Contents 1 Early years 2 Career 2.1 Paramount 2.2 Universal 2.3 "A" Films 2.4 Return from War Service 2.5 Francis 2.6 Singin' in the Rain 2.7 1960s Films 2.8 1970s 3 Personal life 4 Death 5 Filmography 5.1 Film 5.2 Television 5.3 Stage 6 References 7 External links

Early years[edit] Though he considered Danville, Illinois to be his hometown, O’Connor was born in St. Elizabeth Hospital in Chicago. His parents, Effie Irene (née Crane) and John Edward "Chuck" O'Connor, were vaudeville entertainers.[1][2] His father's family was from Ireland.[3] When O'Connor was only 2 years old, he and his sister Arlene, who was 7 at the time, were in a car crash outside a theater in Hartford, Connecticut; O'Connor survived, but his sister unfortunately did not. A few weeks later, his father passed away of a heart attack while dancing on stage in Brockton, Massachusetts.[4]

Career[edit] O'Connor began performing in movies in 1937 making his debut aged 11 in Columbia's It Can't Last Forever (1937). Paramount[edit] O'Connor signed a contract at Paramount. He appeared in Men with Wings (1938) as Fred MacMurray's character as a boy, and Sing You Sinners (1938) as Bing Crosby's younger brother. He was in Sons of the Legion (1938) then had the lead in a B, Tom Sawyer, Detective (1938) playing Huckleberry Finn. O'Connor was in Boy Trouble (1939) and played John Hartley as a young boy in Unmarried (1939). O'Connor was billed fourth in Million Dollar Legs (1939) with Betty Grable and played Gary Cooper as a young boy in Beau Geste (1939). Night Work (1939) was a sequel to Boy Trouble and he was in Death of a Champion (1939).[4] In 1940, when he had outgrown child roles, he returned to vaudeville. Universal[edit] In 1941, O’Connor signed with Universal Pictures, where he began by appearing in seven B-picture musicals in a row, starting with What's Cookin'? (1942) with The Andrews Sisters, Gloria Jean and Peggy Ryan.[5] He and Ryan were in Private Buckaroo (1942) and Give Out, Sisters (1942), both with the Andrews Sisters. He, Ryan and Jean were in Get Hep to Love (1942) and When Johnny Comes Marching Home (1942). He made It Comes Up Love (1942) with Jean but without Ryan. "A" Films[edit] O'Connor, Jean and Ryan were in Mister Big (1943). Before this film was released, O’Connor’s popularity soared. Universal added $50,000 in musical numbers to the film and promoted the "B" movie to "A" status. The handprints of Donald O'Connor in front of The Great Movie Ride at Walt Disney World's Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park. O'Connor and Ryan were in Top Man (1943) and Chip Off the Old Block (1944). They both had cameos in Universal's all-star Follow the Boys (1944). On his 18th birthday in August 1943, during World War II O'Connor was drafted into the United States Army. Before he reported for induction on Feb. 6, 1944, Universal already had four O’Connor films completed. They rushed production to complete four more by that date, all with Ryan: This Is the Life (1944), The Merry Monahans (1944), Bowery to Broadway (1945) and Patrick the Great (1945). With a backlog of seven features, deferred openings kept O’Connor’s screen presence uninterrupted during the two years he was overseas. Return from War Service[edit] Upon his return, a merger in 1946 had reorganized the studio as Universal-International. The studio paired O'Connor opposite their biggest female star, Deanna Durbin in Something in the Wind (1947). He starred in Are You with It? (1948), Feudin', Fussin' and A-Fightin' (1949), and Yes Sir, That's My Baby (1949). Francis[edit] In 1949, he played the lead role in Francis, the story of a soldier befriended by a talking mule. The film was a huge success. As a consequence, his musical career was constantly interrupted by production of one Francis film per year until 1955. O'Connor later said the films "were fun to make. Actually, they were quite challenging. I had to play straight in order to convince the audience that the mule could talk."