Born Merle Johnson, Jr. in New York City, Troy Donahue, the son of a General Motors executive, attended Columbia University in the mid-’50s. At that time Donahue was discovered by a talent agent while working in summer stock theater. He went on to Hollywood and soon became one of the decade’s leading teen male movie heartthrobs.
Donahue guest-starred on television’s The Tales of Wells Fargo, Maverick and Wagon Train. Not many Western films to his credit, he did play the hero of Raoul Walsh’s swan song, A Distant Trumpet (1964). Donahue, who was once married to Trumpet co-star Suzanne Pleshette, recently died of a heart attack.