Brad Davis (actor)
|Born||Robert Creel Davis
November 6, 1949
Tallahassee, Florida, U.S.
|Died||September 8, 1991
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
(1976–1991; his death)
|Children||Alexandra (b. 1983)|
Born Robert Davis in Tallahassee, Florida to Welsh American Eugene Davis (a dentist whose career declined due to alcoholism) and his wife, Anne Davis, who was Irish American. His brother Gene is also an actor. According to an article in The New York Times published in 1987, Davis suffered physical abuse and sexual abuse at the hands of both parents. As an adult, he was an alcoholic and an intravenous drug user before becoming sober in 1981. Davis was known as "Bobby" during his youth, but took Brad as his stage name in 1973.
At 16, after winning a music-talent contest, Davis worked at Theater Atlanta. He later moved to New York City and attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, as well as studied acting at the American Place Theater. After a role on the soap opera How to Survive a Marriage, he performed in Off-Broadway plays. In 1976, he was cast in the television mini-series Roots, then as Sally Field's love interest in the television film Sybil. He played the lead role in Larry Kramer's play about AIDS, The Normal Heart (1985).
His most successful film role was as the main character, Billy Hayes, in Midnight Express (1978), for which he won the Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actor and the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture Acting Debut – Actor. He was also nominated for a similar award at that year's BAFTA Awards, in addition to receiving Best Actor nominations at both ceremonies.
Davis was married to Susan Davis (née Bluestein), who later became an Emmy Award-winning casting director. They had one child, Alex, a transgender man born as Alexandra. In an interview with Boze Hadleigh, Davis acknowledged having had sex with men and being bisexual.
Diagnosed with HIV in 1985, Davis kept his condition a secret until shortly before his death at age 41, on September 8, 1991 in Los Angeles. It was revealed in a book proposal that Davis had written before his death that he had to keep his medical condition a secret in order to be able to continue to work and support his family. Although the announcement said he died of AIDS, he actually died of an intentional drug overdose. Near death and in severe pain in a hospital, he opted to return home and end his life on his own terms. With his wife and a family friend present, he committed assisted suicide. Susan Davis continues to campaign to combat AIDS.
|1976||Song of Myself||Streetcar Conductor||Short film|
|Eat My Dust!||Young Man||Uncredited Role|
|1978||Midnight Express||Billy Hayes|
|1980||A Small Circle of Friends||Leonardo da Vinci Rizzo|
|1981||Chariots of Fire||Jackson Scholz|
|1984||Terror in the Aisles||Billy Hayes||Archival footage|
|1986||Il cugino americano||Julian Salina|
|Cold Steel||Johnny Modine|
|1989||Rosalie Goes Shopping||Ray "Liebling" Greenspace|
|1991||Hangfire||Sheriff Ike Slayton||Alternative title: First Blood Commando|
|1974||How to Survive a Marriage||Alexander Kronos||Unknown episodes|
|1976||The American Parade||Thomas Nast||Miniseries|
|Sybil||Richard J. Loomis||NBC Miniseries|
|The Secret Life of Ol' John Chapman||Andy||CBS Television movie|
|1977||Roots||Ol' George Johnson||ABC Miniseries|
|Baretta||Ray||Episode: Guns and Brothers|
|1980||The Greatest Man in the World||Jimmy Schmurch||Television movie|
|A Rumor of War||Lt. Philip 'Phil' Caputo||CBS Miniseries|
|1981||BBC2 Playhouse||Young American||Episode: "Mrs. Reinhardt"|
|1983||Chiefs||Sonny Butts||CBS Miniseries|
|1985||Robert Kennedy & His Times||Robert F. Kennedy||CBS Miniseries|
|The New Alfred Hitchcock Presents||Arthur||Episode: Arthur, or the Gigolo|
|1986||The Twilight Zone||Arthur Lewis||Segment: Button, Button|
|Vengeance: The Story of Tony Cimo||Tony Cimo||CBS Television movie|
|1987||The Hitchhiker||Jerry Rulac||Episode: Why Are You Here?|
|When the Time Comes||Dean||ABC Television movie|
|1988||The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial||Lt. Cmdr. Phillip Francis Queeg||CBS Television movie|
|1989||The Rainbow Warrior Conspiracy||Neil Travers||Television movie|
|The Edge||Kenny||Television movie|
|1990||The Plot to Kill Hitler||Count Claus von Stauffenberg||CBS Television movie|
|1991||Child of Darkness, Child of Light||Dr. Phinney||Television movie|
|1992||The Habitation of Dragons||George Tolliver||Television movie|
Awards and nominations
|1979||British Academy Film Awards||Nominated||Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles||Midnight Express|
|Best Actor||Midnight Express|
|Golden Globe Awards||Nominated||Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama||Midnight Express|
|Won||Best Motion Picture Acting Debut - Male||Midnight Express|
|Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards||Won||Best Actor||Midnight Express|
- Witchel, Alex. (16 April 1997) "For the Widow Of Brad Davis, Time Cannot Heal All the Wounds." New York Times. Accessed July 31, 2007.
- The Sheila Variations: Feb. 19/20 at The Knitting Factory: Alex Davis: Man of the Year 
- Fox, David (9/22/91). "How Much Does Hollywood Really Care About AIDS?". LA Times.
- Davis, Susan Davis with Hilary Vries. After Midnight: The Life and Death of Brad Davis. Pocket Books, 1997, pp. 283-299, ISBN 0-671-79672-0
- Brad Davis at the Internet Movie Database
- Brad Davis at the Lortel Archives
- Brad Davis at Find a Grave