Profiles of the Working Actor

Robert Donner (1931-2006)

Robert Donner (1931-2006)

Thu, 04/20/2017 - 04:57
1 comment
First Published: July 1999
Editor's Note:
Robert Donner was the first to grant IndustryCentral permission to promote his work as a Working Actor for this series in one of our very first editions, so we hold a special affection for him and his work!

Regrettably, Bob passed away suddenly on Thursday, June 8, 2006, at his home in Sherman Oaks, California. He is survived by his wife: Jill Sherman Donner.
Robert Donner as Exiter | "Mork & Mindy"

Robert Donner as Exiter | "Mork & Mindy"

Robert Donner as Judd Mailer  | "The Undefeated" (1969)
Robert Donner | "Adam 12" (1968)
Robert Donner as Arnie | "Columbo" (1991)
Robert Donner as Boss Shorty | "Cool Hand Luke" (1967)
Robert Donner as Boss Shorty | "Cool Hand Luke" (1967)
Robert Donner as Milt | "El Dorado" (1967)
Robert Donner as Bradley Morton | "Chism" (1970)
Robert Donner as Exiter | "Mork & Mindy" (1978-1982)
Robert Donner as Exiter | "Mork & Mindy" (1978-1982)
Robert Donner w/Hayley Mills | "Good Morning Miss Bliss" (1987)
Robert Donner w/Jean Willes  | "Bite the Bullet" (1975)
Robert Donner as Judd Mailer | "Undefeated" (1969)
Robert Donner as Larrabee | "Mrs. Pollifax Spy" (1970)
Robert Donner w/Pam Dauber  | "Mork & Mindy" (1978-1982)
Robert Donner w/Paul Koslo | "Vanishing Point" (1971)
Robert Donner w/Georgia Engle | "Mork & Mindy / Exiter's Wedding" (1978)
Robert Donner w/Georgia Engle | "Mork & Mindy / Exiter's Wedding" (1978)
Robert Donner w/Robin Williams, Pam Dauber, Georgia Engle, Jim Staahl | "Mork & Mindy" (1978-1982)
Robert Donner w/Robin Williams, Tom Poston | "Mork & Mindy" (1978)
Robert Donner w/Roger Kern | “The Young Pioneers” (1976)

If you've been around long enough, you probably remember Robert Donner who was known as the versatile actor who played Exidor, the long-robed emissary for any number of way-out cults and cosmic clubs who alternately aided or sidetracked Bolder, Colorado's most illustrious visitor in Paramount Television's "Mork and Mindy" (1978-1982) which starred Pam Dawber, and Robin Williams.

But you may also know him for his many memorable feature characters in "Cool Hand Luke", "El Dorado", "High Plains Drifter", "Vanishing Point", "Fools Parade", "Chisum", "Last Hard Men", "Damnation Alley", "Bite the Bullet", and his starring role in "Under the Rainbow". He also appeared in hundreds of television offerings, guesting on such shows as "Charlie's Angels", "McCloud", "Columbo", "How the West Was Won", "The Incredible Hulk", "The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo", and "Eight is Enough". You may have also seen him in some of the hilarious "Stupid Golf" videos with Leslie Neilson that were so popular for so long.

Born in New York City, Donner grew up in New Jersey, Michigan, and Texas, attending school in those states and California. After graduation from high school, he joined the Navy, serving three years, 11 months, 29 days, and six and one-half hours.

Donner enjoyed the West Coast and during this time, he lived in Studio City and became friends with an actor who lived in his apartment building. The actor urged him to study drama, telling him he was humorous and had a good face. That actor was a fella named Clint Eastwood and Donner's first professional break was a direct result of his aid and advice.

When not busy acting, Donner was extremely active in athletics, and was known as one of Hollywood's most enthusiastic golfers. He was a member of the former "Hollywood Hackers" and carried a seven handicap and was a leader of a group of entertainment industry professionals known as "Don Porter's Thursday Golf Group" as well as joining others at many of the Celebrity Golf Tournaments who raise money for various charities around the world. Robert also played in many tennis tournaments and was frequently called upon during "Celebrity Nights" in which he performed stand-up comedy and promised 'not to sing'. His reputation in this area also lead him to become known as one of Hollywood's "in demand" Corporate Speakers.

