Child actor Ted Donaldson was signed to a Columbia Pictures contract in 1944. After a bit in the Edward G. Robinson vehicle Mr. Winkle Goes to War, the 11-year-old Donaldson was spotlighted in the Columbia comedy-fantasy Once Upon a Time (1944), sharing star billing with Cary Grant and Janet Blair. On loan to 20th Century-Fox in 1945, Donaldson appeared as Neeley Nolan in the Oscar-nominated A Tree Grows in Brooklyn; at Warners in 1948, he played the title role in The Decision of Christopher Blake. In the late 1940's, Columbia attempted to launch Donaldson in the "Rusty" series, but the films failed to catch on with the public. After playing a brink-of-manhood role in Fox's Phone Call From a Stranger (1952), 19-year-old Ted Donaldson retired from films.