8/30/01: Suffered a heart attack. He never recovered and died at St. John's Hospital and Medical Center in Santa Monica, CA, 9/2/01.
Taught acting classes on Holland America cruise ships.
His name was used in the lyrics for the song, "Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee" in the musical, Grease. ("As for you Troy Donahue...").
Underwent successful angioplasty surgery upon his arrival in hospital, but then suffered a second heart attack and was given a heart bypass.
Received his movie name of "Troy Donahue" from the same person who named Rock Hudson: Hollywood press agent Henry Willson.
After his father's death, at age 14 Troy was sent to military school. As a cadet, he became friends with a classmate, Francis Ford Coppola. This led to his being cast in The Godfather: Part II (1974).
1/23/05: Ranked #10 in TV Guide's list of "TV's 25 Greatest Teen Idols".
He toured in a producton of "Bye Bye Birdie" toward the end of his life.
Son of Merle Johnson Sr., a vice-president at General Motors, and Edith, a stage actress.
His admittedly limited talent was slightly chided in the smash Broadway musical "A Chorus Line." The lyric went: "If Troy Donahue could be a movie star, then I could be a movie star!"
Former co-star and long-time friend Connie Stevens visited Donahue the day before he died.
Used his real name, Merle Johnson, for his character in The Godfather: Part II (1974).
Starting drinking alcohol in seventh grade (age 13). After being dropped by Warner Brothers in 1966 (age 30) he became an alcoholic. Admitted that he was addicted to pain killers, amphetamines, & cocaine, and used marijuana daily. Joined AA in 1982 (age 46) and turned his life around with his sobriety.
At the time of his death he lived with his fiancée, the mezzo-soprano Zheng Cao.
Died just eleven days before his A Summer Place (1959) costar, Dorothy McGuire.
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