b. John Francis Donohue, 3 November 1908, New York City, New York, USA, d. 27 March 1984, Marina Del Rey, California, USA. An industrial worker, Donohue took up dancing as a form of physical therapy following a serious accident. He became a professional dancer in New York and from the early 30s onwards he had a dual career on Broadway, choreographing and staging shows, and in Hollywood. In the 50s he also embraced television. In the 50s Donohue choreographed Top Banana (1951) and Mr. Wonderful (1956). Among his Hollywood musicals as dance director are George White’s Scandals and Music In The Air (both 1934), Shirley Temple’s The Littlest Rebel, The Little Colonel, Curly Top and Captain January (all 1935), The Fleet’s In (1942), Girl Crazy and Broadway Rhythm (both 1943), Bathing Beauty (1944), It Happened In Brooklyn (1946), and Calamity Jane (1953). Film credits as choreographer included 1977’s New York, New York. He also directed some films, among them Close-Up (1948), The Yellow Cab Man (1950), Lucky Me (1954), Babes In Toyland (1961), Marriage On The Rocks (1965) and Assault On A Queen (1966).
On television from the early 50s Donohue directed numerous episodes of the shows of Frank Sinatra, Red Skelton and George Gobel; Donohue also directed some episodes of shows starring Lucille Ball, Dean Martin and Jim Nabors. In the 70s, he was director of Once Upon A Mattress (1972), Ed Sullivan’s Broadway (1973) and Pinocchio (1976), as well as episodes of the series Manhattan Transfer (1975) and the situation comedy Chico And The Man (1974-78). (NB: In some credits, his name is spelled Donahue.)