David Greene entered show business as an actor, spending several seasons with the Old Vic. Though he never achieved the heights of an Olivier or Guinness, Greene worked steadily and with distinction on stage; he can also be seen in a brace of films, playing "Johnny" in Golden Madonna (1948) and "Bennett" in The Wooden Horse. Coming to North America in the early 1950s, Greene settled in Canada, where he became a TV director for the CBC. He later worked in American television, directing both live and filmed installments of the many anthology series of the 1950s and 1960s. His first big-screen directorial effort was the 1967 thriller The Shuttered Room; his best was the 1973 cinemadaptation of the Broadway musical Godspell, which he also co-scripted. Returning to television, he helmed several episodes of the innovational weekly series Hill Street Blues, as well as a preponderance of TV-movie remakes of earlier theatrical features: Count of Monte Cristo (1975), Inherit the Wind (1988), Night of the Hunter (1991) and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane (1991). Other notable TV-movie and miniseries to his credit include The Trial of Lee Harvey Oswald (1978), World War III (1983; taking over from Boris Sagal, who was killed in a freak mid-production accident) and Liberace: The Man And His Music (1989). Over the course of his career David Greene won Emmy awards for the TV features The People Next Door (1969) and Friendly Fire (1979), and for his direction of individual installments of the miniseries Rich Man Poor Man (1976) and Roots (1977). Working steadily in television throughout the 80s and 90s, workhorse Greene averaged two made-for television efforts a year including such highlights as Vanishing Act (1986) and A Season in Pergatory (1996). Though frequently taking the helm for television remakes of classic films, Greene's affinity for real-life drama could be seen in such efforts as Willing to Kill: The Texas Cheerleader Story (1992) and Beyond Obsession (1994).
In early April of 2003, David Greene died of pancreatic cancer in his Ojai, CA home. He was 82.