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Donovan Patton
Donovan Patton 2020.jpg
Patton in 2020
Born (1978-03-01) March 1, 1978 (age 45)
Naval Air Station Agana, Guam, U.S.
Occupation
  • Actor
  • television host
Years active 1996–present
Spouse(s) Jackie Patton
Children 2

Donovan Patton (born March 1, 1978) is an American actor and television host. Patton graduated from the Interlochen Arts Academy and acted in Shakespeare plays such as Much Ado About Nothing and Romeo and Juliet before replacing Steve Burns as the host of Nickelodeon's long-running children's television program, Blue's Clues in 2002. Series co-creator Angela Santomero stated that Patton brought Joe, his character, closer to the preschool viewer, as Joe was more willing to "jump into a problem rather than figuring it out first like Steve". After Blue's Clues ended in 2006, Patton then voiced Bot on Nickelodeon's Team Umizoomi (2010–2015) and currently voices CatRat on the Netflix original DreamWorks series Gabby's Dollhouse as well as special appearances in the new series Blue’s Clues & You!.

Although most of his career has been in children's television programs, Patton has also appeared in independent films, such as Black Wine (2005), Awake (2013), Lies I Told My Little Sister (2014), The Broken Ones (2017), The Murder (2019), The Anniversary (2019), Psycho Escort (2020), and DieRy (2020), and in television shows, such as Blue Bloods (2011), Nurse Jackie (2011) and Damages (2012).

He also appeared in video games, such as Grand Theft Auto V (2013), Lego Jurassic World (2015), Star Wars: The Old Republic – Knights of the Fallen Empire (2015), Halo 5: Guardians (2015), Horizon: Zero Dawn (2017), and God of War (2018).

Early life and education

Patton was born on a U.S. military base in Guam to Michael Patton (1951–2014), an Air Force meteorologist, and Darlene Curtis (born 1952), who worked for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. He has an older brother, Casey, and a younger half-sister, Annabelle. After his parents divorced when he was 3, he, his brother, and their mother moved to Colorado. They moved to Las Vegas when Donovan was 12. Patton graduated from the Interlochen Arts Academy in northwest Michigan in 1996, having transferred there his junior year.

Career

His first acting roles were in Shakespeare plays such as Much Ado About Nothing and Romeo and Juliet. He took acting classes in Manhattan while working odd jobs such as a book clerk and a video deliveryman.

Blue's Clues

Patton's "big break" came in the autumn of 2000 when he was cast to replace Steve Burns as Joe, the second host of the Nickelodeon children's television program Blue's Clues. At the time, Patton worked as a waiter and a part-time actor in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York. He was originally set up for a part in Blair Witch Project 2 at the time, but he considered the role as Joe "a happy accident". Patton became a "household name" and has been called "an unqualified star to the 5-and-under set and their parents". He was subjected to "the same kind of scrutiny" as Burns, who was involved in Patton's selection and helped train him, to earn the role. Patton was selected out of 1,500 auditions. He had never seen the show before his audition, but like Burns was the favorite with preschool test audiences. He said, "I am convinced that I got that part because of a Christopher Walken impression I sometimes do. There's a tape out there, somewhere, with both Steve Burns and myself doing a Blue's Clues scene both as Christopher Walken, which we did at the screen test. I haven't seen the tape, but I know somewhere it still exists". Burns trained Patton to take over the host spot and advised him not to "think of [the show] as children's TV", but rather as "acting and telling the truth". Burns left the show in January 2001, with the transition episodes airing in April 2002.

According to Traci Paige Johnson, one of the producers and creators of Blue's Clues, Patton's character was more like a preschooler and more innocent than Steve. Angela Santomero, another producer and creator, stated that Patton's characterization as Joe brought him closer to the preschool viewer as Joe was more willing to "jump into a problem rather than figure it out first like Steve". Patton liked working on Blue's Clues because, as he stated, "I got to go be a kid for twelve hours a day". He called the show's crew "a real fun little family" and a "well-oiled machine" by the time he joined the show. Patton remained on the show for 50 episodes, until it ended its run in 2006, and also appeared in its spin-off, Blue's Room, which premiered in 2004. Several years later, Patton said he had not yet grasped the enormity of replacing Burns, even after he became a parent and witnessed the show's effect on his own children. He admitted that he preferred when his daughter watched the Steve episodes.

Patton, alongside Burns, appeared in the first episode of the 2019 revival Blue's Clues & You!, reprising their roles as Joe and Steve respectively to help their cousin Josh (who was played by Josh Dela Cruz) learn how to take care of Blue.

