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Donald O'Connor Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (1) | Trivia (24) | Personal Quotes (6) | Salary (3)

Overview (4)

Born in Chicago, Illinois, USA
Died in Calabasas, California, USA  (heart failure)
Birth NameDonald David Dixon Ronald O'Connor
Height 5' 7" (1.7 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Born into a vaudeville family, O'Connor was the youthful figure cutting a rug in several Universal musicals of the 1940s. His best-known musical work is probably Singin' in the Rain (1952), in which he did an impressive dance that culminated in a series of backflips off the wall. O'Connor was also effective in comedic lead roles, particularly as the companion to Francis the Talking Mule in that film series.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Ray Hamel

Spouse (2)

Gloria Noble (11 October 1956 - 27 September 2003) (his death) (3 children)
Gwen Carter (7 February 1944 - 2 July 1954) (divorced) (1 child)

Trade Mark (1)

His ability to do somersault against walls during a musical number in films

Trivia (24)

Hospitalized with double pneumonia. [January 1998]
Father of Donna O'Connor, Alicia O'Conner, Donald Frederick O'Connor (born 1960) and Kevin O'Connor (born 1961). Uncle of Patsy O'Connor.
Had to have three days bed rest after the "Make 'Em Laugh" sequence in Singin' in the Rain (1952).
From a vaudeville family act, his father John Edward "Chuck" O'Connor was an acrobat with Ringling Brothers-Barnum and Baily Circus as a "leaper". His mother was a circus bareback rider and dancer named Effie. One of seven children, three died in infancy, but the rest were incorporated into show business. His mother kept the family going with extended family members despite many deaths (including her husband) until 1941.
Made his film debut at age 12 in Melody for Two (1937) with his two brothers, Jack O'Connor and Billy O'Connor, doing a specialty routine. Billy died a year or two later after contracting scarlet fever.
Suffered a heart attack in 1971.
Received the 1953 Sylvania Award for his work on television.
Was suppose to co-star with Bing Crosby in the perennial film classic White Christmas (1954) but was sidelined with pneumonia and replaced by Danny Kaye.
He left Universal Pictures due to unhappiness over the studio's decision of typecasting him to the "super-polite boy" roles almost throughout his acting career, despite starring in many box office hits released by Universal. It was a bittersweet departure as Donald had been with Universal for most of his acting career. The studio held a small party for him and gave him a camera along with 14 films as a departure gift. Sadly, his acting career in Hollywood ended soon after his departure from Universal.
Judy Garland, whom he knew as a child, was one of his best friends.
In 1994, he and his wife, Gloria Noble, had a close brush with death. It was about four in the morning and he had just finished reading something in bed. All at once, the house started to shake (earthquake). The house started sliding off its foundation. Luckily, the house wedged up against a big tree and that kept it from crashing into a canyon.
Despite failing health in 2003, he made appearances at the Roger Ebert Overlooked Film Festival and the opening of the Judy Garland Museum.
In 1998, he signed on for The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies, a revue featuring 54-year-old + performers. He was their headliner, dancing and singing his way through eight performances a week. He closed out the season with the Palm Spring Follies, performing in the last four shows after recovering from a serious illness that stopped him from performing.
Allegedly did not enjoy working with Gene Kelly while filming Singin' in the Rain (1952), because he found him to be rather a tyrant on set.
While he was hesitant to select a favorite film, he was quick to single out his favorite performance: "Call Me Madam (1953) - my favorite number is in there with Vera-Ellen. It's the number I do out in the garden with her to "It's a Lovely Day Today". It's a beautiful lyrical number. I think she was the best dancer outside of Peggy Ryan I ever danced with.".
Danced with Beverly Yissar (nee Scherrer) when she was 5 or 6; he, 10 or 11.
In the space of two years, he appeared in two different, unrelated adaptations of Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland", playing different characters: he was the Mock Turtle in Great Performances: Alice in Wonderland (1983), and the Lory Bird in Alice in Wonderland (1985).
Posthumously inducted into the International Tap Dance Hall of Fame in 2004.
Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume 7, 2003-2005, pages 403-405. Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale, 2007.
He was awarded 2 Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Motion Pictures at 1680 Vine Street; and for Television at 7021 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
Had appeared with Peggy Ryan in seven films: Private Buckaroo (1942), Get Hep to Love (1942), Top Man (1943), Bowery to Broadway (1944), Chip Off the Old Block (1944), The Merry Monahans (1944) and This Is the Life (1944).
Brother of Jack O'Connor and Billy O'Connor.
He was acting mentor of actress Bonnie Franklin.
Smoked 4 packs of cigarettes a day.

Personal Quotes (6)

Revivals are so popular now. But doing one would mean being out in cold, cold New York for a year, a year and a half," he said. "I'd rather do something where I go in and work a week, maybe three days. Get it done and come back home.
O'Connor quit the Francis series in 1955, saying, "When you've made six pictures and the mule still gets more fan mail than you do...".
In a brief statement, the family said that among O'Connor's last words was the following quip: "I'd like to thank the Academy for my lifetime achievement award that I will eventually get.".
[In 1998, on his Singin' in the Rain (1952) co-star Gene Kelly] It's not easy working with a genius - but Gene was very patient with me.
[In 1992] I know what you're thinking, and the answer is yes. I can still leap over the furniture and dance on the wall. And recite 24 bars of that popular tongue twister "Moses Supposes".
[In 1955] I was born and raised to entertain other people. I've heard laughter and applause and known a lot of sorrow. Everything about me is based on show business - I think it will bring me happiness. I hope so.

Salary (3)

Francis (1950) $30,000
Singin' in the Rain (1952) $50,000
The Buster Keaton Story (1957) $200,000

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