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Donovan Patton

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Donovan Patton
Birth name Donovan Patton
Born (1978-03-01) March 1, 1978 (age 37)
Agana Naval Air Station, Guam
Origin New York, New York, U.S
Occupation(s) Host, voice actor
Years active 2002–present

Donovan Patton (born March 1, 1978) is an American host and voice actor. Patton graduated from the Interlochen Arts Academy and acted in Shakespeare plays such as Much Ado About Nothing and Romeo and Juliet before he replaced Steve Burns as Joe, the host of Nickelodeon's children's television program Blue's Clues in 2002. On Patton's acting, series co-creator Angela Santomero stated that Patton brought Joe, his character, closer to the preschool viewer, as Joe was more willing to "jump into a problem rather than figure it out first like Steve".[1] After Blue's Clues ended Patton voiced Bot on Nickelodeon's Team Umizoomi; for his work on children's television, Patton has been described as a "household name"[2] and an "unqualified star to the 5-and-under set and their parents".[3]

Although most of his career has been in children's television, Patton has also appeared in independent films, such as Awake and Lies I Told My Little Sister, and in television shows. Married, Patton has two children and is active in several New York City-area charities.

Early career[edit]

Donovan Patton graduated from the Interlochen Arts Academy in northwest Michigan. His first acting roles were in Shakespeare plays such as Much Ado About Nothing and Romeo and Juliet.[1]

Blue's Clues[edit]

Patton's "big break" came in 2002, when he was cast to replace Steve Burns as Joe, the second host of the Nickelodeon children's television program Blue's Clues. He was up for a part in Blair Witch Project 2 at the time, but considered the role as Joe "a happy accident".[3] Patton became a "household name"[2] and has been called "an unqualified star to the 5-and-under set and their parents".[3] He was subjected to "the same kind of scrutiny" as Burns, who was involved in Patton's selection and helped train him, to earn the role.[4] Patton was selected out of 1,500 auditions.[5][6] He had never seen the show before his audition, but like Burns, was the favorite with preschool test audiences.[7] He said, "I am convinced that I got that part because of a Christopher Walken impression I sometimes do. There's a tape out there, somewhere, with both Steve Burns and myself doing a Blue's Clues scene both as Christopher Walken, which we did at the screen test. I haven't seen the tape, but I know somewhere it still exists".[8] Beginning in September 2000, Burns trained Patton to take over the host spot and advised him not to "think of [the show] as children's TV", but rather as "acting and telling the truth".[1]

According to Traci Paige Johnson, one of the producers and creators of Blue's Clues, Patton's character was more like a preschooler and more innocent than Steve.[4] Angela Santomero, another producer and creator, stated that Patton's characterization as Joe brought him closer to the preschool viewer as Joe was more willing to "jump into a problem rather than figure it out first like Steve".[1] Patton liked working on Blue's Clues because, as he stated, "I got to go be a kid for twelve hours a day".[9] He called the show's crew "a real fun little family"[10] and a "well-oiled machine[11] by the time he joined the show. Patton remained on the show until 2006, and also appeared in its spin-off, Blue's Room, which premiered in 2004.[8][12] Several years later, Patton said he had not yet grasped the enormity of replacing Burns, even after he became a parent and witnessed the show's effect on his own children. He admitted that he preferred when his two-year-old daughter watched the Steve episodes.[10]

Later roles[edit]

In 2012, he also appeared in the short films Awake and Pharmboy, the latter of which was directed by his longtime friend Lawrence Feeney.[8] Mark Finguerra, the director of Awake, was able to look past the potential typecasting of Patton's role in Blue's Clues to cast him in a darker role. Patton had impressed him in an audition for an earlier feature film. Finguerra called Patton a "complete professional [and a] tremendous actor", and enjoyable on set.[3] He appeared in the soap opera One Life to Live, in which he played, in a departure of his previous roles, "a very angry man".[13] In 2014, he appeared in a small movie shot mostly in New Jersey, entitled Lies I Told My Little Sister, directed by William Stribling and starring Lucy Walters.[8][10]

