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.


  1. An under rated actor I think! Thanks for the info Tom.

  2. Donal is alive. He is my great uncle and lives in Paris, France. Despite multiple attempts to get this information changed on IMDB, neither my mother nor my sister or I have had any luck. I saw him last March in a trip to Paris. He thinks it is hilarious that everyone thinks he is dead.

  3. Thanks Connor. I apologize for the mistake. For a long time I believed he was alive but had no confirmation of the fact and could never find any mention of him in news stories or books so I fell victim to the rumor that he had died of a heart attack years ago. I will do my best to spread the word that he is still alive and living in Paris. Always glad to spread good news for a change. Thanks again for taking the time to post and set the record straight.

  4. Connor you'll be happy to know the Imdb entry has been corrected and no longer shows Donal's date of death. Please extend our best wishes to Donal and let him know he is warmly remembered.

  5. I am not an internet person. But I happened to come across Mister Donald O'Brien's name and I must say I'm delighted to hear he is alive because about five years ago it was reported that he had died of a heart attack in Rome at Ostia and I said to myself,"My god the very week I was there." You see I knew Donbald well ; we did a lot of dubbing together for Messers Bob Fiz and Charles Marshall in English." A lot of laughs. If he reads this he will know who I am. He was one of the decent people I knew in the cinema world when I lived in Italy. A fine gentleman. We never acted together and to tell the truth except for perhaps only one two films I never cared for the cinema world . But Donald was a gentleman. God Bless you my friend.

  6. Dear Friends of Donald O'Brien,

    I just thought I should inform you that if you ever have a problem with Internet Movie Data Base and are truly impeded for whatever reason of correcting an error,please be informed that it's owned by Amazon. I had a financial problem with it over a year ago and I resolved it by calling Amazon's corporate office in Oregon. The people their are very kind and understanding and shall do everything to resolve your dilemma.
    Back to Donald. I remembered how he laughed and laughed when I told him that when he wasn't available for dubbing with Messers Bob Fiz and Charles Marshall,who at the time were also joined by Mister Timmy Tengroth, on "Emmanuelle And The Cannibals" at the dubbing studio,De Fazio, that I dubbed his voice in English. What a hoot! I should love to telephone him one day. Donald also worked for me when I directed the dubbing in English of "Non Sparate Sui Bambini" by Mister Gianni Crea,with whom Donald had film acted for. He was in awe at a scene Mister Crea had shot with a hand held camera and the only other artistic technician was the Lighting Director.

    God Bless


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