Royal Dano

Royal Edward Dano Sr. (November 16, 1922 – May 15, 1994) was an American actor. In a career spanning 46 years, he was perhaps best known for playing cowboys, villains, and Abraham Lincoln. Dano also provided the voice of the Audio-Animatronic Lincoln for Walt Disney's Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln attraction at the 1964 World's Fair (brought to Disneyland in 1965), as well as Lincoln's voice at the "Hall of Presidents" attraction at Disney's Magic Kingdom in 1971.

Royal Dano
Royal Dano in The Trouble with Harry trailer.jpg
Dano in a trailer for The Trouble with Harry (1955)
Royal Edward Dano

(1922-11-16)November 16, 1922
New York City, U.S.
DiedMay 15, 1994(1994-05-15) (aged 71)
Resting placeLos Angeles National Cemetery
EducationNew York University
Years active1947–1993
Spouse(s)Peggy Ranck
RelativesHutch Dano (grandson)

Early lifeEdit

Dano was born in New York City, the son of Mary Josephine (née O'Connor), an Irish immigrant, and Caleb Edward Dano, a printer for newspapers.[1]

He reportedly left home at the age of twelve and at various intervals lived in Florida, Texas, and California. After reaching an understanding with his father, he agreed to continue his education on the condition that he be allowed to travel. Dano served in the United States Army during World War II where he attained the rank of sergeant. He was a Freemason.[citation needed]


An early acting effort saw Dano cast as McSnoyd the leprechaun in the stage show Barnaby and Mr. O'Malley, based on the comic strip by Crockett Johnson. McSnoyd appears to the audience only as a blinking light on a large mushroom, so only his voice is heard. However, at the conclusion of the show Dano joined the rest of the cast, wearing a leprechaun costume.

Dano is remembered for his supporting roles in a number of 1950s western and mystery films. The chance for the breakout role of a lifetime escaped him in the theatrical release of The Red Badge of Courage. Dano, cast as The Tattered Man, delivered such a disturbing performance in his death scene, according to director John Huston, that the initial test audience left the theater in droves, e.g., "I've never seen so many people get up and leave the theater...they liked no part of it." The death scene was lent a human touch by Dano, and in 1951, war-weary Americans rejected it (Huston: "...[the audience rejection] was a pretty sickening event."). Red Badge was immediately recut, and the death scene was removed. It is long believed, and as early as Huston commenting in an interview in 1972, the scene has been lost ("I doubt very much, whether the scene still exists.").[2]

He often worked with Anthony Mann and James Stewart. Over the years, Dano made many television appearances, often in bizarre, macabre roles. Dano was also a frequent guest star on Gunsmoke, with a total of thirteen appearances.

Dano was the voice of Abraham Lincoln for Walt Disney's Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln attraction, first presented at the 1964 World's Fair. Disney personally selected Dano, because he felt the actor came closest to the historical descriptions of Lincoln's voice. Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln was moved to Disneyland in 1965, and Dano's vocals continued to be a part of the attraction until 2001. In 1971, his voice was also used for a revised Lincoln speech in the new "Hall of Presidents" attraction at Magic Kingdom in Florida, which ran to 1993. In 2009, Dano's vocals were returned to Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln at Disneyland in an updated version of the show.[3]

TV and filmographyEdit


  1. ^ Humphreys, Justin (2006). Names you never remember, with faces you never forget: interviews with the movies' character actors. BearManor Media. p. 93. ISBN 1-59393-041-0.
  2. ^ The Dick Cavett Show (2/21/72)
  3. ^ Chmielewski, Dawn (December 18, 2009). "Voice of Disneyland's Lincoln takes criticism". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 10, 2016.

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