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Actor Peter Donat (1928-2018)


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The Canadian-born actor Peter Donat -- probably best remembered as the father of FBI Special Agent Fox Mulder in "The X-Files" -- has died at the age of 90. His son Caleb told The Associated Press that Donat died September 10 from complications of diabetes at his home in Point Reyes Station, California.

Image result for peter donat

Donat

The actor had a long career in stage, screen and television productions.

Born Pierre Collingwood Donat in Nova Scotia on January 20, 1928, he was inspired to become an actor because of a family connection. His uncle was Robert Donat, the Academy Award-winning British actor and star of such films as "The 39 Steps" (1935) and "Goodbye, Mr. Chips" (1939).

The younger Donat was considered for the role of Tom Hagen in "The Godfather" (1972), but director Francis Ford Coppola ultimately chose Robert Duvall. Two years later, Donat wound up with a role in "The Godfather Part II." He appeared as Questadt, an attorney involved in a U.S. Senate committee probe of the Corleone family (the great independent film producer Roger Corman played the senator who sat to the right of the attorney during hearings).

In the 1990s, Donat appeared in six episodes of "The X-Files" as William Mulder, a State Department official who became involved with a secretive operation known as The Syndicate. The mysterious abduction of his daughter Samantha haunted her older brother Fox (played by David Duchovny) for years.

From 1956 to 1972, Donat was married to Michael Learned, the Emmy Award-winning actress who starred in the 1970s television series "The Waltons." They had three sons: Caleb, Christopher and Lucas.

He is survived by his second wife, writer Marijke DeJonge; two stepdaughters; a stepson; 11 grandchildren; and his brother, Richard, an actor who starred in the television series "Haven."

 

Peter had an easy gravitas as a performer and seemed to come from that generation that took the art seriously but not too seriously. It was an honor to know him and work with him.

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Wendell Pierce Retweeted New York Times Arts

For 3 seasons I worked at the American Conservatory Theater. I watched the masterful Peter Donat and had the singular honor to perform with him in L’Histoire du Soldat. A man of great character and grace. RIP.

So sorry to hear of Peter's passing. He was on Flamingo Road with me and I always loved chatting with him. So bright and funny! RIP

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3 hours ago, Nancy Cain said:

Does anybody know who Peter Donat appears with in this photograph? Is it his girlfriend or wife?

It's anybody's guess because the photo has been doctored. Here is the original, although I haven't yet been able to pin down its origin.

Peter Donat

Donat's first wife was the Emmy Award-winning actress Michael Learned. They appeared together (pictured below) in a Season 2 episode of her CBS television series "The Waltons" in 1973. He and his second wife, Marijke "Maria" DeJong, co-authored a one-act stage production about the Russian playwright and author Anton Chekhov (1860-1904).

See the source image

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