File

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 133 FRD1/8/13/4
  • Dates of Creation
      1939-1956
      n.d.
  • Physical Description
      82 pieces; 110 leaves. Condition: /79 is typed on flimsy paper which is in poor condition.

Scope and Content

Papers originally stored in a file labelled "Autobiographical notes and press biographies etc. and magazine articles". These miscellaneous papers include biographical articles, publicity material for films The Magic Box and Lease of Life, notes relating to broadcasts and articles by RD, and some correspondence relating to personal matters such as health and finance. The material is as follows:

  • /1 Two-page typescript article entitled '"Graphic" Portrayal', about RD's method of creating graphs to chart the emotional development of his film characters; written at the time of The Magic Box (20 Apr 1951).
  • /2 Five-page typescript press release by Jack Worrow entitled 'Portrait of a Successful Actor: Biography of Robert Donat'; intended as publicity for The Magic Box [1951].
  • /3 Two-page typescript press release about The Magic box, issued by Jack Worrow (12 Feb 1951).
  • /4 One-page fragment of a typescript press release issued in 1955 to promote Lease of Life.
  • /5 Incomplete manuscript draft letter from RD to Major Browne (15 Sep 1942). This item is closed.
  • /6 Typescript copy letter from RD to Tony, inviting him to a play (Caterwampus) being staged by his children and referring to his income tax problems (26 Jun 1939).
  • /7-8 Letter from D. Lyon Smith of Life magazine with a copy reply from RD's secretary, relating to an article entitled 'A Round Table on the Movies', due to appear in the magazine (21 Jun-28 Jul 1949).
  • /9-10 Letter to RD from J. Ryden Harris, with RD's copy reply, relating to the organization of Battle of Britain Week in Norwich, and a request for RD's signature on the souvenir programme (29 Aug-1 Sep 1948).
  • /11-16 Bundle of correspondence between RD and journalist Rhona Churchill, and Ruth Jordan, editor of Woman and Beauty magazine, relating to an article about RD which was to appear in the magazine and was withdrawn at the last minute, due to the possibility of libel action over comments RD made about his schooling (2 Jan-1 Mar 1950).
  • /17-44 Correspondence between RD, Paul Cave and H.V. Tillotson of the News Chronicle in Manchester, relating to an article contributed by RD to their 'Northern Success Stories' series, featuring famous northern personalities of the entertainment world (22 Jun-22 Sep 1950).
  • /45 Letter to RD from Christopher [Hassall], sent to accompany a document relating to No. 8 [The Grove, Highgate, which RD bought from Hassall] (20 Jul 1954).
  • /46-50 Bundle of letters from publishers Angus and Robertson Ltd and one letter from Frank Baker relating to RD's Foreword to Baker's novel Lease of Life; /50 is a typescript version of the Foreword (Jul-2 Oct 1954).
  • /51-52 Typescript copies of letters from RD to P.H. Blackman of Walter Burgis and Co. and Walter Lyons of Davenport, Lyons and Barker, relating to his preferred publicity statement about his separation from his wife Renée (16-18 Oct 1956).
  • /53 Letter to RD from Jack Worrow at Ealing Studios relating to publicity for Lease of Life (23 Nov 1955).
  • /54-55 Letter to RD from the Chairman of Richmond Liberal Association with RD's copy reply, relating to the possibility of RD standing as a Liberal Parliamentary candidate at the next election (5-14 Feb 1945).
  • /56 Rough manuscript draft of a letter from RD to Lt. Col. Legge, regretting that members of the Heartbreak House company did not stay to meet the gentlemen of the Officer's mess after their recent performance, and blaming the poor conditions of the dressing rooms.
  • /57 Fragment of an undated manuscript draft of a letter from RD to an unknown recipient, in which he appears to be requesting an interview for a part.
  • /58 Incomplete 15-page manuscript draft of an article by RD on the art of the theatre.
  • /59-76 Bundle of miscellaneous manuscript notes by RD originally stored in the same envelope. Consists of: rough notes of readings to be included in his Christmas 1953 broadcast; rough drafts of the script for the broadcast; and other miscellaneous notes.
  • /77-8 Two copies of a typescript letter from RD to an unidentified recipient, requesting some privacy when shooting intimate, tense or dramatic scenes [presumably for The Magic Box] (29 Mar 1951).
  • /79-80 Typescript lists recording details of Sunday sermons broadcast on the BBC Home Service and a religious series called 'Lift Up Your Hearts', all broadcast during Oct 1953-Jan 1954 [presumably part of RD's research for Lease of Life].
  • /81-2 Two sheets of very rough brief manuscript notes by RD including some quotes relating to his childhood and his asthma.

Access Information

Piece /5 is closed and may only be accessed by readers who have obtained the prior permission of Joanna Wellington and Brian Donat.

Related Material

Other copies and earlier drafts of the press release in /2-3 can be found at FRD1/13/6, /1/8/13/2/13, and 1/8/13/3.