Robert Donner's advice to the aspiring actor:

"Being an actor is like going to Las Vegas with your life. You never know when opportunity will knock!". He says, "I beleve that everyone who is serious gets an opportunity. It's a matter of being ready when that opportunity presents itself. Study your craft and take any job you can get!"


Robert Donner's Credits
 2006 Hoot
Kalo
 2004 Center of the Universe (TV Series)
Nathan
- The Break-In ... Nathan
 2000 Dharma & Greg (TV Series)
Joe
- Hell No, Greg Can't Go (2000) ... Joe
 1999-2000 Early Edition (TV Series)
Lucius Snow
- Time (2000) ... Lucius Snow
- Fate (1999) ... Lucius Snow
 1998 Pacific Blue (TV Series)
Luther
- Heat of the Moment (1998) ... Luther
 1995 The Naked Truth (TV Series)
 1995 Legend (TV Series)
Mayor Chamberlain Brown
- Fall of a Legend (1995) ... Mayor Chamberlain Brown
- Revenge of the Herd (1995) ... Mayor Chamberlain Brown
- The Life, Death, and Life of Wild Bill Hickock (1995) ... Mayor Chamberlain Brown
- Custer's Next to Last Stand (1995) ... Mayor Chamberlain Brown
- Mr. Pratt Goes to Sheridan (1995) ... Mayor Chamberlain Brown
 1994 Bad Golf My Way (Video)
The Caddy
 1994 Alien Nation: Dark Horizon (TV Movie)
Sheriff (uncredited)
 1973-1994 Columbo (TV Series)
Zeke Rivers / Arnie / The Drunk
- Undercover (1994) ... Zeke Rivers
- Any Old Port in a Storm (1973) ... The Drunk
 1993 Hearts Afire (TV Series)
Sheriff
- String of Pearls (1993) ... Sheriff
 1993 A Walton Thanksgiving Reunion (TV Movie)
Yancy Tucker
 1992 With a Vengeance (TV Movie)
Det. Max Borovey
 1992 In the Heat of the Night (TV Series)
Roy Paxton
- Family Reunion (1992) ... Roy Paxton
 1991 The Hit Man (TV Movie)
Otto
 1986-1991 Murder, She Wrote (TV Series)
Sheriff Tyrone McKenna / Silas Pike
- From the Horse's Mouth (1991) ... Sheriff Tyrone McKenna
- If a Body Meet a Body (1986) ... Silas Pike
 1987-1990 MacGyver (TV Series)
Milt Bozer / Benjamin Wintergreen / Vince
- MacGyver's Women (1990) ... Milt Bozer
- Serenity (1990) ... Milt Bozer
- Cleo Rocks (1989) ... Benjamin Wintergreen
- Soft Touch (1987) ... Vince
 1989 The Rocket Boy (TV Movie)
Hawkhead
 1989 CBS Schoolbreak Special (TV Series)
Print Reporter
- Frog Girl: The Jenifer Graham Story (1989) ... Print Reporter
 1989 Good Morning, Miss Bliss (TV Series)
James Lyman
- The Mentor (1989) ... James Lyman
 1987-1988 Falcon Crest (TV Series)
Tucker Fixx
- Last Dance (1988) ... Tucker Fixx
- As Tears Go By (1988) ... Tucker Fixx
- Lovers and Friends (1987) ... Tucker Fixx
- Hunter's Moon (1987) ... Tucker Fixx
- Manhunt (1987) ... Tucker Fixx
 1986-1988 Matlock (TV Series)
Tom Jakes / Truck Buyer
- The Fisherman (1988) ... Tom Jakes
- The Cop (1986) ... Truck Buyer
 1988 Webster (TV Series)
Tiger
- The Cuckoo's Nest (1988) ... Tiger
 1987 Rags to Riches (TV Series)
Eli Tuttle
- A Very Foley Christmas (1987) ... Eli Tuttle
 1987 Fame (TV Series)
The Exalted Muskrat
- That Was the Weekend That Was (1987) ... The Exalted Muskrat
 1986 Starman (TV Series)
Joe Connell
- One for the Road (1986) ... Joe Connell
 1983-1986 The Fall Guy (TV Series)
Edmund Trench / Conlin / Deputy Paul Harris
