Troy Donahue was a popular musician and actor in the 1950s and 60s, largely known for his appealing body.
But for most of his life, the actor would be under continual pressure from his fame and fan base.
Regretfully, his life and all of the setbacks would ultimately result in a shocking revelation.
Every time I hear the song “Summer Place,” which reminds me of Troy Donahue, I think back to the first time I saw the film as a small child in the theater. I was really impressed by his appearance!
For many of us in the 1950s and 60s, Troy Donahue was the pinnacle of American beauty—young, attractive, blonde, and with blue eyes. Numerous young female fans were drawn to the actor by his appearance.
Even though he was just a Hollywood star for a little period of time, the majority of people still know who he is, even though others may have forgotten.
He seems to have received meager compensation despite his notoriety. His life started to go downhill, but it was stopped when he encountered his teenage son.
Donahue Johnson was born in New York City to Merle Johnson. Because of his mother’s influence as a theater actress, the youngster developed an early desire to become an actor. In 1984, he disclosed the following in an interview with People magazine:
I recall being among Broadway performers and people in the theater all the time. Gertrude Lawrence and I used to sit together when she read her reviews in “The King and I.”
He eventually enrolled at Columbia University to study journalism, but he continued to pursue his love by performing in stock plays. He had an agency, studio executives, and a new name when he first appeared on screen.
They initially thought of Paris, Helen of Troy’s lover. However, he remarked, “I guess they felt that since there was already a Paris, France, and a Paris, Illinois, they couldn’t name me Paris Donahue.”
Eventually, the actor starred in Man Afraid, his feature debut. After just two years, he joined Warner Bros., a corporation that recognized his real talent.
Troy remembered, “They’d asked me to light a cigarette, and when I did, they screamed and fell down.”
He starred in the 1959 movie A Summer Place, which shot him to fame and turned him into a sought-after item.
Donohue, who frequently played a good man paired with a gorgeous blonde, quickly became the teen heartthrob. He did not fare well monetarily in spite of his notoriety.
He said, “I lived way over my head and got into great trouble. I was living like a movie star but wasn’t being paid like one.”
Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue made a fantastic romantic film duo in the late 1950s. Over his career, Troy has been married four times.
His first marriage ended in divorce, as did his relationships with Suzanne Pleshette and Valerie Allen, Alma Sharpe, and Vicky Taylor.
He started to suffer and turned to various narcotics as his love life continued to deteriorate. His acting career was further hampered by his terrible habits.
By the end of the 1960s, his life was a total wreck.
“I was constantly loaded.” I would take three aspirins combined with codeine, consume half a pint of vodka, and then do four lines of cocaine when I woke up at 6:30 in the morning,” he revealed.
However, Donahue consistently insisted that his addiction never marred any of the sets he worked on, asserting that he was never intoxicated or otherwise incapacitated during his work. The actor claimed that the reason he started drinking was not related to his work.
He began drinking when he was studying for an exam in the seventh grade. This eventually developed into a habit that threatened to destroy his future.
When he was a young man, he is said to have lived in the bushes at Central Park and carried all he possessed in a bag.
The addiction took a turn for the worse after his fourth unsuccessful marriage, and it remained with him throughout his career. In May 1982, the actor decided to stop drinking altogether and went to the doctor.
“I view my sobriety as a miracle,” he clarified. I just take things one day at a time. The obsession with abstaining from alcohol has surpassed that of drinking. I had a lot of luck.
Shortly after embarking on this sober road, Donahue encountered an old flame from Los Angeles. The wife informed the actor that the youngster, who had the name Sean and was his son, was thirteen when they caught up.
Donahue believed her immediately not only because the chronology made sense but also because he recognized the child as a younger version of himself right away.
Thankfully, the father and son clicked immediately away. Sean and his father arranged for visitations so that Sean could get to know his father. Child support was never requested by Sean’s mother. Donahue had already been split from his biological kid as a result of his battle with drink and drugs taking up so much of his life.
His career was impacted by his addictions as well. At around this time, he started to get offers for low-key roles in films like Assault of the Party Nerds, Bad Blood, and Cry-Baby.
In a 1998 interview, Donahue expressed his lack of concern regarding this move toward B-movies. He thought he was a good actor and that his career was going to end, despite people who didn’t agree with him.
Only a few years after this conversation, in 2001, Donahue, then 65 years old, died of a heart attack.
Since going sober, he had continued to lead a healthy lifestyle and had developed a strong relationship with the son he had only lately found.
Troy was unquestionably a really handsome young man and a fantastic television character! I regret learning of all his struggles, but perhaps we will remember him. I’m grateful for all the memories, Troy!