King Donovan

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King Donovan
King Donovan.jpg
King Donovan in 1968
Born (1918-01-25)January 25, 1918
Manhattan, New York City
New York, U.S.
Died June 30, 1987(1987-06-30) (aged 69)
Branford, New Haven County
Connecticut, U.S.
Cause of death Cancer
Years active 1948–1984
Spouse(s) Imogene Coca (m. 1960–1987, his death)

King Donovan (January 25, 1918 – June 30, 1987) was an American film, stage, and television actor, as well as a film and television director.

Acting work[edit]

Film[edit]

His film acting work includes Jack in the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers; a role later reprised by Jeff Goldblum in the 1978 version, Solly in The Defiant Ones, Joe Capper in Cowboy, Mack McGee in the original Angels in the Outfield, Major Collins in The Perfect Furlough, and an uncredited but recognizable role in Singin' in the Rain as Rod (head of the Publicity Department).

Stage[edit]

In 1948, Donovan appeared on Broadway in The Vigil. In 1968, he toured with his wife Imogene Coca in a production of You Know I Can't Hear You When the Water's Running.

Television[edit]

Notable television roles include Jake Clampett (a deadbeat who mooches off the Clampetts) for two episodes of CBS's The Beverly Hillbillies, Blanche Morton's (Bea Benaderet's) brother Roger Baker on eight episodes of The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show,[1] and Harvey Helm in a 17-episode stint on NBC's The Bob Cummings Show. Donovan also appeared in six episodes as Chris Norman of It's a Great Life, a sitcom with Frances Bavier, James Dunn and Michael O'Shea, which aired on NBC from 1954 to 1956. About this time, he also guest starred on Ray Bolger's ABC sitcom, Where's Raymond?[2] and the NBC sitcom, The People's Choice, with Jackie Cooper. He also guest starred on the David Janssen crime drama, Richard Diamond, Private Detective. He played Mark Dawson in the 1959 Maverick episode "Maverick Springs". He was also in Wanted: Dead or Alive in the 1959 episode "Bad Gun" as the gun dealer Sheridan Appleby, in which he tries to recover a defective pistol that he had sold to an outlaw. He and Steve McQueen rescue a kidnapped senator's daughter when the faulty firearm explodes in the face of the bad guy.[3]

Donovan and the cast in the 1956 film Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Donovan guest starred as Paddy Britt in the 1960 episode "The Boy from Pittsburgh" of the NBC western series, Riverboat, starring Darren McGavin and Burt Reynolds and set in the 1840s. Child actor Tom Nolan was cast in the title role as Tommy Jones, a stowaway on the vessel, the Enterprise. In the story line, series lead character Grey Holden (McGavin) transports a box of diamonds, unknowing that a pickpocket has taken the gems and switched the contents of the box. Mona Freeman appeared in this episode as Louise Rutherford, a beautiful widow, with other roles for the character actors Francis De Sales and Robert Emhardt.[4]

In 1963, he played the part of Poke Tolliver in the episode "Incident of the Buryin' Man" on CBS's Rawhide. Between 1965 and 1967, Donovan had a recurring role as neighbor Herb---whose mission in life seemed to be getting from his house through the study window of professor Jim Nash in less than a full minute---on the situation comedy Please Don't Eat the Daisies.

Directing work[edit]

In 1963 Donovan directed the film Promises! Promises!, which received attention as the first Hollywood sound film to feature a mainstream film star (Jayne Mansfield) nude. Later the same year Donovan directed two episodes of Grindl, which starred his wife Imogene Coca and two more the next year.

Personal life and death[edit]

Donovan and wife Imogene Coca

Donovan married comedienne Imogene Coca on October 17, 1960, and remained married to her until he died of cancer on Tuesday, June 30, 1987, in the Connecticut Hospice in Branford, Connecticut.

Filmography[edit]

As an actor
Title Year Role Notes
Open Secret 1948 Fawnes, Bigot Gang Member film debut
Man from Texas 1948 Sam (mortgage officer)
The Pilgrimage Play 1949 Salathiel
Shockproof 1949 Joe Wilson (uncredited) first time Donovan played a character with a first and last name
Alias Nick Beal 1949 Peter Wolfe Donovan's highest billed role (7th) at the time
All the King's Men 1949 Reporter (uncredited) Won the Academy Award for Best Picture
Side Street 1950 Det. Gottschalk (uncredited)
One Way Street 1950 Grieder
Cargo to Capetown 1950 Sparky Jackson (uncredited) stars John Ireland, the star of Donovan's debut film
Mystery Street 1950 Reporter at Beach House (uncredited)
A Lady Without Passport 1950 Surgeon (uncredited)
Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye 1950 Driver (uncredited)
Right Cross 1950 Fifth Reporter (uncredited)
The Sun Sets at Dawn 1950 Reporter, National News Service
Storm Warning 1951 Ambulance Driver (uncredited) starred future president Ronald Reagan
The Enforcer 1951 Sgt. Whitlow
The Great Missouri Raid 1951 Witness (uncredited)
Three Guys Named Mike 1951 Willy (uncredited)
The Redhead and the Cowboy 1951 Munroe
The Scarf 1951 Piano Player
Little Bighorn 1951 Pvt. James Corbo
The Prince Who Was a Thief 1951 Merat (uncredited)
Take Care of My Little Girl 1951 Cab Driver (uncredited)
His Kind of Woman 1951 Reporter (uncredited)
Behave Yourself! 1951 Lingerie Shop Manager (uncredited)
Angels in the Outfield 1951 Mack McGee First Donovan film to be remade. First time Donovan appeared in a film trailer.
Come Fill the Cup 1951 Kip Zunches
The Unknown Man 1951 News Photographer on Courthouse Steps (uncredited)
Something to Live For 1952 Stage Manager (uncredited)
Singin' in the Rain 1952 Rod (uncredited) Although his role is uncredited it is recognizable. Film voted best musical of the century and fifth best film of the century by AFI.
Glory Alley 1952 Telephone Technician (uncredited)
Sally and Saint Anne 1952 Hymie Callahan (uncredited)
The Merry Widow 1952 Nitki (uncredited)
The Magnetic Monster 1953 Dr. Dan Forbes
The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms 1953 Dr. Ingersoll
Riders to the Stars 1954 James O'Herli
Invasion of the Body Snatchers 1956 Jack Belicec
Cowboy 1957 Joe Capper -

Donovan filmed scenes for an undetermined role in the 1949 film I Was a Male War Bride, but his scenes were deleted.

As director
Title Date Notes
Promises! Promises! 1963 First sound film to feature a mainstream film star (Jayne Mansfield) nude. Only film Donovan ever directed.
Grindl (4 episodes) 1963–1964 Series starred Donovan's wife, Imogene Coca.
That Girl (1 episode) 1968

References[edit]

External links[edit]