Donahue, Phil

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Donahue, Phil Gender: M
Phillip John Donahue
born on 21 December 1935 at 11:25 (= 11:25 AM )
Place Cleveland, Ohio, 41n30, 81w42
Timezone EST h5w (is standard time)
Data source
BC/BR in hand
Rodden Rating AA
Collector: Wilsons
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_sagcol.18.gif 28°53' s_mo.18.gif s_scocol.18.gif 10°25 Asc.s_piscol.18.gif 02°17'

Phil Donahue
photo: jbach, license cc-by-sa-2.0


American TV personality, a major talk-show host and pioneer of audience interaction in a flexible, captivating on-air performance. More than 200 stations carried the Donahue program around the country. He aired 29 seasons, 6,000 shows, won 20 Emmys and one Peabody award.

He was the son of a furniture salesman and homemaker whose parents raised him in a staunchly Irish Catholic Cleveland neighborhood. Phil got his communication gifts from his father and grew up with other kids playing stick ball in the street with little traffic. The focal point of his family life was the Franciscan neighborhood church. He went to the University of Notre Dame and majored in marketing. Upon graduation, Donahue became a news reporter for WHIO-TV in Dayton, Ohio 1959-67. He hosted WHIO-Radio in Dayton on the show, "Conversation Piece," 1963-67.

On 11/6/1967, he entered the local Dayton television market with his program, "The Phil Donahue Show" with his first guest, atheist Madalyn Murray O'Hair. He worked hard to develop a program that was tackling serious issues for a mostly female audience. The show moved to Chicago from 1974-l985 and the to New York City from 1985-1996. He tackled issues such as abortion, nuclear weapons, AIDS, pollution, and consumer protection issues and his viewing audience expanded. His guests were congressmen, senators, presidential candidates, authors, scientists, and celebrities in the television, radio, and movie industry. His daytime show considered educational and informative programming; Pulitzer-prize winning author, David Halberstam called "Donahue" a televised PhD course.

Donahue contributed to the "Today" shows, appeared in prime-time specials, wrote his best-selling autobiography, "Donahue: My Own Story," 1979, and co-moderated a Democratic Presidential candidate debate in 1984. Until the mid-'80s, Donahue was the only talk show in town. But by 1987 and 1988, Oprah Winfrey, Geraldo and Sally Jessy Raphael began to challenge his top spot in daytime television. Despite his steady ratings success and $8 million a year salary, Donahue was getting competition for viewership. He tried to maintain a scope of serious issue-based programming in his show but found that he had to compromise and pander month after month to more sensational material. Heavily criticized by media watchers, Donahue was feeling the heat compromising his own ideas for ratings. He felt he was in the midst of a culture of decay. He hung up his mike and quit in January 1996 because of the increasing popularity of sleaze and sensationalism. With his clear aqua blue eyes, boyish good looks, serious nature and mid-western charm, Donahue was accessible to his television audience, always ready to thank them in person for attending his shows. On 9/04/1997, Donahue filed suit in Greenville, SC against Universal Television Enterprises and his talk show's former owners; he was seeking the right to buy reruns of "Donahue."

His first marriage was to Marge Cooney from 1958-75. He acknowledges the fact that he was a workaholic but that the family accepted his predicament. After his divorce, he raised his four sons, and Marge raised his only daughter. He met actress Marlo Thomas on his show and they married on 5/21/1980. His feminist wife's influence made him strive for a marriage based on equality. He became more concerned with women's issues and used his show to air discussion of the changes the American family in the 70s, 80s and 90s.

His good guy reputation was damaged when he purchased the adjacent mansion next door to his home in Westport, Connecticut and then proceeded to bulldoze the ultra-modern concrete and glass structure house designed by John Johansen despite the protest of architectural preservationists and architecture students.

Before his retirement, Donahue discussed possible future plans as a politician. He felt his more liberal political views were not in step in the '80s Reagan era. He considers himself a C-SPAN junkie, reads the Wall Street Journal, NY Times, and avid MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour watcher. In July 2002, he returned to TV for an interview-format show.

Link to Wikipedia biography


  • Relationship : First Sex 1958 (Reported first sex with marriage at 23)
  • Crime : Law suit 4 September 1997 (Filed suit against talk show owners)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.

Source Notes

B.C. in hand from the Wilsons


  • Family : Relationship : Marriage more than 15 Yrs (Married Marlo 1980)
  • Family : Relationship : Mate - Noted (Marlo Thomas)
  • Family : Parenting : Kids more than 3 (Five)
  • Lifestyle : Financial : Wealthy
  • Passions : Criminal Perpetrator : Lawsuit instigated (Law suit against show owners)
  • Vocation : Entertainment : TV host/ Personality
  • Vocation : Writers : Autobiographer
  • Vocation : Writers : Textbook/ Non-fiction
  • Notable : Awards : Emmy (20 Emmys)
  • Notable : Awards : Vocational award (Peabody)