; she was 15 when she made her debut film appearance, playing Teenager in the hit 1963 musical comedy “Bye Bye Birdie”, and the following year saw her appear in three TV series, in episodes of the comedy “The Farmer’s Daughter”, and the dramas “The Eleventh Hour” and “Dr. Kildare”.

Kim matriculated from a local high school in 1965 and then chose acting over pursuing a college degree.


Roles in movies

Kim portrayed Gussie in the 1965 drama “Bus Riley’s Back in Town”, created by Harvey Hart, and which starred Ann-Margret, Michael Parks and Janet Margolin; it follows a sailor who’s returned home only to find out that his girlfriend’s married a wealthy elderly man. The remainder of the decade saw Kim appear in the 1965 drama “The Restless One”, the 1967 crime drama “Ironside” and the 1968 drama “Flesh and Blood”.

In 1971, she played the lead character Barbara Blandish in the crime drama “The Grissom Gang”, directed by Robert Aldrich, and which also starred Scott Wilson and Tony Musante; it follows Slim Grissom and his gang who’ve kidnaped heiress Barbara Blandish, while Slim’s now fallen in love with her. Kim was then seen appearing in the 1972 science fiction “The People”, the 1974 western comedy “This Is the West That Was”, and the 1978 romantic comedy “The One and Only”.

What marked the ‘80s for her was perhaps playing Jenny Meyer in the critically acclaimed romantic comedy “Better Off Dead…”, written and directed by Savage Steve Holland, and in which Kim starred alongside John Cusack and David Ogden Stiers. It follows a teenager who’s decided to commit suicide because his girlfriend’s broken up from him.

Kim appeared in only two movies in the ‘90s: the 1995 horror thriller “Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers” and the 1999 drama “The Last Best Sunday”; the 2000s then saw her play supporting characters in three films: the 2001 biographical drama “Mockingbird Don’t Sing”, the 2004 comedy “You Are So Going to Hell!”, and the 2007 drama “Cold Ones”.

She’s since appeared in only a single movie: Kim played Mildy Torres in the 2017 horror “The Evil Within”, written and directed by Andrew Getty, and which starred Sean Patrick Flanery, Dina Meyer and Frederick Koehler. It follows a mentally handicapped boy who’s befriended a demonic creature which he’s found in an antique mirror, while the demon’s now ordered him to kill those whom he loves the most; the movie won three of its four award nominations.


Roles in TV series

Kim appeared in an episode or two of a number of series in the ’60s, such as the comedy “The Farmer’s Daughter”, the drama “Dr. Kildare”, and the western drama “Wagon Train”.

In 1974, she played Barbara Nations in the crime action “Police Story”, created by E. Jack Neuman and Joseph Wambaugh, and which starred Scott Brady, Mel Scott and Don Meredith. It follows people working in the Los Angeles Police Department, the series aired from 1973 through 1987 and won seven of its 22 award nominations. The remainder of the decade saw Kim make a guest appearance in an episode of a couple of series, such as the drama “Rich Man, Poor Man”, the family drama “Family”, and the western drama “The Oregon Trail”.

In 1983 and 1984, she played Cassie Thomas in the drama “Trapper John, M. D.”, which Frank Glicksman and Don Brinkley created, and which starred Pernell Roberts, Brian Stokes Mitchell and Charles Siebert. It follows the life of a chief surgeon working at a major city hospital, the series aired from 1979 through 1986, and was nominated for 13 awards. Kim was then seen appearing in an episode of the drama “The Mississippi”, the family comedy “The Facts of Life” and the romantic drama “Hotel”.

The ‘90s saw Kim appear in three TV series – an episode of the crime mystery “Murder, She Wrote”, the adventure comedy “ABC Weekend Specials”, and the crime mystery “Profiler”.

In 2001, she portrayed Tilly Lawless in the episode “Emma’s Boy” of the mystery horror thriller “Dark Realm”, and the following year saw her play Janine Woods in the episode “Textbook Perfect” of the drama “For the People”.

Kim’s since appeared in only a single TV series: she played Stacia Clairborne in the 2014 episode “Prologue” of the crime mystery “Perception”, created by Kenneth Biller and Mike Sussman, and which starred Eric McCormack, Rachael Leigh Cook and Kelly Rowan. It follows the life of neuropsychiatrist Dr. Daniel Pierce, the series aired from 2012 through 2015 and won two of its six award nominations.

Other credits

Back in 1970, Kim made a guest appearance in an episode of the talk-show “The David Frost Show”.

She’s been featured in a number of documentary films, including the 1978 “Thank You, Rock ‘N’ Roll: A Tribute to Alan Freed”, the 2000 “Lesley Ann Warren: A Cinderella Story”, and in 2006 “Halloween: 25 Years of Terror”.


Awards and nominations

Kim and her colleagues won a Bronze Wrangler Award at the Western Heritage Awards for the movie “True Grit”.

She’s been nominated for five other awards, including a 1970 Golden Globe for Best Actress – Comedy or Musical, for her performance in “Generation”, a 1970 BAFTA Award for Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles, for “True Grit”, and a 1976 Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for “Rich Man, Poor Man”.

Love life and marriages

Kim’s been married four times. Her first husband was the late American actor, screenwriter and produced Bill Tennnant, but the dates of their wedding and divorce haven’t been disclosed.

Kim’s second husband was the late American actor Maurice William Elias – aka James Stacy – who remains remembered for his starring role in the popular western series “Lancer”, which aired from 1968 through 1970; the two married in 1968, Kim gave birth to their daughter Heather Elias in the same year, but they divorced in 1969.

In 1970, Kim married American actor James Westmoreland – their divorce was finalized just two months later.

Her fourth husband was American actor Jack La Rue Jr; they married on 8 October 1978 and divorced on 30 June 1981.

Kim hasn’t spoken about other men whom she’s been with, she’s single as of March 2023, has been married four times and has a daughter with her second husband James Stacy.

Interesting facts and hobbies

Kim’s active on Facebook and is followed by more than 300 people, while she’s uploaded over 2,000 pictures and videos onto the social media network; her account’s private, so one has to become her follower if they wish to view her content.

She’s been passionate about music since a very early age, and rock ‘n’ roll is her favorite genre; Kim’s favorite band is ZZ Top.

She’s a lover of animals and has several pet dogs and cats.

Kim’s been a philanthropist since the launch of her acting career, and mostly donates to non-profit organisations working with underprivileged children.

Her favorite actresses are Kate Winslet and Scarlett Johansson, and some of her favorite movies include “The Reader”, “Little Children” and “The Dressmaker”.


Height, eyes and wealth

Kim’s age is 75. She has brown eyes and black hair, is 5ft 4ins (1.63m) tall and weighs around 120lbs (54kgs).

Kim’s net worth’s been estimated at over $500,000, as of March 2023.

Olivia Wilson

As the Freelance Writer at Net Worth Post, I steer producing riveting stories about the lives and triumphs of influencers. With an unwavering commitment to precision and a flair for weaving compelling tales, I guide our content creation, from the depths of research to the pinnacle of narrative excellence. My responsibilities encompass the full spectrum of editorial management, including the meticulous investigation, narrative development, and upholding the integrity and high standard of our output.

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