Don Porter

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Don Porter
Don Porter Gidget 1968.JPG
as Russell Lawrence in the 1965 television series Gidget
Born Donald Porter
(1912-09-24)September 24, 1912
Miami, Oklahoma, U.S.
Died February 11, 1997(1997-02-11) (aged 84)
Beverly Hills, California, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1939 – 1988
Spouse(s) Peggy Converse (m. 1944–97)

Donald Porter (September 24, 1912 – February 11, 1997) was an American actor who appeared in a number of films in the 1940s, including Top Sergeant and Eagle Squadron, but is perhaps best known for his role as Russell Lawrence, the widowed father of 15-year old Frances "Gidget" Lawrence (Sally Field) in the 1965 ABC situation comedy Gidget.

Life and career[edit]

Born in Miami, Oklahoma,[1] Porter began his acting career in the late 1930s. He appeared in various film in the 1940s before landing the role of Peter Sands, the boss of Susan Camille MacNamara (Ann Sothern) on the 1950s situation comedy Private Secretary. A retooled version of the series appeared later, titled The Ann Sothern Show. It featured many of the same actors, including Porter, in the venue of a fashionable New York City hotel. He later guest starred on episodes of Green Acres, Love, American Style, The Mod Squad, Barnaby Jones, The Six Million Dollar Man, Hawaii Five-O, Three's Company, on which he played John Ritter's uncle, and Switch. Porter also had a lucrative stage career that included the long-running hit Any Wednesday (1964) opposite Sandy Dennis and Gene Hackman.

Porter also appeared in numerous films including The Turning Point (1952), Our Miss Brooks (1956), Gidget Goes to Rome (playing Russell Lawrence two years prior to repeating the role in the series), The Candidate (1972), and as Mr. Upson in the 1974 film adaptation of Mame with Lucille Ball and Bea Arthur. Porter made his last onscreen appearance in a 1988 episode of CBS Summer Playhouse.

Personal life and death[edit]

Porter was married to actress Peggy Converse with whom he had two children. He died at the age of eighty-four at his home in Beverly Hills, California on February 11, 1997.[2]

Selected filmography[edit]

Year Film Role Notes
1939 Mystery of the White Room Dr. Donald Fox
1941 Sing for Your Supper Tim Uncredited
1942 Who Done It? Art Fraser
1942 Night Monster Dick Baldwin
1943 Keep 'Em Slugging Jerry
1944 Resisting Enemy Interrogation Lieutenant Frank L. Williams, Jr. Uncredited
1946 She-Wolf of London Barry Lanfield Alternative title: The Curse of the Allenbys
Cuban Pete Roberts Alternative title: Down Cuba Way
1947 Buck Privates Come Home Capt. Christie Alternative title: Rookies Come Home
1950 My Friend Irma Goes West Mr. Brent
1951 The Racket R.G. Connolly
7-11 Ocean Drive Larry Mason
1952 Because You're Mine Captain Burton Nordell Loring
The Savage Running Dog Credited as Donald Porter
1957 Desk Set Elevator operator Don Uncredited
Alternative title: His Other Woman
1961 Bachelor in Paradise Thomas W. Jynson
1964 Youngblood Hawke Ferdie Lax
1968 Live a Little, Love a Little Mike Lansdown
1972 The Candidate Senator Crocker Jarmon
1974 Mame Claude Upson
1975 White Line Fever Cutler
1985 Joey Alternative title: Making Contact
Year Title Role Notes
1953–1957 Private Secretary Peter Sands 103 episodes
1959–1961 The Ann Sothern Show James Devery 45 episodes; joined Season 1, Episode 23.
1965–1966 Gidget Professor Russell Lawrence 32 episodes
1969 Judd, for the Defense Frank Vinton 1 episode
1972 Cade's County Martin Russell 1 episode
Banacek Arnold Leeland 1 episode
The Rookies General Brooker 1 episode
1973 The New Adventures of Perry Mason Otis Temple 1 episode
Tenafly Miles 1 episode
1974 Here's Lucy Ken Richards 1 episode
The Six Million Dollar Man Dr. Stanley Bacon 1 episode
Chase Miller 1 episode
The F.B.I. Mason Hammond 1 episode
1975 Ellery Queen Gregory Layton 1 episode
McMillan & Wife Adrian Danzinger 1 episode
1976–1977 The Bionic Woman Dr. James Courtney 3 episodes
1977 Three's Company Uncle Fremont 1 episode
1978 The Paper Chase Franklin Ford II 1 episode
Vega$ Senator William Mitchell 1 episode
Sword of Justice Judge Addams 1 episode
1980 Dallas Matt Devlin 4 episodes
1981 Fantasy Island Emmett Latham 1 episode
1983 Hotel Jonathan Corry 1 episode
1986 Matlock Professor Erskine Tate 1 episode

Awards and honors[edit]

Year Award Result Category Series
1974 Daytime Emmy Award Nominated Best Actor in Daytime Drama - For a Special Program The ABC Afternoon Playbreak

See also[edit]

Biography portal



  1. ^ Vosburgh, Dick ( "Obituary: Don Porter". 1997-3-5. Retrieved 2009-09-11.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  2. ^ "Don Porter, 84, Actor In Sitcoms and Films". The New York Times. 1997-02-24. Retrieved 2009-09-11. 

External links[edit]