Martin Donovan

Martin Donovan

Donovan attends press interviews at the 19th Annual Hamptons International Film Festival, October 16, 2011
Born Martin Paul Smith
(1957-08-19) August 19, 1957
Reseda, California, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1982–present
Spouse(s) Vivian Lanko (m. 1984-present; 2 children)

Martin Donovan (born August 19, 1957) is an American film, stage and television actor. He has had a long collaboration with director Hal Hartley and appeared in many of Hartley's films, such as Trust (1990), Surviving Desire (1991), Simple Men (1992), Flirt (1993), Amateur (1994), and The Book of Life (1998; in which he played Jesus). Donovan also played Peter Scottson on Showtime's cable series Weeds. He made his writing/directorial debut with the film Collaborator (2011).

Early life

Donovan was born Martin Paul Smith in Reseda, California,[1] to Roman Catholic middle-class parents, Gayne Paul Smith and Agnes Mary Regan. He and his three siblings were raised Catholic.[2]

He graduated from Crespi Carmelite High School and attended Pierce College for two years. He attended American Theater Arts, a combined conservatory and theater company in Los Angeles, where he appeared in the plays Richard's Cork Leg by Brendan Behan and Private Life of the Master Race by Bertold Brecht. In 1983, he and his wife, Vivian, moved to New York City, where he took odd jobs like installing drapery to support his family. He joined the off-off-Broadway Cucaracha Theater on Greenwich Street.[3]


Donovan has appeared in fourteen episodes of the Showtime television series Weeds, which stars Mary-Louise Parker, for which he was nominated for a SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by An Ensemble in a Comedy Series. He has also acted with Parker in Saved!, Pipe Dream and The Portrait of A Lady. In The Portrait of A Lady, he won the National Society of Film Critics' Award for best supporting actor.

In 2009, he starred opposite Virginia Madsen in The Haunting in Connecticut. Recently he was seen in The Sentinel with Kiefer Sutherland and Michael Douglas as well as The Quiet with Edie Falco. In 2007 he appeared in the suspense horror film Wind Chill. Other recent film appearances include The United States of Leland, The Opposite of Sex, Living Out Loud, In a Savage Land, Hollow Reed, Onegin, and Nadja.[4]

Donovan had a long association with celebrated director Hal Hartley, starring in several of his films including Amateur which was selected for both the Cannes and New York Film Festivals. Other Hartley collaborations are Simple Men, which was also an official Cannes selection; Trust, Surviving Desire, Flirt and The Book of Life, which was shown at the New York Film Festival. Donovan starred in Shadows and Lies.[4] As well as Hal Hartley, Donovan has also appeared in films directed by Spike Lee, Christopher Nolan and Paul Thomas Anderson.

Donovan made his television series début in Peter Berg's Wonderland. His recent TV credits include Masters of Horror (episode "Right to Die"); the FX telefilm RFK and the Fox series Pasadena. Other television credits are The Great Gatsby, and HBO's When Trumpets Fade. In 2011 he took a major role in the Starz original drama series Boss. In 2014 he starred in the Lifetime post-apocalyptic series The Lottery.[4]


In 2010, Donovan wrote, directed and starred in Collaborator, portraying a once-successful playwright who is taken hostage while visiting his mother and childhood home.[4]

Personal life

Donovan married actress Vivian Lanko in 1984; they have two sons. They lived in New York City for many years before relocating to Vancouver, Canada.[3]


Year Film Role Notes
1985 Hard Choices Josh
1987 At Mother's Request Detective Rogen TV movie
1990 Trust Matthew Slaughter
1991 Surviving Desire Jude
1992 Malcolm X FBI Agent AKA X (USA: poster title)
Simple Men Martin AKA Uomini semplici (Italy)
1993 Quick Herschel Brewer AKA Crossfire (UK: video box title)
Scam Gordon Wexler TV movie
South Beach Spencer Robinson TV series: episode #1.7 "School for Scandal"
The Adventures of Pete & Pete TV series: episodes "Apocalypse Pete" and "Space, Geeks, and Johnny Unitas"
1994 The Rook John Abbott
Nadja Jim
Amateur Thomas Ludens
1995 Flirt Walter
1996 The Portrait of A Lady Ralph Touchett National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor(2nd place)
Hollow Reed Martyn Wyatt
1997 Night Sins Paul Garrison TV movie
1998 Rescuers: Stories of Courage - Two Couples Aart Vos TV movie: segment "Aart and Johtje Vos"
When Trumpets Fade Capt. Roy Pritchett
The Opposite of Sex Bill Truitt
Heaven Robert Marling
Living Out Loud Robert Nelson
The Book of Life Jesus Christ
Spanish Fly Carl
1999 In a Savage Land Dr. Phillip Spence
The Hunt for the Unicorn Killer Richard DiBenedetto TV movie
Onegin Prince Nikitin
2000 Desire
The Great Gatsby Tom Buchanan TV movie
Custody of the Heart Dennis Raphael TV movie
Wonderland Dr. Neil Harrison 8 episodes
2001 Amy and Isabelle Peter Robertson TV movie
Pasadena Will McAllister 13 episodes
Insomnia Detective Hap Eckhart
Pipe Dream David Kulovic
RFK John F. Kennedy TV movie
2003 The United States of Leland Harry Pollard
Agent Cody Banks Dr. Connors
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Dr. Archibald Newlands TV series: episode "Serendipity"
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Howard Delhomme TV series: episode "After the Show"
2004 The Pornographer: A Love Story
Saved! Pastor Skip
Traffic Brent Delaney TV mini-series
Dark Shadows Roger Collins TV series: episode "Pilot"
White Like Me Gus
2005 At Last Mark Singleton
The Quiet Paul Deer
Weeds Peter Scottson 14 episodes
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (2005)
2006 The Visitation Travis Jordan
The Garage Adult Matt
The Sentinel William Montrose
Day on Fire Walter Evering
Law & Order Robert White TV series: episode "Cost of Capital"
2007 The Dead Zone Malcolm Janus 6 episodes
Masters of Horror Cliff Addison TV series: episode "Right to Die"
Wind Chill Highway Patrolman
Ghost Whisperer Tom Gordon 4 episodes
2008 The Alphabet Killer Jim Walsh
2009 The Haunting in Connecticut Peter Campbell
Duress Richard Barnet
2010 Unnatural History Bryan Bartlett
Shadows and Lies Victor
Unthinkable Jack Saunders
2011 Collaborator Robert Longfellow Written and Directed by Martin Donovan
Karlovy Vary International Film Festival: FIPRESCI Prize
Boss Ezra Stone 10 episodes
2012 Silent Hill: Revelation 3D Douglas Cartland
The Firm Kevin Stack recurring role
The Reluctant Fundamentalist Ludlow Cooper
2013 Rogue Richard Campbell TV series
Homeland Leland Bennett 3 episodes
2014 Ned Rifle Rev. Daniel Gardner
Inherent Vice Crocker Fenway
2015 Ant-Man Mitchell Carson
2016 Legends of Tomorrow Zaman Druce Recurring Role; 4 Episodes


  1. "Martin Donovan profile at". 1957-08-19. Retrieved 2013-06-20.
  2. "'Opposite' attracts low-key indie star", New York Post; accessed May 6, 2014.
  3. 1 2 "For an Art-House Regular, a Wider World". The New York Times. Retrieved May 6, 2014.
  4. 1 2 3 4 Martin Donovan at the Internet Movie Database
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