Jason Sean Donovan (born 1 June 1968, Malvern, Melbourne) is an Australian actor and singer. In the UK he has sold more than 3 million records, and his d?but album Ten Good Reasons was the highest-selling album of 1989 with sales of over 1.5 million copies. He has had four UK No. 1 singles, one of which was "Especially for You", his 1988 duet with Kylie Minogue. In more recent years, he has returned to acting on television and in stage musicals.
Jason Donovan is the son of Australian actor Terence Donovan, who also appeared in Neighbours as Doug Willis; and his mother is Sue McIntosh. His half-sister is former Neighbours star Stephanie McIntosh. Donovan attended De La Salle College, Malvern. His partner since 1998 and the mother of his children is Angela Malloch, a former stage manager. He has two children, a daughter, Jemma (born 28 March 2000) and a son, Zach (born 23 March 2001). Recently he exchanged vows with Angela in Bali; this was a Buddhist ceremony, which is not recognised in law, and he plans to get legally married early in 2009.
Donovan made his first television appearance at the age of eleven on the Australian series Skyways, playing a guest role. In the episode his on-screen sister was played by later co-star Kylie Minogue. He also featured in I Can Jump Puddles before reaching fame in Neighbours as the second incarnation (after Darius Perkins) of the character Scott Robinson. His character's most notable story arc was his onscreen romance and wedding to Charlene Robinson (played by Kylie Minogue).
In 1987 he won his first Logie Award for "Best New Talent" in 1987 and received a commendation in the category "Performance by a Male Actor In a Series" from the Television Society of Australia's Penguin Awards. In 1988 he was awarded the 'Silver Logie' for the "Most Popular Actor."
1988-91: singing sensation
After leaving Neighbours in 1988, Donovan signed a recording contract with Mushroom Records. His first single "Nothing Can Divide Us" written and produced by Mike Stock, Matt Aitken and Pete Waterman known as Stock Aitken Waterman reached number five in the UK, number one in Hong Kong and Japan, and the top 40 in several other countries.
In 1988 he joined Neighbours co-star Kylie Minogue in signing for Stock, Aitken and Waterman's record label PWL. His second single, "Too Many Broken Hearts," reached number one in the UK. He released his d?but album, Ten Good Reasons, in May 1989, which entered the charts at number two and within a week had reached the number one album spot remaining there for three weeks. His cover of Brian Hyland's "Sealed With a Kiss" entered the UK charts at number one, making Jason the first Australian male to ever hold both single and album chart number one positions simultaneously. He was also the youngest artist to enter the charts at number one.
His duet of the song "Especially for You", with Minogue, was the fourth-highest selling single in the UK that year, and 17th in Australia for 1989. Donovan and Minogue dated for a time, during this period. Between 1988 and 1993 alone, he enjoyed no fewer than 16 hit singles in the UK.
1991?93: Joseph and "The Face"
Due to his celebrity status, Donovan started to experiment with his acting ability outside of his Neighbours envelope. In 1988, Donovan appeared as Happy Houston in the World War II drama The Heroes, based on the historical novel by Ronald McKie, for which he won the 1990 Logie Award for Most Popular Actor in a Mini-Series. In 1990 Donovan appeared in his first feature film Blood Oath (aka Prisoners of the Sun).
With questions about his ability to sing, and the break-up of his relationship with Minogue due to her relationship with INXS singer Michael Hutchence, Donovan accepted the challenge of the lead role from 1991 in the restaged London Palladium version of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, directed by Steven Pimlott. Donovan had his third solo UK #1 single with one of its tracks Any Dream Will Do, while the production won the 1992 Laurence Olivier Awards for set design and costume design, but left Donovan exhausted, and he was replaced in 1993 by TV presenter Phillip Schofield.
In 1992, Donovan launched a successful libel action against The Face magazine who had published allegations that he was gay. Donovan won ?200,000 in damages and the magazine had to pay a further ?100,000 in costs, but the action of his lawsuit made him appear homophobic to some sections of the media and had the effect of alienating much of his audience. Donovan tried to make amends and claimed that he did not sue the magazine out of greed nor homophobia, but because he had been accused of lying to his fans. He also came to an agreement with the publishers of the magazine, which would have closed down had they paid him the full amount he was awarded (though this amount could well have been reduced upon appeal anyway). Regardless, Donovan's career never recovered from his act of litigation. Although Donovan had been a mild drug user who had smoked cannabis joints up until this point, in the months after his libel action he began using cocaine . In a 2007 interview in the magazine "Marie Claire" and also in his 2007 autobiography "Between The Lines: My Story Uncut", Donovan admitted that suing The Face was the biggest mistake of his life.
