Starbird was born on November 26, 1908 in San Jose, California. He attended Stanford University and graduated in 1932 with a degree in English. He married Carolyn Hall Starbird, whom he met at Stanford, on February 22, 1934. They had two sons, George Anthony Starbird and Timothy Starbird, and two daughters, Susan Irene Starbird and Carolyn Jane Starbird. George Starbird died on November 11, 1994 in Milpitas, California.
Starbird was mayor of San Jose during its peak growth period. One of his accomplishments was the Santa Clara-San Jose water sanitation project.
Starbird wrote The New Metropolis, a book on San Jose history published in 1972. In the 1930s, he published more than a dozen mystery stories in pulp detective magazines such as Black Book Detective and Federal Agent; some stories appeared under his Val Masterson pseudonym.
| Mayor of San Jose
- Grant, Joanne (1994-11-24). "Civic leader George Starbird dies: longtime 'mover, shaker' in San Jose". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved 2007-02-22.
- Schwartz, Stephen (1994-11-25). "George Starbird -- Former Mayor of San Jose, Author". The San Francisco Chronicle.
- Obituary: Starbird, George A., (ob) Locus v34:1 No.408 Jan 1995
- Pizarro, Sal (May 2006). "Memorial to honor community activist". San Jose Mercury News.
- Arbuckle, Clyde; Clyde Arbuckle's History of San Jose; 1985
- Starbird, George; The New Metropolis; San Jose: The Rosecrucian Press; 1972.