Peter Donat


Peter Donat (born Pierre Collingwood Donat; January 20, 1928 – September 10, 2018) was a Canadian-American actor.

Peter Donat
Peter Donat.jpg
Pierre Collingwood Donat

(1928-01-20)January 20, 1928
DiedSeptember 10, 2018(2018-09-10) (aged 90)
EducationAcadia University (BA)
Yale University
OccupationActor, screenwriter
Years active1953–2003
(m. 1956; div. 1972)

Marijke DeJong
(m. 1983)
Children3, including Lucas Donat

Early lifeEdit

Pierre Collingwood Donat was born in Kentville, Nova Scotia, Canada, the son of Marie (née Bardet) and Philip Ernst Donat, a landscape gardener.[1] Richard Donat, who starred on the television show Haven, is Peter's younger brother.[2] His uncle was Oscar winning British actor Robert Donat.[2] Peter Donat emigrated to the United States in 1950, studied drama at Yale University, and first came to attention as a stage actor in the lead of a production of Cyrano de Bergerac. In 1961, he played a leading role in Donald Jack's stage play The Canvas Barricade, the first Canadian play performed at the Stratford Festival.[3]


In 1965, he was featured in the cast as Vince Conway on Moment of Truth. That series was the only Canadian serial ever broadcast on a commercial television network in the United States.[4]

His credits include: Mission: Impossible, Banacek, The Waltons, Hawaii Five-O, Mannix, Charlie's Angels, Lou Grant, Baa Baa Black Sheep, Captains and the Kings, Rich Man, Poor Man Book II, The Feather and Father Gang, The Eddie Capra Mysteries, Dallas, Quincy, M.E., Hart to Hart, Hill Street Blues, Simon & Simon, Murder, She Wrote, and the 1976 series Sara.[5] He also starred in Cyrano de Bergerac playing the title role, in 1974 on the PBS anthology Theatre in America.[6] He was a regular cast member of the 1980s primetime serial, Flamingo Road as Elmo Tyson, in 1993 on the series Time Trax as the antagonist Dr. Mordecai Sahmbi, and more recently had a recurring role as Bill Mulder, Agent Mulder's father, in The X-Files.[7][8]

Donat also worked extensively in films. Some of his more prominent roles included The Godfather Part II (1974), The Hindenburg (1975), F.I.S.T. (1978), The China Syndrome (1979), The War of the Roses (1989), Skin Deep (1989) and The Game (1997).[9] Donat was a prominent member of the American Conservatory Theater (ACT) in San Francisco for a number of years.[2] He was also active in local theater, most notably playing his first singing role as Professor Higgins in the 1988 Cabrillo Stage production of My Fair Lady.[10]

Personal lifeEdit

Donat was married to actress Michael Learned from 1956 until 1972, when they divorced.[11] They had three children — Caleb, Christopher and Lucas.[2] From 1983 until his death, he was married to his second wife, Marijke. He was a naturalized United States citizen.[citation needed] He also narrated the biographical film chronicling the life and work of famed mythologist Joseph Campbell, The Hero's Journey: A Biographical Portrait (1987) and moderated the multi-volume video series, The World of Joseph Campbell: Transformation of Myths Through Time (1989), giving insightful commentary and celebrating Campbell's brilliance as a scholar and storyteller.[12][13]

Donat died at his home in Point Reyes Station, California, on September 10, 2018, due to complications of diabetes.[2]



  1. ^ "Peter Donat Biography (1928-)".
  2. ^ a b c d e Sandomir, Richard (September 14, 2018). "Peter Donat, Actor Who Played a Panoply of Roles, Dead at 90 - The New York Times". The New York Times.
  3. ^ "Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia - Donat, Peter".
  4. ^ Chance, Norman (December 22, 2010). Who Was Who on TV. Xlibris Corporation. ISBN 9781456821647 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ III, Harris M. Lentz (June 3, 2019). Obituaries in the Performing Arts, 2018. McFarland. ISBN 9781476670331 – via Google Books.
  6. ^ "Cyrano De Bergerac Donat, Mason TV SDRodrian". April 24, 1974 – via Internet Archive.
  7. ^ "Peter Donat | Biography, Movie Highlights and Photos".
  8. ^ "Peter Donat". November 20, 2018.
  9. ^ "Peter Donat". BFI.
  10. ^ "My Fair Lady at Cabrillo Stage 1988".
  11. ^ "Michael Learned's real ex-husband played her old flame on The Waltons". Me-TV Network.
  12. ^ "Hero's Journey (1987) - David Kennard, Janelle Balnicke | Cast and Crew | AllMovie" – via
  13. ^ "The Hero's Journey: The World of Joseph Campbell (1987)". Radio Times.

External linksEdit