In each of his first three seasons, Donovan played for a team which went out of business. He started out with the first Baltimore Colts, who folded after his rookie season in 1950, followed by the New York Yanks in 1951, and their successor, the Dallas Texans, in 1952. After the Texans franchise was moved to Baltimore in 1953 and became the second Baltimore Colts, Donovan played with that team. He became one of the stars in an outstanding defense and was selected to five straight Pro Bowls, from 1953 through 1957. The Colts won back-to-back championships in 1958 and 1959.
He published an autobiography, Fatso, in 1987. He was noted as a jovial and humorous person during his playing career and capitalized on that with television and speaking appearances after retiring as a player. He owns and manages a country club near Baltimore. Donovan also appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman, telling humorous stories about his old playing days and about other "old school" footballers he played with and against. He related a story that he played without a helmet and in fact is shown on football cards without a helmet. Letterman wore Donovan's No. 70 Colts jersey in the infamous Super Bowl XLI commercial with Oprah Winfrey and Jay Leno.
Donovan also made a guest appearance in the Nickelodeon show The Adventures of Pete & Pete in the episode, "Space, Geeks, and Johnny Unitas." Art also appeared as a guest commentator at the WWF 1994 King of the Ring. During the broadcast, he made several errors, asked absurd questions like "How much does this guy weigh?" and seemed to be lost throughout the night. He was so out of place, that regular announcer Gorilla Monsoon ignored him during the 2nd half of the show.
He was co-host of the popular 1990s program Braase, Donovan, Davis and Fans on WJZ-TV in Baltimore with Colt teammate Ordell Braase. The trio talked more about Art Donovan's fabled stories than contemporary NFL football, but the show held high ratings in its time period.