Tate Donovan

Active - 1984 - 2021  |   Born - Sep 25, 1963 in Tenafly, New Jersey, United States  |   Genres - Comedy, Drama

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Biography by Jason Buchanan

With his handsome, everyman looks and strong abilities on stage and screen, actor Tate Donovan has endured to become one of the most talented actors that no one recognizes. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing; with previous girlfriends such as Sandra Bullock and Jennifer Aniston and solid performances in Clean and Sober (1988) and Memphis Belle (1990), it's readily apparent that he has the charm to match his talent.

A Tenafly, NJ, native who took up acting in his teens, Donovan's early screen appearances came with troubled teen roles in such efforts as Not My Kid and Into Thin Air (both 1985), as well as a memorable appearance in the 1986 sci-fi adventure Space Camp. A move to Los Angeles found Donovan closer to the world of film production while he pursued his higher education at U.S.C., and it was there that he made the acquaintance of longtime friends such as George Clooney. A post-collegiate role in Memphis Belle (1990) proved that Donovan was indeed honing his skills in front of the camera to good effect, and following an appearance as a recovering drug addict in Clean and Sober (1988), he took his first leading role in the 1992 romantic comedy Love Potion No. 9.

Though a relationship with that film's co-star, Sandra Bullock, would result in an engagement, the couple parted ways two short years later, and Donovan began a series of appearances in such art-house efforts as Ethan Frome (1993). A role in the Buena Vista comedy Holy Matrimony (1994) found Donovan getting in good with the folks at Disney, and in three short years he would be providing the voice for the eponymous character in the animated Disney adventure Hercules. More success came in the late '90s with appearances in the popular television series Ally McBeal and Friends, and in addition to a memorable appearance in Homicide: Life on the Street, Donovan gained even more exposure when he was spotted around Tinseltown with high-profile squeeze Jennifer Aniston. Though such later efforts as The Office Party (2000) and Exposed (2002) went largely unseen, Donovan returned to the small screen in 2003 with supporting roles in the series The O.C. and Mister Sterling. Over the coming years, Donovan would continue to appear in several projects, including movies like The Pacifier, Shooter, and Argo, as well as TV series like The O.C. and Damages.

Movie Highlights

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  • Plays the fiddle and the bodhran.
  • Appeared on Friends in 1998 as a love interest for Rachel, played by his then-girlfriend, Jennifer Aniston.
  • After both of his parents were diagnosed with bladder cancer, he became the national spokesperson for the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network. His mother recovered, but his father succumbed to the disease in 2001.   
  • Has volunteered with the Young Storytellers program, a group that works with children writing their own screenplays.
  • Began honing his directing skills while he was a cast member on The O.C. His director credits include episodes of the television shows Glee and Damages.