Phillip John "Phil" Donahue (born December 21, 1935) is an American media personality, writer, and film producer best known as the creator and host of The Phil Donahue Show. The television program, also known as Donahue, was the first to use a talk show format. The show had a 26-year run on U.S. national TV, preceded by three years of local broadcast in Dayton, Ohio, before ending in 1996.
His shows have often focused on issues that often divide liberals and conservatives in the United States, such as abortion, consumer protection, civil rights and war issues. His most frequent guest was Ralph Nader, for whom Donahue campaigned in 2000. Donahue also hosted a talk show on MSNBC from 2002–2003.
In 1996, Donahue was ranked #42 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time.
Donahue was born into a middle-class, churchgoing, Irish Catholic family in Cleveland, Ohio; his father was a furniture sales clerk and his mother a department store shoe clerk. In 1949, he graduated from of Our Lady Of Angels elementary school in the West Park neighborhood. In 1953, Donahue was a member of the first graduating class of St. Edward High School, an all-boys college prep Catholic private high school run by the Congregation of Holy Cross in suburban Lakewood, Ohio. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame, which is also run by the Congregation of Holy Cross, with a B.B.A in 1957.