1935 – Donaldson was born in Sunningdale, Berkshire on January 4, 1935. He was the son of a shipping magnate.
1955 – Donaldson was educated at Winchester College and during his national service he met Julian Mitchell, who later introduced him to art galleries. He became an orphan while taking up English Studies at Magdalene College, Cambridge and inherited a large amount of fortune. With his inheritance, he supported young writers such as his contemporaries Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath. Upon his graduation, Donaldson became associated with the set surrounding Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdown and worked as a theatrical producer.
1957 – Donaldson married Sonia Avory and bore him his only child.
1960 – Established himself as a central played in the satire boom in the United Kingdom.
1968 – Donaldson was able to inherit another fortune and married Claire Gordon.
1971 – Donaldson with his last money of £ 2,000, he imprudently spent on a glass-bottomed boat and ended scavenging for food on the beach. He returned to London where he found refuge with a former refuge who was running a brothel on the Fulham Road.
1975 – With his experiences there formed the basis of his first novel Both the Ladies and the Gentlemen.
1980 – With his fictional correspondent Henry Root that made him rich. He wrote The Henry Root Letters, and The Further Letters of Henry Root.
2002 – Donaldson biographical survey of roguish Britain’s through the ages, Rogues, Villains and Eccentrics was a triumph of misdirected scholarship. The phenomenal success of the books, especially the first, enabled Donaldson to resume his chaotic lifestlye and he became addicted to crack cocaine. It failed to kill him, but it reduced him to bankruptcy once more.
2005 – On June 22, 2005, he was survived by his third wife Cherry Hatrick.