Born in a trunk in 1925, Donald was part of a family of vaudevillians and he, along with his siblings, made his movie debut at the age of 12. He co-starred with Bing Crosby and Fred MacMurray in the delightful Sing You Sinners (1938) (where is the dvd?!?), played Gary Cooper as a lad in Beau Geste (1939) and was Tom Sawyer, Detective and Huckleberry Finn.
The 40s kept the young man working in a series of pictures with talented Peggy Ryan and the 50s brought him an unusual partner in the form of a talking mule. Francis was an original and bright little Service comedy whose popularity led to a series for Universal. The 50s also gave him a chance to shine is top-notch musicals such as Singin' in the Rain (1952), Call Me Madame (1953), There's No Business Like Show Business (1954) and Anything Goes (1956).
Movie musicals faded but Donald kept busy with television variety programs, talk shows (his own for a while), touring (Showboat) and guest appearances in everything from Ellery Queen to Frasier.
Donald O'Connor passed away in 2003, twice-married, father to four, award winner and always a welcome presence to legions of fans.
Why, if it isn't Cosmo Brown and Don Lockwood - on television yet!
Thanks, CW. That was great. I remember sharing "Singin In the Rain" with my friend Megan when she was younger and she would BLUSH whenever Cosmo was on screen. Oh, those blue eyes!ReplyDelete
The first time I saw SITR, Donald O'Connor was about the only thing I really enjoyed. I have since come to love the movie, and have Mr. O to thank for that. What a talent...and cute, too!ReplyDelete
PS- Is it just me, or does his childhood photo look a little like a young Danny Bonaduce??
I've been watching old movies this past week, and caught Singing in the Rain. What a fabulous dancer Donald O'Connor was.ReplyDelete
I never made it over to see him in The Palm Springs Follies in Palm Springs, CA. Guess we often miss the gems in our own backyards.