Donald Woods (actor)

Donald Woods (born Ralph Lewis Zink; December 2, 1906 March 5, 1998) was a Canadian-American film and television actor whose career in Hollywood spanned six decades.

Donald Woods
in Sea Devils (1937)
Ralph Lewis Zink

(1906-12-02)December 2, 1906
DiedMarch 5, 1998(1998-03-05) (aged 91)
Resting placeForest Lawn Cemetery (Cathedral City)
Years active1928-84
Josephine Van der Horck
(m. 1933)

Life and career

Born in Brandon, Manitoba, Woods moved with his family to California where he was raised in Burbank. His parents were William and Margaret Zink, Presbyterians of German descent. His younger brother, Clarence Russell Zink, also became an actor (Russ Conway).[1]

Woods graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, and made his film debut in 1928. His screen career was spent mostly in B movies, for example as lawyer Perry Mason in the 1937 film The Case of the Stuttering Bishop. He also occasionally played major roles in bigger feature films like A Tale of Two Cities (1935), Anthony Adverse (1936), Watch on the Rhine (1943), The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1944), and Roughly Speaking (1945).

Of considerable importance to his acting career were several seasons as leading man with the Elitch Gardens Theatre Company in Denver, Colorado, where he performed in 1932, 1933, 1939, 1941, 1947, and 1948.

In the early days of television, Woods starred as the title character in the 1951 syndicated TV series Craig Kennedy, Criminologist,[2] and he was the host of Damon Runyon Theater on CBS-TV.[2]:230 He played himself on the dramatic series Hotel Cosmopolitan, also on CBS[2]:479, and he was one of three hosts of The Orchid Award on ABC-TV.[2]:795 He portrayed Walter Manning on Portia Faces Life on CBS.[2]:847

He also appeared in such anthology series as The Philco Television Playhouse, Armstrong Circle Theatre, Robert Montgomery Presents, The United States Steel Hour, Crossroads, and General Electric Theater. On April 11, 1961, Woods appeared as "Professor Landfield" in the episode "Two for the Gallows" on NBC's Laramie western series. Series character Slim Sherman (John Smith) is hired under false pretenses to take Landfield into the Badlands to seek gold. Landfield, however, is really Morgan Bennett, a member of the former Henry Plummer gang who has escaped from prison. Slim has no idea that Landfield is seeking the loot that his gang had hidden away. Series character Jess Harper (Robert Fuller), Pete Dixon, played by Warren Oates, and Pete's younger brother soon come to Slim's aid. The title stems from the talk that the undisciplined Dixon brothers might eventually wind up in a hangman's noose.[3]

Woods later was a regular in the role of John Brent on the short-lived series Tammy[2]:1052-1053 and made guest appearances on Bat Masterson, Wagon Train, Ben Casey, 77 Sunset Strip, Hawaiian Eye, Stoney Burke, Bourbon Street Beat, Bonanza, Coronet Blue, Ironside, Alias Smith and Jones, The Wild Wild West and Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law, among many others before retiring from acting in 1976.

Besides his film career, he also worked as a successful real estate broker in Palm Springs where he lived with his wife, childhood sweetheart Josephine Van der Horck. They were married from 1933 until his death and had two children, Linda and Conrad. He was interred at the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Cathedral City, California.[4]

Partial filmography


  1. Wilson, Scott (2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed. (2 volume set). McFarland. p. 153. ISBN 9781476625997. Retrieved 22 April 2017.
  2. Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. p. 217. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7.
  3. "Laramie: Two for the Gallows". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved September 21, 2012.
  4. Brooks, Patricia; Brooks, Jonathan (2006). "Chapter 8: East L.A. and the Desert". Laid to Rest in California: a guide to the cemeteries and grave sites of the rich and famous. Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot Press. p. 245. ISBN 978-0762741014. OCLC 70284362.
  5. Joe Jordan (30 June 2014). Showmanship: The Cinema of William Castle. BearManor Media. pp. 231–. GGKEY:7X0U2FR3T69.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.