Known for movies

Short Info

DiedDecember 22, 1993, Santa Monica, California, United States
SpouseMarion Holmes DeFore
FactGrandfather of Sean Welch.

Don DeFore was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on August 25, 1913. His parents were both of German descent. DeFore had two older sisters, Dorothy and Edna. He attended Washington High School in Cedar Rapids. After graduating from high school, DeFore attended the University of Iowa. He played football for the Hawkeyes and was a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity. DeFore graduated from the University of Iowa in 1936 with a degree in business administration.

DeFore’s first job was with the American Legion in Cedar Rapids. He then moved to Hollywood to pursue a career in acting. DeFore made his film debut in the 1938 film, Four Daughters. He appeared in a number of films throughout the 1940s and 1950s, including The Grapes of Wrath, The Ox-Bow Incident, and Mister Roberts. In 1955, DeFore starred in the television series, The Adventures of Hiram Holiday. The show was a comedy-adventure series that aired for one season on ABC.

In the 1960s, DeFore appeared in several television series, including The Donna Reed Show, The Beverly Hillbillies, and Green Acres. He also appeared in the 1968 film, The Love Bug. In the 1970s, DeFore retired from acting and opened a real estate business in Los Angeles. He died on December 22, 1993 at the age of 80.

DeFore was married twice. His first wife was actress Hazel Brooks. They were married from 1940 until her death in 1962. DeFore’s second wife was actress Jean Inness. They were married from 1963 until his death in 1993. DeFore had four children: two with Brooks and two with Inness.

DeFore was a successful actor who appeared in a number of films and television series throughout his career. He retired from acting in the 1970s to focus on his real estate business. DeFore died in 1993 at the age of 80.

General Info

Full NameDon DeFore
DiedDecember 22, 1993, Santa Monica, California, United States
Height1.85 m
EducationUniversity of Iowa


SpouseMarion Holmes DeFore
ChildrenDavid DeFore, Ronnie DeFore, Dawn DeFore, Amy N. DeFore, Penny DeFore
ParentsAlbina Sylvia Nezerka, Joseph Ervin DeFore
SiblingsVerne DeFore


NominationsPrimetime Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actor In A Regular Series
MoviesToo Late for Tears, It Happened on Fifth Avenue, Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, Romance on the High Seas, Battle Hymn, A Time to Love and a Time to Die, Without Reservations, Dark City, The Facts of Life, My Friend Irma, The Affairs of Susan, You Came Along, Jumping Jacks, The Stork Club, Southside 1-10...
TV ShowsHazel, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, Hollywood Premiere Theatre

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1[As Master of Ceremonies at Ronald Reagan's victory party in Los Angeles, November 1966, after his election as Governor of California] This is a great night for actors!


