Donald George Novis was an English-born American singer and actor, who sang songs for various Disney animated shorts and films most notably singing the Academy Award nominated song "Love is a Song" from Bambi. He also co-created the script for the long-running The Golden Horseshoe Revue at Disneyland's Frontierland with Wally Boag. The show ran continuously to 1986, and Novis himself starred in the production from its inception until his retirement nine years later in 1964.
Novis was born on March 3, 1906 in Hastings, Sussex. Shortly after his birth, he and his family emigrated to Canada and later made their way to the United States. He attended Thomas Jefferson Elementary School, Pasadena High School and Whittier College. In 1928, Novis won the national Atwater Kent Foundation singing competition after having won a preliminary regional contest that included contestants from nine western states. The victory in the second national Radio Audition earned $5,000 cash and a two-year university scholarship for Novis.
During the 1930s, Novis was also highly active as a singer with big bands and as a radio entertainer in the 1930. He pursued an acting and singing career where he became a staple on radio, stage, and film productions. He appeared onscreen with films, like Bulldog Drummond, One Hour with You, This Is the Night, Love In The Rough, Sweethearts of the U.S.A., Slightly Terrific, and Monte Carlo. Novis also dubbed for actor David Manners for the 1932 film Crooner.
While his stage credits are few, Novis appeared on Broadway with shows, like Luana and Jumbo as well as a production of Jerome Kern's Roberta at the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera. He also hosted his own program on NBC and performed frequently with Anson Weeks and his band and was often heard on the radio programme Fibber McGee and Molly. He also played Matt Mulligan in the old-time radio adaptation of Jumbo (1935-1936).
Novis died of pneumonia in Norwalk, California in 1966 at the age of 60.
|1942||Bambi||Performer: "Love is a Song"|
"Looking for Romance (I Bring You a Song)" - uncredited
|1955||Lady and the Tramp||Performer: "Peace On Earth" - uncredited|
|1956||The Mickey Mouse Club||Himself: "Guest Star Day: Donald Novis, Judy Marsh, Wally Boag"|
|1982||A Walt Disney Christmas||Archive footage|