[6] O'Connor followed the first Francis with comedies: Curtain Call at Cactus Creek (1950), The Milkman (1950), Double Crossbones (1951). He did Francis Goes to the Races (1951), another big hit. Singin' in the Rain[edit] O'Connor then received an offer to play Cosmo the piano player in Singin' in the Rain (1952) at MGM. This earned him a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Comedy or Musical. The film featured his widely known rendition of "Make 'Em Laugh". O'Connor said he smoked around 4 packs of cigarettes a day during filming.[7] In 1952 O'Connor signed a three-picture deal with Paramount.[8] He went back to Universal for Francis Goes to West Point (1952) then returned to MGM for I Love Melvin (1953) a musical with Debbie Reynolds. He supported Ethel Merman in Call Me Madam (1953) at 20th Century Fox, later saying the film contained his best dancing.[9] After Francis Covers the Big Town (1953), Universal put O'Connor in a musical in colour, Walking My Baby Back Home (1953). He did Francis Joins the WACS (1954) then played Tim Donahue in the 20th Century Fox musical There's No Business Like Show Business (1954), which featured Irving Berlin's music and also starred with Ethel Merman, Marilyn Monroe, Dan Dailey, Mitzi Gaynor and Johnnie Ray. It was because of the Francis series that O'Connor missed playing Bing Crosby's partner in White Christmas (1954). O'Connor was unavailable because he contracted an illness transmitted by the mule, and was replaced in the film by Danny Kaye. He starred in The Donald O'Connor Show (1954–55) for one season. O'Connor was a regular host of NBC's Colgate Comedy Hour.[4] O'Connor was reluctant to keep making Francis films but agreed to Francis in the Navy (1955).[10] Arthur Lubin who directed the films later recalled that O'Connor "got very difficult" to work with after a while. "He started drinking and I think he had problems at home. He started swearing at me and being late on set."[11] O'Connor and Crosby united on Anything Goes (1956) at Paramount. That studio also released The Buster Keaton Story (1957) where O'Connor had the title role. He hosted a color television special on NBC in 1957, one of the earliest color programs to be preserved on a color kinescope; an excerpt of the telecast was included in NBC's 50th anniversary special in 1976. 1960s Films[edit] O'Connor teamed with Glenn Ford in Cry for Happy (1961) and played the title role in The Wonders of Aladdin (1961). He focused on theatre work then returned to films in the Sandra Dee comedy That Funny Feeling (1965). In 1968, O'Connor hosted a syndicated talk show also called The Donald O'Connor Show.[12] He suffered a heart attack in 1971.[13] 1970s[edit] O'Connor overcame alcoholism after being hospitalized for three months after collapsing in 1978.[4] His career had a boost when he hosted the Academy Awards, which earned him two Primetime Emmy nominations. He appeared as a gaslight-era entertainer in the 1981 film Ragtime, notable for similar encore performances by James Cagney and Pat O'Brien. It was his first feature film role in 16 years. O'Connor appeared in the short-lived Bring Back Birdie on Broadway in 1981 and continued to make film and television appearances into the 1990s, including the Robin Williams film Toys as the president of a toy-making company. He had guest roles in 1996 in a pair of popular TV comedy series, The Nanny and Frasier. In 1998, he received a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs, California, Walk of Stars.