Donald O'Connor

Donald David Dixon Ronald O'Connor (1925 - 2003)

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Donald David Dixon Ronald O'Connor
Born in Chicago, Cook County Illinois, USAmap
Son of [father unknown] and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married in Santa Barbara County, California, USAmap
[children unknown]
Died in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles County, California, USAmap
Profile last modified | Created 18 Aug 2018
This page has been accessed 71 times.

Categories: American Notables.

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Donald David Dixon Ronald O’Connor was born on 28 Aug 1925 in St.Elizabeth Hospital in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois though he considered Danville, Illinois to be his hometown.

Donald's maternal grandparents were Hattie (b: IL) and John C. Crane (b: c1849 in MO). [1]

His paternal grandfather was William John O’Connor (or Connor) who was born about 1835 in Cork, Munster, Ireland. About 1849 he immigrated through New York. He worked as a miner and died on 07 Jan 1884 in Danville, Illinois. On 07 Apr 1872 in Vermilion County, Illinois, William married secondly to Catherine “Kate” Sweeney (b: Feb 1842 Ireland; d: 18 Jun 1923 Danville, IL).

Donald was born into a circus family. His parents were from a vaudeville family act. His mother, Effie Crane was a circus acrobat, bareback rider, tightrope walker and dancer. His father Chuck O'Connor worked as circus strongman, "leaper", dancer and comedian with Ringling Brothers-Barnum and Baily Circus. His father died of a heart attack in the middle of a performance, when Donald was still in his infancy.

He was the youngest of 7 children, spent much of his early youth on the road and never went to public school. He made his film debut at the age of 11.

Donald O’Connor was an American dancer, singer, and actor who came to fame in a series of movies in which he co-starred alternately with Gloria Jean, Peggy Ryan, and Francis the Talking Mule.

Donald O'Connor first married on 07 Feb 1944 in Tijuana, Mexico to Gwendolyn "Gwen" Carter (b: 07 Nov 1926 FL, d: 11 Sep 1996 West Hollywood, Los Angeles County, CA). They had a daughter, Donna and the couple divorced in 1954.

He is best known today for his role as Gene Kelly's friend and colleague in the 1952 film "Singin' in the Rain". Other films include "There's No Business Like Show Business" (1954), "The Buster Keaton Story" (1957) and "That Funny Feeling" (1965), to name but a few.

He received the 1953 Sylvania Award for his work on television.

He was sidelined as a composer, but the Brussels Symphony Orchestra recorded some of his work. In 1956 he conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic in a performance of his first symphony "Reflections d'un comique".

Donald O'Connor married secondly on 11 Oct 1956 in Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara County, California to Gloria Noble (b: 15 Apr 1929, d: 04 Jun 2013). They had 3 children (Alicia, Kevin, Donald Frederick) and were married until his death.

In the late 1960s he starred in his own television series, "The Donald O'Connor Show".

He suffered a heart attack in 1971.

In 1990 he underwent quadruple heart bypass surgery.

in January 1998 he nearly died from double pneumonia.

At age 78 he died from complications of heart failure on 27 Sep 2003 [2] at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles County California. [3] [4] His remains were cremated and buried at the Forest Lawn-Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles, California. [5]

In 2004 he was posthumously inducted into the International Tap Dance Hall of Fame. He was known for his ability to do a somersault against walls during a musical number in films.

He was awarded 2 Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Motion Pictures at 1680 Vine Street; and for Television at 7021 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.

Parents Marriage

Marriage: c1904
Husband: John Edward "Chuck" O'Connor b: Jan 1878 IL, d: Sep 1927 Brockton, Plymouth Co, MA
Wife: Effela "Effie" Irene Crane [6] b: 1890 MO, d: 11 Jan 1981 Studio City, Los Angeles Co, CA
3 children died in infancy
child: John "Jack" O'Connor b: c1906 SC d: 1955 m: Millie ???
child: William "Billy" Jennings O'Connor b: 10 Aug 1913 MO d: 26 Dec 1939 of scarlet fever
child: Arlene O'Connor b: c1920 d: Jun 1927 (struck by car)
child: Donald O’Connor b: 28 Aug 1925 d: 27 Sep 2003


  1. 1910 Census of Thomasville, Thomas County, Georgia; for John Crane @61yrs.
  2. U.S. Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for Donald D. Oconnor, b: 28 Aug 1925; res: Sedona, Arizona USA 86341; d: 27 Sep 2003.
  3. "Donald O'Connor, 78; Entertainer Immortalized by 'Singin' in the Rain'" by Robert W. Welkos, (2003/09/28).
  4. "Donald O'Connor, Who Danced Through Many Hollywood Musicals, Dies at 78" by Richard Severo, New York Times, 28 Sep 2003.
  5. Wikipedia: Donald O'Connor
  6. 1910 USA Census of Thomasville, Thomas County, Georgia; @21; occ: vaudeville entertainer (married daughter).
  • "Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives" v7 p403-405 published by Thomson Gale in Farmington Hills, MI; for Donald O'Connor.
  • Biographical Summaries of Notable People for David O'Connor, b: 28 Aug 1925 Chicago, Cook County, Illinois; (parents: Effie Irene & John Edward O'Connor); d: 27 Sep 2003 Woodland Hills, California of cardiovascular disease, myocardial infarction, heart failure; (wives: Gwen Carter & Gloria Noble).
  • FamilySearch Family Tree for Donald David Dixon Ronald O’Connor, b: 28 Aug 1925 Chicago, Cook County, Illinois; [parents: Effie Irene (Crane) & John Edward O'Connor]; d: 27 Sep 2003 Woodland Hills, Los Angeles County, California

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No known carriers of Donald's ancestors' Y-chromosome or mitochondrial DNA have taken yDNA or mtDNA tests and no close relatives have taken a 23andMe, AncestryDNA, or Family Tree DNA "Family Finder" test.

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Images: 1
Donald O'Connor, publicity photo (1952).
Donald O'Connor, publicity photo (1952).


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