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|Born||Pierre Collingwood Donat
January 20, 1928
Kentville, Nova Scotia, Canada
Donat was born Pierre Collingwood Donat in Kentville, Nova Scotia, Canada, the son of Marie (née Bardet) and Philip Ernst Donat, a landscape gardener. His uncle was British actor Robert Donat. Peter Donat emigrated to the United States in 1950, studied drama at Yale University, and first came to attention as a stage actor in the lead of a production of Cyrano de Bergerac. In 1961, he played a leading role in Donald Jack's stage play The Canvas Barricade, the first Canadian play performed at the Stratford Festival.
In 1965, he was featured in the cast as Vince Conway on Moment of Truth. That series was the only Canadian serial ever broadcast on a commercial television network in the United States.
His credits include: Mission: Impossible, Banacek, The Waltons, Hawaii Five-O, Charlie's Angels, Lou Grant, Baa Baa Black Sheep, Dallas, Quincy, M.E., Hart to Hart, Hill Street Blues, Simon & Simon and Murder, She Wrote. He also starred in Cyrano de Bergerac playing the title role, in 1972 on the PBS anthology Theatre in America. He was a regular cast member of the 1980s primetime serial, Flamingo Road as Elmo Tyson, in 1993 on the series Time Trax as the antagonist Dr. Mordecai Sahmbi, and more recently had a recurring role as Bill Mulder, Agent Mulder's father, in The X-Files.
Donat has also worked extensively in films. Some of his more prominent roles include The Godfather Part II (1974), The Hindenburg (1975), Billy Jack Goes to Washington (1976), The China Syndrome (1979), The Bay Boy (1984), Skin Deep (1989), The Babe (1992) and The Game (1997). Donat was a prominent member of the American Conservatory Theatre (ACT) in San Francisco for a number of years. He has also been active in local theatre, most notably playing his first singing role as Professor Higgins in the 1988 Cabrillo Stage production of My Fair Lady.
Donat was married to actress Michael Learned from 1956 until 1972, when they divorced. They have three children — Caleb, Christopher and Lucas. He is currently married to his second wife, Marijke. He is a naturalized United States citizen. He also narrated the biographical film chronicling the life and work of famed mythologist Joseph Campbell, The Hero’s Journey: A Biographical Portrait (1987) and moderated the multi-volume video series, The World of Joseph Campbell: Transformation of Myths Through Time (1989), giving insightful commentary and celebrating Campbell’s brilliance as a scholar and storyteller.
- Peter Donat at the Internet Movie Database
- Peter Donat at the Internet Broadway Database
- Peter Donat at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- Peter Donat at Northernstars.ca