BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Former Colts-great Art Donovan passes away at the age of 89. Artie will be remembered as much for his play on the field as the way he lived his life after he left the game.
Mark Viviano remembers this local legend and wonderful person.
Art Donovan was born in the Bronx, but he found fame in Baltimore.
“I came down from New York in 1950. Nobody knew who I was,” Donovan recalled.
As a bruising defensive lineman for the Baltimore Colts, opposing teams soon knew who Art Donovan was.
Twelve seasons in the NFL, a member of the Colts’ celebrated championship teams of 1958 and ’59, he was the first Colt elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
“And I know a lady up in heaven that is very proud of the way you people in Baltimore have treated a boy from the Bronx. Thank you,” he told fans.
But Donovan’s true fame came after his playing career ended. He was a fan favorite for his Friday football segments on WJZ for 15 years, and Artie talked more than football.
“Some truck lost his brakes coming down Lake Avenue, went right through the house and took the top with him. And the guy and his wife are sleeping up in the bedroom,” he said.
And as a regular guest on the Late Show with David Letterman, the nation got to know Donovan’s unique and carefree approach to life.
“I went over to the house, had a couple of beers and about 15 hot dogs and then I went to bed,” he joked.
Art Donovan always left ’em laughing. But he was a serious and ferocious competitor on the football field, a proud World War II veteran, a loving family man and a Baltimore legend who will always be remembered for living large.
“And if I leave tomorrow, I had a hell of a good time along the way,” Donovan said in 2005. “Nobody has enjoyed themselves more in the state of Maryland than I have.”
Donovan died at Stella Maris Hospice of a respiratory ailment. Funeral arrangements have not been announced yet.