Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Happy 80th Birthday Donal O'Brien
Donal O'Brien was born on September 15, 1930 in Pau, France. His father was an Irishman and a member of the U.S. cavalry who fought in the Spanish-American War. After his military service Donal's father moved to France. He married an English girl who was working as a tutor. After Donal's birth the O'Briens moved to northern France and had three more children one who was a pilot in the RAF and killed during World War II. During the war the O'Briens returned to Ireland where Donal finished grammar school. He left school and joined a drama school. He then joined the Dublin Gate Theatre where he had a few minor roles. Dissatisfied with his progress he left and returned to France where he became an office worker for the U.S. Army. His first film credit was in “An Act of Love” (1953). He then appeared in his first Euro-western with a small role in “Dynamite Jack” (1960) starring Fernandel. Donal appeared in a couple of John Frankenheimer films, “The Train” (1963) and “Grand Prix” (1966). O'Brien then moved to Italy where he became a regular in Euro-westerns starting with a lead role in “Run, Man, Run” (1967) with Tomas Milian. He was billed as Donald O'Brien and his credits alternated between Donal and Donald the rest of his career. Some of his best known westerns include “Paid in Blood” (1971), “Jesse and Lester in a Place Called Trinity” (1972), “Challenge to White Fang”, “Four of the Apocalypse” both in 1974. “Keoma the Avenger” (1975), “A Man Called Blade” and “Silver Saddle” both 1977. In 1980 Donal was involved in a terrible accident where he slipped and fell in a Parisian hotel and hit his head leaving him partially paralyzed. He was able to regain partial mobility and continued to act in limited roles. Currently O'Brien lives in Paris, France. Today we remember Donal O'Brien on what would have been his 80th birthday.