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Jay Dee Witney - William Witney's Son

My Father was a director. My Mother was an actress.
My Uncle was a producer and director. My Godfather was a director. My Godmother was an actress.
I am a direct product of the Motion Picture Bu

John Doyle (Jay Dee) Witney 2012
I was born John Doyle Witney in 1946 but my family nickname is "Jay Dee". Dad always said, "If JD is good enough for Rockefeller it's good enough for my son." I think it all started in kindergarten - that's how I signed my name on those crazy pictures, which my parents proudly displayed on the refrigerator.

By now you've probably figured out that those parents were William Witney and Maxine Doyle but I had other relatives, who were also in the motion picture business.

On the Witney side of the family, there was uncle Colbert (Bert) Clark, who was a producer, writer and director. If he had not taken my Dad to the set of "Fighting with Kit Carson" and put him to work as an extra, while staying with them one summer vacation, there may never have been a Director William Witney. (You can read all about William Witney's start in the business in his book-"In a Door into a fight-----)

My godfather was director John (Jack) English. Described by my father as "one helluva guy" and his best friend for many years, he was Dad's partner on all of those serials. I'll always remember Jack and his wife, Nina, spoiling me rotten when I was a kid and giving me some of the best Christmas and birthday presents!

My godmother was actress Virginia Carroll who was married to actor Ralph Byrd -TV's original Dick Tracy but simply uncle Ralph to me. Virginia and Ralph had a daughter, Carroll, who was like a big sister to me, and who later became a stunt woman double and stand in on many shows. She also showed jumping horses, which we kept at our house. Although she tried to teach me how to jump, the horses always seemed to have a different agenda. Dad always had a saying, "you're not a horseman until you've fallen off three times." Somehow, each time was only my second time. Apparently the other times did not count. I can honestly say that I've fallen from every possible angle of a horse! Needless to say the rodeo was never in my future.

On Mom's side of the family there was her older sister (my aunt), Bernice (Billee) Doyle.  She was a dancer with Fanchon and Marco and was one of those glamorous dancers in Busby Berkeley films. 
Whew! - now back to the family. Back in the day (geez, did I really say that?) the picture business was like family, real family -- so I had many "uncles" growing up including Davy (Sharp),  Roy (Rogers), Jim (Davis), Ralph (Byrd) and the list goes on.  All the kids knew each other , played together and some of us went to the same schools. It was a great time to grow up and the best part--there were no paparazzi following you around. As a matter of fact I don't even think that word existed!

Jay Dee & Spanky

The picture to the left represents the Witneys' fascination for all kinds of animals - two legged, four legged, you name it. That's me with my Newfoundland "Spanky" AKC name "Coast Wise Spanker Sail." Not only did my dad love to work with animals, we kept all kinds at our home in the San Fernando Valley, which dad named "Stony Broke Farm."  Not many people know that director William Witney was also an American Kennel Club judge and raised Irish Setters, Saint Bernards and Newfoundlands.  While growing up I didn't just look after dogs but also jumping horses, goats, sheep, chickens, a peacock, a land turtle, honey bees, a milk cow named Gurty and racing pigeons. That's right - racing pigeons - and my competition?  the Roy Rogers loft of Roy and his son, Dusty.

Oh yeah--when Spanky was let into the house and wanted to sleep on my bed, guess who ended up on the floor?  Sometimes both of us ended up on the floor together, the bed just wasn't big enough for both of us. 

FYI- My father used to call me Knothead. So out of that came this: KnotHead Productions dot com.
The Steagle
Jay Dee and Richard Benjamin
CLICK ON PICTURE to see Jay Dee in a clip for the movie production 'The Steagle' 1971
Jay Dee Witney, jaydee witney,jaydee wintey
A link to my VIMEO videos by KnotHead Productions dot com
Click on the link to the left to enter the world of Jay Dee's KnotHead Productions dot com videos.