- Two on a Skip (1986) ... Edmund Trench
- Escape Claus (1985) ... Edmund Trench
- Boom (1984) ... Conlin
- Spaced Out (1983) ... Deputy Paul Harris
 1984 The A-Team (TV Series)
Sheriff J.C. Bickford
- Breakout! (1984) ... Sheriff J.C. Bickford
 1984 Simon & Simon (TV Series)
Cody Dexter
- A Little Wine with Murder? (1984) ... Cody Dexter
 1984 Oh Madeline (TV Series)
Gambler
- Ladies' Night Out (1984) ... Gambler
 1984 Blue Thunder (TV Series)
Neil Gerrard
- Revenge in the Sky (1984) ... Neil Gerrard
 1983 The Mississippi (TV Series)
Bates
- Crisis of Identity (1983) ... Bates
 1983 Hysterical
Ralph
 1983 Little House on the Prairie (TV Series)
Bart Younger
- The Older Brothers (1983) ... Bart Younger
 1983 Voyagers! (TV Series)
Buffalo Bill Cody
- Buffalo Bill and Annie Play the Palace (1983) ... Buffalo Bill Cody
 1982 A Day for Thanks on Walton's Mountain (TV Movie)
Yancy Tucker
 1982 Cassie & Co. (TV Series)
Enders
- Man Overboard (1982) ... Enders
 1978-1982 Mork & Mindy (TV Series)
Exidor / Xidon
- I Don't Remember Mama (1982) ... Exidor
- Rich Mork, Poor Mork (1981) ... Exidor
- Mama Mork, Papa Mindy (1981) ... Exidor
- Three the Hard Way (1981) ... Exidor
- The Wedding (1981) ... Exidor
 1980-1981 The Incredible Hulk (TV Series)
Bernard Devlin / Mr. Benedict
- The Phenom (1981) ... Bernard Devlin
- Sideshow (1980) ... Mr. Benedict
 1981 Under the Rainbow
The Assassin
 1979 Eight Is Enough (TV Series)
Man on Bus
- Fathers and Other Strangers: Part 2 (1979) ... Man on Bus
 1979 ABC Weekend Specials (TV Series)
Carnival Barker
- The Big Hex of Little Lulu (1979) ... Carnival Barker
 1979 B.J. and the Bear (TV Series)
- Lobo (1979)
 1979 CHiPs (TV Series)
Coby
- Ride the Whirlwind (1979) ... Coby
 1972-1978 The Waltons (TV Series)
Yancy Tucker
- The Boosters (1978) ... Yancy Tucker
- The Beau (1978) ... Yancy Tucker
- The Obsession (1978) ... Yancy Tucker
- The First Casualty (1977) ... Yancy Tucker
- The Grandchild (1977) ... Yancy Tucker
 1978 Who's Watching the Kids (TV Series)
Stanley
- The Hostage (1978) ... Stanley
 1978 Five Days from Home
Karl Baldwin
 1978 How the West Was Won (TV Series)
Mr. Evans
- Brothers (1978) ... Mr. Evans
- The Judge (1978) ... Mr. Evans
- Deek (1978) ... Mr. Evans
 1978 The Young Pioneers (TV Series)
Mr. Peters
- The Promise of Spring (1978) ... Mr. Peters
- A Kite for Charlie (1978) ... Mr. Peters
- Sky in the Window (1978) ... Mr. Peters
 1975-1978 Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color (TV Series)
The Sheep Boss / Burton
- Trail of Danger: Part 2 (1978) ... The Sheep Boss
- Trail of Danger: Part 1 (1978) ... The Sheep Boss
 1978 Trail of Danger (TV Movie)
The Sheep Boss
 1978 Standing Tall (TV Movie)
Sheriff Brumfield
 1977 Damnation Alley
Man / Guard
 1977 Martinelli, Outside Man (TV Movie)
Armand
 1977 The Feather and Father Gang (TV Series)
Krutts
- Flight to Mexico (1977) ... Krutts
 1977 Code R (TV Series)
Bo Plummer
- Mutiny (1977) ... Bo Plummer
 1976 Young Pioneers' Christmas (TV Movie)
Mr. Peters
 1976 Captains and the Kings (TV Mini-Series)
Wounded Texan
