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Don DeFore Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (2) | Spouse (1) | Trivia (28) | Personal Quotes (1)

Overview (5)

Date of Birth 25 August 1913Cedar Rapids, Iowa, USA
Date of Death 22 December 1993Los Angeles, California, USA  (heart attack)
Birth NameDonald John DeFore
Nickname Dude
Height 6' 1" (1.85 m)

Mini Bio (2)

Don DeFore toured the country in stock companies for several years before making his Broadway debut in 1938. In films since 1941, he occasionally played leads in B pictures, but was more often cast as the good-natured buddy of the hero or a likable but gullible character whom the hero has to bail out of trouble. DeFore found much more success on television, and was a regular in the hit series Hazel (1961) and The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet (1952).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: frankfob2@yahoo.com

Don Defore played Mr. Thornberry ("Thorny") on The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet (1952), a role that came came easy for him as in real life he was pretty much like his "Thorny" character. He married his wife Marion in 1942 and they lived in a farmhouse in the Mandeville Canyon area outside Los Angeles, which was then farm country. They drew the plans for the house themselves, Marion did all of the interior work and Don made most of the furniture, which was a hobby of his.

DeFore was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, one of seven children and the only one to pursue an acting career. After graduating from Washington High School in Cedar Rapids, he attended Iowa University. He showed great promise in basketball, track and baseball, but showed no interest in dramatics. Later he joined the Cedar Rapids Community Players. Since acting was not a major study at the university, he left and enrolled at the Pasadena Playhouse, where he won a scholarship and stayed for three years. During this time he and four fellow students wrote a play called "Where Do We Go From Here". It was presented in a little theater in Hollywood with Don in the cast. Oscar Hammerstein II offered to take it to Broadway and Don and five of the original cast members went along. The show ran for four weeks and Don was soon recognized as a member of legitimate theater. He remained in New York and won a key role in "The Male Animal", which ran for almost a year on Broadway and eight months on the road. When Warner Bros. made the film (The Male Animal (1942)), it signed Don to his original role. Don was also president of the Television Academy Of Arts and Sciences in 1954-55.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Bill Hafker thehuntzie@yahoo.com (qv's & corrections by A. Nonymous)

Spouse (1)

Marion Holmes DeFore (14 February 1942 - 22 December 1993) (his death) (5 children)

Trivia (28)

