Peter Donat William Mulder The X-Files

Veteran actor Peter Donat, who played Fox Mulder's dad on The X-Files, has died

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Sep 15, 2018

Peter Donat, a veteran actor of film, TV, and Broadway, has passed away at the age of 90, according to the The New York Times. He died at his home in Point Reyes Station, Calif., as a result of complications from diabetes, according to his wife, Maria.

While his career spanned more than six decades, genre fans perhaps know Donat as William Mulder, the father of Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) on The X-Files. The character appeared in six episodes of the sci-fi series from 1995 through 1999.

Born Pierre Collingwood Donat on Jan. 20, 1928, in Kentville, Nova Scotia, he decided to go into acting after being inspired by his uncle, British film star (and Oscar winner) Robert Donat. After studying for a year at Yale drama school, he soon found himself cast in various bit parts in film and TV, changing his first name to Peter while working in the U.S.

Over his long career, Donat appeared in shows such as Mannix, Charlie's Angels, and the original Mission: Impossible TV series.

He was, at one point, up for the role of Corleone family consigliere Tom Hagan in The Godfather, which, as we all know, went to Robert Duvall. Director Francis Ford Coppola did end up casting him as an attorney in The Godfather Part II, as well as Tucker: A Man and His Dream. He also had a small part in David Fincher's 1997 mind-bending thriller The Game.

His career was winding to a close by the time he landed the role of William Mulder on The X-Files, appearing in only a handful of projects afterward. His last credited role was playing Eamon Byrne in the 2003 TV movie Murder She Wrote: The Celtic Riddle.

After hearing about his passing, Duchovny said in an email to the Times that Donat "had an easy gravitas as a performer and seemed to come from that generation that took the art seriously but not too seriously."

(via The New York Times)