Growing up Hollywood style
By Carin R. Kirkegaard; photos courtesy of David DeFore
David DeFore moved to The Village at Castle Pines in 2015 with his wife Kathy, after retiring from a successful 42-year career as a commercial real estate broker in Southern California. David has structured his life pursuing professional and social interests – making choices along the way that would enable him to follow his passions. His storied life illustrates a love of lifelong learning and a desire to truly connect with people.
The oldest son of actor Don DeFore – who was best known for roles he played in 1950s and 1960s television sitcoms – and singer Marion Holmes, David had what he describes as an idyllic childhood growing up in Mandeville Canyon in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles.
With a light shining out through his eyes, David recalls his childhood summers. He and his friends would be out roaming the neighborhood, only to return home for dinner when his mother would ring a refurbished steam locomotive bell that his father had mounted to the roof of the family’s red and white farmhouse he had built. When he was a little older but still too young to drive, he and a friend attached lawn mower engines to their bikes and scooters to make the trek to the beach.
Friends with Walt Disney, the DeFore family had the opportunity to be a part of the grand opening of Disneyland in July 1955 (see related story page 20). It was on the streets of Frontierland that David discovered his love of being a musician. Working as a busboy in his father’s restaurant – Don DeFore’s Silver Banjo Barbecue – David would take his break to listen to the Dixieland swing band that played in a gazebo located across from Tom Sawyer Island in the park. A self-taught drummer, he had just received his first drum set and would take his work breaks as an opportunity to pick up techniques from the band members.
“It was the best job I ever had,” David reminisced.
His musical passion stuck and led David to join his high school jazz band, and he eventually joined InRhodes, a rock/jazz garage band that was looking for a drummer. David earned a degree in business marketing from the University of Southern California, but his business leanings didn’t prevent him from still pursuing his art. In the summer of 1968, he joined his fraternity brother John Ritter, star of the late 1970s television sitcom Three’s Company, performing in the band and working in all other phases of the school’s theater program, touring through Amsterdam, London and Edinburgh.
After college, David worked at CBS in production. After three years in the industry, he made a switch to the world of commercial real estate. “I loved the freedom real estate afforded,” expressed David.
This new career allowed David the opportunity to set his own schedule and to chase his love of learning, taking numerous continuing education courses through the University of California Los Angeles – everything from financial planning to art history. The latter, broadening his knowledge for his hobby of collecting original fine art. David has many pieces he is fond of, among those are four original pieces by the artist Margaret Keane, the American artist known for her paintings of subjects with big eyes. Two of the four are charcoal drawings that Keane drew of David and his sister, Autumn, in the 1960s.
While working for CBRE, Inc., David was able to pursue other interests outside of the arts. He took courses in psychology and presented seminars on human behavior and personal responsibility, as well as serving on many nonprofit boards – everything from cultural organizations to charitable groups helping raise funds for inner-city youth.
In Castle Pines, David founded the South Metro Denver chapter of the American Wine Society. This local wine tasting club affords David the opportunity to pursue his love of wine. Over the years, he has visited more than 200 wineries located throughout Washington, Oregon and California. His favorite region being the vineyards in Paso Robles, California.
David still has a deep love for playing the drums. Whenever he and his wife, Kathy, are out listening to live music, he makes a point to seek out the drummer and strike up a conversation. Many of those conversations end with David sitting in on a set after the break and still pursuing his passions.