Character actor Don Defore was the son of an Iowa-based locomotive engineer. His first taste of acting came while appearing in church plays directed by his mother. Defore briefly thought of becoming an attorney, but gave up a scholarship to the University of Iowa to study at the Pasadena Playhouse. He began appearing in films in 1937 and in professional theatre in 1938, billed under his given name of Deforest. Defore's career turning point was the Broadway play The Male Animal, in which he played a thickheaded college football player; he repeated the role in the 1942 film version, and later played a larger part in the 1952 remake She's Working Her Way Through College. In most of his film assignments, Defore was cast as the good-natured urbanized "rube" who didn't get the girl. For several years in the 1950s, Defore played "Thorny" Thornberry, the Nelson family's well-meaning next door neighbor, on TV's Ozzie and Harriet. Don Defore's best-known TV role was George Baxter on the Shirley Booth sitcom Hazel (1961-65).