ROBERT DONAT BIOGRAPHY & FILMOGRAPHY:
Robert Donat was born on March 18th, 1905 in Withington, Manchester in England with the birth name Friedrich Robert Donath, born to parents, Ernst Emil Donat and Rose Alice Green. At the age of sixteen he first became involved in acting by performing Shakespeare and toured with a number of companies throughout Britain. By 1924 he then joined the Sir Frank Benson’s repertory company followed by later becoming part of the Liverpool Repertory Theater.
In 1932, he film debuted in, “Men of Tomorrow” and soon he was offered a three year film contract and was cast in such films as, “The Private Life of Henry VIII” (1933). His popularity was increasing in Britain and soon he went to Hollywood to film, “The Count of Monte Cristo” (1934), however he was quite disappointed in the way Hollywood worked and therefore, did not take on many roles that came his way.
As his career progressed, he worked with such companies as MGM, Warner Brothers and RKO, but he was very picky as to which film roles he would undertake. It was known that if Hollywood really wanted to use him in a film, they would have to travel to England to film.
He also had many issues with commitment as well as illness that prevented him from taking on many roles. He did appear in the film, “The Citadel” (1938) and was honored with a Best Actor nomination. Then in 1939 he appeared in the film, “Goodbye, Mr. Chips” for which he won an Oscar for his performance.
Although he would on occasion do an American film, he kept his main residence in Britain. He continued to work on British films and also was still seen in a number of stage productions such as, “The Devil’s Discipline” (1938), “Heartbreak House” (1942), “Much Ado About Nothing” (1946) and “Murder in the Cathedral” (1952).
Along with working as an actor he also participated in co-writing, directing and starring in, ‘The Cure for Love” (1949) and was also cast in, “The Magic Box” (1951). Sadly by the mid 50’s his health had declined so bad due to his chronic asthma, that anytime he was not on stage he had to be hooked up to an oxygen tank. His final film role was in, “The Inn of the Sixth Happiness” (1958).
Throughout his lifetime, he was married twice. His first wife was Ella Annesley Voysey whom he married in 1929 and together they had three children before the marriage ended in divorce in 1946. He then married, Renée Asherson in 1953 and they remained together until he passed away on June 9th, 1958 in London, England from Chronic Asthma attack. When he passed instead of leaving his $70,000 estate to his wife, he chose to divide it evenly between his 3 children. He was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contribution to the Motion Picture Industry.
1958 The Inn of the Sixth Happiness
1956 Ponds Theater
1956 Kraft Theatre
1954 Lease of Life
1951 The Magic Box
1949 The Cure for Love
1948 The Winslow Boy
1947 Captain Boycott
1945 Vacation from Marriage
1943 Sabotage Agent
1943 The New Lot
1942 The Young Mr. Pitt
1939 Goodbye, Mr. Chips
1938 The Citadel
1937 Knight Without Armor
1935 The Ghost Goes West
1935 The 39 Steps
1934 The Count of Monte Cristo
1933 The Private Life of Henry VIII.
1933 For Love or Money
1932 Men of Tomorrow
1932 That Night in London