1Co-starred in a number of war films although he himself was rejected by the military due to medical problems. When asked about his war service, he wryly remark, "I have 550 flying hours in the Hollywood Air Corps. I've been in 50 major engagements in the Hollywood Army. And I've sailed the seven seas in the movie Navy.".
2One of seven children, his father sidelined as a politician and was active in labor union affairs in addition to being a full-time train engineer.
3Had contracts with both MGM and Warner Bros. but was eventually dropped by both because he wasn't star material.
4He met wife Marion Holmes DeFore in Chicago where he was touring in the play "The Male Animal" and she was a vocalist with Art Cassell's orchestra.
5His last film was Rare Breed (1984) which was directed by David Nelson, the son of his old TV boss Ozzie Nelson.
6Studied law at the State University of Iowa for a year before dropping out, realizing that what he enjoyed most about it was the pleading of cases in front of an "audience." Instead he joined a local repertory acting company and his first play was entitled "Broadway" for the Cedar Rapids Community Theater.
7As for sidelines, DeFore was a one-time restaurateur, operating with his brother Don DeFore's Silver Banjo at Disneyland in Anaheim, California; was the American delegate to the Moscow Film Festival in 1969; and was a board committee member for the California Department of Rehabilitation.
8Appeared at the 1939 New York World's Fair Railroad Pageant.
9Co-starred as George Baxter, the boss of housekeeper Shirley Booth, for four years on the popular NBC-TV series Hazel (1961). When the show changed networks to CBS, DeFore and his pretty TV wife Whitney Blake were replaced by his character's "younger brother" Steve (played by Ray Fulmer) and his pretty wife (Lynn Borden). It was explained that George Baxter was "transferred" to Saudi Arabia for business reasons. DeFore's TV son (Bobby Buntrock) continued on in the role, staying behind to live with his aunt and uncle. The show last only one more season before it was canceled.
10First appeared in church plays that were directed by his mother.
11Was a Boy Scout.
12Belonged to Dr. Gene Scott's Faith Center in Glendale, California.
13His father was Joseph Ervin DeFore (1878 - 1942), a railroad engineer in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. His mother was Albina Sylvia Nezerka (1883 - 1975), aka Mrs. Joseph E. DeFore.
14Grandfather of Sean Welch.
15He once generously helped the beloved Walt Disney out of a jam. During the annual Disneyland Christmas parade, Disney's grandchildren were supposed to ride with him in a horse drawn carriage. Parade time was approaching and the grandchildren had not yet shown up, so he called Don DeFore in a panic and asked if he could borrow two of his children, because he couldn't ride in the parade without kids in his carriage. So Don generously offered up two of his children, Dawn DeFore and Ronnie DeFore to ride in the carriage with Disney in the parade and they dutifully waved to the crowd. This is one of Dawn and Ronnie's fondest childhood memories, and they treasure the pictures of the occasion.
16Was the first honorary mayor of Brentwood, the neighborhood in Los Angeles where he built a home in 1948.
17In 1949, Photoplay Magazine sent DeFore, actor Lon McCallister and a then-unknown Marilyn Monroe on a train trip to Warrensburg, New York to present Photoplay's "Dream Home" contest winner with the key to her new home. Surviving photos dated June 1, 1949 show Don DeFore playing cards with Marilyn on the train trip, and also in front of the home during the event. When Photoplay recruited the group for this, Marilyn Monroe had been in New York to promote her new film Love Happy (1949). It is believed that Don DeFore was in New York to shoot My Friend Irma (1949), the film debut of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.
18Appeared on the cover of the 6 October 1962 issue of "TV Guide" with Shirley Booth, his costar on the TV series Hazel (1961).
19Created the role of Wally Myers in the Broadway play "The Male Animal", which opened at the Cort Theatre on January 9, 1940 and ran for 243 performances. He later played the same role in the film version The Male Animal (1942) starring Olivia de Havilland and Henry Fonda. He also appeared in the remake of that film, She's Working Her Way Through College (1952) starring Virginia Mayo and Ronald Reagan.
20Has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6804 Hollywood Blvd.
21Attended Washington High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Briefly attended the University of Iowa with intentions of becoming a lawyer. "Less than one year there, I knew I'd made the wrong choice," he later said.
22Won a scholarship and studied for three years at the famed Pasadena Playhouse. Oscar Hammerstein II saw him in a student produced show "Where Do We Go From Here?" in 1938 and brought it to Broadway, where it had a brief run.
23Served as president of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences from 1954-1955 and was instrumental in arranging for the Emmy Awards to be broadcast on national TV for the first time on March 7, 1955.
24Had five children with Marion Holmes DeFore: Penny DeFore, David DeFore, Dawn DeFore, Ronnie DeFore, and Amy N. DeFore.
25According to the Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Tribune of December 25, 1936, he appeared uncredited in the film Reunion (1936).
26Judy Garland was Matron of Honor at his wedding to Marion Holmes DeFore.
27Went to Des Moines, Iowa in June 1976 to campaign for his longtime friend Ronald Reagan at the Republican State Convention in his bid for President of the United States. DeFore appeared in at least two films with Reagan, Brother Rat (1938) and She's Working Her Way Through College (1952).
28He was the only individual allowed to open a restaurant at Disneyland. He operated the Silver Banjo in Frontierland from 1957 to 1961. His brother Verne DeFore helped him, and they used a gift that their father, a railroad engineer, had brought home from Louisiana - a beautiful silver banjo - as the tiny restaurant's inspiration.




