Robert Donat

Friedrich Robert Donat (18 March 1905 – 9 June 1958) was an English film and stage actor. He is best known for his roles in Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps and Goodbye, Mr. Chips for which he won an Academy Award for Best Actor. Donat was born in Withington, Manchester, Lancashire, to Ernst Emil Donat and his wife Rose Alice (née Green) who were married at Withington's St Paul's Church, in 1895. He was of English, Polish, German and French descent and was educated at Manchester’s Central High School for Boys. Donat had a brother, John Donat, who was a trapper in Canada and later moved to Shelton, Connecticut, USA. John Donat's children were Jean, Jay and Peter. He was the owner of Lake George Camp for Girls in Gull Bay, New York, which catered to old New York families. Donat made his first stage appearance in 1921, at the age of 16, with Henry Baynton's company at the Prince of Wales Theatre, Birmingham, playing Lucius in Julius Caesar. His real break came in 1924 when he joined the company of Shakespearean actor Sir Frank Benson, where he stayed for four years. Donat made his film debut in 1932 in Men of Tomorrow.


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