He was the only individual allowed to open a restaurant at Disneyland. He operated the Silver Banjo in Frontierland from 1957 to 1961. His brother Verne DeFore helped him, and they used a gift that their father, a railroad engineer, had brought home from Louisiana - a beautiful silver banjo - as the tiny restaurant's inspiration.
Went to Des Moines, Iowa in June 1976 to campaign for his longtime friend Ronald Reagan at the Republican State Convention in his bid for President of the United States. DeFore appeared in at least two films with Reagan, Brother Rat (1938) and She's Working Her Way Through College (1952).
Judy Garland was Matron of Honor at his wedding to Marion Holmes DeFore.
According to the Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Tribune of December 25, 1936, he appeared uncredited in the film Reunion (1936).
Had five children with Marion Holmes DeFore: Penny DeFore, David DeFore, Dawn DeFore, Ronnie DeFore, and Amy N. DeFore.
Served as president of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences from 1954-1955 and was instrumental in arranging for the Emmy Awards to be broadcast on national TV for the first time on March 7, 1955.
Won a scholarship and studied for three years at the famed Pasadena Playhouse. Oscar Hammerstein II saw him in a student produced show "Where Do We Go From Here?" in 1938 and brought it to Broadway, where it had a brief run.
Attended Washington High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Briefly attended the University of Iowa with intentions of becoming a lawyer. "Less than one year there, I knew I'd made the wrong choice," he later said.
Has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6804 Hollywood Blvd.
Created the role of Wally Myers in the Broadway play "The Male Animal", which opened at the Cort Theatre on January 9, 1940 and ran for 243 performances. He later played the same role in the film version The Male Animal (1942) starring Olivia de Havilland and Henry Fonda. He also appeared in the remake of that film, She's Working Her Way Through College (1952) starring Virginia Mayo and Ronald Reagan.
Appeared on the cover of the 6 October 1962 issue of "TV Guide" with Shirley Booth, his costar on the TV series Hazel (1961).
In 1949, Photoplay Magazine sent DeFore, actor Lon McCallister and a then-unknown Marilyn Monroe on a train trip to Warrensburg, New York to present Photoplay's "Dream Home" contest winner with the key to her new home. Surviving photos dated June 1, 1949 show Don DeFore playing cards with Marilyn on the train trip, and also in front of the home during the event. When Photoplay recruited the group for this, Marilyn Monroe had been in New York to promote her new film Love Happy (1949). It is believed that Don DeFore was in New York to shoot My Friend Irma (1949), the film debut of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.
Was the first honorary mayor of Brentwood, the neighborhood in Los Angeles where he built a home in 1948.
He once generously helped the beloved Walt Disney out of a jam. During the annual Disneyland Christmas parade, Disney's grandchildren were supposed to ride with him in a horse drawn carriage. Parade time was approaching and the grandchildren had not yet shown up, so he called Don DeFore in a panic and asked if he could borrow two of his children, because he couldn't ride in the parade without kids in his carriage. So Don generously offered up two of his children, Dawn DeFore and Ronnie DeFore to ride in the carriage with Disney in the parade and they dutifully waved to the crowd. This is one of Dawn and Ronnie's fondest childhood memories, and they treasure the pictures of the occasion.
Grandfather of Sean Welch.
His father was Joseph Ervin DeFore (1878 - 1942), a railroad engineer in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. His mother was Albina Sylvia Nezerka (1883 - 1975), aka Mrs. Joseph E. DeFore.
Belonged to Dr. Gene Scott's Faith Center in Glendale, California.
Was a Boy Scout.
First appeared in church plays that were directed by his mother.
Co-starred as George Baxter, the boss of housekeeper Shirley Booth, for four years on the popular NBC-TV series Hazel (1961). When the show changed networks to CBS, DeFore and his pretty TV wife Whitney Blake were replaced by his character's "younger brother" Steve (played by Ray Fulmer) and his pretty wife (Lynn Borden). It was explained that George Baxter was "transferred" to Saudi Arabia for business reasons. DeFore's TV son (Bobby Buntrock) continued on in the role, staying behind to live with his aunt and uncle. The show last only one more season before it was canceled.
Appeared at the 1939 New York World's Fair Railroad Pageant.
As for sidelines, DeFore was a one-time restaurateur, operating with his brother Don DeFore's Silver Banjo at Disneyland in Anaheim, California; was the American delegate to the Moscow Film Festival in 1969; and was a board committee member for the California Department of Rehabilitation.
Studied law at the State University of Iowa for a year before dropping out, realizing that what he enjoyed most about it was the pleading of cases in front of an "audience." Instead he joined a local repertory acting company and his first play was entitled "Broadway" for the Cedar Rapids Community Theater.
His last film was Rare Breed (1984) which was directed by David Nelson, the son of his old TV boss Ozzie Nelson.
He met wife Marion Holmes DeFore in Chicago where he was touring in the play "The Male Animal" and she was a vocalist with Art Cassell's orchestra.
Had contracts with both MGM and Warner Bros. but was eventually dropped by both because he wasn't star material.
One of seven children, his father sidelined as a politician and was active in labor union affairs in addition to being a full-time train engineer.
Co-starred in a number of war films although he himself was rejected by the military due to medical problems. When asked about his war service, he wryly remark, "I have 550 flying hours in the Hollywood Air Corps. I've been in 50 major engagements in the Hollywood Army. And I've sailed the seven seas in the movie Navy.".

Personal Quotes (1)

[As Master of Ceremonies at Ronald Reagan's victory party in Los Angeles, November 1966, after his election as Governor of California] This is a great night for actors!

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