Donny Most was born in Brooklyn, New York on August 8, 1953, to an accountant and his wife, a homemaker. A "ham" from the very beginning, Most loved to make people smile, and he did it well. At 9 years of age, Most watched "The Jolson Story" for the first time and was so impressed, he decided right there and then to become an actor. He would later admit to watching the movie more than 50 times and memorizing each and every line.
Upon entering Brooklyn's Erasmus Hall High School in New York, Most began taking professional acting lessons and classes, eager to refine his talent. He also joined a teenage drama club and began performing at resorts in and around the Catskill Mountain area of New York. Most appeared in his first television commercial at the age of 15.
Donny Most graduated from high school in 1970 and promptly enrolled in Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. While continuing his education, Most made regular trips to Los Angeles, California, where he took on minor character roles and bit parts on such popular series as "Room 222" and "Emergency." Deciding to pursue acting full-time, Most dropped out of Lehigh University before the start of his senior year, moved to California, and began auditioning for parts daily.
In 1973, ABC television producers began putting together a group of young actors for a 1950s styled show called, "Happy Days." Most jumped on the opportunity, reading for the part of an idiotic football player. Producers were thrilled with Most's acting ability and impecible comedic timing, but not with his hair color or body size. Because Ron Howard, also a redhead, had been cast first in the series, producers were leery to add another bright-red-haired boy to the cast. Gary Marshall ultimately decided that Most was far too talented to leave behind, however, and writers went back to work, reworking and rewriting scripts to include a new character: "Ralph Malph," class comedian. This would be the big break Most had been looking for. From 1974-1980, Donny Most would help capture a nation's heart and help create television history, alongside Henry Winkler, Ron Howard, and Anson Williams. "Happy Days" aired for the first time on ABC TV January 15, 1974. The show would hang on as the "most popular" television seriesin America for the next 3 years.
As his contract came to an end in 1980, Most decided to leave the popular show and venture out on his own. "Happy Days" phased his character (along with Ron Howard's) out by having "Ralph Malph" and "Richie Cunningham" graduate from college, join the Army, and be shipped off to Greenland, where communication was impossible. Meanwhile, "Happy Days" continued to film in California for an additional 4 years, while Most began to audition for more challenging roles. His first would come in the comedy-drama "Leo & Loree" just months after leaving "Happy Days." For the next two years, Most acted anywhere he could, often finding himself on the theatre stage.
Donny Most married Morgan Hard in 1982 and continued to find work as an actor. In 1983, he toiled away behind the scenes, doing voice-overs for the animated "Dungeons & Dragons" series. During the early 1980s, Donny Most made guest appearances on "CHiPs," "Murder She Wrote," "Baywatch," "Fantasy Island," "The Love Boat," and "Charles in Charge." He also returned to the "Happy Days" set in 1984 for a reunion episode, which would mark the end of the well-received series. In 1987, Most made a jump to the big screen, where he made an appearance in the movie, "Stewardess School."
The early 1990s found Donny Most auditioning for and earning critical roles in movies like "Sliders," "Acting On Impulse," and "Dark Skies." In 1995, Most began touring with the musical "Grease," taking on the part of a disc jockey named "Vince Fontaine."
Today, Most and his wife live in California. He continues to work behind the camera, on the stage, and in major motion pictures. He made his feature directing debut with the independent film, "The Last Best Sunday," which starred former Happy Days cast member, Marion Ross. "The Last Best Sunday" picked up a feature filmaward at the Telluride Indiefest, and was also shown at the San Francisco Indiefest, the Sarasota Film Festival, the Marco Island Film Festival and The Seattle International Film Festival.
He directed his second feature film - "Moola", starring William Mapother, Daniel Baldwin, Treat Williams, Charlotte Ross, Doug Hutchison, and Curtis Armstrong. It's currently out on DVD (Blockbuster, Netflix, etc), and soon to be on Showtime.
Don Most is also in the process of setting up another film to direct - a comedy called "The Answer Book", written by David Howard, who wrote the film - "Galaxy Quest".
On the Acting Front:
Don Most appears in the film "The Great Buck Howard", starring John Malkovich, Colin Hanks, Emily Blunt and Tom Hanks.
He starred in a TV Pilot - "Take 2", along with Anson Williams. Executive produced by Don Most, Anson Williams along with David Levin.
Don Most also starred in an independent film - "The Yankles", where he played an alcoholic ex-ballplayer. It's release is TBD.
Other recent acting roles were in "Planting Melvin", and "Finding Madison", both independent feature films.
Don Most is currently appearing with his band singing swing and standards.