Moonlighting With
David Addison  
David Addison
Beverly Hills Detective
Operating Partner, Blue Moon Detective Agency

David Addison has been described as a guy that you might not even remember if it were not for the spark of madness in his eyes. But if truth be told, this former Philly boy is a guy you'd be hard pressed to forget.

Color the eyes deep lidded. Ruggedly handsome in a tux -- raggedly handsome in a torn T shirt and sweat pants. He could sweet talk you out of your shoes and be halfway out of town before you realize you're barefooted. But he is a con man with a heart...a fast talking cut-up with a deep underlying sense of morality and a genuine sense of caring for others.

He limbos through life to the beat of his own drummer -- who is most likely playing an R & B tune. David has made it to his mid-thirties on a wink and a smile, and few people, especially women, are immune to his fatal charm. It comes as no surprise when he matter of factly explains the lack of furniture in his apartment to Maddie, "I do most of my entertaining in the bedroom."

David Addison, Beverly Hills Detective

Biographical Data:
  • Name: David Addison, Junior
  • Date of Birth: March 23, 1956 (according to what he says in the 2nd season, but who can tell with David when he is for real or just joking around) or November 27th (according to 5th season)
  • Hair: Brown
  • Eyes: Green
  • Height: 6'1"
  • Birthplace: Philadelphia, PA
  • Childhood Address: 4th and Bainbridge Streets Philadelphia
  • Parents: David Addison, Senior, and Irma (deceased) Stepmother: Stephanie
  • Siblings: Older brother, Richard
  • Childhood pets: not known
  • Marital Status: Divorced from Tess
  • Religion: Catholic
  • Former Occupation: New York Bartender
  • Nicknames: Ace in the Hole Addison; T.C. (Top Cat)
  • Likes: R&B Music, singing, limboing, bowling
  • Dislikes: seafood, foreign films
Notable Quotes About David Addison:
  • From "All Creatures Great and Not So Great," Maddie Hayes in confession: "There is this guy I work with. He's crazy. He's weird. His life is one barroom brawl. Me, I'm Miss Straight and Narrow. Him, Rebel without a Clue. No rules. No discipline. No nothing. But there is something inside. Something inside him. A gyroscope or something....We are just so different. We are two completely different people. We just have to stop beating each other up about it..."
  • From "Big Man on Mulberry Street" the former Mrs. Addison, Tess, to Maddie Hayes: "He told you about it? Well, I guess that is his right. I'm just surprised. I've known David since we were kids. Bearing his soul is not his strong suit."
  • Agnes DiPesto sitting in a bar in "I am Curious--Maddie" talking to Maddie Hayes: You know, whenever I have a big problem and I need to talk to somebody I talk to Mr. Addison...I'm not saying that is what you should do...but he usually has good advice...and then he says one of those cute little things that only Mr. Addison can say...or he tells one of those cute little stories that only Mr. Addison can tell...and suddenly I'm all cheered up, like Jiffy Pop without the grease...
  • From "Eek! A Spouse!" Maddie Hayes to Agnes DiPesto: "Being David is a wonderful thing. Being David is like...a first kiss all the time. And that is a wonderful thing. But it is also scary. Always being nervous. Always being unsure."
  • From "Womb with A View," Emissary Jerome to Baby Hayes: "Your father is a fascinating man. Smarter than he lets on. Deeper. He has an extraordinary passion for life and an extraordinary passion for your mother."
Site Editors' Indulgences
Editors picks for the moment we found this character most endearing: A particular moment in a scene that captures the essence of what it is we love about David Addison.
Cindy K:
David in Sam and DavidMy pick is the early morning shot we see of him in "Sam & Dave" after the events of "Blonde on Blonde." It is early morning, and he has spent the remainder of the night in the office but is now sitting at his desk, showered, shaved, has on a clean white shirt but his eyes are closed and his hand up to his face. My heart just breaks for him at that moment because you can see the remnants of the god-awful night he has had with nearly every finger taped and a bandaid on his forehead. We know how he must be feeling after what happened at the end of the evening when he went over to Maddie's. This one shot of him sets up the tone and the direction of the episode, and I don't think I have ever empathized with a TV character more than I did with him at that moment. I can even forgive him for his obnoxious drunken behavior later in the episode since here we have seen him at his most vulnerable. Yes, it is this vulnerability that comes through from time to time as such a contrast to his outward party-guy attitude that endears him so much to me. For all his bluster and swagger, inside he is quite sensitive and somewhat insecure--this combined with his charming, funny personality makes him irresistible to me.
Diane H:
David in Tracks of My TearsThis is my favorite example of looking beyond the outside and being able to see what is in David's heart...David, at the moment he first sees that Maddie has returned in "Tracks of My Tears". That is absolutely IT for David - after all of the anger, the disappointment, and the confusion...he looks across the room, and there she is - he leans back against the door and just breathes...and smiles...and you can almost read his mind, "There she is...she came back to me." So typically David -- a little cocky, a lot happy...a real "full of hope" moment.

I also think it says a lot about David's character that at this very moment, he is supremely confident...he feels he's won the battle - that all he needed to do was to get Maddie back to L.A. and everything would fall into place. He is an optimist in his soul, and looks at everything very simply. David actually believes in something that has been vocalized by Maddie before, "If two people are meant to be together, they'll find each other, no matter what."

