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Troy Donahue

When I've had a rough day,
Worked hard until six,
What do I need?
A Troy Donahue fix!

The moment tall, blonde, blue-eyed Troy Donahue gazed lustily through his binoculars at Sandra Dee in A Summer Place he was an instant teen heartthrob. His image was plastered on every movie magazine during the late 1950s and early 1960s. He was a great box office draw for Warner Brothers in several sexy soapers and starred in two television series for the studio, "Surfside Six" and "Hawaiian Eye."

Troy has been quoted as saying his acting was as good as his material and I have to agree. When faced with such lines as "How'd you like me to saddle up your old boyfriend?" what could an actor do?

I'm going to focus on five of Troy's soapiest features.

In 1959's A Summer Place he stars with Sandra Dee who has a mother from Hades that makes her wear an "armor-plated bra" and a "cast iron girdle" and who cuddles in bed with her father to confess she has "naughty" thoughts.
Naturally Johnny [that's Troy] and Molly [that's Sandra] fall in love. After their boat capsizes and they're forced to spend the night together [nothing happened, of course], Molly's mother forces her to have a gyne exam which features a nice close-up of Dee screaming, "I want my fatha! I want my fatha!"
The swoony make-out theme pops in now and then as Johnny and Molly vacation at the beach. Sandra gets to wear the latest fashion, a straw beach hat/sunglasses combo. Eventually something does happen in a secluded boathouse and Johnny impregnates Molly as the audience watches the waves crash on the beach. After trying to marry unsuccessfully because of their youth, they go to Johnny's mother and Molly's father, who are now married and reside in a lovely Frank Lloyd Wright designed home by the sea. Johnny and Molly marry and go to Pine Island.

In Susan Slade Troy portrays Hoyt Brecker who's father just committed suicide [a nice excuse for a close-up of Troy screaming, "FATHER!"] Hoyt is a poor, but proud stable boy attempting to write his first novel.
Connie Stevens arrives in Monterey fresh from the Chilean desert and a shipboard romance with Grant "The Incredible Shrinking Man" Williams who deflowers and impregnates her. Connie says to Grant, "We've been sinful!" Grant says they'll get married after his next mountain climbing expedition.
Connie is horrified to learn she's "expecting" and to top it off she finds out during a swank party that her mountain climber is dead. Connie tears at her designer dress, rides her horse like a crazy woman, and tries to commit suicide by drowning herself in the ocean only to be rescued by the steadfast and loyal Troy.
Connie and her folks go to Guatemala and her parents pass her baby off as their son. After her father's death they return to Monterey and Connie has much difficulty pretending her baby is her "brother."
Connie's mother tells her to get wise and marry rich Bert Convy. She replies, "I can hardly walk down the aisle with a somewhat soiled gown!" [Why not? Many women have done it.]
While Troy and Connie are chatting, her kid [actually a really fake looking plastic doll] sets himself afire with a huge tabletop cigarette lighter. Gorgeous Troy risks his good looks and smothers the doll in a blanket. At the hospital Connie tells all and Bert Convy hits the bricks leaving a wide open path for Troy and Connie to get together.

In Parrish Claudette Colbert, in her last film appearance [I wonder why!], plays Troy's mother. Claudette and Troy as Parrish McLean arrive in Connecticut tobacco country and Parrish says, "Back home in Boston, we don't grow tobacco, we just smoke it."
Parrish has three gorgeous Warner Brothers' chicks chasing after him [How lucky can a guy get?], the girl from the wrong side of the tobacco field, Connie Stevens as Lucy "When it gets hot, I sleep raw!", Diane McBain as Alison Post, the not-so-nice rich babe "I'll buy what I want, even a lover!", and Sharon Hugueny as Paige Raike, the very nice rich girl, "If I were a dog and somebody made me beg, I'd bite!"
Claudette marries Paige's father Judd Raike, outrageously overplayed by Karl Malden, and Alison marries Wiley Post. Lucy has a child [gasp!] out of wedlock and Parrish confronts his stepbrother Edgar with the fact that Edgar is the baby's father while the song "Secret Love", [I kid you not!] plays in the background.
Troy reaches the limit of what he can take and joins the service. When he returns home a townsperson says, "You left your boyhood behind you.", Troy says, "Yes, one night under the ice at the North separated the men from the boys." [I wonder what went on in that submarine!]
Troy now tries to make a go of it as a tobacco grower and chooses one of the three babes as his mate. Does anyone remember which one? I'm not telling.

In Rome Adventure Troy stars opposite his future wife [a very brief marriage], Suzanne Pleshette who's acting talent is totally wasted. Suzie portrays Prudence Bell, a librarian recently fired for allowing a senior to read the novel that's the basis for this film, "Lovers Must Learn." She says, "I'm going to where they know what love's about - Italy!" and she's romanced on the ship by ultra-smooth Rossano Brazzi.
Meanwhile Troy as Don is being dumped by Angie Dickinson, "Remember your first nickname for me, 'Frigid Bridget'?"
Troy and Suzie fall in love in a restaurant, "Forgive me for being profound, but it's good to be alive" Troy says as a singer belts out the film's make-out tune "Al-Di-La."
"Al-Di-La" goes everywhere with them, Al Hirt even plays it on the trumpet. On their vacation, as they ride a lift to the top of the mountain the tune blares out of a loudspeaker.
After their return to Rome they have dinner with Angie Dickinson who says, "If you've never made love to 'The Stars and Stripes Forever', you haven't lived!"
Suzie, knowing she can't possibly compete with a woman of such talents, takes a ship back to America and finds Troy waiting for her on the dock. Suzie asks him how it's possible he's there and Troy, the rhyming boy, replies, "Out of the blue I flew! I love you!" Smooch! The End.

