Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
To PBS Hollywood Presents
Gin Game HomeInterviewsAbout the ShowRemembering...How to Play GinGlossary

Synopsis & Performance History
Broadcast Schedule
Key Biographies
Film Credits
Web Credits

Key Biographies

Dick Van Dyke as Weller Martin 

Dick Van Dyke stars as nursing home resident and avid gin player Weller Martin, in "The Gin Game," a production in the acclaimed drama series PBS Hollywood Presents.
On stage and screens both big and small, the award-winning Van Dyke has delighted audiences for more than 40 years. He won a Tony Award for his Broadway debut in the smash musical Bye Bye Birdie. He then segued to television to star in The Dick Van Dyke Show, which netted him three consecutive Emmy Awards for Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in 1964, 1965 and 1966. During that time, he made his feature film debut reprising his Birdie role for the big screen. Other feature films followed, including the musical fantasies Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the comedies Divorce, American Style; Fitzwilly and Cold Turkey and the drama The Runner Stumbles, among many others. Van Dyke's other television series include The New Dick Van Dyke Show and more recently, the long-running CBS mystery/drama, Diagnosis Murder.
Van Dyke has starred in thirteen variety specials entitled Van Dyke and Company, for which he won two Emmy nominations for writing and his fourth Emmy Award as an actor in 1977. Additionally, he starred in the PBS presentation Breakfast with Les and Bess, the miniseries Strong Medicine, Showtime's production of The Country Girl and the television movies Drop-Out Father, Found Money, Daughters of Privilege and The Morning After Wednesday, for which he received an Emmy nomination for Best Lead Actor in a Drama. He earned his fifth Emmy Award for the CBS special Wrong Way Kid and received his ninth Emmy nomination as a guest star on The Golden Girls.
A guest role on the detective series Jake and the Fat Man led to the development of Diagnosis Murder, in which Van Dyke starred as crime-solving M.D. Mark Sloan. Following its eight-season run, the series served as the basis for two recent CBS movies, Town Without Pity and Without Warning.
In addition to the above awards, Van Dyke has been given the Dance Legend of the Year Award from the Professional Dancers Society of America in April 1999, the 1998 Disney Legend Award, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Comedy Awards, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The Dick Van Dyke Show was inducted into the Producers' Guild Hall of Fame and, in 1995, Van Dyke was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame.

Dick Van Dyke

Mary Tyler Moore as Fonsia Dorsey 

Mary Tyler Moore stars as newly arrived nursing home resident Fonsia Dorsey in "The Gin Game," a production in the acclaimed drama series PBS Hollywood Presents.
Moore holds a special place in people's hearts as a symbol of female independence and strength, both in her work and personal life. Her first taste of stardom came when she was cast as Happy Hotpoint, the elfin logo for Hotpoint appliances on The Ozzie and Harriet Show in the 1950s.
Moore later portrayed Laura Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show from 1961-66, a role for which she earned two Emmy Awards. During the 1970s, she starred in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, which earned 29 Emmys during its seven-year run, including four for its star. Moore then transferred her talents to films, including First You Cry, a story of a woman battling breast cancer; Ordinary People, for which she earned an Academy Award nomination; and Six Weeks, for which she won no nominations but had the joy of co-starring with Dudley Moore. Stolen Memories: Secrets From The Rose Garden, Stolen Babies, which garnered an unprecedented seventh Emmy Award, and Flirting With Disaster followed. She made her dramatic debut on Broadway in Whose Life Is It Anyway? in which she portrayed a hospitalized quadriplegic fighting for control of her own destiny and was honored with a Tony Award.
In 1988, she played Mary Todd Lincoln in the NBC miniseries Gore Vidal's Lincoln, again earning critical praise and another Emmy nomination. Moore executive produced the highly rated ABC movie Mary and Rhoda. She portrayed the murderous Sante Kimes in the CBS movie Like Mother, Like Son, which aired in the spring of 2001 and ranked number seven of all primetime programs the week of its broadcast. In 2002, she starred in Miss Lettie and Me for TNT.
Moore is the International Chairman of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, is active in numerous non-profit health and animal protection organizations, and funds scholarship programs in the arts and academics. She was recently honored with the first annual David Angell Humanitarian Award by the American Screenwriters Association (ASA).


