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Troy Donahue was an American actor who rose to fame in the late 1950s. He was a famous face in American TV series and films until 2001, when he died.
Among many things, Troy Donahue was known for his good looks, charm, and romantic roles, which endeared him to many women. He was the titular cast for a young romantic lover and he shared most of his onscreen romance with Sandra Dee.
Troy Donahue started his career as a contract player for Warner Bros. in the late 1950s. During that time, he starred in several romantic films including, “A Summer Place,” “Parrish,” and “Susan Slade.”
While there were rumors about him being gay, Troy Donahue did not openly address them until 1984. According to him, he tried his best to stay clear of conversations about his sexual orientation and the LGBTQ+ community until he was constantly asked about it from all sides.
In an interview with The People magazine, Troy Donahue clearly stated that he was not gay. In his opinion, he was most often mistaken for another blond, blue-eyed actor who appeared to be gay.
Troy Donahue confessed to loving women – sometimes a little too much. He was married four times to women and had multiple love affairs, all with women.
Troy Donahue Background
Troy Donahue was born Merle Johnson Jr. in New York City on January 27, 1936. He was born and raised by his mother, who was actively involved in acting and entertainment.
Troy Donahue’s mother was a retired stage actress and was also the manager of the motion-picture department of General Motors. In a 1959 interview, Troy Donahue mentioned that his mother helped him achieve his lifelong dream of becoming an actor, even though that wasn’t the ideal career back then.
Although he dreamed of becoming an actor, Troy Donahue could only live his dream much later. He had to postpone his dream and attend the New York military academy to please his elders.
When he was 18, however, Troy Donahue secured a job as a messenger in his father’s film and entertainment company. His father died when he was 14.
Although he was the son of the company’s founder, Troy Donahue was fired for being too young to join the film union. Undaunted, he tried acting in Bucks County and then trained under Ezra Stone for a while before moving to Hollywood.
By a stroke of luck, producer William Asher and director James Sheldon spotted Troy Donahue one evening in Malibu. After their brief meeting with him, they arranged for a screen test with Columbia Pictures, which ended unsuccessfully. But Troy Donahue’s luck had yet to run out.
Later, he was introduced to a Hollywood talent agent Henry Wilson by an actress he’d connected with – Fran Bennett. His introduction proved to be his first break into Hollywood, as he was subsequently signed and his name changed to Troy Donahue.
Is The Rumor True?
The rumors about Troy Donahue being gay were persistent and lasted until 1984. Throughout his career, he was inundated with questions about his sexuality, but he refused to answer for decades later.
In his long career, Troy Donahue gave off a romantic personality, making him the dream of most ladies. His handsome face and features perhaps also contributed to the rumors of him being gay or bisexual.
From taking on small roles at the start of his career, Troy Donahue became the go-to cast choice for a romantic male persona. What’s more, was the fact that he also became a sex symbol during his time.
While it’s easy to understand that his romantic persona drew women’s attention throughout his career, his stint as a sex symbol also cemented the rumors of him being gay or bisexual.
However, a peek into his relationship history proves that the rumors are largely untrue. Troy Donahue was married four times all to women during his life.
His first marriage was to actress and singer Suzanne Pleshette, whom he met while they were both working on the film “Rome Adventure” in 1962. The couple got married in 1964 but divorced just one year later.
Troy Donahue’s second marriage was to actress Valerie Allen in 1966. Although it faired a little better than his first marriage, it still ended in divorce in 1968.
The following year, 1969, Troy Donahue tied the knot with Alma Sharpe. This proved to be his longest marriage as it lasted for three years.
After his divorce from Alma Sharpe in 1972, Troy Donahue remained unmarried for seven years. In 1979, he got married to his fourth wife, Vicki Taylor.
His fourth and final marriage to Vicki Taylor ended two years later in 1981. Troy Donahue remained unmarried but enjoyed romance with Zheng Cao until his death in 2001.
While there’s no clear information about when he began dating Zheng Cao, they were engaged sometime in 1999. Sadly, he did not live to tie the knot with her.
Troy Donahue lived at a time when being gay or bisexual was a largely unacceptable thing in the society. At the time, it wasn’t even ideal to have dealings with the then growing LGBTQ+ community.
In his interview with The People magazine in 1984, Troy Donahue put the rumors to rest by categorically stating that he was not gay and had no dealings with the LGBTQ+ community. Although he was a charming man in his days – both to men and women, Troy Donahue was neither gay nor bisexual.
Is Troy Donahue Dating Anyone Now?
Troy Donahue was a ladies’ man to the core, which was evident in his movies and life. He was married four times in his lifetime and had multiple love affairs (all to women).
While there’s no certainty about his number of children, it is said that Troy Donahue only fathered one child. He has been off the dating pool since his passing in 2001.
All through his career, Troy Donahue was rumored to be gay. However, his serial marriages and love affairs with women prove otherwise. It’s just like he said in an interview. He loves women – and sometimes a little too much.