Patton called his career, with its mixture of children's television and darker roles in independent films, "an odd experience" and told a reporter that he had spent half his life at Nickelodeon. In 2012, he was cast as Bot, the robot superhero, on the children's show Team Umizoomi through the relationships he had made at Nickelodeon on Blue's Clues.[3] He found working on Team Umizoomi "comforting" because many of the same crew, producers, and creators had also worked on Blue's Clues. It was the first time he had worked as a voice-over artist, unlike on Blue's Clues, when he was able to be more physical acting in front of a blue screen.[14] He said, about Team Umizoomi, "the work the animators have done on it has been superlative".[15] He stated that he enjoyed working on Team Umizoomi because it gave him the opportunity to participate in a show from its inception, which he had missed with Blue's Clues.[11] Patton said his voice performance of Bot, which he modeled on Brent Spiner's performance as the android Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation and was influenced by Mel Blanc's work in the classic Warner Bros. cartoons,[3][16] "ended up sounding more like my natural voice, with a teeny bit of superhero in there".[10] Despite both roles in Blue's Clues and Team Umizoomi requiring him to sing, he did not consider himself a natural singer, and felt that he had to work hard at it.[17] He said, about being cast as Bot, "I get to be a superhero. Who doesn't want to be a superhero"?[18]

Patton is married and has two children. He is active in several charities in the New York City area, including Literacy Inc., the Make-a-Wish Foundation, and the Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, a large children's hospital.[10]


Year Title Role
2013 Monsters University Additional Voices
Year Title Role
2002–2006 Blue's Clues Joe
2004–2007 Blue's Room Joe
2010-2015 Team Umizoomi Bot (Voice)
2015–present Clarence Mr. Reese (Voice)
Video games
Year Title Role
2013 Grand Theft Auto V Actor (Uncredited)
2015 Lego Jurassic World Additional Voices


  1. ^ a b c d Hart, Marion (13 April 2002). "Blue's Brother". TV Guide (Gemstar) 50 (15): 50. 
  2. ^ a b Barron, Natania (25 January 2010). "GeekDad Talks with Donovan Patton of the New Nickelodeon Show Team Umizoomi". Retrieved 8 November 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Yorio, Karia (2 October 2012). "Cliffside Park resident Donovan Patton, once Joe on 'Blue's Clues,' takes on new, dramatic roles". North Retrieved 9 November 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Tracy, p. 48
  5. ^ Jim Forbes (Narrator) (27 July 2006). Behind the Clues: 10 Years of Blue (Part 2) (Documentary). Nickelodeon. 
  6. ^ Kiesewetter, John (29 April 2002). "'Blue's Clues' puts on new host, new shirts". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved 9 November 2014. 
  7. ^ Tracy, p. 47
  8. ^ a b c d Adams, Laura (4 April 2013). "Animated Actor: Cliffside Park's Donovan Patton has a clue about acting". Retrieved 9 November 2014. 
  9. ^ Barron, event occurs at 3.38
  10. ^ a b c d e Michel, Tori. "From Joe to Bot: My Interview with Donovan Patton". Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  11. ^ a b Barron, event occurs at 5.06
  12. ^ Heffernan, Virginia (26 January 2007). "Calling Blue: And on That Farm He Had a Cellphone". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 November 2014. 
  13. ^ Barron, event occurs at 10.30
  14. ^ Barron, event occurs at 3.10
  15. ^ Barron, event occurs at 0.38
  16. ^ Barron, event occurs at 5.53
  17. ^ Barron, event occurs at 9.45
  18. ^ Barron, event occurs at 8.30

Works cited[edit]

  • Barron, Natania (25 January 2010). "Donovan Patton Interview". Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  • Tracy, Diane. (2002). Blue's Clues for Success: The 8 Secrets Behind a Phenomenal Business. New York: Kaplan Publishing. ISBN 0-7931-5376-X.