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Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trivia (6) | Personal Quotes (9)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 1 April 1934Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA
Birth NameDonald Francis Michael Hastings
Nicknames "R.K."
Daddy Bob
Doctor Death
Dynamite
Height 5' 11" (1.8 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Actor and writer, best known as "The Video Ranger", "Jack Lane", and "Dr. Bob Hughes" on television. The youngest son of Hazel and Charles Hastings, he lived in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant area until he was six, attending Our Lady of Victory parochial school for one year. The family then moved to St. Alban's, Queens and, about that time, his older brother, Bob Hastings, was singing on Chicago's "National Barn Dance" and New York's "Coast to Coast on a Bus" radio shows, where Don was given a few lines, on occasion, earning $2.00 per week. Soon, he won the role of young Harlan in a touring company of "Life With Father", traveling ten months a year with his father. MGM offered Don a contract, but he wanted to return home, where he did the radio programs "Hilltop House", "Cavalcade of America", "One Foot in Heaven" and "Theater Guild on the Air" and some modeling (which he hated) and "I Remember Mama" on Broadway. Returning to school for fifth grade, he enrolled in the Professional Children's School and, later, Lodge High School and soon took up sports, playing for the St. Alban's Knights, the Police Athletic League, the Queens Village Ramblers and the Cambridge Heights Mohawks. At this time, he appeared in "A Young Man's Fancy" and "Summer and Smoke" on Broadway. While auditioning for DuMont's "The Magic Cottage" in 1949, the casting director, instead, cast Don as the "Video Ranger" in the new Captain Video and His Video Rangers (1949), a six-year role which kept him from attending college. His hobbies include traveling and spending time with his family. His children include Jennifer Hastings (born 29 October 1957), Julie Hastings (born 25 April 1960), Matthew Hastings (born 21 October 1967), and Katharine Hastings (born 23 September 1982).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Louis Rugani

Spouse (2)

Leslie Denniston (1980 - present) (1 daughter)
Noretta 'Nan' Kennedy (29 December 1956 - 1980) (divorced) (3 children)

Trivia (6)

Younger brother of Bob Hastings.
Daughter, Katharine Scott Hastings, born [September 1982]
Hastings also has two daughters, Jennifer Hastings and Julie Hastings, and a son, Matthew Hastings, from a previous marriage.
Don was getting at least one marriage proposal each week while on Captain Video and His Video Rangers (1949).
Held the record for longest-serving actor on a television serial for many years.

William Roache, who plays Ken Barlow on the British soap Coronation Street (1960) was widely believed to be the record-holder, but Don Hastings had portrayed Bob Hughes in As the World Turns (1956) for two months longer than Roache has played Ken. However, since As the World Turns (1956) was canceled in September 2010, William Roache had taken over the record from November 2010 onwards.
By 1975 he had been playing Dr. Bob Hughes for so long that his neighbors would occasional ask for his medical advice.

Personal Quotes (9)

"In the summer of 1955, when Captain Video and His Video Rangers (1949) went off the air, I was so identified with "The Video Ranger", I didn't do another TV show until September. It was the longest period of not working I ever had".
About Captain Video and His Video Rangers (1949): "There were other shows before ours and, by the time we went on the air, it would be a hundred degrees. Our first space suits were reducing suits made of yellow plastic, and we'd lose a hundred pounds every time we went on. On Saturdays, a hoe-down show called "Country Style" followed us (on "The Secret Files of Captain Video") and, one time during one of our scenes, a couple do-si-doed right through our set. Here we were in our space suits. That was rather interesting".
"I never got drafted. I almost enlisted when Captain Video and His Video Rangers (1949) went off, but my father and a friend talked me out of it. I got a notice once telling me to be ready to go, but I never got another one until I was married and had a baby, and then I had a 4-A rating. I did a lot of Army training films, though".
I started dating when I got to high school. Most of the girls I dated were from Long Island and St. Albans. I went steady with a girl who later married my best friend. I also took out Hope Lange in high school.
I like to write. I write scripts, mostly. I used to write some daytime stuff. I once wrote a screenplay with another guy which was pretty well received by the people who saw it. Then he and I stopped working together and it was never produced. I'm thinking of getting it out and rewriting it, maybe for a TV movie.
About his grade-school play: "I had one line. I was dressed as a farmer and I said "That ain't the way I heard it." Somebody on radio was famous for saying that. It may have been Fred Allen. Anyway, I got a big laugh. I was a star immediately."
My brothers were all at least nine years older than I was, and they all went off to the army in World War II, so in many ways I was raised as an only child. It was a lot of fun growing up. We lived with my grandparents in a brownstone in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn until I was six. Then we moved to St. Alban's, Queens. I was a pretty good kid. I won all the holy pictures in first grade for being quiet. The nuns all liked me because I said I wanted to be a priest. During recess, some of the kids sold candy for the cafeteria, and I sold more than anybody."
About his first teacher, Sister Loretta St. Claire: "She was sensational. Then, when I was fifteen, I went back to my father's old parish for a bazaar and a nun came up to me and said "You're Donald Hastings." It was Sister Loretta. She hadn't seen me for nine years and she recognized me.
When Don was six years old, "I went to watch (brother) Bob do the (radio) show ("Coast to Coast on a Bus") one Sunday, and somebody said to him, pointing to me, "What does he do?" Bob said "Nothing". They told me to sing. I sang "You Take the High Road and I'll Take the Low Road". They asked me to join the "Bus Bunny" chorus, and I had a few lines now and then. Madge Tucket was the star and known as the "lady next door". Milton Cross was the announcer and Skip Homeier, Charita Bauer, William Redfield, Ben Cooper and William Daniels and his sister Jacqueline Daniel were on with me. It was fun, although I had to get up very early on Sunday morning. I think I made two dollars a week. Only when the "Bus Bunny" chorus was on. Somebody's mother said to my mother "They're looking for boys for "Life With Father". You ought to take Donald". My mother said "Do you want to go?" I did, so off we went to Oscar Sirlon's office. He was the producer. I read for the part of Harlan, the littlest boy. And I got it. All my brothers were in school and, at that point, my father was not working. The company he had been selling for was absorbed by another company, and everybody was fired. My father said if I went, he would work with the stage crew. My mother couldn't go because my brothers were all in high school. So off we went - my father and I. He used to get a lot of publicity because he was the only stage father in the history of the theater at that point. I made $65 a week on the road, plus travel allowance. We traveled from coast to coast for ten months, all by train. The trains were sensational. I loved it. My father took me to every museum, every point of interest, wherever we were. There were forty-eight states then, and we covered about forty of them. The play sold out coast to coast. It was a great experience. Once, in South Bend, Indiana, our scenery got lost. It was a sell-out crowd, and the manager offered to return the tickets and cancel the performance. But the audience wouldn't let him. We went out and sang patriotic songs and entertained, and the audience watched while the crew set up the scenery when it finally arrived. They applauded the electricians and carpenters. It was really quite an experience".

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