Troy croons the title tune to Palm Springs Weekend which has the oldest cast of college students ever assembled for a suds and sun flick. It's Easter vacation and all the Warner Brothers contract players have gone to Palm Springs for their break. Med student Troy meets Stefanie Powers as Bunny who says, "The girl you have an affair with can never be the girl you marry!"
Connie Stevens plays Gayle Lewis, but her real name is Jane Hoover. She pretends to be sophisticated Gayle because she's really still in high school [a stretch for Connie who was 25 when this flick was made].
One of the more hilarious sequences is when Troy and Stefanie dance "The Twist" and prove they have no rhythm.
Troy and Stefanie swear eternal devotion at the "haunted dunes", an obviously artificial sandy studio background.
Everyone except the nasty, sniveling, rich guy Robert Conrad ends up with a mate and they all leave Palm Springs happy, naturally.

On a more serious note, Troy Donahue was born as Merle Johnson, Jr. on January 27, 1936 in New York City. He was a journalism student at Columbia University before trying acting. He signed with Warner Brothers in 1959 and, after much success, was dropped by them in 1966. He made numerous low-budget straight to home video flicks, did television work and appeared in a small part in The Godfather II portraying a character named Merle Johnson. He also taught acting classes on Holland America cruise ships. He was married at least four times and is survived by a sister, a son, a daughter and by his longtime companion and fiancee, Zheng Cao, an opera singer. Troy Donahue passed away from a massive heart attack on September 2, 2001.



The family of Mr. Troy Donahue would like to express its gratitude for the outpouring of support and sympathy from all of you. Your many prayers for, and devotion to, the memory of their beloved Troy has been a source of great comfort and joy to all of them.

After a very difficult year, a period in which his estate was tied up in the legal system, Troy's family has decided to enter some of this icon's most treasured possessions on eBay auction. In this way, many of his most cherished items may be offered to a worldwide audience.

The very first thing that was made available starting 05/23/03 was Mr. Donahue's favorite Jeep Wrangler. That will be followed by his treasured Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Anyone interested in owning or bidding on either of these items should communicate via the following email address: or just enter the eBay auto auction site under JEEP.

Along with the purchase of the above items, the family will include some of Troy's memorabilia for the potential buyers.

Once again, Troy's family members would like to express how very deeply moved they have been by the incredible outpouring of love and affection expressed for Troy, particularly in his on-line memorial. Your solemn declarations have helped to ease the pain of their heartbreaking loss and caused their hearts to swell with gratitude. Thank you.

With the very best wishes to you all,
The Family of Troy Donahue



I was very sad to hear of Troy Donahue's passing. I met him at Steel Pier in Atlantic City around 1961. He was promoting his TV show Hawaiian Eye. He was with the rest of the cast except for Connie Stevens and his manager Henry Wilson. My friend and I spent the whole afternoon with them. Needless to say it was quite a thrill. Since we were both from Swedish heritage, we talked about a prayer we learned as children. Henry Wilson got quite a kick out of it and wanted us to recite it many times. Troy was quite shy and at that time in his career, I thought, very overwhelmed with his fame. I had a '57 Chevy convertible and he wanted to get away for a while and just take a ride. Mr. Wilson wouldn't allow it and I remember the look on his face. He practically begged him and I was sort of embarrassed for him. It was as if Henry Wilson owned him. Perhaps that was the beginning of many of the troubles he experienced in his relatively short life. I always tried to follow his career and was sad to see him in roles that exploited his teenage idol years. I think from what I've read this last week, he handled it the best he could. It's a shame that tragedy brings attention to someone who should have never been without it. God rest his soul. Thanks for your website! -- Dee


CLICK HERE to listen to A Distant Trumpet Main Title Theme - MP3 clip zip
CLICK HERE to listen to "Al Di La" - Love Theme from Rome Adventure - RealAudio
CLICK HERE to listen to the Theme from A Summer Place - RealAudio


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Troy Donahue



troybt My Blood Runs Cold (1965) ~~ Ben Gunther
troybt Distant Trumpet, A (1964) ~~ Lt. Matthew "Matt" Hazard
troybt Palm Springs Weekend (1963) ~~ Jim
troybt Rome Adventure (1962) ~~ Don
troybt Parrish (1961) ~~ Parrish McLean
troybt Susan Slade (1961) ~~ Hoyt Brecker
troybt Crowded Sky, The (1960) ~~ McVey
troybt Imitation of Life (1959) ~~ Frankie
troybt Summer Place, A (1959) ~~ Johnny Hunter


troybt "Surfside 6" (1960) ~~ Sandy Winfield
troybt "Hawaiian Eye" (1959) ~~ Philip Barton



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