Keath, Donna

Actress

By Jeremiah Favara

Biography

Donna Keath was an actress who worked in radio and on the stage. Keath was involved with the group “Stage for Action,” a collection of performers and writers dedicated to addressing social concerns in the 1940s.1

 

Cast of Young Dr. Malone

Biography

Keath was an actress in New York City in the 1940s. Keath got a role in the daytime radio serial The Couple Next Door on her first audition.2 As a radio performer Keath was featured in many of the top radio programs of the mid-1940s, including Ma Perkins  and Road of Life.3 Keath also acted in plays, including Sophie, which opened on Broadway in December 1944. Keath’s acting career is most noted for her involvement in the theatre group Stage for Action.Keath married Peter B. Neubauer, a child psychiatrist, on October 24, 1945.4 Keath later divorced Neubauer and engaged in a relationship with Jerre Mangione, an author.5 Keath went by the name Donna Mangione and worked with Mangione to write a sample television script titled “What’s the picture?” which was copyrighted in 1955.6

  • 1. Chrystyna Dail. Stage for Action: U.S. Social Activist Theatre in the 1940s. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2016.
  • 2. Sally Welles, “The Woman Listener,” Boyden Reporter (Boyden, IA), November 6, 1947.
  • 3. Virginia Vale, “Star Dust: Stage Screen Radio,” Soda Springs Sun (Soda Springs, ID), March 15, 1945.
  • 4. New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Manhattan; Indexed Number: 16.
  • 5. Walter Winchell, “On Broadway,” Humboldt Standard (Eureka, CA), March 18, 1955.
  • 6. Library of Congress. Copyright Office. Catalog of Copyright Entries, Third Series. Volume 9, Part 2, Number 1: Periodicals. 1955.

 

 

Newspaper article about Donna Keath

 

 

Ad for Young Dr. Malone

 

Blacklist

Keath was a founding member of Stage for Action (SFA), a “progressive theatre company” founded in December 1943. Keath, along with actress Perry Miller, Berilla Kerr, and Peggy Clark, began SFA as a mode of using performance to address specific social and political issues of the time. Keath became the chairman of SFA in April 1944.1 Keath was quoted as saying, “We are willing to use the talents by which we make a living to explain the significance behind the headlines.”2 Eleanor Roosevelt was a supporter of SFA and wrote a piece in the Nevada State Journal in April 1944 discussing the importance of the group’s mission. Roosevelt called Keath one of “the four moving spirits of the organization” in a call to raise funds for the group.3

In addition to her work with SFA, Keath was also involved in the American Federation of Radio Artists (AFRA), serving on the resolutions committee in 1943 and attending AFRA conventions in 1943 and 1944.4 Although Keath was the only one of the four founding members of SFA to get named in Red Channels, other members, including Edward Chodorov, Norman Corwin, Arthur Miller, and Sam Wanaker, were also identified as Communist sympathizers.5

  • 1. Chrystyna Dail. Stage for Action: U.S. Social Activist Theatre in the 1940s. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2016.
  • 2. Jean Meegan, “Actors, Writer Will Try To Shake Public Lethargy,” Evening Huronite (Huron, SD), April 20, 1944.
  • 3. Eleanor Roosevelt, “My Day,” Nevada State Journal (Reno, NV), April 25, 1944.
  • 4. Billboard, September 4, 1943; Billboard, September 9, 1944.
  • 5. Dail, Stage for Action.

 

Flier, Stage for Action Production