With his Lanky frame and morose, craggy features Royal Dano rarely added cheerfulness to cinematic proceedings. Rather he was a harbinger of doom - a pessimistic preacher, a weary cowpoke or jaded killer.
One of those reliable Hollywood players, a veteran of over 70 films, whose face is more familiar than his name, Dano was a professionally respected actor who could add a touch of individuality and grim distinction to the most mundane photoplay. He also made a virtually separate career portraying Abraham Lincoln and has been heard by thousands as the voice of the former President in the Lincoln exhibits in Disneyland and Disney World.
Born in 1922 in New York, he started his acting career in the theatre, making his Broadway debut as the businessman Mr. Shears in the hit musical Finian's Rainbow (1947).
He entered films playing "The Moocher", a Skid Row vagrant and contact for drug pushers in Undercover Girl (1950). Variety called his performance 'topnotch', and he made an even greater impact as "the Tattered Man' in John Huston's "The Red Badge of Courage" (1951), the much-edited but still impressive version of Stephen Crane's classic Civil War Story. In Nicholas Ray's western - Johnny Guitar (1954) he was the intellectual gang member who is killed when he tries to warn his boss of a traitor in their gang. Man of the West (1958) as a crazed mute who kills a harmless Mexican woman for no reason at all. He was considered 'a favorite' of directors, he had roles in Mann's Bend of the River (1962), The Far Country (1955) and Cimarron (1960). Royal played Elijah in Huston's Moby Dick (1956) and had a rare noble role as Peter in Ray's King of Kings (1961).
In a television version of Huckleberry Finn (1975) he acted the part of Mark Twain. A frequent guest star in the television series - Death Valley Days and Lost in Space. His later films included The Right Stuff (1983), and Teachers in 1984.
Royal Dano, will be remembered mainly for his supporting roles of the westerns during the 1950's. He is buried in the Los Angeles National Cemetery, Los Angeles, California, near his son, Royal Edward Dano, Jr.
Have you taken a DNA test for genealogy? If so, login to add it. If not, see our friends at Ancestry DNA.
Royal is 22 degrees from George Bush, 27 degrees from Rick San Soucie and 24 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.