[14] The film, starring Charles Laughton in the title role, was an enormous success around the world, including Hollywood. With her nurse friend Lisa Richard Donat, using her credential as an RN, Lisa worked as a nurse and traveled throughout the United States as an RN in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Florida, Hawaii, Texas, California, Washington, Nevada, Alaska and Minnesota.

Suddenly, Donat found himself much in demand, both in England and stateside. [9], In 1931 he achieved notice as Gideon Sarn in an adaptation of Precious Bane. Madeleine Carroll had read the James Hilton novel while shooting The 39 Steps, and had persuaded Donat that it could be a good second film for them to star in together. He was a partner in C.M. [18] His performance was well-received: "Mr. Donat, who has never been very well served in the cinema until now, suddenly blossoms out into a romantic comedian of no mean order", wrote the film critic C. A. Lejeune in The Observer at the time of the film's release. In 1936 Donat took on the management of the Queen's Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue, where he produced Red Night by J. L. Australian film critic Brian McFarlane writes: "Class-ridden and sentimental perhaps, it remains extraordinarily touching in his Oscar-winning performance, and it ushers in the Donat of the postwar years. Every day, we bring you the best of the best, the fantastic familiar films and hidden gems, to answer that age-old question: "What should we watch tonight? [51] His place of birth at 42 Everett Road in Withington is also commemorated by a similar plaque.

Korda cast Donat in the lead in That Night in London (1932), directed by Rowland V. Lee. (He’d divorced Ella Voysey, with whom he had three children, in 1946). “Rather than having what I call the ‘basics’, we would offer Tusk and Tango in the Night. The Manchester-born Donat had actually been a star in England for several years by then, but had formed an early, visceral aversion to Hollywood, so it was an unwritten rule that he wouldn’t work there. Most of the letters are from Robert Donat himself, although quite a large proportion sent during the period 1929-1946 were written by his first wife, Ella. For MGM British he starred in the film The Adventures of Tartu (1943), with Valerie Hobson. He appeared on stage in a revival of A Sleeping Clergyman in 1947. "[31] His rivals for the Best Actor Award were Clark Gable for Gone with the Wind, Laurence Olivier for Wuthering Heights, James Stewart for Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and Mickey Rooney for Babes in Arms. Lejeune observed that he possessed "an easy confident humour that has always been regarded as the perquisite of the American male star. Donat & Sons Pepsi Cola Distributors in Rome City. He had a key role in Cash (1933), directed by Zoltan Korda, co-starring Edmund Gwenn. At this point, Alfred Hitchcock was still several years away from crossing the pond to make movies in America. [35][41], He was cast as Thomas Becket in T. S. Eliot's Murder in the Cathedral in Robert Helpmann's production at The Old Vic theatre in 1952 but, although his return to stage was well received, his illness forced him to withdraw during the run. As the new owner of HMV in the UK, Putman will be hoping that a gamble that appears to have paid off in Canada will do so on the other side of the Atlantic. In 1946, Donat and Asherson appeared at the Aldwych Theatre in a production of Much Ado About Nothing, directed by Donat. Donat was born in Withington, Manchester, the fourth and youngest son of Ernst Emil Donat, a civil engineer of German origin from Prussian Poland, and his wife, Rose Alice Green. He took elocution lessons with James Bernard, a leading teacher of 'dramatic interpretation.’ He left school at 15, working as Bernard's secretary to fund his continued lessons. notifications about what to watch. He worked frequently with his second wife, actress Renee Asherson, whom he married in 1953. He appears noticeably frail in this, his last screen appearance, but that distinctive, soothing voice remains unchanged. Donat and Asherson reprised their stage roles in the film version of The Cure for Love (1949). He worked frequently with his second wife, actress Renee Asherson, whom he married in 1953. All rights reserved. Every day, we bring you the best of the best, the fantastic familiar films and hidden gems, to answer that age-old question: "What should we watch tonight? Scheduled to play Willy Mossop, he was replaced by John Mills. His only film as director, its production was affected by his ill health. [2] In a 1980 interview with Barry Norman, his first wife, Ella Annesley Voysey (by then known as Ella Hall),[45] said that Donat had an asthma attack as a psychosomatic response to the birth of their daughter. Though the condition was undoubtedly real, those closest to Donat felt he sometimes used it as a convenient excuse when he developed concerns or anxiety about a particular role. He died shortly after production wrapped at the age of 53. Dietrich, whose contract with Korda was for $450,000, threatened to leave the project if that happened, and production was halted for two months, until Donat was able to return to work.

John Gielgud replaced him in Secret Agent, while John Loder took the role in Sabotage. More:  The 18 Best British Actors Who Conquered America. Read all about Robert Donat with TVGuide.com's exclusive biography including their list of awards, celeb facts and more at TVGuide.com

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