Mary Tyler Moore

Arvin Brown, Director 

Award-winning theatre and television director Arvin Brown directed "The Gin Game," a production in the acclaimed drama series PBS Hollywood Presents.
A two-time Tony Award nominee for his direction of the Broadway productions of Ah, Wilderness! and The National Health, Brown has enjoyed a long and distinguished career. His New York directing credits include Gershwin's Porgy & Bess at the Metropolitan Opera and the Broadway productions of American Buffalo starring Al Pacino (Tony nomination, Best Revival), A View From the Bridge (Tony nomination, Best Revival), Twilight of the Golds, Chinese Coffee with Al Pacino, and Private Lives with Joan Collins and Simon Jones. Among his additional Broadway credits are All My Sons (1987 Tony Award for Best Revival), A Day in the Death of Joe Egg with Stockard Channing and Jim Dale, and Requiem for a Heavyweight with John Lithgow and George Segal.
For television, Brown has directed episodes of such drama series as The Practice, Ally McBeal, The Guardian, and Crossing Jordan. His TV film credits include Open House, starring Christine Lahti, Daniel Baldwin, Eva Marie Saint and Rita Moreno for CBS; Just Ask My Children, starring Virginia Madsen for Lifetime; and A Change of Heart, starring Jean Smart, for Lifetime. Also for television, he directed Gian Carlo Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors with Teresa Stratas and The Declaration of Independence, executive produced by Norman Lear and Rob Reiner, starring Mel Gibson, Michael Douglas and Kevin Spacey.
Brown makes his motion picture directing debut with the film Conquistadora, featuring Chris Cooper, which begins shooting in fall, 2003.
For 30 years, Brown served as Artistic Director of Connecticut's famed Long Wharf Theatre and has been associated with the institution since its inception in 1965. There he directed such productions as A Song at Twilight; Denial; Saturday, Sunday, Monday; The Entertainer; Misalliance; Absurd Person Singular; A Month in the Country; A Touch of the Poet; Booth is Back; and The Crucible. His production of Dinner at Eight was selected by Time magazine as one of the ten best plays of 1988.
As a guest artist, Brown has staged productions for the Tulsa Opera, the Phoenix Theatre, Virginia Opera, the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, the Mark Taper Forum, Ahmanson Theatre, and Yale Repertory Theatre. In 1986, he directed and toured China with the National Theatre of the Deaf's production of In a Grove, the first western theatre production invited to China. He returned to China in 1993 to direct Susan Kim's stage adaptation of Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club with the Shanghai People's Art Theatre.
In addition to his two Tony Award nominations, Brown's other honors include the Vernon Rice Award and the Variety Critics Poll for his work Off-Broadway. He has received the Connecticut Arts Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Arts and the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation "Mister Abbott Award," named for George Abbott.
Brown was honored at a gala in New York celebrating 21 of the century's "most influential and innovative" directors along with such artists as Mike Nichols, Michael Bennett, Bob Fosse and Trevor Nunn. He has served as a member of the Theater Panel of the National Endowment for the Arts, as president of the Theatre Communications Group, and as a member of the Board of Directors of the International Theatre Institute since 1976. He is also a member of the Artistic Advisory Board of the National Theatre of the Deaf.
Brown is a graduate of Stanford, Harvard, and the University of Bristol, England, and has studied at the Yale School of Drama. He holds honorary degrees from the University of Bridgeport, the University of New Haven, Fairfield University, and Albertus Magnus College.


Arvin Brown

D.L. Coburn, Playwright 

D. L. Coburn was born in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1938. He came to prominence in 1977 with The Gin Game, which was his first play. The Gin Game ran on Broadway for 516 performances and subsequently toured the nation with its original cast of Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy to sold-out houses in Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia and a half-dozen other cities before touring in England and Russia. It has since had productions in virtually every country of the western world, including France, Germany, Italy, Greece, Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria, Romania, Israel, Hungary, Brazil, Chile, Argentina and South Africa, as well as heralded productions in Australia, Japan and China. In 1978 the play garnered four Tony nominations and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for drama.

Plays Mr. Coburn has written since The Gin Game include Bluewater Cottage (1979), Guy (1983), Noble Adjustment (1985), Return to Blue Fin (1991), Fear of Darkness (1995), Firebrand (1997) and The Cause (1998). Additionally, he has written television pilots for CBS and ABC and several screenplays, including Flights of Angels (1987), A Virgin Year (1991) and Legal Access (1994).

Mr. Coburn lives with his wife, Marsha, in Dallas, Texas. He has two grown children: Donn, who is with The Business of Writing, in Dallas, and Kimberly, who is with Wheat First Securities in Richmond, Virginia. He has one grandchild, Neil, who is 11 years old.


D.L. Coburn



About the Show


How to Play Gin


Site Map


Copyright © 2003 Community Television of Southern California (KCET). All rights reserved.