Actor King Donovan

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


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 productions of You Know I Can’t Hear You When the Water’s Running” and “Once upon a Mattress”.


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,[citation needed] 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?[citation needed] 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. In 1956 he appeared as Joe Baker on the TV western Cheyenne in the episode titled “Mustang Trail.” He also played in a 1960 episode of Shotgun Slade. He played a petty thief Name Baxter who stole from a orphanage the star of the show was a detective played by actor Scott Brady. He portrayed Marty in “Academy Award,” a 1957 episode of the CBS situation comedy Mr. Adams and Eve. 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. In the 1963 episode “The Clampetts Go Hollywood”, King Donovan portrays Jake Clampett.

Donovan guest starred as Paddy Britt in the 1959 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.[citation needed]

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

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

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


Title Year Role Notes
Open Secret 1948 Fawnes, Bigot Gang Member film debut
Man from Texas 1948 Sam (mortgage officer) Uncredited
Shockproof 1949 Joe Wilson 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
I Was a Male War Bride 1949 Minor Role Scenes deleted
All the King’s Men 1949 Reporter Won the Academy Award for Best Picture
The Pilgrimage Play 1949 Salathiel
Side Street 1950 Det. Gottschalk Uncredited
One Way Street 1950 Grieder
Cargo to Capetown 1950 Sparky Jackson 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 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 Uncredited
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
Angels in the Outfield 1951 Mack McGee First Donovan film to be remade. First time Donovan appeared in a film trailer.
Behave Yourself! 1951 Lingerie Shop Manager Uncredited
Come Fill the Cup 1951 Kip Zunches Uncredited
The Unknown Man 1951 News Photographer on Courthouse Steps Uncredited
Something to Live For 1952 Stage Manager Uncredited
Singin’ in the Rain 1952 Rod 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
The Merry Widow 1952 Nitki
The Mississippi Gambler 1953 Spud Uncredited
The Magnetic Monster 1953 Dr. Dan Forbes
The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms 1953 Dr. Ingersoll
Hannah Lee 1953 Sheriff’s Deputy Uncredited
The Kid from Left Field 1953 Bartender Uncredited
The Caddy 1953 Drunk Uncredited
Half a Hero 1953 Sam Radwell
City of Bad Men 1953 Hotel Clerk Uncredited
Three Sailors and a Girl 1953 Sailor Uncredited
Easy to Love 1953 Ben
Forever Female 1953 Playwright
Tumbleweed 1953 Wrangler
Riders to the Stars 1954 James O’Herli
Broken Lance 1954 Clerk Uncredited
Private Hell 36 1954 Evney Serovitch Uncredited
The Bamboo Prison 1954 Pop
The Seven Little Foys 1955 Harrison Uncredited
Not as a Stranger 1955 Mr. Slocum Uncredited
Invasion of the Body Snatchers 1956 Jack Belicec
The Birds and the Bees 1956 Waiter
The Iron Sheriff 1957 Leveret
Cowboy 1958 Joe Capper – Trail Hand
The Defiant Ones 1958 Solly
The Perfect Furlough 1958 Maj. Collins
The Hanging Tree 1959 Wonder
The Thrill of It All 1963 TV Executive Uncredited
It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World 1963 Airport Official Uncredited
Nothing Lasts Forever 1984 Lunartini Husband (final film role)

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

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

External Links

Actor King Donovan – Wikipedia

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