Butler, David: Director Career and Filmography–Doris Day Most Frequent Star

August 22, 2020

David Butler was born in San Francisco, California, on December 17, 1894.

His mother was an actress and his father was a theater stage manager.

His was an extra in some stage plays, and later appeared in two D.W. Griffith films, The Girl Who Stayed Home and The Greatest Thing in Life.

He also appeared in the 1927 Oscar winning film Seventh Heaven, starring Janet Gaynor.

The same year, Butler made his directorial debut at Fox with the comedy, High School Hero. During Butler’s nine-year tenure at Fox, he directed over 30 films, including 4 Shirley Temple vehicles.

Butler’s last film for Fox, Kentucky, won Walter Brennan the Best Supporting Actor Oscar.

Butler teamed with Bing Crosby in Road to Morocco and If I Had My Way.

He was the director who made the largest number of films starring Doris Day, including It’s a Great Feeling, Tea for Two, By the Light of the Silvery Moon, Lullaby of Broadway, April in Paris, and Calamity Jane.

During the late 1950s and 1960s, Butler directed some TV episodes, for “Leave It to Beaver” and “Wagon Train.”

Butler died on June 14, 1979, at the age of 84.


Career Span: 1927-1967 (40 years);

Viable Career: 1927-1956 (29 years)


about 30 silent films

37 sound films

Prolific Decade: 1930s (16)

Age at First Feature: 33

Age at Last Feature: nominally 73, but before that had not made a film since 1956, when he was  62

Studio (associated with): Fox


Frequent Collaborator: Actress-singer Doris Day (6 films)

Age at Death: 84




The Greatest Thing in Life (1918)
The Unpainted Woman (1919)
Better Times (1919)
Nugget Nell (1919)
The Petal on the Current (1919)
The Other Half (1919)
Bonnie Bonnie Lassie (1919)
The Pointing Finger (1919)
The Triflers (1920)
The Sky Pilot (1921)
The Wise Kid (1922)
The Village Blacksmith (1922)
Conquering the Woman (1922)
According to Hoyle (1922)
Hoodman Blind (1923)
Mary of the Movies (1923) (cameo)
Arizona Express (1924)
Private Affairs (1925)
His Majesty, Bunker Bean (1925)
The Man on the Box (1925)
Wages for Wives (1925)
Havoc (1925)
The Sap (1926)
The Blue Eagle (1926)
Meet the Prince (1926)
Oh, Baby! (1926)
The High School Hero (1927)
News Parade (1928)
Win That Girl (1928)
Prep and Pep (1928)

Sound Features

Sunny Side Up (1929)
Chasing Through Europe (1929)

1930s: 16

High Society Blues (1930)
Just Imagine (1930)
Delicious (1931)
Business and Pleasure (1932)
Down to Earth (1932)
Hold Me Tight (1933)
My Weakness (1933)
Bottoms Up (1934)
Bright Eyes (1934)
The Little Colonel (1935)
The Littlest Rebel (1935)
Captain January (1936)
Dimples (1936)
Pigskin Parade (1936)
Kentucky (1938)
That’s Right You’re Wrong (1939)

1940s: (9)

You’ll Find Out (1940)
Road to Morocco (1942)
Thank Your Lucky Stars (1943)
Shine On, Harvest Moon (1944)
The Princess and the Pirate (1944)
San Antonio (1945)
The Time, the Place and the Girl (1946)
It’s a Great Feeling (1949), Doris Day
The Story of Seabiscuit (1949)

1950s (9)

Tea for Two (1950), Doris Day
Where’s Charley? (1952)
April in Paris (1952), Doris Day
By the Light of the Silvery Moon (1953), Doris Day
Calamity Jane (1953), Doris Day
King Richard and the Crusaders (1954)
The Command (1954)
Jump into Hell (1955)
The Girl He Left Behind (1956)

1960s: 1
C’mon, Let’s Live a Little (1967)