Actor Peter Donat, who starred as Fox Mulder’s father in The X-Files, has died.
Donat passed away on Monday in his home in Point Reyes Station California (via Deadline). According to his wife Maria Dejong Donat, he passed away from complications with diabetes and is survived by Maria, their sounds Caleb, Christopher, and Lucas, stepdaughters Barbara Park Shapiro and Marina Park Sutton, stepson Malcolm Park, Peter’s brother Richard, and 11 grandchildren.
X-Files fans will recognize Donat from his run as Fox Mulder’s father William Mulder, appearing in six episodes of the show total. Despite the brief run, he made quite an impression, but Donat had an over 50-year career in the acting field, starring in both television and movies.
Some of Donat’s early projects included the TV movie The Clay of Kings and Robert Montgomery Presents, starring in both projects in 1953. He had steady work after that in films and television, with parts in projects like Mission Impossible, I Spy, Hawaii Five-O, Charlie’s Angels, Dallas, Murder She Wrote, and more. He continued to have a steady appearance list until 1995, where he first appeared as William Mulder. He would make his last appearance in that role in 1999 in the episode One Son.
Fox Mulder actor David Duchovny enjoyed working with Donat, telling the New York Times “He had an easy gravitas as a performer and seemed to come from that generation that took the art seriously but not too seriously.”
While he had steady work as a television and movie actor, he always preferred the stage to either, performing with production companies like the American Conservatory Theater and the Stratford Festival, where he played roles like Bergerac, King Lear, and Hadrian VII.
Donat was born in Kentville, Nova Scotia on January 20th, 1928, and took to the stage thanks to his uncle. His uncle was the Oscar-winning actor Robert Donat, who took home an Academy Award for best actor for this turn in Goodbye, Mr Chips in 1939, and that inspired Peter to also seek out the stage, ultimately getting his first stage role in Tyrone Guthrie and Alexander Cohen’s The First Gentleman.