Home News celebrity news Donald Moffat: From Shakespeare to The Thing, a Career Spanning Six Decades

Donald Moffat: From Shakespeare to The Thing, a Career Spanning Six Decades

Donald Moffat
Donald Moffat

Donald Moffat was a British actor known for his versatility across film and stage in America. His classic roles included those in The Wild Duck, The Right Stuff and The Thing; unfortunately he died at age 87 in 2018.

donald moffat
donald moffat

Early Life and Education

Moffat was born in Plymouth, Devon on December 26, 1930 as the only child of an insurance agent and his wife. He attended King Edward VI School before serving his country from 1949-1951. It was during this period that he developed an interest in acting, enrolling at Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) London.

Stage Career

Moffat first began acting at London’s Old Vic Theatre Company, performing Shakespearean plays. Following Anne Murray Ellsperman to America in 1954, he found work as both bartender and lumberjack before eventually resuming acting.

He soon joined the Association of Producing Artists, a repertory company on Broadway, where his performances in The Wild Duck and Right You Are If You Think You Are earned him two Tony Award nominations as well as an Obie Award nomination. Furthermore, he appeared in many more Broadway and Off-Broadway plays such as The Iceman Cometh, A Few Stout Individuals, The Heiress and The Cherry Orchard.

Film and Television Career

Moffat first made his film debut as Joanne Woodward’s father in Rachel, Rachel in 1968. Subsequently he would go on to star in numerous supporting roles such as The Thing, The Right Stuff, Clear and Present Danger and The Bonfire of the Vanities as well as Hawaii Five-O, Bonanza Mission: Impossible Mannix The West Wing Tales of the City among many others.

Personal Life and Death

Moffat married twice and had four children from each marriage. His first wife was Anne Murray Ellsperman whom he divorced in 1968 before marrying actress Gwen Arner in 1970 in Sleepy Hollow. Unfortunately he passed away December 20, 2018 from complications associated with a stroke.


Moffat was an esteemed and versatile actor, known for playing an array of roles with authenticity and subtlety. His stage presence, voice quality and respect for text was often praised; as his legacy spans six decades it speaks volumes of both talent and dedication to acting.

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