Donald Moffat

Donald Moffat (26 December 1930 – 20 December 2018) was an English–American actor with a decades-long career in film and stage in the United States. He began his acting career on- and off-Broadway, which included appearances in The Wild Duck and Right You Are If You Think You Are, earning a Tony Award nomination for both, as well as Painting Churches, for which he received an Obie Award. Moffat also appeared in several feature films, including The Thing and The Right Stuff, along with his guest appearances in the television series Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman and The West Wing.

Donald Moffat
Born(1930-12-26)26 December 1930
Plymouth, England
Died20 December 2018(2018-12-20) (aged 87)
Years active1956–2005
  • Anne Murray Ellsperman
    (m. 1954; div. 1968)
  • (m. 1970)
Children4 (2 with Ellsperman), (2 with Arner)

Early lifeEdit

Moffat was born in Plymouth, Devon, the only child of Kathleen Mary (née Smith) and Walter George Moffat, an insurance agent. His parents ran a boarding house in Totnes. Completing his studies at the local King Edward VI School and national service in the Army from 1949 to 1951, Moffat trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.[1][2]



Moffat began his career as a stage actor in London and New York City. His first work was at the Old Vic Theatre Company in London.[3]

After moving to the United States, Moffat worked as a bartender and a lumberjack in Oregon, his wife's home state. "After six months," he said, "I realized that I was an actor and I would always be an actor. And an actor must act. So I started acting again."[4] His first acting job in the United States was in Princeton, New Jersey. He worked as a carpenter, and his wife took in ironing in order to supplement his $25 per week pay.[2]

He joined APA (The Association of Producing Artists), a repertory company on Broadway, and was nominated for a Tony for Best Actor in a Play in 1967 for his roles in revivals of Henrik Ibsen's The Wild Duck and Pirandello's Right You Are If You Think You Are.[5]

He was nominated for Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Actor in a Play for his work in Play Memory (1984) and for Outstanding Featured Actor in the revival of Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh (1986) with Jason Robards.[6] He won an Obie for Painting Churches.[7] In 1998, he was nominated for a Gemini Award for his performance as attorney Joe Ruah in the CBC miniseries The Sleep Room.[8] He also appeared in many Broadway and Off-Broadway plays, including John Guare's A Few Stout Individuals (as Ulysses S. Grant),[9] The Heiress,[10] The Cherry Orchard,[11] Much Ado About Nothing,[12] The School for Scandal,[12] The Affair[13] and Hamlet.[14]


Among Moffat's best-known film roles are as Lyndon B. Johnson in The Right Stuff (1983), the corrupt U.S. President in Clear and Present Danger, and as Garry, the station commander in The Thing.[15]


Moffat played Enos in the CBS western miniseries The Chisholms,[16] Lars Lundstrom in the ABC drama The New Land.[17] and Rem in the CBS science-fiction series Logan's Run.[18] He also appeared in The West Wing; Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman and Tales of the City, in which his performance as dying executive Edgar Halcyon earned him many new fans. One of his final roles was as Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick in the HBO movie, 61*.[15] Moffat's last role was as a judge in an episode of Law & Order: Trial by Jury in 2005.[19]

Personal lifeEdit

Moffat married actress Anne Murray in 1954;[1] they had a daughter, Wendy, and a son, Gabriel, before divorcing in 1968.[2] He later married actress Gwen Arner.[4]

Moffat died on 20 December 2018 in Sleepy Hollow, New York, of complications from a stroke.[1]

Selected TV and filmographyEdit


  1. ^ a b c McFadden, Robert D. (20 December 2018). "Donald Moffat, 87, a Top Actor Who Thrived in Second Billings, Dies". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 21 December 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Glover, William (28 March 1967). "He's Still Broke But Has Grown As Actor". The Danville Register. Virginia, Danville. Associated Press. p. 9. Retrieved 11 August 2017 – via  
  3. ^ "Familiar Face". The Irish Times. Retrieved 21 December 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Waiting for Rem". San Antonio Express. Texas, San Antonio. 25 August 1977. p. 22. Retrieved 11 August 2017 – via  
  5. ^ "("Donald Moffat" search results)". Tony Awards. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
  6. ^ "Donald Moffat". Playbill. Archived from the original on 12 August 2017. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
  7. ^ "1980s". OBIE Awards. Village Voice and American Theater Wing. Archived from the original on 12 August 2017. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
  8. ^ "The Sleep Room", The Canadian Historical Review, Volume 80, Number 4, December 1999 pp. 698-705
  9. ^ Isherwood, Charles (13 May 2002). "A Few Stout Individuals". Variety. Retrieved 21 December 2018.
  10. ^ Winer, Laurie (13 September 1996). "Cruelty Forges a Shining 'Heiress'". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 21 December 2018.
  11. ^ Loehlin, James N. (14 September 2006). Chekhov: The Cherry Orchard. Cambridge University Press. p. 119. ISBN 9780521825931.
  12. ^ a b Alexa Criscitiello (2018) "Award-Winning Actor and Director Donald Moffat Passes Away At Age 87" Broadway World, December 20, 2018. Accessed December 22, 2018.
  13. ^ Bordman, Gerald (21 November 1996). American Theatre: A Chronicle of Comedy and Drama, 1930-1969. Oxford University Press, USA. p. 382. ISBN 9780195090796.
  14. ^ Adams, Val (22 May 1964). "C.B.S. Series Plans Part Of 'The Brig'; Play Will Be a Segment of 'Look Up and Live'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 21 December 2018.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag "Filmography for Donald Moffat". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 21 December 2018.[dead link]
  16. ^ Terrace, pp. 185–186.
  17. ^ Terrace, p. 755.
  18. ^ Terrace, pp. 617–618.
  19. ^ a b c Lincoln, Ross. "Donald Moffat, 'The Right Stuff' and 'The Thing' Actor, Dies at 87". The Wrap. Retrieved 21 December 2018.
  20. ^ "The Battle of the River Plate". Trailers from Hell. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
  21. ^ Skelton, Scott (1999). Rod Serling's Night Gallery: An After-hours Tour. Syracuse University Press. p. 206. ISBN 9780815627821. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
  22. ^ a b c d e "Donald Moffat List of Movies and TV Shows". TV Guide. Retrieved 21 December 2018.
  23. ^ "Ebony, Ivory and Jade(1979)". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
  24. ^ "The Sleep Room (1998)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 22 December 2018.


  • Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of television shows, 1925 through 2010 (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7.

External linksEdit