Donovan, who has courted Jennifer Aniston and Sandra Bullock (to set the record straight, he says, she broke up with him), is divorced. Divorce was a brutal experience, he says. But he’s willing to try again and would like to have a family.
The youngest of six himself, he says, “I think I spent my entire childhood desperately trying to get attention. I think more than getting attention, I grew up in a pretty chaotic household — six kids, the ‘60s. There was a lot of sex and drugs, and my brothers and sisters rebelled tremendously. The Vietnam War, it was a very tumultuous time. I found that acting was a wonderful therapy. I learned a lot about myself, how I really felt and who I really was by being in plays and watching movies. It was a profound pleasure.”
He did not join in his siblings’ revolt. “I was a good kid. My rebellion was when I went to college and declared my major to be theater.”
While he attended USC he toiled at several odd jobs, one of them at the Concord Resort Hotel in the Borsht Belt in New York.
“During the day I was a cabana boy and I would do the follow-spot (light) for all the big acts. I did huge acts like Sammy Davis Jr., Bill Cosby, Joan Rivers, Peter Allen — all these amazing entertainers. It was a great experience … After the show there was a midnight swim and I was a lifeguard. So I was working 24 hours a day.”
While he was still in college he met David DeCamillo, who was just starting a small talent agency. DeCamillo took him on as his first client. They’ve worked together ever since.
“He’s been so supportive of me no matter what,” says Donovan, 49. “I’ve been fired from jobs. I’ve been unemployed. I’ve had ups and downs and he’s always been there for me … I’ve been very lucky to have someone else besides myself champion me. My whole family — every single one of them — said, ‘You can’t make it in Hollywood. You can’t be an actor. What are you, stupid?’ And, ‘It is ridiculous to think you can make it as an actor in Hollywood.’ But to have someone believe in you … it’s amazing.”