Joe Donelli was a recurring character in Coronation Street in 1967, 1968 and 1970. He was an American soldier, and he first appeared in Ep 697 - 21 Aug 1967 and last appeared in Ep 1036 - 21 Dec 1970. He was an army pal of Steve Tanner. Joe killed Steve after a feud in 1968, and then when he made advances on Irma Barlow, and threatened her, her father Stan Ogden intervened, planning to beat Joe up, but Joe held Stan hostage. Joe then shot himself dead. He was played by Canadian actor Shane Rimmer, who would later go onto playing Stephen Reid's adoptive father Malcolm Reid.
Joseph Donelli was born in about 1930 in the United States of America to an Italian American family. When his father died, (whom Joe knew as "pop") his mother remarried. Joe later joined the army and was stationed in England.
American GI Joe blamed Steve for his gambling debts and during an argument, he pushed him down a flight of stairs in September 1968, killing him. The chief suspect is Len Fairclough. The exact cause of Steve's death was never proven, an open verdict. Joe kept his dark secret about Steve's death to himself for the next 2 years.
In December 1970 Joe returns to Weatherfield and kidnaps Minnie Caldwell. But his plan backfires when he is cornered by Irma Barlow, so he holds her hostage in the corner shop and confesses to murdering Steve 2 years earlier. Irma manages to escape and Joe goes to No. 5 Coronation Street and holds Minnie and Bobby hostage. Irma suspected Donelli was in the Mafia, probably due to his Italian surname, as he was an American of Italian heritage. The Mafia link was never proven.
Irma says that Joe held her hostage. Irma's father Stan Ogden is angry and threatens to make mincemeat out of him. Stan goes round to confront Joe and help Minnie but is unaware he has a gun. Joe forces Stan to sing Christmas songs to him. He even insults Stan calling him fat. Stan almost goes for Joe but Joe holds his gun to Stan's face and Stan backs down a bit, and is a bit nervous at the same time. The police surround the house. Joe says he wishes he was never born but asks Stan to sing Christmas carols with him. A gunshot then rings out and Stan leaves the house, unhurt but in a slight state of shock. It is soon revealed that Donelli shot himself dead.
Stan Ogden was in shock for a time, and said he closed his eyes when Joe turned the gun on himself, but heard him hit the floor. Stan soon put the ordeal behind him.
Appearances: 21 August 1967, 9 September-2 October 1968, 18 November-21 December 1970
Born: About 1930
Died: 21 December 1970
Full Name: Joseph Donelli