Troy Donahue (born January 27, 1936 in New York City; died September 2, 2001 in Santa Monica, California) was an American actor, known for being a teen idol.
Merle Johnson Jr. was initially a journalism student at Columbia University before he decided to become an actor in Hollywood, where he was represented by Rock Hudson's agent, Henry Willson. According to Robert Hofler's 2005 biography, "The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson: The Pretty Boys and Dirty Deals of Henry Willson," Willson tried out the name Troy on Rory Calhoun and James Darren, with no success, before it finally stuck to Donahue. The blond heartthrob made a name for himself with uncredited roles in The Monolith Monsters (1957) and Man Afraid (1957); leading to larger parts in several films, including Monster on the Campus (1958), Live Fast, Die Young (1958), and opposite fellow teen idol Sandra Dee in A Summer Place (1959). He signed a contract with Warner Bros., and met actress Suzanne Pleshette on the set of Rome Adventure. They married in 1964 but divorced later that year.
After the release of My Blood Runs Cold (1965), Donahue's contract with Warner Bros. ended. He later struggled to find new roles and had problems with drug addiction, alcoholism, and his closeted homosexuality. He was married again in 1966, to actress Valerie Allen, but they divorced in 1968. In 1970 he appeared in the daytime drama The Secret Storm.
He spent his last few years with his fiancĂ©e, mezzo-soprano Zheng Cao. He eventually died of a heart attack in 2001.