So many fans have asked him how his groovy career got started that Davy decided to tell you all about it in his very own words.
The only reason I started acting was because it was a good way to get out of classes at school. We used to have school plays and I’d tell my teachers that I had to learn my lines and they’d excuse me. I didn’t actually want to act at that time, just wanted to get out of school. I was too small to get many big roles but once got to play Tom Sawyer and that was really groovy. I learned about 1000 pages of dialogue for that role and had more fun than in any other school play I was ever in.
Before this I’d gotten in some plays that the Congregational Church my family went to put on. I didn’t get the big roles in these plays, either. Mostly a guy called John Jones got the really good parts. But I didn’t mind because I wasn’t really that interested in acting then.
It wasn’t until I was out on my own and fed up with being broke that I got interested in acting as a real job. I was training to be a jockey but I realized that it would take a lot of time before I would be making any amount of money at all.
First acting jobs
I started doing small weekend acting jobs while I was still in jockey’s training. Finally I got the opportunity to try out for a part in “Oliver” but I didn’t get it. I spoke this thick Lancashire accent and the play was supposed to be in a cockney accent and I couldn’t do it. Six months later I’d learned to speak cockney and I got the part. Right after that I left for Canada and then the United States.
I think that the most important thing for an actor is to be able to feel the part he’s playing. If you can’t feel it then it’s just no good because you won’t be able to make other people believe in you or in the part.
Of course luck plays a big part when you’re first starting out. You’ve got to be in the right place at the right time like I was. But it’s a funny thing, if you work hard all the time the luck always seems to happen, but if you don’t work hard then even if you get lucky it won’t make any difference because you won’t last. After you get rich you don’t need luck any more but if you’ve worked as hard as you’re supposed to you’ll still continue to get it.
Acting is a job but it’s the sort of job you have to do super well because people are always watching you. You’ve got to remember that even though you’ve sung a song or done an act hundreds of times the people who are watching you have never seen it before so you can’t let down your standards for anything. You can’t ever say to yourself. “Well. I’m not feeling so good so I’ll take it a little easy tonight” because the audience will only have that one time to judge you on and they get their whole opinion of you that one night.
You’ve got to respect the other people you’re acting with, too. You can’t go off and do your own little thing, especially on the stage, because everyone is a part of the whole thing and you can’t ruin the balance. It’s very important that no matter who is up in front, the whole group shines. It can’t shine if one person is always trying to hog the whole picture.
If you want to be an actor you’ve got to be very much an individual. You can’t ever follow the crowd in anything. Even if you just naturally want to do something like everyone else is doing it’s got to be like you leading the rest, not you following them. You can’t dress or act or speak like anyone else but yourself. You just have to be different if you’re going to make it in acting. The four of us Monkees could pop out of a hole in the ground with bags over our heads and yet anyone would know which of us was which. That’s what it takes to be an actor.
Even though acting is a rough life, I love it. I realize that I’ll never be able to do most of the things other people take for granted as long as I’m an actor but it’s worth the sacrifice. It’s the only job I know of where you can turn sadness into happiness right before your eyes.