Donath graduated from Vienna's Academy of Dramatic Art and became a prominent actor on the stage in Berlin. When Hitler came to power in 1933, he returned to Vienna and was active there in theater and film and until the Anschluss in 1938. He began his American film career with Lady from Chungking (1942) and went on to appear in dozens of films, including Gilda (1946), The Jolson Story (1946), Jolson Sings Again (1949), The Great Caruso (1951), My Pal Gus (1952), Sirocco (1951), and Torn Curtain (1966).
Donath played the father of entertainer Al Jolson (Larry Parks) in the two biopics The Jolson Story (1946) and Jolson Sings Again (1949), although he was less than 15 years older than Parks as Jolson.
He also appeared frequently on television and on Broadway.
He died of leukemia in 1967.
- Theodor Herzl (1921)
- Füsilier Wipf (1938)
- The Lido Mystery (1942)
- The Falcon's Brother (1942)
- Tonight We Raid Calais (1943)
- Gangway for Tomorrow (1943)
- The Devil's Mask (1946)
- Sealed Verdict (1948)
- The Lovable Cheat (1949)
- Journey Into Light (1951)
- Sins of Jezebel (1953)
- Too Many Thieves (1966)
- Torn Curtain (1966)
- Bonanza: "The Way Of Aaron"? (1963)
- The Twilight Zone: He's Alive (1963)
- The Fugitive: "Blessings of Liberty" (1966)
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