Donald Meek

Thomas Donald Meek (14 July 1878 – 18 November 1946) was a Scottish-American actor. He first performed publicly at the age of eight and began appearing on Broadway in 1903.

Donald Meek
Donald Meek in The Thin Man Goes Home (1945)
Thomas Donald Meek

(1878-07-14)14 July 1878
Died18 November 1946(1946-11-18) (aged 68)
Resting placeFairmount Cemetery
Years active1886–1946
Belle Walken (m. 1909)

Meek is perhaps best known for his roles in the films You Can't Take It with You (1938) and Stagecoach (1939). He posthumously received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960.

Life and career

Meek was born in Glasgow to Matthew and Annie Meek. In the 1890s, the Meek family emigrated to Canada and then to the United States. By 1900, they were living in Philadelphia where Donald was employed as a dry goods salesman, according to the United States census of that year. Sometime later, Donald went on the stage. According to Massachusetts marriage records database, he and Isabella "Belle" Walken married in Boston in a Methodist church on 3 January 1909. By this marriage, the American-born Belle Meek lost her United States citizenship taking her husband's British nationality. After years on the stage, Meek eventually became a film actor, appearing memorably in several movies, including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Little Miss Broadway, and State Fair. Before becoming an actor, he fought in the Spanish–American War in the United States Army and contracted yellow fever which caused him to lose his hair. He was cast as timid, worried characters in many of his films, and is perhaps best known for his roles as Mr. Poppins in Frank Capra's You Can't Take It With You and as whiskey salesman Samuel Peacock in John Ford's Stagecoach.[1]

From 1931 through 1932, Meek was featured as criminologist Dr. Crabtree, in a series of 12 Warner Brothers two-reel short subjects written by S.S. Van Dine.


Donald Meek died of leukaemia on Monday, 18 November 1946 in Los Angeles,[2] while playing the role of Mr. Twiddle in William A. Wellman's comedy Magic Town with Jimmy Stewart and Jane Wyman,[3] which premiered on 7 October 1947,[4] just under a year after Meek's death. A prolific film actor in over 100 Hollywood movies during its Golden Age, he received a posthumous star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He was entombed in the Fairmount Mausoleum at Fairmount Cemetery in Denver, Colorado.

Selected filmography


  1. "On Donald Meek, Whose Characters Matched His Screen Name". Travalanche. 14 July 2017. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  2. Donald Meek dies in Hollywood
  3. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 October 2013. Retrieved 7 June 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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