Kim Darby

Kim Darby (born Deborah Zerby; July 8, 1947) is an American actress best known for her role as Mattie Ross in the film True Grit (1969).

Kim Darby
Darby as a guest-star on Marcus Welby, M.D. and Owen Marshall, Counsellor at Law in 1974
Deborah Zerby

(1947-07-08) July 8, 1947
Years active1962present
James Stacy
(m. 1968; div. 1969)

James Westmoreland
(m. 1970; div. 1970)

Early life and film career

Darby was born Deborah Zerby in Los Angeles, the daughter of professional dancers Inga (Wiere) and Jon Zerby (the "Dancing Zerbys" or "Dancing Zerbies"). Her father nicknamed her Derby saying "I thought Derby Zerby would be a great stage name".[1] Her mother was from Budapest.[2] Her mother's siblings were comedians who performed as the Wiere Brothers.

She performed as a singer and dancer under the name "Derby Zerby."[3] Believing that she could not "hope for serious important roles in films with a name like "Derby Zerby," she renamed herself "Kim," because it was the name of a popular girl in her high school that she admired, and "Darby," as a variation of "Derby."[4]

Darby began acting at age fifteen. Her first appearance was as a dancer in the film Bye Bye Birdie (1963). Her television work included Gunsmoke (1967 episodes "The Lure" and "Vengeance"); Bonanza (1967 episode "The Sure Thing"); and as a young girl reaching adulthood on an all-child planet in the haunting, renowned episode "Miri" on the original Star Trek series.[5]

Among her many films are True Grit, in which she played a fourteen-year-old when she was twenty-one years of age; The Strawberry Statement (1970)[6]; Norwood (1970);The One and Only (1978)[7]; Better Off Dead (1985); and Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995).[5]

Television roles

Darby's 1960s television roles included two appearances on the NBC series Mr. Novak, starring James Franciscus; she was cast as Julie Dean in "To Lodge and Dislodge" (1963) and as Judy Wheeler in "The Silent Dissuaders" (1965).

Darby also appeared about this time on The Eleventh Hour, The Fugitive, The Donna Reed Show, Ironside, and in the first season of Star Trek as the title character in "Miri".[5]

Darby was cast in an episode of the NBC sitcom The John Forsythe Show ("'Tis Better Have Loved and Lost", 1965). and as Angel in the two-part Gunsmoke episode "Vengeance." She appeared in the episode "Faire Ladies of France" (1967) of the NBC western series The Road West starring Barry Sullivan and a Bonanza episode "A Sure Thing" (1967) as Trudy Loughlin, guest starring Tom Tully as Burt Loughlin, her father.[5]

She appeared in 3 episodes of Gunsmoke: "The Lure" (1967) as Carrie Neely, "Vengeance: Part 1" (1967) as Angel, and "Vengeance: Part 2" (1967) again as Angel. She was cast in the 1972 movie, The People, which also starred William Shatner, reuniting them from their Star Trek appearance.[8] She played the unhinged Virginia Calderwood in the first television miniseries, Rich Man, Poor Man in 1976.[5]

Darby had the central role of Sally Farnham in the made-for-TV chiller Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (1973). Subsequent television roles included guest appearances on Crazy Like a Fox, Family, The Love Boat, The Streets of San Francisco, Riptide, and Becker.[5]

Darby admitted her career declined after the 1970s partly because she became an amphetamine addict.[9]

In 1990, she began to teach acting in the Los Angeles area and has been an instructor in the Extension Program at the University of California, Los Angeles since 1992. Darby also appeared as a female convict in an episode of The X-Files ("Sein und Zeit", 1999) who falsely confesses to the murder of her son who disappeared under mysterious circumstances that are being investigated by Fox Mulder and Dana Scully.[5]

In 2014, she played Stacia Clairborne, a partially blind witness to a crime, in the episode "Prologue" of the show Perception.

Darby continues to make guest appearances on television and to make occasional films.

Personal life

Darby has been married twice. In 1968, she married James Stacy, with whom she had one child, Heather Elias, born in 1968.[7] Their marriage ended in divorce in 1969. In 1970, she married James Westmoreland; the marriage ended in divorce later that same year.[10]


TV appearances

  • Mr. Novak (1963, 1965)
  • Dr. Kildare - (1964) Episode "A Nickel's Worth of Prayer" - as Patsy
  • "Hang Down Your Head and Laugh" (1966), episode of the television series Run for Your Life
  • "Joshua's Kingdom" (1966), episode of the television series The Fugitive
  • "Miri" (1966), episode of the television series Star Trek
  • The Man from U.N.C.L.E. episode "The Five Daughters Affair" (1967)
  • Gunsmoke (1967), 3 episodes
  • Ironside (1967), television pilot film for the NBC series of the same name
  • Bonanza, "The Sure Thing", 1967
  • "Vengeance" (1967), Season 13 Episode 4 of the television series Gunsmoke as Angel, Part I & II with James Stacy
  • The Streets of San Francisco (1972), made-for-television pilot for the TV series
  • "Dark Vengeance" (1973), episode of the television series Circle of Fear
  • "Joie" (1973), episode of the television series Love Story
  • "Captain Hook" and "Wyatt Earp Syndrome" (1974), two episodes of the anthology television series, Police Story
  • Rich Man, Poor Man (1976), TV miniseries
  • "Princess in the Tower" (1978), episode of the television series Family as Lily Barker
  • The Last Convertible (1979), TV miniseries
  • The Love Boat (1979, 1982)
  • Fantasy Island (1982)-The Challenge:A Genie Named Joe
  • Summer Girl (1983), TV film, as Mary Shelburne
  • The Facts of Life" (1984), episode "Joint Custody" as Doris Garrett
  • Murder She Wrote (1984 & 1995) "We're Off to Kill the Wizard" & Flim Flam"
  • "Sein und Zeit", (1999), episode of The X-Files
  • "Becker" (1999) "Point of Contact"
  • "Prologue", (2014), episode of Perception


  1. Susan Sackett (1995). Hollywood Sings!: An Inside Look at Sixty Years of Academy Award-nominated Songs. Billboard Books. p. 200. ISBN 9780823076239.
  2. "The Zest of Jon Zerby". Daily News of Los Angeles. July 16, 1997.
  3. Adrian Room (2010). Dictionary of Pseudonyms. McFarland. p. 132. ISBN 9780786457632.
  4. Miller, Edwin (June 1969). "A New Name... A New Life (Kim Darby)" (PDF). Seventeen via Kim Darby's website.
  5. "Kim Darby". TV Guide. Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  6. Sterritt, David. "The Strawberry Statement (1970)". Turner Classic Movies (TCM). Retrieved 8 December 2018.
  7. Ebert, Roger (7 February 1978). "Kim Darby: The One and Only | Interviews". Chicago Sun-Times.
  8. "The People (1972 USA, TV)". Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  9. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-02-02. Retrieved 2014-02-01.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. "Truth and Grit: A Conversation with Kim Darby | Confessions of a Pop Culture Addict". Retrieved 2017-04-02.
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