- Chapter VII (1976) ... Wounded Texan
 1976 Charlie's Angels (TV Series)
Korbin / Frank Evans
- To Kill an Angel (1976) ... Korbin / Frank Evans
 1976 City of Angels (TV Series)
 1976 The Last Hard Men
Lee Roy
 1976 Sara (TV Series)
Stevens
- When Gentlemen Agree (1976) ... Stevens
 1976 Young Pioneers (TV Movie)
Mr. Peters
 1976 The Quest (TV Series)
Drucker
- Incident at Drucker's Tavern (1976) ... Drucker
 1974-1975 The Six Million Dollar Man (TV Series)
Kermit / Horace Milser
- The White Lightning War (1975) ... Kermit
- Stranger in Broken Fork (1974) ... Horace Milser
 1975 The Family Holvak (TV Series)
Jimmy John
- Willing Heart (1975) ... Jimmy John
 1975 Take a Hard Ride
Skave
 1975 S.W.A.T. (TV Series)
Sarge
- Time Bomb (1975) ... Sarge
 1975 Bite the Bullet
Reporter
 1975 Get Christie Love! (TV Series)
Bernie Karp
- A Few Excess People (1975) ... Bernie Karp
 1973-1975 Cannon (TV Series)
Sheriff Dodd / Chief
- Perfect Fit for a Frame (1975) ... Sheriff Dodd
- The Seventh Grave (1973) ... Chief
 1968-1975 Gunsmoke (TV Series)
Belnap / Brown / Gil Boylan
- The Hiders (1975) ... Belnap
- Talbot (1973) ... Brown
- A Noose for Dobie Price (1968) ... Gil Boylan
 1974 McCloud (TV Series)
Val
- The Concrete Jungle Caper (1974) ... Val
 1974 Nakia (TV Series)
Fischer
- Pilot (1974) ... Fischer
 1974 Mrs. Sundance (TV Movie)
Ben Lant
 1973 Griff (TV Series)
Roscoe
- Isolate and Destroy (1973) ... Roscoe
 1968-1973 Adam-12 (TV Series)
Teejay / T.J. / Harry Rustin / ...
- Hollywood Division (1973) ... T.J.
- Clear with a Civilian: Part 1 (1973) ... Harry Rustin
- Log 93: Once a Junkie (1969) ... Tee Jay
- Log 32: Jimmy Eisley's Dealing Smack (1969) ... Teejay (as Robt. Donner)
- Log 61: The Runaway (1968) ... Teejay
 1973 The Rookies (TV Series)
Ned Collins
- Get Ryker (1973) ... Ned Collins
 1973 Mannix (TV Series)
Rizo
- Climb a Deadly Mountain (1973) ... Rizo
 1973 Santee
J.C.
 1973 High Plains Drifter
Preacher
 1973 McMillan & Wife (TV Series)
Price
 1973 The Horror at 37,000 Feet (TV Movie)
Dispatcher
 1973 Kung Fu (TV Series)
Amos Houlton
- The Tide (1973) ... Amos Houlton
 1972 Circle of Fear (TV Series)
Ralph
- Creatures of the Canyon (1972) ... Ralph
 1971-1972 Alias Smith and Jones (TV Series)
Charlie Taylor / Nate / Preacher
- The Day the Amnesty Came Through (1972) ... Charlie Taylor
- The Bounty Hunter (1971) ... Nate
- Never Trust an Honest Man (1971) ... Preacher
 1972 No Place to Run (TV Movie)
Car salesman
 1972 Pickup on 101
Jesse (1st Farmer)
 1972 Longstreet (TV Series)
George Fourchet
- Survival Times Two (1972) ... George Fourchet
 1971 Mod Squad (TV Series)
Emory / George Thomas
- Feet of Clay (1971) ... Emory
- The Hot, Hot Car (1971) ... George Thomas
 1971 Something Big
Angel Moon
 1971 The Bold Ones: The Lawyers (TV Series)
Owen Hubbard
- Hall of Justice (1971) ... Owen Hubbard
 1971 Fools' Parade
Willis Hubbard
 1971 One More Train to Rob
Sheriff Adams
 1970-1971 Lassie (TV Series)
Clay Braddock
- For the Love of Lassie: Part 1 (1971) ... Clay Braddock
- The Offering (1970) ... Clay Braddock
 1971 Sarge (TV Series)
 1971 The Bold Ones: The Senator (TV Series)