Editors picks for seminal moments for the character, from each season.

Cindy K:
  • Season 1: From "The Next Murder You Hear" a very drunk David Addison at the bar singing and then spilling his guts over how hurt he is about Maddie's interest in another man.
  • Season 2: From "In God We Strongly Suspect:" His discussion with Maddie about God. He is stunned by her stance on religion, and we learn he has very traditional beliefs contrary to what one might think about him. But I always smile at what he tells her the next morning that how if there was anyone who had any reason to be thankful it was her. "He's given you beauty; He's given you brains; He's given you me!"
  • Season 3: From "Blonde on Blonde:" The moment he admits to himself in the jail cell that he is indeed in love with Maddie Hayes. Once the blonde in the next cell calls him on it, he at first tries to deny it but then you can see the whole thing register in his eyes and by the enigmatic look on his face. I think that when he stops to think a minute about what the blonde is saying to him, he is at last able to admit it to himself and now take the next step toward telling Maddie. I also count as one of my favorite Addison scenes the one in "Big Man on Mulberry Street" when he explains to Maddie all about his early disastrous marriage. The dialogue and delivery of lines from Willis is so natural, honest and pure...full of anxious pauses and at times carefully thought out word choices...but also spontaneous emotional reactions, all reflecting the vulnerability, the fears, the hurt and the tenderness underneath the character. We actually learn so much about Addison in this one scene, not only about his painful marriage, but also all about his sense of responsibility and duty, something that comes as unexpected in the face of his typical "party-till-you-puke" personality.
  • Season 4: From "Father Knows Last:" An obvious choice as he delivers a very emotional, totally from his heart explanation to Mr. Hayes about how he feels about Maddie. One of the scenes where we see David at his most articulate, most inspired, most focused, and completely honest. He also comes across as very courageous in taking on Mr. Hayes.
  • Season 5: From "I See England, I See France, I See Maddie's Netherworld:" David Addison tied up in the shower with Maddie. He is still managing to laugh, kid around and make her feel better about the whole thing. This is vintage Addison in how he can turn a bad situation into fun; we see him as affectionate, flirty, silly and quite sweet which can't help but charm us and Maddie at the same time.
Diane H:
  • Season 1: In the pilot, when they leave Maddie's house and go to the office. David sets her up with a blanket, and a couch to sleep on......and then proceeds to lay on the charm, still following his own agenda to get her to keep the place open. Then of course, he leaves the room, and plays "Blue Moon" on the harmonica. This is the part of the pilot that originally made me sit up and say, "Hey, who is this guy."....the first indication of David's absolutely fatal charm, and his ability to use it to get what he wanted.
  • Season 2: A hard choice to make, but I have to go with "Money Talks, Maddie Walks", and David's entrance into the restaurant in the casino. The moment he plucked that champagne cork out of the air, every woman in America was hooked. We all inhaled, took all the air out of the room, and released it in a collective SIGH. Fabulous!! All that aside, it is the first great example that shows he has stopped "playing" Maddie and is doing things for her well being.
  • Season 3: From "To Heiress Human" -- after their disagreement about the pact...Maddie walks into his office to discuss the case. He lets her know, not too subtly, that he will go along with her "pact" idea, but then he gets angry when Maddie tries to analyze the case with her brain instead of her heart.
  • Season 4: I totally agree about the scene in "Father Knows Last". My second choice would have to be the scene in "Fetal Attraction" when he goes to sign up for Lamaze class. This is David making his commitment no matter what the outcome --- his "futures bet"...his "act of faith". He is going to be there, and stand by Maddie and the baby no matter what. He is unbelievably sweet in this scene, and so disappointed when he is dismissed.
  • Season 5: I select a scene in "Lunar Eclipse" -- the scene in the bar with Annie's husband, when again his moral side shines through. This has always been a comfort to me, when all the people try and defend the fact that he really was interested in Annie -- no way, sister!!!

We aren't the only ones who LOVE this character.
What an honor for David Addison to be selected by TV Guide as one of the 50 greatest TV characters ever!
TV Guide TV's 50 Greatest Characters Ever!

Photos from the pilot through the final season
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Bruce Willis
Bruce Willis
Bruce Willis, 1986
Click for Bruce Willis & the Accelerators Poster
Click poster to enlarger
Well, duh, just in case someone just fell off a turnip truck, David Addison was played by Bruce Willis. "Moonlighting" was my first exposure to Mr. Willis, and from the first time I saw him on the pilot, I was intrigued. I told everyone I could how great he was, and it certainly came as no surprise when a short time later, everyone discovered him and was tuning in. David Addison was one of those characters that you can not forget, and Willis' portrayal of him, was perfection. Whoever found him and had the good sense to cast him as Addison deserves a friggin' medal. No one could do the Addison wit, attitude and charm like Willis.

The Official Bruce Willis Web site
click for

TV Guide article from 2006 that lists David Addison as one of 10 Quirky TV Detectives.

He is currently the National Spokesperson for Children in Foster Care. Read the official announcement of this here. You can view the PSA online via a media player here. Visit, the official site for the adoption initiative.

Bruce Willis Fan sites

Text © 2003, Cindy Klauss & Diane Hopkins. All rights reserved. Home Page


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