Donald Meek

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Donald Meek
Donald Meek in The Thin Man Goes Home (1945).png
Thomas Donald Meek

(1878-07-14)14 July 1878
Glasgow, Scotland
Died18 November 1946(1946-11-18) (aged 68)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Resting placeFairmount Cemetery
Years active1886–1946
Belle Walken
(m. 1909)

Thomas Donald Meek (14 July 1878 – 18 November 1946) was a Scottish-American actor. He first performed publicly at the age of eight and began appearing on Broadway in 1903.

Meek is perhaps best known for his roles in the films You Can't Take It with You (1938) and Stagecoach (1939). He posthumously received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960.

Early years[edit]

Meek was born in Glasgow to Matthew and Annie Meek. In the 1890s, the Meek family emigrated to Canada and then to the United States. By 1900, they were living in Philadelphia where Meek was employed as a dry goods salesman, according to the United States census of that year. Sometime later, Donald went on the stage.


Meek's Broadway credits include Take My Tip (1932), After Tomorrow (1931), Oh, Promise Me (1930), Broken Dishes (1929), in which he starred with a young Bette Davis, Jonesy (1929), Mr. Moneypenny (1928), The Ivory Door (1927), My Princess (1927), Spread Eagle (1927), The Shelf (1926), Love 'em and Leave 'em (1926), Fool's Bells (1925), Easy Terms (1925), The Potters (1923), Tweedles (1923), Six-Cylinder Love (1921), Little Old New York (1920), The Hottentot (1920), Nothing But Love (1919), Going Up (1917), and The Minister's Daughters (1903).[1]

After years on the stage, Meek became a film actor, appearing memorably in several movies including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Little Miss Broadway, and State Fair. Before becoming an actor, he fought in the Spanish–American War in the United States Army and contracted yellow fever which caused him to lose his hair. He was cast as timid, worried characters in many of his films, and is perhaps best known for his roles as Mr. Poppins in Frank Capra's You Can't Take It With You and as whiskey salesman Samuel Peacock in John Ford's Stagecoach.[2]

From 1931 through 1932, Meek was featured as criminologist Dr. Crabtree in a series of 12 Warner Brothers two-reel short subjects written by S.S. Van Dine.

Personal life[edit]

According to Massachusetts marriage records database, Meek and Isabella "Belle" Walken married in Boston in a Methodist church on January 3, 1909. By this marriage, the American-born Belle Meek lost her United States citizenship by taking her husband's British nationality.


Donald Meek died of leukaemia on 18 November 1946 in Los Angeles,[3] while filming the role of Mr. Twiddle in Magic Town.[4] A prolific film actor in over 100 Hollywood movies during its Golden Age, he received a posthumous star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He was entombed in the Fairmount Mausoleum at Fairmount Cemetery in Denver, Colorado.[citation needed]

Selected filmography[edit]


  1. ^ "Donald Meek". Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. Archived from the original on 17 February 2020. Retrieved 17 February 2020.
  2. ^ "On Donald Meek, Whose Characters Matched His Screen Name". Travalanche. 14 July 2017. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  3. ^ "St. Petersburg Times - Google News Archive Search".
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 October 2013. Retrieved 7 June 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]