St. Elsewhere1987TV SeriesHarry Klein
Murder, She Wrote1986TV SeriesJake Sanford
Rare Breed1984Frank Nelson
Matt Houston1983TV SeriesMayor
Vega$1978TV SeriesSid Green
Fantasy Island1978TV SeriesMr. Wendover
Black Beauty1978TV Mini-SeriesMartin Tremaine
The Love Boat1978TV SeriesEverett Loudon
Ellery Queen1976TV SeriesDave Pierce
Mobile One1976TV SeriesLoomis
Marcus Welby, M.D.1975TV Series
The Virginian1970TV SeriesMayor Evans
Mannix1970TV SeriesTed Hackett
Mod Squad1969TV SeriesGeorge Anders
My Three Sons1969TV SeriesHarry Palmer
A Punt, a Pass, and a Prayer1968TV MovieRooter Baker
Hazel1961-1965TV SeriesGeorge Baxter
Daddy-O1961TV MovieBen Cousin a.k.a. Daddy-O
Alfred Hitchcock Presents1961TV SeriesArthur Clark
The Best of the Post1960TV Series
The Facts of Life1960Jack Weaver
Michael Shayne1960TV Series
The Loretta Young Show1960TV SeriesJeremy Parker
The Philadelphia Story1959TV MovieGeorge Kitteridge
General Electric Theater1959TV SeriesGeorge
A Time to Love and a Time to Die1958Hermann Boettcher
Studio One in Hollywood1958TV SeriesCapt. George Lowry
The Ford Television Theatre1957TV SeriesTom Harding
The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet1952-1957TV SeriesThorny
Battle Hymn1957Captain Skidmore
Lux Video Theatre1953-1956TV SeriesSam Bradford / Jack Sargent / Stan
Crossroads1956TV SeriesRev. C.E. 'Stoney' Jackson
Schlitz Playhouse1952-1955TV SeriesBill Nichol / Fallon
Science Fiction Theatre1955TV SeriesAl Brown
The Eddie Cantor Comedy Theater1955TV Series
Goodyear Playhouse1954TV Series
Hollywood Opening Night1953TV Series
She's Working Her Way Through College1952Shep Slade
No Room for the Groom1952Herman Strouple
Jumping Jacks1952Lt. Kelsey
And Now Tomorrow1952
A Girl in Every Port1952Bert Sedgwick
The Bigelow Theatre1950-1951TV SeriesWalter
The Guy Who Came Back1951Gordon Towne
Southside 1-10001950John Riggs / Nick Starnes
Dark City1950Arthur Winant
Hollywood Theatre Time1950TV Series
The Silver Theatre1950TV SeriesWalt
My Friend Irma1949Richard Rhinelander
Too Late for Tears1949Don Blake / Don Blanchard
One Sunday Afternoon1948Hugo F. Barnstead
Romance on the High Seas1948Michael Kent
It Happened on Fifth Avenue1947Jim Bullock
Ramrod1947Bill Schell
Without Reservations1946Dink
The Stork Club1945Sgt. Danny Wilton
You Came Along1945Captain W. Anders
The Affairs of Susan1945Mike Ward
Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo1944Charles McClure
Return from Nowhere1944ShortAllan (uncredited)
Practical Joker1944Short
A Guy Named Joe1943James J. Rourke (as Don De Fore)
The Human Comedy1943Bernard 'Texas' Anthony (uncredited)
City Without Men1943Mr. Peters (uncredited)
You Can't Escape Forever1942Davis - Reporter (uncredited)
Men of the Sky1942ShortCadet Dick Mathews
Wings for the Eagle1942Gil Borden
Winning Your Wings1942ShortGas Station Attendant (uncredited)
The Male Animal1942Wally Myers
Right to the Heart1942Tommy Sands (as Don De Fore)
We Go Fast1941Herman Huff (as Don DeForest)
Brother Rat1938Baseball Catcher (uncredited)
Freshman Year1938Upperclassman (uncredited)
Submarine D-11937Sailor (uncredited)
Kid Galahad1937Ringsider (uncredited)
Reunion1936Bit Role (uncredited)


Hazel1962TV Series performer - 1 episode
The Affairs of Susan1945performer: "If You Knew Susie" - uncredited
A Guy Named Joe1943"How About You?" 1941, uncredited / performer: "St. Louis Blues" 1914, "Fight On" 1922, "I'm A Ding Dong Daddy From Dumas" - uncredited
The Human Comedy1943performer: "The Last Round-Up Git Along, Little Dogie, Git Along" 1933 - uncredited


Family Comedy Hour1987TV SpecialHimself
The 39th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards1987TV SpecialHimself - Audience Member
NBC 60th Anniversary Celebration1986TV Special documentaryHimself
All-Star Party for 'Dutch' Reagan1985TV SpecialHimself
Our Time1985TV SeriesHimself
The Wizard of Odds1974TV SeriesHimself - Guest
The Virginia Graham Show1971TV SeriesHimself
The Linkletter Show1965TV SeriesHimself - Guest
The Merv Griffin Show1965TV SeriesHimself
I've Got a Secret1965TV SeriesHimself - Celebrity Guest
The Match Game1964TV SeriesHimself - Team Captain
Here's Hollywood1961-1962TV SeriesHimself
This Is Your Life1953-1959TV SeriesHimself
Screen Snapshots: Hollywood Premiere1955ShortHimself
Dateline: Disneyland1955TV Special documentaryHimself
Screen Snapshots Series 34, No. 6: Hollywood Shower of Stars1955ShortHimself
Screen Snapshots: Hopalong in Hoppy Land1951Documentary shortHimself
Screen Snapshots: Thirtieth Anniversary Special1950ShortHimself
Erskine Johnson's Hollywood Reel1949TV SeriesHimself

Archive Footage

The First Motion Picture Unit: When Hollywood Went to War2014Documentary
All This and World War II1976DocumentaryHimself


Won Awards

1960Star on the Walk of FameWalk of FameTelevisionOn 8 February 1960. At 6804 Hollywood Blvd.

Nominated Awards

1955Primetime EmmyPrimetime Emmy AwardsBest Supporting Actor in a Regular SeriesThe Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet (1952)

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

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