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Marge Cooney Donahue Obituary: Remembering a Life Well Lived



marge cooney donahue obituary

Marge Cooney is remembered as the former wife of prominent American TV host and producer Phil Donahue. She held American nationality and lived a life that largely retreated from the public eye following her divorce from the television personality. Her marriage to Donahue, along with the subsequent divorce, brought her a measure of public attention, but it was her role as a mother and her personal journey that defined her life beyond the limelight.

Her death marked the end of a private but meaningful life. Marge Cooney’s obituary reflects on her life’s experiences, her family, and her quietly profound influence on those who knew her personally. It is the story of a woman who, despite the exposure to celebrity through her marriage, maintained her own narrative, separate from the fame attached to her former husband’s career.

Acknowledging Marge Cooney’s passing, we consider not just her association with a public figure, but her own individuality and the life she led. Her obituary serves as a formal acknowledgment of her death, providing an opportunity for those who might not have known her personally to understand the role she played within her family and her impact on those around her.

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Life and Legacy

Marge Cooney, remembered for her low-profile lifestyle, notably marked her presence as the first wife of Phil Donahue, a prominent American media personality. This section encapsulates her journey from her early beginnings to her lasting impact on her community and family.

Early Life and Family

Marge Cooney was from Ohio and grew up in a family environment that valued privacy and simplicity. Her early years were spent away from the glare of media, establishing a foundation that would later contrast significantly with the public life she would come to know.

Marriage with Phil Donahue

Cooney married Phil Donahue in the late 1950s. Donahue, who would become famous for his eponymous talk show “The Phil Donahue Show,” and Cooney shared over a decade of marriage. Together, they had five children, which remained Cooney’s primary focus even as her husband’s career in American television took off.

Later Years and Death

After her divorce from Phil Donahue in 1975, Cooney maintained a private life, away from the spotlight. Later in life, she resided in places like Albuquerque and Boca Raton, FL. Details of Cooney’s career and death remain shielded from public eye, in keeping with her preference for privacy.

Media and Public Life

Despite being married to a talk show host and writer known for engaging the American public, Cooney herself kept a distance from the media. Her limited appearances were primarily during the early years of her marriage, before her divorce and subsequent withdrawal from the public life that was associated with the “Phil Donahue Show.”

Impact and Community Work

As a community volunteer hailing from West Orange, New Jersey, Cooney contributed behind the scenes. Her key focus was her family, and she worked to provide a stable environment for her children amidst the tumult that sometimes came with their father’s public identity. Her commitment to community and family values left a subtle yet meaningful legacy that went beyond public acknowledgment.

Professional and Personal Details

Marge Cooney’s life intricately wove personal experiences with the public persona of her former husband, Phil Donahue. Her story is interlaced with significant family events, including her marriage to and divorce from Donahue, and the complexities of their life post-separation.

Phil Donahue’s Career and Net Worth

Phil Donahue, Marge Cooney’s ex-husband, is a well-established American media personality and film producer. With a career spanning decades, he’s renowned for creating and hosting “The Phil Donahue Show.” Donahue’s success translated into a substantial net worth; estimates suggest it could be around $150 million. His marriage to actress Marlo Thomas, following the divorce from Cooney, remained a subject of media interest.

Family Dynamics

Donahue and Cooney were married in 1958 and had five children together before their divorce in 1975. The custody and well-being of their children inevitably became focal points following their split. Cooney moved to Boca Raton, FL, after the divorce, leading a low-profile life and rarely making public appearances.

Connections and Contributions

While Marge Cooney’s own professional pursuits were largely unreported, her contributions to raising a family and managing the early dynamics of a household under the scrutiny of American media cannot be overlooked. Her connections through Phil Donahue placed her in proximity to significant cultural and media milestones, including Donahue’s multiple Emmy Awards.


After Cooney’s passing, remembrance and memorials took place quietly, reflecting the discretion she maintained later in life. Details of her funeral remained private, with her family likely honoring her life in intimate gatherings, away from the public eye, consistent with her lifestyle choices post-divorce. Donahue and their children maintain legacies that offer silent homages to her memory.

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