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Remembering Baltimore legend Art Donovan

August 4, 2013
By

Updated with videos below462px-Art_donovan

Legendary Colts Hall-of-Famer and classic Baltimore character Art Donovan died today at the age of 89.

The lineman played 13 seasons in the NFL, most of them with the Colts, was selected to five straight Pro Bowls, and helped the Colts win back-to-back championships in 1958 and 1959.

But thanks to Donovan’s great sense of humor and generous spirit, his Baltimore legend grew after he retired to the point that, in 2001, City Paper said that he “more than anyone–even the sainted Unitas–has come to represent the public face of the old Colts.”

He wrote an autobiography, Fatso, in 1987, made regular TV appearances, mostly on local TV, but also on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and several times on the Late Show with David Letterman (videos below). Letterman wore Donovan’s No. 70 Colts jersey in his 2007 Super Bowl commercial with Oprah Winfrey and Jay Leno.

Every Baltimorean of a certain age seems to have a favorite Art Donovan story. City Paper freelancer John Houser III posted a great one on Facebook tonight:

Artie Donavan had me eat my first oyster when I was probably ten. I did it to impress him, he told me to eat it because him and his buddies thought it would be funny to watch a kid eat an oyster. I ate it, liked it, then ate another. Impressed, Artie gave me his signature and a dollar. He still thought it was funny (I made a few faces while getting ready to eat it). R.I.P. Mr. Donavan, you were bigger than life.

If you have a favorite Art Donovan story, please share it in the comments…