Donna Eleese-Beckett

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Name: Dr. Donna Eleese-Beckett
Occupation: scientist
Relationships: Sam Beckett's wife
Fandom: Quantum Leap
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Donna Eleese-Beckett is a Quantum Leap character. She was portrayed by two different actresses.

More canon information about her character is here.

Target of Dislike

Donna is a frequent target of character bashing. Some fans referred to her as "Hostess Twinkie," "Faithful Wifey," and "garbage disposal Donna." Some fans proposed a "Donna Beckett Assassination Squad" and others proposed "a Kill-Donna Story Contest."

Some reasons fan gave for their displeasure:

  • the revelation that Sam Beckett even had a wife, as well as the way Donna's existence was abruptly revealed on the show
  • Donna's existence made Al look dishonest, as he was always pushing Sam to hit on women
  • that Donna was a character invented to keep speculation about an intimate relationship between Sam and Al at bay [1]
  • Donna was boring, whiny, selfish, and stupid
a flyer for a 1993 room party at a convention: "No alcohol or Donna Debates, please."

Fan Art

Fan Comments


I'm relatively new to the QL fandom. I got hooked this season and have enjoyed catching up on what I've missed on USA. So, I had only first viewed the episode when NBC rebroadcast it a few months ago. I, too, thought Donna could have been a better character. She did too much whining when Sam was going back to save Al. I wondered how the writers could have Sam be married to such a selfish woman — as Sam is quite the opposite. But I thought it was just my own perception until I saw [N F-G's] cartoons. Nola captured my thoughts exactly and made them funny. I'll never be able to watch that scene without laughing again. [2]

And as for the season premiere...sigh. Why do I have the feeling that Donna Elysee Beckett is going to usurp Christine Chapel as the Most-Stomped-Upon Female Character in Fan Media Fiction? That's a flaming cheat, that is.

"Surprise! Sam's been married all along and we forgot to tell him!" Well, of course the TV hero has to kiss the girl in each episode, and he can't do that if he knows about wifey waiting at home for him... But no wonder Sam forgot his wife — Donna is an eminently forgettable character. Ziggy was a better match for Sam (and should be introduced to Orac at once!). Ah, 'nuff said or I'll get depressed. [3]

I live close to [N F-G] [and] I got a sneak-preview of her unique interpretation of "The Leap Back," and just about bust a gut laughing. She and I discovered that during the premiere of "TLB" we simultaneously joined the Donna Beckett Assassination Squad. I have noticed a tendency in post-TLB stories to ignore, dismiss, background or outright kill Donna. More power to them, I say; at last year's MediaWest I had a button made up: Hey, Donna! Leap THIS! Should start a Kill-Donna Story Contest... (Someone already has a zine called Prima Donna. -- ED) Wasn't the actress' fault, either. It was Bellisario's for creating such a flavorless wimp of a wife for Sam, a woman who honest-to-God stands on the dock (in a shawl -- ED) watching the Pequod sail away, bravely self-sacrificing for her man and making sure everyone around her knows it. What could possibly have attracted her to someone like Sam in the first place? And in a dramatical sense, Donna was a cheat. You're not supposed to invent a wife for a main character four years into a series! And Donna's presence disrupted that whole episode. Dr. Beeks didn't get to say a single word — as [N F-G] humorously noted. Sam doesn't rush to the phone to talk to his brother Tom; he doesn't talk to the family he's missed for three years — he doesn't even look in a mirror, for Christ's sake! — because he's too busy playing snuggle-bunnies with the Hostess Twinkie. And whatever miniscule sympathy you feel for Donna's situation is shattered the moment she snaps, "I don't care!" when she's told Al will die. Gee, he only saved her husband's life 23 times... So, to whoever named her 'garbage disposal Donna' — Right on, sister! After all. Donna was just another disposable TV female — you'll notice she hasn't been referred to since. And they wonder why we find the male characters more interesting than the female ones... [4]


Something else that bothers me a lot: Sam not remembering the past four years. I always felt that whoever or whatever was leaping Sam about, what happened was as much for Sam's benefit as for that of the leapee, that these experiences were lessons in life for the genius farm boy, and as such, enriched his life. But I guess if we are to believe he totally forgets his wife of however many years, he has to forget in reverse when he comes back. And, of course, he HAS to forget Donna when he goes back out, or he can't do his thing without reservations. As Donna says, "It just isn't fair."

To be perfectly honest, what attracted me to QUANTUM LEAP in the first place was the friendship between the lead characters, the way that friendship grew and was strengthened over the past four seasons. Nor do I have a problem if one or both of the buddies is married. On my very favorite relationship shows was ALIEN NATION, and George and Matt had a great friendship, and George was married when they met; they even made Matt apart of the family, and it worked beautifully. But to throw a wife into Sam's life the way they did, with Al withholding that information, absolutely no hint that such a relationship existed, and then to know that Sam's out there leaping with a wife cooling her heels at home he knows nothing about, sort of rips my QL universe to tatters. I find it immensely difficult to believe that anyone with Donna's background could be so all forgiving and noble. And the first time Al mentions Donna, he calls her a betraying nozzle, now she's the patron saint of the project? Why do I get the feeling this isn't really QUANTUM LEAP? How can Al keep withholding this kind of information? It would tear him apart, and this poor man has been through hell for Sam Beckett, now he has to go through more hell because Donna says, "Don't tell him"? To me, this is putting an enormous strain on Al's loyalty, a loyalty he's proven over and over again; must he endure more? Every time he sees Sam, he knows what he can't tell him; how does this man function? Talk about living a lie!

And are we to go back to business as usual next week, with Sam leaping and doing what he does, and Al the same wisecracking, lecherous hologram, while all the viewers try to reconcile this episode with the last three seasons? Big job, folks. Big one.


Am I giving up on QL? No, but I do hope they come up with a better one next week. The only halfway logical explanation I can find for this is that this may be their last season, and if it is, they want to give Sam a whiz bang royal treat when he comes home: I can see it now; Donna comes flying out to welcome him home, with ta-da! a baby, conceived on that one leap home and they live happily ever after, while Al quietly has a nervous breakdown from all the stress of the last season and the fact that Tina runs off with Gushie...[5]

Although I liked parts of [the episode] "The Leap Back," I had objections, the the main one being the revelation of Sam and Donna's marriage.


Even if we can excuse away Sam's monumental memory lapse in this case, how can we excuse Al's behavior? In every case when Sam has found himself in a situation with a woman with even remote potential for intimacy, there is Al yelling, "Go for it, Sam!" even if Sam doesn't want to. Now I ask you, is Al being a friend, encouraging something Sam, if he had his full memory, wouldn't dream of doing and would resent Al for suggesting. For instance, say Dean Stockwell suffered a memory lapse, and one of us loyal fans approached him in this state and said, "Hey, let's go smash some air conditioners, it's great fun and you can even get high." And Dean, to whom normally smashing air conditioners, releasing chlorofluorocarbons into the ozone, or even getting high, would be abhorrent, says, "Sure!" [6] Is the fan that encourages this being a friend to Dean, and how will Dean feel when he comes to his senses and realizes what he's done? Is he going to love this "friend"?

The writers may not have decided yet that Sam was married, or maybe they had and decided they were going to reveal it later and more dramatically. This was the only reply Al could have made without betraying Donna or directly lying to Sam. The writers certainly left themselves the best out they could. [7]

I think one of the signs that indicates the addition of Donna [in the episode "Leap Home"] may have been an afterthought or at least an idea that was not well executed is the poor explanation that Don has come up with for Al not telling Sam about her. It really is a lousy story concept. I will concede that based on "Star Crossed,” with its ambiguous ending, it is possible to justify Sam having succeeded in making sure Donna didn't leave him at the altar a second time. However, by the same token and based on episodes that came after as well as the writer's bible in general, it would be safe to assume that the original intention was that Sam would have to be content knowing he had helped Donna with her father, but in the end, the major rule of "quantum leaping" stayed in force.

This seems especially true since "Star Crossed" came so early in the show’s development, i.e., a little too early to start ignoring the "rules" of quantum leaping just yet. Having Donna and Sam married all this time seems to be one more incongruous element in 'The Leap Back," but who notices, right? This script feels like one that was rushed as does the acting in some instances. In fact, the acting seems to have been done at almost a frenetic pace. Frankly, for a script permed by Mr. Bellisario, it sure doesn't seem to be a well thought out story. Of course, even the best writers can, on occasion, fail to produce a good script.

