Snippets March/April - My ancestors were in Entertainment: Response Two: Joseph Corbett Donohue 1905-1996
Joseph Corbett Donohue 1905-1996
Contributed by Tim Donohue
Joe Donohue was the son of first generation American from a small valley town in Northern California. His Grandfather came to America in 1872 from County Clare.
Joe graduated from the University of California, Berkeley. He was a gifted student and had a mature charm and kindhearted manner beyond his age. After College he moved to New York City and became the administrative assistant to CBS President and media mogul William S. Paley. At CBS he later became supervisor of news and special events. He then worked for several advertising and public relations groups including J. Stirling Gechell, William Esty Co. and Buchanan & Co in New York. In 1942 he moved to Hollywood to head the radio department of the Myron Selznick Co. where he represented such talents at William Powell, Pat O’Brien, Robert Benchley, Paul Douglas, Robert Newton and Monty Wooley. At William Esty he worked on the Eddie Cantor show, Burns & Allen and the Blondie radio shows. He launched his 30-year public relations and publicity career in 1954 handling the first Emmy Awards on NBC for the Television Academy. He handled accounts that included the National Football League properties, California Wine Institute, Occidental Petroleum, and the campaign to rebuild the Hollywood sign.
Joe experienced the zenith of Los Angeles and Hollywood media industry which he helped launch. He contributed to the evolution that saw society transition from radio to television in the post WW2 generation. The golden age of media was his career.
When Joe died his Rolodex of phone numbers contained the personal contacts of virtually every important person in Hollywood. Personal numbers of Studio moguls and Walt Disney among other titans in the industry were his friends and colleagues. One of his best friends was Steve Allen who was one of the biggest radio and TV stars of the emerging media world.