[14] O'Connor's last feature film was the Jack Lemmon-Walter Matthau comedy Out to Sea, in which he played a dance host on a cruise ship. O’Connor was still making public appearances well into 2003. The most distinctive characteristic of O'Connor's dancing style was its athleticism, for which he had few rivals. Yet it was his boyish charm that audiences found most engaging, and which remained an appealing aspect of his personality throughout his career. In his early Universal films, O'Connor closely mimicked the smart alec, fast-talking personality of Mickey Rooney of rival MGM Studio. For Singin' in the Rain, however, MGM cultivated a much more sympathetic sidekick persona, and that remained O'Connor's signature image.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit] O'Connor was married twice and had four children. His first marriage was in 1944 to Gwendolyn Carter, with whom he had a daughter, Donna. The couple divorced in 1954. He married for a second time, to Gloria Noble, in 1956. Together they had three children: Alicia, Donald Frederick, and Kevin. O'Connor and Noble were married until his death in 2003.[4]

Death[edit] O'Connor had undergone quadruple heart bypass surgery in 1990,[15] and he nearly died from double pneumonia in January 1998. He died from complications of heart failure on September 27, 2003, at age 78 at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital, in Woodland Hills, California.[16] His remains were cremated and buried at the Forest Lawn–Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles. O'Connor was survived by his wife, Gloria, and four children.[4] Gloria O'Connor died from natural causes on June 4, 2013, aged 84.[17]

Filmography[edit] Film[edit] Melody for Two (1937) It Can't Last Forever (1937) Men with Wings (1938) Sing You Sinners (1938) Sons of the Legion (1938) Tom Sawyer, Detective (1938) Boy Trouble (1939) Unmarried (1939) Million Dollar Legs (1939) Beau Geste (1939) Night Work (1939) Death of a Champion (1939) On Your Toes (1939) What's Cookin'? (1942) Private Buckaroo (1942) Give Out, Sisters (1942) Get Hep to Love (1942) When Johnny Comes Marching Home (1942) It Comes Up Love (1943) Mister Big (1943) Top Man (1943) Chip Off the Old Block (1944) Follow the Boys (1944) This Is the Life (1944) The Merry Monahans (1944) Bowery to Broadway (1944) Patrick the Great (1945) Something in the Wind (1947) Are You With It? (1948) Feudin', Fussin', and A-Fightin' (1948) Screen Snapshots: Motion Picture Mothers, Inc. (1949) (short subject) Yes Sir That's My Baby (1949) Francis (1950) Curtain Call at Cactus Creek (1950) The Milkman (1950) Double Crossbones (1951) Francis Goes to the Races (1951) Singin' in the Rain (1952) Francis Goes to West Point (1952) I Love Melvin (1953) Call Me Madam (1953) Francis Covers the Big Town (1953) Walking My Baby Back Home (1953) Francis Joins the WACS (1954) There's No Business Like Show Business (1954) Francis in the Navy (1955) Anything Goes (1956) The Buster Keaton Story (1957) Cry for Happy (1961) The Wonders of Aladdin (1961) That Funny Feeling (1965) Just One More Time (1974) (short subject) That's Entertainment! (1974) Ragtime (1981) Pandemonium (1982) A Time to Remember (1987) Toys (1992) Father Frost (1996) Out to Sea (1997) Television[edit] Police Story – 1975 The Milton Berle Show (producer) – 1948 Colgate Comedy Hour – 1951–1954 The Donald O'Connor Show – 19 episodes on NBC, 1954–55 The Judy Garland Show (special guest) – episode 7, season 1 on CBS – September 29, 1963 Petticoat Junction (director) – 1964 Bell Telephone Hour – 1964–1966 The Donald O'Connor Show – 1968 Ellery Queen – episode "The Comic Book Crusader" – October 2, 1975 The Bionic Woman – episode "A Thing of the Past" (February 18, 1976) Hunter – episode "The Costa Rican Connection" (March 18, 1977) The Love Boat – 1981–1984 Alice – "Guinness on Tap", as himself, 1982 The Littlest Hobo – episode "The Clown" as Freddie the Clown, 1982[18] Simon and Simon – episode "Grand Illusion" as Barnaby the Great, 1983 Alice in Wonderland (1985 film) as The Lory Bird, 1985. Highway to Heaven episode "Playing for keeps" – 1987. Murder She Wrote episode (The Big Show of 1965) – 1990 Tales from the Crypt – 1992 The Building – 1993 Frasier – episode "Crane vs. Crane" as Harlow Safford, 1996 The Nanny – episode "Freida Needa Man" as Fred (1996) Stage[edit] Little Me (1964; 1968; 1980) Promises, Promises (1972) Where's Charley? (1976) Weekend with Feathers (1976) Sugar (1979) Wally's Cafe (1980) Bring Back Birdie (1981) Say Hello to Harvey (1981) Show Boat (1982; 1983) I Ought to Be in Pictures (1982) How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying (1985) Two for the Show (1989) Charley's Aunt (1989) The Sunshine Boys (1990) The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies (1998)

References[edit] ^ "O'Connor, Donald David Dixon Ronald". Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives. 2007. Retrieved 2012-08-24.  ^ Frank Cullen; Florence Hackman; Donald McNeilly (8 October 2006). Vaudeville, Old and New: An Encyclopedia of Variety Performers in America. New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-93853-8.  ^ Current Biography Yearbook, Vol. 16. H.W. Wilson Co. 1955. Retrieved 2012-08-24.  ^ a b c d e f Richard Severo (29 September 2003). "Donald O'Connor, 78, Who Danced His Way Through Many Hollywood Musicals, Is Dead". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-08-24.  ^ Zylstra, Freida. (July 25, 1950) "Chicago Born Donald O'Connor Is a Veteran of Stage and Films at 25" Chicago Daily Tribune ^ Donald O'Connor's musical Journey keeps him on road Dale, Steve. Chicago Tribune (1963-Current file) [Chicago, Ill] 20 Dec 1985: n_a50. ^ T, Teresa and Tracy Ann Murray, T 'n'. "Donald O'Connor Web Site".  ^ PARAMOUNT SIGNS DONALD O'CONNOR: Actor Will Make 3 Pictures for Studio -- Betty Hutton's Film May Be One of Them By THOMAS M. PRYOR Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 24 Jan 1952: 23. ^ "Donald O'Connor interview - Mindy Aloff". Retrieved March 30, 2016.  ^ Donald O'Connor Scheduled for Another 'Francis' Film Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) [Chicago, Ill] 18 Oct 1954: b16. ^ Davis, Ronald L. (2005). Just Making Movies. University Press of Mississippi. p. 183.  ^ Alex McNeil, Total Television, p. 231 ^ "Donald O'Connor by Susan M. Kelly".  ^ "Palm Spring Walk of Stars". Retrieved 2012-08-24.  ^ "Archives -".  ^ Welkos, Robert W. (2003-09-28). "Donald O'Connor, 78; Entertainer Immortalized by 'Singin' in the Rain'". Retrieved 12 November 2012.  ^ Gloria O'Connor, Widow of Actor Donald O'Connor, Dies at 84, The Hollywood Reporter, June 6, 2013. ^ "The Littlest Hobo: The Clown". IMDb. Retrieved 2012-08-24. 

External links[edit] Wikimedia Commons has media related to Donald O'Connor. Donald O'Connor at the Internet Broadway Database Donald O'Connor on IMDb Mindy Alloff's 1979 interview with O'Connor Donald O'Connor on "The Colgate Comedy Hour" (1951-54) at Classic TV Info. Donald O'Connor on "Texaco Star Theater" (1954-55) at Classic TV Info. Film-shots Donald O'Connor at Find a Grave v t e Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Alan Young (1950) Sid Caesar (1951) Jimmy Durante (1952) Donald O'Connor (1953) Danny Thomas (1954) Phil Silvers (1955) Sid Caesar (1956) Jack Benny (1957) Jack Benny (1959) Dick Van Dyke (1964) Dick Van Dyke (1965) Dick Van Dyke (1966) Don Adams (1967) Don Adams (1968) Don Adams (1969) William Windom (1970) Jack Klugman (1971) Carroll O'Connor (1972) Jack Klugman (1973) Alan Alda (1974) Tony Randall (1975) Jack Albertson (1976) Carroll O'Connor (1977) Carroll O'Connor (1978) Carroll O'Connor (1979) Richard Mulligan (1980) Judd Hirsch (1981) Alan Alda (1982) Judd Hirsch (1983) John Ritter (1984) Robert Guillaume (1985) Michael J. Fox (1986) Michael J. Fox (1987) Michael J. Fox (1988) Richard Mulligan (1989) Ted Danson (1990) Burt Reynolds (1991) Craig T. Nelson (1992) Ted Danson (1993) Kelsey Grammer (1994) Kelsey Grammer (1995) John Lithgow (1996) John Lithgow (1997) Kelsey Grammer (1998) John Lithgow (1999) Michael J. Fox (2000) Eric McCormack (2001) Ray Romano (2002) Tony Shalhoub (2003) Kelsey Grammer (2004) Tony Shalhoub (2005) Tony Shalhoub (2006) Ricky Gervais (2007) Alec Baldwin (2008) Alec Baldwin (2009) Jim Parsons (2010) Jim Parsons (2011) Jon Cryer (2012) Jim Parsons (2013) Jim Parsons (2014) Jeffrey Tambor (2015) Jeffrey Tambor (2016) Donald Glover (2017) v t e Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy 1950–1975 Fred Astaire (1950) Danny Kaye (1951) Donald O'Connor (1952) David Niven (1953) James Mason (1954) Tom Ewell (1955) Mario Moreno (1956) Frank Sinatra (1957) Danny Kaye (1958) Jack Lemmon (1959) Jack Lemmon (1960) Glenn Ford (1961) Marcello Mastroianni (1962) Alberto Sordi (1963) Rex Harrison (1964) Lee Marvin (1965) Alan Arkin (1966) Richard Harris (1967) Ron Moody (1968) Peter O'Toole (1969) Albert Finney (1970) Chaim Topol (1971) Jack Lemmon (1972) George Segal (1973) Art Carney (1974) Walter Matthau / George Burns (1975) 1976–2000 Kris Kristofferson (1976) Richard Dreyfuss (1977) Warren Beatty (1978) Peter Sellers (1979) Ray Sharkey (1980) Dudley Moore (1981) Dustin Hoffman (1982) Michael Caine (1983) Dudley Moore (1984) Jack Nicholson (1985) Paul Hogan (1986) Robin Williams (1987) Tom Hanks (1988) Morgan Freeman (1989) Gérard Depardieu (1990) Robin Williams (1991) Tim Robbins (1992) Robin Williams (1993) Hugh Grant (1994) John Travolta (1995) Tom Cruise (1996) Jack Nicholson (1997) Michael Caine (1998) Jim Carrey (1999) George Clooney (2000) 2001–present Gene Hackman (2001) Richard Gere (2002) Bill Murray (2003) Jamie Foxx (2004) Joaquin Phoenix (2005) Sacha Baron Cohen (2006) Johnny Depp (2007) Colin Farrell (2008) Robert Downey Jr. (2009) Paul Giamatti (2010) Jean Dujardin (2011) Hugh Jackman (2012) Leonardo DiCaprio (2013) Michael Keaton (2014) Matt Damon (2015) Ryan Gosling (2016) James Franco (2017) Authority control WorldCat Identities VIAF: 66654348 LCCN: n87911731 ISNI: 0000 0001 0858 2437 GND: 131742841 SUDOC: 051838753 BNF: cb13929782t (data) BIBSYS: 90881788 MusicBrainz: 18130042-340e-4303-8464-383b7009e8ec SNAC: w6ht5xq7 Retrieved from "" Categories: 1925 births2003 deaths20th-century American male actors20th-century singersAmerican male film actorsAmerican male stage actorsAmerican male television actorsAmerican military personnel of World War IIAmerican people of Irish descentAmerican tap dancersAmerican television directorsAmerican television producersBest Musical or Comedy Actor Golden Globe (film) winnersBurials at Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills)Male actors from ChicagoOutstanding Performance by a Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Primetime Emmy Award winnersTraditional pop music singersVaudeville performersHidden categories: Articles with hCardsAll articles with unsourced statementsArticles with unsourced statements from June 2013Articles with IBDb linksFind a Grave template with ID same as WikidataWikipedia articles with VIAF identifiersWikipedia articles with LCCN identifiersWikipedia articles with ISNI identifiersWikipedia articles with GND identifiersWikipedia articles with BNF identifiersWikipedia articles with BIBSYS identifiersWikipedia articles with MusicBrainz identifiersWikipedia articles with SNAC-ID identifiers

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