Donald Novis

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Donald Novis (3 March 1906 – 23 July 1966) was an English actor and tenor.

Early life[edit]

Donald George Novis was born on 3 March 1906 in Hastings, Sussex[1] to Frederick George Novis and Charlotte Morris.[2] Shortly after his birth, Novis and his family emigrated to Canada, where they eventually settled in Chapleau, Ontario. On 8 November 1908, the family entered the United States through Detroit on their way to Los Angeles.[3] On 4 November 1929, Novis married his first wife, Emma Julietta Burnett, at Long Beach, California.[4] In February 1938, Novis married his second wife, Dorothy Bradshaw, a former Ziegfield Girl, at the Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix, Arizona.[5] By his second wife, Novis had two daughters, Carol Jean and Leslie Katherine Novis. He died at Norwalk, California on 23 July 1966.[6]

Career[edit]

Novis pursued an acting and singing career. He made his film debut as the Country Boy in the detective film Bulldog Drummond (1929). He appeared on screen in numerous films up to 1937, often as a singer in films like One Hour with You (1932) and This Is the Night (1932). His appearances in films were thereafter limited. He sang on several film soundtracks and notably recorded the Academy Award-nominated song "Love Is a Song" for the Disney animated feature film Bambi (1942).

In 1930, Novis made his Broadway debut as Hoheno in the original production of Rudolf Friml's Luana. He performed in only one other Broadway musical during his career, Matt Mulligan, Jr. in Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart's Jumbo in 1935-1936. In 1938 he starred in a production of Jerome Kern's Roberta at the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera. He was also highly active as a singer with big bands and as a radio entertainer in the 1930s. He performed frequently with Anson Weeks and his band and was often heard on the radio programme Fibber McGee and Molly. From 1932–1934 he led his own orchestra which made several recordings for Brunswick Records.

In 1955 Novis co-created the script for the long-running “Golden Horseshoe Revue” at Disneyland’s Frontierland with Wally Boag. The show ran continuously to 1986, and Novis himself starred in the production from its inception until his retirement 9 years later in 1964. He died in Norwalk, California in 1966 at the age of 60.

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ England & Wales, FreeBMD Birth Index, 1837-1915, online database, Ancestry.com
  2. ^ California County Marriages, 1850-1952, online database, FamilySearch.org
  3. ^ Detroit Border Crossings and Passenger and Crew Lists, 1905-1957. online database, Ancestry.com
  4. ^ California County Marriages, 1850-1952, online database, FamilySearch.org
  5. ^ "Matrimony-bound for Arizona's Airport Altar," Kentucky New Era, 12 February 1938. Retrieved from Google News, 15 June 2013
  6. ^ "Donald Novis, Radio Singer of '30s, Dies" Los Angeles Times, 24 July 1966. Retrieved on 15 June 2013 from Historical Newspapers, Birth, Marriage and Death Announcements, 1851-2003, online database, Ancestry.com