• 25 June 1895
  •  Quincy, Illinois, USA

Donald Gallaher


Donald Gallaher (also known as Donald Gallagher) was born in Quincy, IL, in 1895 to Grace Dennison and Charles Gallaher. At age four he made his stage debut in Chicago at the Grand Opera House. Charles Frohman, a leading Broadway producer, attended one of his performances, signed the boy to a contract and made him the highest-paid juvenile actor in New York. Grace and Donald moved to New York City and Donald appeared in numerous theatrical productions, including "A Royal Family" and "Alias Jimmy Valentine," the hit play of 1910 based on a short story by O. Henry. Donald also made an appearance as one of the children in the pioneering silent film The Great Train Robbery (1903). As Donald matured, he played opposite such actresses as Helen Hayes, Ethel Barrymore and Theda Bara on stage. He played romantic leads in a variety of films for Thanhouser (circa 1914) and appeared in Eye for Eye (1918), directed by Alla Nazimova. Later he produced Broadway plays, including the 1925 hit "The Gorilla." In Hollywood he directed a few early talkies for Fox Films featuring such actors as Mae Clarke (grapefruit-in-the-face actress in James Cagney's The Public Enemy (1931)) and Rex Bell, cowboy actor and husband of Clara Bow. Donald's film Temple Tower (1930) is among the 250 films specially preserved from nitrate destruction at the UCLA Film and Television Archive. In the 1930s he served as Associate Managing Producer for the Federal Theater Project in New York. He moved back to Hollywood at the end of the decade, appearing in a few "B" westerns and working as Bing Crosby's dialogue director at Paramount Pictures. He also appeared in George Cukor's Keeper of the Flame (1943) with Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn.