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Is this actor still alive at age 108 (almost 109)?


LsDoorMat

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Actor Joe Donahue is listed in imdb as having been born on January 3, 1903 in Boston, Mass. but no date of death is listed. He is a pretty obscure actor, having only a supporting role in his first film "Sunny" in 1930, and having very small roles in the other three films he did - "Party Husband", "The Reckless Hour", and "Expensive Women". He performed no other film roles after 1931, but he is listed as playing himself in a 2007 episode of "E! The True Hollywood Story". imdb is by no means perfect, and they could have the 30's actor Joe Donahue mixed up with someone else in the 2007 TV show.

 

My question is this: Is this actor from the early 30's still alive or is he so obscure that nobody bothered to list his date of death? If he is alive, at almost 109, would this make him the oldest living person to have ever performed a credited role in an American film? What has he been doing with himself since 1931?

 

Thanks ahead of time for any answer anyone can give me.

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Northeast Public Radio's "Vox Pop." .I think this may be the Joe Donahue on E True Hollywood Story,I can't be sure but I did a search on Ray's name and Joe Donahue who is a radio personality. and a article said she was on the radio show but I saw his picture .He doesn't look anywhere near that old,

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Thanks, Marysara. That probably clears up the mystery 2007 TV appearance. Still, I sure would like to know if this guy is still alive. I've been reading what little there is about him and apparently his older brother Jack died just before Warner Brothers began to film "Sunny". Jack had played the role of Jim Denning in the stage version of Sunny, so there was suddenly a casting vacancy for the role. Marilyn Miller promoted the idea of Joe appearing in Jack's place in the film, and that is how Joe got his first film appearance. I can find nothing else written about him anywhere.

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  • 2 weeks later...

> {quote:title=Marysara wrote:}{quote}Are you sure it wasn't his brother Jack who died in 1930.?

Jack Donahue did die in 1930 of multiple organ failure at age 37. I've got that from several sources since he was well known on Broadway in the 20's. No source I can find mentions whatever happened to his younger brother Joe Donahue. This is the information I seek.

 

It is conceivable he could still be alive. Frederica Sagor Maas is supposedly the last person alive who worked in silent films as an adult, and she was born in 1900.

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I did find an obituary for a brother of Jack and Joe, Walter L. Donahue, which read:

 

 

The Lowell Sun (Lowell Massachusetts) Jan 13, 1966:

 

 

Walter L. Donahue, son of the late Dennis and the late Julia (Buckley) Donahue, fomerly of Charleston, died in New York City. He was a brother of the late Jack and the late Joe Donahue, of dance fame.

 

 

He was a talented performer in theaters and nightclubs, and more recently was a member of the cast of the stage play "Oklahoma!", for more than six years, traveling with the show to New York, London and Berlin. For the past several years he made his home in New York City.

 

 

His only surviving family member is Mrs. Warren A. Hookway of Pinewood Ave, of Billerica.

 

 

______

 

 

From 1900 and 1910 US Census info for this family, the birthdate showing on IMDB wouldn't be correct. The birthyear would be more likely to be 1899 for Joe Donahue. It seems pretty likely he has been deceased for some time. He did stage work after his last IMDB credits, and probably fell off the Hollywood radar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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> {quote:title=bellewether wrote:}{quote}

> I did find an obituary for a brother of Jack and Joe, Walter L. Donahue, which read:

>

> The Lowell Sun (Lowell Massachusetts) Jan 13, 1966:

>

>

> Walter L. Donahue, son of the late Dennis and the late Julia (Buckley) Donahue, fomerly of Charleston, died in New York City. He was a brother of the late Jack and the late Joe Donahue, of dance fame.

>

>

> He was a talented performer in theaters and nightclubs, and more recently was a member of the cast of the stage play "Oklahoma!", for more than six years, traveling with the show to New York, London and Berlin. For the past several years he made his home in New York City.

>

>

> His only surviving family member is Mrs. Warren A. Hookway of Pinewood Ave, of Billerica.

>

>

> ______

>

>

> From 1900 and 1910 US Census info for this family, the birthdate showing on IMDB wouldn't be correct. The birthyear would be more likely to be 1899 for Joe Donahue. It seems pretty likely he has been deceased for some time. He did stage work after his last IMDB credits, and probably fell off the Hollywood radar.

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

Thanks so much for the concrete information. If you don't mind I may repost this as a comment on imdb so that maybe someone will "lay Joe to rest" so to speak with a proper death date, if it can be found. Too bad he didn't have an extraordinarily long life as I had supposed. I will be sure to give you credit in my comment for finding this information.

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  • 1 year later...

After enjoying Joe in "Expensive Women" and "Sunny" I got caught up in researching him and $9.95 later I came upon a needle in a haystack in the Boston Globe Archives -- He died on his 44th birthday, January 3, 1943.

 

From page 14 of the Globe the following day:

 

"Donahue ? In Charleston, Jan. 3. Joseph A., beloved son of the late Dennis and Julia Donahue (nee Buckley). Funeral from the Daniel A. Wiles Funeral Home, 3 Dexter Row. Tuesday, Jan 5 at 9:15 am. Requiem High Mass at St. Mary?s Church at 10 am. Relatives and friends are kindly invited.?

 

Hopefully this is allowed and in good taste, but you'll find my post here if you'd like to read more: Joe Donahue bio

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