King Donovan in 1968
January 25, 1918|
Manhattan, New York City
New York, U.S.
June 30, 1987 (aged 69)|
Branford, New Haven County
|Cause of death||Cancer|
|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.
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).
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.
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, 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? 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.
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.
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.
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
|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||—|
Donovan filmed scenes for an undetermined role in the 1949 film I Was a Male War Bride, but his scenes were deleted.
|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||—|
- King Donovan at the Internet Movie Database
- "Where's Raymond?/ The Ray Bolger Show". ctva.biz. Retrieved March 14, 2011.
- ""The Boy from Pittsburgh", Riverboat, November 29, 1959". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
- King Donovan on IMDb
- King Donovan at the Internet Broadway Database
- King Donovan at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- "KING DONOVAN IS DEAD AT 69; THEATER, FILM AND TV ACTOR". New York Times. July 4, 1987. Retrieved 2013-09-16.