Donald Moffat – It’s a Presidential Thing!
If you asked most people to remark on Donald Moffat’s career, they’d most probably respond with “Who??”, but Moffat played three great roles in three iconic films. The station commander in the remake of The Thing (starring Kurt Russell) and then two presidents, one historic in the form of Lyndon B Johnson in The Right Stuff, and as the fictional, and corruptly sinnister, president in Clear and Present Danger. These roles, to me, were remarkably acted and if you look back on Moffat’s film career then you wouldn’t be surprised. He has played and wide variety of roles in film and tv and he earned nominations and praise for it.
Born in Plymouth, Devon in the UK on Boxing Day 1930, he spent his entire childhood in and around Totnes in Devon before entering National Service with the UK Military and after that he trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. His first stage work was at The Old Vic in London and then relocated to the USA, got married and worked as a Bartender and a Lumberjack. He realised that he was an actor, and needed to act, so he did and worked as a carpenter and his wife took on an ironing job to supplement his stage income.
Moffat’s stage work continued and he was nominated for a Tony award for his role in The Wild Duck and Right If You Think You Are. Moffat appeared in many Broadway and Off-Broadway plays and, dare I say the N word again, nominated for a host of awards and, unfairly, nominated more than he actually won.
Moffat was one of those character actors that could bring out immense colour and vibrance in a part that had only a few minutes of screen time as well as the constant roles he had in quite a few tv series and films. Be it a cowboy or the president of the United States, Moffat gave great quality and credence to his roles.
Moffat died on December 20th 2018, just 6 days short of his 88th birthday, from complications of a stroke.