Probably the most telling sign that the character of Donna really did not belong here is that after having this "wonderful" revelation, Don then does a 180 and says that for Sam, shades of "Dallas," this adventure never happened! So why do it in the first place? If Sam were allowed to remember, it could either provide some bittersweet moments for future stories as Sam met people he could love, or as an incentive to keep going on when things are looking grim. Now, with any future love stories, "Hurricane" springing to mind, there could be a note of falseness to it. In fact, having done it this way, Mr. Bellisario may have cheapened Sam's character a bit.

And Al's - whole time Al's been urging him to 'bop the bimbo' knowing Sam had a wife at home? Pretty sleazy, and leaves one quite a bit less inclined to sympathize with his inability to maintain a relationship of his own with Mr. Bellisario throwing out what minimal guidelines he had established for Sam’s quantum leaping, the way things stand now. Sam should have returned home already. Project Quantum Leap should either not exist at all or it should exist in a very altered form. As an example, Donna probably would be the Project Observer in the altered universe since she would now have been with Sam from the Project’s beginnings and according to "Star Crossed," it was "their dream" for Sam to travel in time. At the very least, the friendship of Sam and Al would be altered in some way. Ultimately, I think the latter is the final argument against reintroducing Donna. Of course, all the previous statements presupposes the Science Fiction angle of QUANTUM LEAP was given considerably more thought than just as an initial story telling device and then once into the story, dropping it. [8]


That's right, blame the whole thing on Donna. [9]

I can't stand her! Maybe I'm jealous, I don't know, but her existence complicates things for Sam (who doesn't remember her) and I just think she was too good to be true, except for that one selfish moment when she seemed to be willing to let Al die to keep Sam. I'm just not comfortable with her. [10]

Yes, I know there's a huge debate about whether it's Sam's body or mind probably dwarfs the gay controversy, the chimp controversy and maybe even the Donna controversy. [11]

... Bellisario's beliefs— he's already given us his opinion of women's worth by creating Donna the Twinkie.... [12]

I'm bracing myself for having to deal with a ton of Beth stories... I have enough trouble finding straight QL I enjoy, without this new unpleasant development cropping up. I know safe Qslash fans who hate Donna but like Beth, but I can't like a woman who had our Al declared dead so she could marry another man. I will deal with the topic in a few stories though, it's my way of working through things.


[Al's] a bit of a hero to me, I'm afraid I have trouble dealing with stories where he's being unfaithful (yes, even if it had been to Beth). I can write them if they're short and don't go far enough to directly face the issue. That's also why this new timeline of Bellisario's is so disturbing to me. [13]


My least favourite story would have to be "Winner Takes All" — not because I didn't like it, I did, and unlike a lot of people, I don't dislike Donna. I just think Sam and Al don't need anybody else in their lives [14]

Astrid is just about the only person who can write a story and actually have me accepting Donna. Shows how good a writer she is.[15]

You can just guess how white with fury I was when Donald hastily invented Donna the Twinkie ~ not just because it's cheating to invent a wife for your protagonists 4 years into a series, but because she wasn't even interesting enough as a character to merit her being married to Sam in the first place! Nothing she and Sam said or did in their sad moment of parting could match the power of Al's sobbed "Put your head down, Sam, put your head down!" in [the episode] "Shock Theater" - and any vague sympathy I felt for her fizzled and died the moment she snapped "I don't care!" when she was told Al would die if Sam didn't leap (after she'd been reminded of how many times Al had saved Sam's live). Donna was badly-written - an immature male's fantasy of what a woman is. And there's a rumor that she'd been created in haste by Donald in reaction to the slash rumors. [16]

I just assumed that Sam’s code of honor was the reason he didn’t sleep with the girl in every episode. Of course, that’s usually the sign that Our Hero is gay, and Sam could very well be gay, and fighting it as something he’s been taught to loathe from his Middle-American upbringing. (The only possible reason I could see him marrying that bland, boring Donna creature would be to prove to himself and his family that he’s “normal” in at least one respect.) [17]

