Classic Entertainment Autographs

Cat. #0012482: ROBERT DONAT

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Handsome vintage 6x8-inch matte-finish sepia-tone portrait, boldly signed in black fountain pen around 1935, when he starred opposite Madeleine Carroll in Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps. In fine condition, with patches of light silvering, invisible when the photo is viewed head-on. A classically-trained stage actor, Robert Donat was lured to cinema by Alexander Korda, who cast him in The Private Life of Henry VIII in 1933. He was immediately popular with audiences, who were enchanted by his good looks, soft voice, and reserved, subtle manner of acting. His all-too-brief list of film credits included For Love or Money (1933); The Count of Monte Cristo (1934); Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps (1935); the horror flick The Ghost Goes West (1935); Knight Without Armour (1937); The Citadel (1938), for which he was nominated for an Academy Award; and Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939), for which he snagged the trophy the following year, infamously beating out Clark Gable for Gone with the Wind. Despite his talent and appeal, Donat would go on to make only a handful of films throughout the next two decades, most notably The Cure for Love (1949), The Magic Box (1951) and The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (1958). In 1958, he tragically succumbed to a lifelong respiratory ailment, aged only 53. His autograph is rather uncommon in any format.