Now no longer signed to PWL who had released his first two albums and a "greatest hits" compilation, Donovan moved to Polydor Records. The year after his libel action against "The Face", he released his third album, All Around The World (1993). However, the album was not a success and failed to make the UK Top 20 (all of Donovan's albums up until then had been Top 10) and was not even released at all in his native Australia. Donovan was subsequently dropped by his new record company, effectively marking the end of his career as a pop star.
By 1995, Donovan later admitted that he had a serious drug problem, taking around two grams of cocaine a day. In late 1995, he attended model Kate Moss's 21st birthday party at The Viper Room in Los Angeles, where he suffered a drug-induced seizure. Saved by Hutchence, Donovan was admitted to the local emergency room.
In 1996, Donovan starred in the natively produced Australian film called The Last Bullet with Koji Tamaki, directed by Michael Pattison which was set in World War II on the Pacific island of Borneo in the last days of 1945.
In 1998 Donovan took the lead role in the UK touring production of Rocky Horror Show, where he met stage manager Angela Malloch. After the pair started a relationship, Angela became pregnant and gave Donovan an ultimatum.
In various articles in late 1999, Donovan admitted that he still used cocaine, saying: I still have a joint and I still take coke, but not as much as I did two years ago.
Donovan's daughter, Jemma, was born in March 2000. Since then, with his drug problems now under control, he continued to act on stage and television, and had a role in the medical-legal television drama MDA (2003-05), on Australia's ABC network. Since 2003, Donovan has also lent his voice to the Buzz! series of quiz video games.
In late 2004, he was headlining in the stage musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the London Palladium. He finished his original run on 13 March 2005, but was then invited back from June onwards to play in the final two months of the show, until its closure on 4 September 2005. Following this, he has toured the UK performing a few gigs and returned to the stage in January 2006 to star in a UK tour of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd. After this, he returned to Melbourne to star in David Eldrige's Australian transfer of the London drama Festen, before continuing with his intention to make a comeback as a folk rock singer.
In 2005, Donovan's mobile phone number was circulated around the web in Australia, due to an image that was taken in Sydney. It appeared that Donovan was trying to sell his car, and unwittingly released his mobile phone number to the public. From 10 September, his answering machine had a special message on it, because he was frustrated by the number of calls he was receiving for no particular reason. Virgin placed advertisements in several high-profile Australian newspapers, urging people not to call Donovan, one of their customers. Virgin Mobile has since admitted the photos were all part of a marketing ploy. Virgin also ran TV advertisements showing Donovan answering prank calls, asking the viewer not to call him, then displaying his number.
2006: I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!
Donovan took part in I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! in 2006 and finished in 3rd place. During his time in the jungle, he was known as 'Jungle J' and was seen as somewhat of a support figure. While in the jungle, he became good friends with David Gest and Matt Willis. Donovan also took part in many Bushtucker Trials, which included wearing a helmet full of insects and playing a giant game of Operation. Donovan lost out on the King of the Jungle Crown to Matt Willis. However he recently told "The Steve Wright Show" on BBC Radio 2 (January 2008) that his appearance on I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! revitalised his career.
2007-09: Return to Soap Operas and Singing
Jason Donovan at a 2007 book signing in Waterstones Bournemouth.
Donovan performed a medley of songs from Joseph along with other actors who have played the eponymous role (Donny Osmond and Lee Mead) at the Concert for Diana in July 2007.
In early 2008, Donovan appeared in ITV's post-watershed soap opera Echo Beach as Daniel Marrack. However the series was cancelled after 12 episodes. He also presented Sunday Night with Jason Donovan, a programme on The One Network of UK local radio stations.
On 25 September 2008, Donovan performed in the canteen at the head offices of Tesco in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire. He was promoting his forthcoming album, Let It Be Me, which was released on 10 November 2008. The album, his first for 15 years, reached no. 28 in the UK.
In 2009, Donovan performed as Tick (Mitzi) in the London stage musical production of Priscilla Queen of the Desert at the Palace Theatre. He is currently also the host of the radio show "Sunday Night with Jason Donovan", Sundays from 7pm to 10pm on Heart 106.2, London.