Matlock
- George Washington Told a Lie (1971) ... Matlock
 1971 Vanishing Point
Deputy Collins (as Bob Donner)
 1970 Lassie: Well of Love (TV Movie)
Clay Braddock
 1970 Rio Lobo
Whitey Carter
 1970 The High Chaparral (TV Series)
Wilby / Sam Pelletier
- A Matter of Vengeance (1970) ... Wilby
- The Reluctant Deputy (1970) ... Sam Pelletier
 1970 The Intruders (TV Movie)
Roy Kirsh
 1970 Chisum
Bradley Morton
 1970 Zig Zag
Sgt. Mason Weber
 1969-1970 Bonanza (TV Series)
Owen Potter / Owen
- The Horse Traders (1970) ... Owen Potter
- Meena (1969) ... Owen
 1970 Mrs. Pollifax-Spy
Larrabee
 1969 Ironside (TV Series)
Ralph Burns
- A Bullet for Mark (1969) ... Ralph Burns
 1969 The Undefeated
Judd Mailer
 1969 The Big Valley (TV Series)
Pete Haunch
- Town of No Exit (1969) ... Pete Haunch
 1968 Death Valley Days (TV Series)
Tom Knight
- Ten Day Millionaires (1968) ... Tom Knight
 1968 Skidoo
Another Switchboard Operator
 1968 The Guns of Will Sonnett (TV Series)
Arch Merceen / Lou Parkin
- Guilt (1968) ... Arch Merceen
- Look for the Hound Dog (1968) ... Lou Parkin
 1968 The Outsider (TV Series)
Sheriff Wade
- The Twenty Thousand Dollar Carrot (1968) ... Sheriff Wade
 1968 The Virginian (TV Series)
Matt Dooley
- Ride to Misadventure (1968) ... Matt Dooley
 1968 The Private Navy of Sgt. O'Farrell
Marine Pvt. Ogg
 1965-1968 I Spy (TV Series)
Mailman / Dr. Bustard
- Home to Judgment (1968) ... Mailman
- Dragon's Teeth (1965) ... Dr. Bustard
 1968 Good Morning, World (TV Series)
Justice of the Peace
- First Down and 200 Miles to Go (1968) ... Justice of the Peace
 1967 El Dorado
Milt
 1967 Garrison's Gorillas (TV Series)
Sergeant Winkler
- The Great Crime Wave (1967) ... Sergeant Winkler
 1967 Cool Hand Luke
Boss Shorty
 1966-1967 Run for Your Life (TV Series)
Sheriff Hinkleman / Scully
- Down with Willy Hatch (1967) ... Sheriff Hinkleman
- The Treasure Seekers (1966) ... Scully
 1967 The Spirit Is Willing
Ebenezer
 1967 Catalina Caper
Fingers O'Toole
 1966-1967 Daniel Boone (TV Series)
Pike / Coot
- Take the Southbound Stage (1967) ... Pike
- The Trap (1966) ... Coot
 1967 Laredo (TV Series)
Patrick Clancy
- A Question of Guilt (1967) ... Patrick Clancy
 1966 Agent for H.A.R.M.
Morgue Attendant
 1961-1965 Rawhide (TV Series)
Adjutant / Billy Bob Harger / Billings / ...
- The Testing Post (1965) ... Adjutant
- Incident of the Travellin' Man (1963) ... Billy Bob Harger
- Judgment at Hondo Seco (1961) ... Billings
- Incident of the Running Man (1961) ... Toland
 1965 Red Line 7000
Leroy Agers (uncredited)
 1965 Combat! (TV Series)
1st American GI
- Odyssey (1965) ... 1st American GI
 1964 The Disorderly Orderly
Interne (uncredited)
 1963 The Nutty Professor
College Student (uncredited)
 1959 Rio Bravo (uncredited)

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Comments

Submitted by BSimon Fri, 03/16/2018 - 11:56

Robert Donner really had a quick wit.. He truly knew how to stay in control of a situation, whether the audience was one person or a room full of hundreds of corporate types.

That's why he added "Corporate Speaker" to his resume in his later years!