Every time I imagine Sam or Al in a relationship with Donna or Beth, I’m usually concentrating on how to get them out of it. [18]

I really think Don was getting antsy about proving that Sam and Al were Real Men (read Straight Men). There’s nothing more dangerous to the image of the Rugged Individual Beer-Drinking Girl-Balling Macho He-Man Her so beloved by the American TV than emotional openness and tenderness. So he invented Donna the Faithful Wifey waiting at home for Her Man, and the show devolved from then on into misogynistic and homophobic pabulum. It was either variations on Sam Must Save the Broad of the Week from the Best Friend of the Guy He’s Leaped Into (and Get to Screw the BotW), or generic American-TV episodes that every show has done (the Evil Twin story, the Heartwarming Christmas Carol/It’s a Wonderful Live-Clone stories, the Woman-Having-a-Baby, etc). When Donna began cheerfully breaking every rigid rule of quantum- leaping to suit the current episode, all credibility and suspension of disbelief went too. Where there is no consistency, there is no story. Women are pretty much male fantasies from “Leap Back” onward; they are there to bonk the hero and breed like sows. [19]

As for Beth and Donna, I would tend to agree with what Scott said about Donna at last year’s convention. She has sparked so much discussion, theories, and the need to write her out of things that I wouldn’t want to ignore her. If everything was so nice and neat we wouldn’t need to write stories or have letterzines to discuss things like Beth and Donna. Though I will admit that it’s hard to explain the daughters at the end of MI. While we can write away Beth, not many have the heart to write off the lives of four girls we were told Al has. In that case it is best to ignore them. [20]


I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, HATE!!! “Trilogy”. If there was one thing I wished had never happened on QL more than Donna, more than Al and Beth and their four daughters, more than Sam never gong home, I would abolish the existence of Sammy-Jo and Abigail. It was very disturbing to see Sam’s overworked hormones dictating his action towards a female who, one leap earlier had been his daughter! It was totally unnatural and beyond any realm of good-taste, especially for such a classy show. Then, even worse, (I guess) is in the next segment, there’s no feelings at all for this woman. Just what were the writers trying to say, that females are good for breeding purposes then, poof! [21]


Want to argue about (or apologise for) Al, sympathise with Sam, dump on Donna, trash Tina (yeah!), or even get zealous about Ziggy (give us a break, there aren't that many verbs starting with a "z")? Then why not join hundreds of other Leapers throughout the world and subscribe to Quantum Quest? [22]

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! [The Leap Back is] my favorite episode. I know there are a lot of Donna-haters out there, but I think "The Leap Back" was

terribly romantic, and I thought Mimi Kuzyk did a very good job of portraying Donna, even though she got only about ten minutes of screen-time. I'd love to see more of her. [23]


  1. ^ "I was not surprised to read there is a rumor that dear old Don invented Donna (Don? Donna? Hmmm ...) in reaction to rumors about QL slash contingency." -- from S/A #1
  2. ^ from Green Eggs and Ham #1 (1991)
  3. ^ from Green Eggs and Ham #1 (1991)
  4. ^ from Green Eggs and Ham #1 (1991)
  5. ^ comments in The Imaging Chamber #9 (April 1992)
  6. ^ Huh?
  7. ^ comments in The Imaging Chamber #9 (April 1992)
  8. ^ comments in The Imaging Chamber #9 (April 1992)
  9. ^ from a fan's description of a story in Quantum Instability #1
  10. ^ comment in The Imaging Chamber #11 (May 1993)
  11. ^ from Green Eggs and Ham #3 (1993)
  12. ^ from Green Eggs and Ham #3 (1993)
  13. ^ a fan's comments, from MPH's notes, December 26, 1993
  14. ^ from Wham, Bam, Thank You, Sam! 3 (1994)
  15. ^ from Wham, Bam, Thank You, Sam! 3 (1994)
  16. ^ from S/A #1
  17. ^ from S/A #3 (1994)
  18. ^ from S/A #3 (1994)
  19. ^ from S/A #3 (1994)
  20. ^ from S/A #3 (1994)
  21. ^ from S/A #4
  22. ^ from a flyer for Quantum Quest, a letterzine
  23. ^ comment by Michele Barker at, see More Mirror Image & MIA (May 6, 1996)