John William McDonald: The story of Eartha Kitt’s ex-husband

John William McDonald: The story of Eartha Kitt’s ex-husband

John William McDonald is an American businessman who came into the spotlight for being the ex-husband of songstress and actress Eartha Kitt. Eartha is also a comedian, dancer, and activist. But what is the story of her ex-husband?

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John William McDonald
Singer Eartha Kitt and her husband, real estate man William McDonald are all smiles as they debut their 4-day-old baby girl as they left Cedars of Lebanon hospital. Photo: Bettmann
Source: Getty Images


John William McDonald was among the veterans who fought in the Korean war and defended their country. However, his marriage to sensational singer Eartha Kitt did not last long, but his name always pops up when the actress' love life is discussed.

Profile summary

Full nameJohn William McDonald
Date of birth12 April 1923
Age82 years old (at the time of death)
Date of death12 May 2005
Place of birthLos Angeles, CA, United States
Hair colour Light brown
Eye colour Light brown
Marital statusDivorced
Ex-wifeEartha Kitt
ProfessionBusinessman, real estate investor

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Who is John William McDonald?

John William McDonald was born on 12 April 1923 in Los Angeles, CA, United States. He is of white ethnicity with German-Irish descent and American nationality.

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Why is John William McDonald famous?

Apart from being famous as Eartha Kitt's ex-husband, John William McDonald was an accountant, businessman, and associate in a real estate investment company. He was also part of the army that fought in the Korean War.

John William McDonald and Eartha Kitt’s relationship

The veteran soldier married Eartha Kitt on 6th July 1960, when her career was about to flourish. Before him, the gorgeous actress was in romantic relationships with notable figures like Orson Welles and the movie mogul Arthur Loew Jr, cosmetic magnate Charles Revson, and the banking heir John Barry Ryan III.

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what happened to john william mcdonald?
Singer Eartha Kitt sits at the Marriage License Bureau with her fiance, Real Estate Investor William McDonald, as they await the Issuance of a marriage license. Photo: Bettmann
Source: Getty Images

The union later had issues with John being addicted to opioids and the several trips of the prominent singer during their marriage. As a result, they separated in July 1963 after Eartha Kitt filed for divorce. She stated the reason for the split as "mental cruelty in the documents, and the divorce was finalised in 1965.

What happened to John William McDonald?

Like his contemporaries in the war, he sustained many injuries due to grenade explosions and underwent 25 surgeries when he returned to the states. As a result, he suffered physical and mental pain for the rest of his life and became addicted to opioids as pain relievers.

Is John William McDonald alive?

No, John William Mcdonald's obituary shows he died on 12t May 2005 at 82 years. He passed on in Los Angeles. Nevertheless, the leading cause of his death is unknown.

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If John William McDonald was alive today, he would have been 99 years old.

Who is Kitt McDonald?

Kitt is a model, entertainer, media and internet star, and author. Best known as Kitt Shapiro, she was a backbone to her mother. From childhood, she accompanied her mother to shows in different countries.

She wrote Eartha & Kitt: A Daughter's Love Story in Black and White. Additionally, she was the manager of her mother's business. Kitt was beside her mother when she died on Christmas day in 2008 from colon cancer in Weston, Connecticut. She created Simple Eartha, a lifestyle brand to honour her mother. Sharing the price her mother paid for her, she said:

What my mother hadn’t received as a child, she was d*mn sure she was going to give as a parent. And so she gave me her love… in spades! I got all that good karma. All the stuff that nourishes you. All of those positive things that strengthen you emotionally, filling you with confidence and self-worth.

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john william mcdonald today
Singer Eartha Kitt leaves the courthouse after winning an uncontested divorce from Beverly Hills accountant William O. McDonald was "inconsiderate" of her. Photo: Bettmann
Source: Getty Images

Who is Kitt McDonald's father?

She is the daughter of John Williams McDonald and his then-wife, Eartha Kitt. She was born on 26th November 1961, a year after their marriage, and was baptised as a Catholic in Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church.

Nevertheless, during the divorce, her mother took custody of her and also asked for child support. Though John did not appear in court, she eventually won the case in 1964, and he was asked to pay $100 monthly as child support.

Who did Kitt McDonald marry?

She married Allan Bruce Rothschild, a commercial real estate broker in Westport, in 2002. They were once married to other people, and the ex-husband of Kitt McDonald was Charles Lawrence Shapiro. They wedded in 1987 and have two children: Jason and Rachel. Her current husband also has two children, a son and a daughter named Nicole Rothschild.

John William McDonald is known not only for his marriage to his famous ex-wife but for his career. He fought in the Korean War and was a real estate investor. Additionally, he was a loving father to his daughter Kitt McDonald.

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