Later roles

In 2012, Patton appeared in the short films Awake and Pharmboy, the latter of which was directed by his longtime friend Lawrence Feeney. Mark Finguerra, the director of Awake, was able to look past the potential typecasting of Patton's role in Blue's Clues to cast him in a darker role. Patton had impressed him in an audition for an earlier feature film. Finguerra called Patton a "complete professional [and a] tremendous actor", and enjoyable on set. He appeared in the soap opera One Life to Live, in which he played, in a departure of his previous roles, "a very angry man". In 2014, he appeared in a small movie shot mostly in New Jersey, entitled Lies I Told My Little Sister, directed by William Stribling and starring Lucy Walters. He also stars in Four for Fun, a film by Jason Cook, alongside Jacob Young, Brytni Sarpi, and Annika Foster.

Personal life

Patton called his career, with its mixture of children's television and darker roles in independent films, "an odd experience" and told a reporter that he had spent half his life at Nickelodeon. In 2009, he was cast as Bot, the robot superhero, on the children's show Team Umizoomi through the relationships he had made at Nickelodeon on Blue's Clues. He found working on Team Umizoomi "comforting" because many of the same crew, producers, and creators had also worked on Blue's Clues. It was the first time he had worked as a voice-over artist, unlike on Blue's Clues, when he was able to be more physical acting in front of a blue screen. He said, about Team Umizoomi, "the work the animators have done on it has been superlative". He stated that he enjoyed working on Team Umizoomi because it gave him the opportunity to participate in a show from its inception, which he had missed with Blue's Clues. Patton said his voice performance of Bot, which he modeled on Brent Spiner's performance as the android Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation and was influenced by Mel Blanc's work in the classic Warner Bros. cartoons, "ended up sounding more like my natural voice, with a teeny bit of superhero in there". Despite both roles in Blue's Clues and Team Umizoomi requiring him to sing, he did not consider himself a natural singer and felt that he had to work hard at it. He said, about being cast as Bot, "I get to be a superhero. Who doesn't want to be a superhero?" Patton was the only main cast member to stay on Team Umizoomi for its entire run, voicing Bot in all episodes spread through its four seasons.

Patton is married to his wife Jackie and has two children. They live in Los Angeles. He is active in several charities in the New York City area, including Literacy Inc., the Make-a-Wish Foundation, and the Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, a large children's hospital.

Filmography

Film

Year Title Role Notes
2005 Black Wine Todd
2009 Imagine That Joe Uncredited
2012 Pharmboy Mr. Morris
2013 Monsters University Additional voices
2014 Lies I Told My Little Sister Josh Davidson
2017 The Broken Ones Tim Kelly
2020 Psycho Escort Russell
DieRy Larry Clark
2022 Four For Fun Søren
Blue's Big City Adventure Joe

Television

Year Title Role Notes
2002–2006 Blue's Clues Joe 48 episodes
2002 The Today Show Himself Episode: "26 April 2002"
2002 Maury Episode: "13 November 2002"
2003 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards '03 Uncredited
2004–2007 Blue's Room Joe 12 Episodes
2010–2015 Team Umizoomi Bot (voice) 78 episodes
2011 Blue Bloods Bellhop Episode: "Age of Innocence"
2011 Nurse Jackie Husband Episode: "Mitten"
2012 Damages Dry Cleaning Boy at Hewes & Associates Episode: "Have You Met the Eel Yet?"
2015–2018 Clarence Mr. Reese, additional voices (voice) 30 episodes
2016–2017 Creative Galaxy Chef Zesty (voice) 5 episodes
2018 The Myth of Robo Wonder Kid Birt, Mr. Mudtroll (voices) TV Short
2018 The Church of What's Happening Now Himself Episode: "Donovan Patton"
2018 We Bare Bears Additional voices Episode: "Paperboyz"
2019–present Blue's Clues & You Joe Recurring role
2020 Sidewalks Entertainment Himself – Guest Episode: "Holidays with Josh and Donovan"
2021 Gabby's Dollhouse CatRat (voice) Main Role
TBA Meet the Voxels Deuce Episode: "Pilot"

Video games

Year Title Role Notes
2002 Blue's Clues: Blue's Preschool Joe
Blue's Clues Kindergarten
2003 Blue's Clues: Blue Takes You to School
2013 Grand Theft Auto V Actor Uncredited (Also additional motion capture)
2015 Lego Jurassic World Voice Cast
Lego Dimensions Additional voices
Star Wars: The Old Republic – Knights of the Fallen Empire Additional voices
Halo 5: Guardians Additional voices
2017 Horizon Zero Dawn Gildun The Frozen Wilds downloadable content
Minecraft: Story Mode – Season 2 Warden
Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds Gildun
2018 God of War Additional voices
2021 Halo Infinite Additional voices
2023 Horizon Forbidden West Gildun The Burning Shores downloadable content

Shorts

Year Title Role
2012 It's Not You, It's Me Arguing Man
Beyond Belief Shaina's Dad
2013 Awake Eddie
2015 Clarence Shorts: Big Boy Mr. Reese (voice)
2016 Clarence Shorts: Beans Mr. Reese (voice)
Clarence Shorts: Sticky Clarence Mr. Reese (voice)
2019 The Murder Psychiatrist
The Anniversary Psychiatrist

Video

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Donovan Patton para niños

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