Donald Brian

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Donald Brian
Born February 17, 1877
St. Johns, Newfoundland
Died December 22, 1948
Great Neck, Long Island, New York
Occupation actor
Years active 1899–1939
Spouse(s) Florence Gleason Pope
Virginia O'Brien (1 daughter)
The Smugglers (1916)

Donald Brian (February 17, 1877 – December 22, 1948) was an actor, dancer and singer born St. John's, Newfoundland (now Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada), at the age of eighteen was crowned "King of Broadway" by the New York Times in 1907. Brian is noted for helping President Theodore Roosevelt act more relaxed in public and teaching Frank Sinatra to dance and entertain U.S. Troops in England with Bob Hope.

Brian, a tenor, was employed in a Boston machine shop and at the age of 16 began performing with a vocal quartette. When he joined a theatrical troupe in New York City his career had taken off. He had leading roles in more than 20 Broadway musicals. In 1915 Brian signed with film producer Jesse L. Lasky to do two films, The Voice in the Fog (1915) and The Smugglers (1916). After the latter he would make no more film appearances until the sound era. His first sound film was an excerpt of his role in Peggy O'Hooligan (1925), made in the DeForest Phonofilm sound-on-film process.

Selected Broadway musicals Brian had starred or had principal roles;

Brian was president of the Catholic Actor's Guild and helped many young budding performers excel in their career.

He was married twice, first to a divorced woman named Mrs. Florence Gleason Pope and second to stage actress Virginia O'Brien (not to be confused with the film actress born 1919). He and O'Brien had one daughter, Denise.[1]

Donald Brian died at Great Neck, New York in 1948.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Great Stars of the American Stage by Daniel C. Blum c.1952(reprint 1954)

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