O’Connor received many awards over his career. This is a short list of the more important.
1952 – Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical (for Singin’ in the Rain)
1953 – Nominated for Emmy for Most Outstanding Personality
1953 – Awarded between 1952-1958, the Sylvania Award was given for work in the new medium television. Donald O’Connor recieved this award for outstanding contribution to creative television production. Sylvania now awards grants for creative use of lighting.
1954 – Emmy for Best Male Star of a Regular Series (for Colgate Comedy Hour)
1956 – Nominated for Emmy for Best Specialty Act – Single or Group
1980 – Nominated for Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement – Special Event “Dancin’ on the Silver Screen”
1989 – Gypsy Award from the Professional Dancers Society
Donald O’Connor supports his mother Effie as she leaves her footprints in Square 77 of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre Forecourt
February 25, 1953. Donald was recognized for his role in Call Me Madam. She signed “Mom” next to his
inscription “Following Mom’s Footsteps” along with his hand and footprints and signature. Effie commented on
her inclusion in the proceedings “My Donald – he’s the best” [Endres 238-239]
1997 – Flo-Bert Award for Lifetime Achievement from the NYC Committee to Celebrate Tap in recognition of his contributions to tap dancing as well as his support of scholarships in dance and assistance in developing a retirement home for aged and indigent dancers as President of the Professional Dancer’s Society. This was presented in conjunction with May 25, National Tap Dance Day
- 1997 – Tribute by the Film Society of Lincoln Center in recognition of his contributions to dance on film for the “Capturing Choreography: Masters of Dance on Film” Series
1998 – Boston University conferred an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters to Donald O’Connor
during the 125th BU Commencement ceremonies. Said President John Wrestling who presented the degree,
“You embodied eternal youth, loyalty, wisome charm, optimism and improbably gynnastics.
Everyone who sees Singin’ in the Rain thinks of Cosmo Brown as a friend.”
- 2000 – Honorary Doctorate of Performing Arts in American Dance from Oklahoma City University
2004 – Posthumously inducted into the International Tap Dance Hall of Fame created by the Tap City in New York.
“The American Tap Dance Foundation, in collaboration with the Dance Division of
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, is also proud to announce the
recent development of an extensive film, print, audio and photo archive entitled the
Gregory Hines Collection of American Tap Dance.”