Robert Davi

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Robert Davi
Davi performing in Long Island in August 2013
Background information
Birth name Robert John Davi
Born (1953-06-26) June 26, 1953 (age 61)
Origin Astoria, Queens, New York
Genres traditional pop, Great American Songbook
Occupation(s) Singer, Actor
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1977–present
Website Davi Sings Sinatra

Robert John Davi (born June 26, 1953) is an American actor, singer, writer, and director.[1] Over the course of his acting career, Davi has performed in more than 130 films. He has played the roles of main villain and drug lord Franz Sanchez in the 1989 James Bond film Licence to Kill, FBI Special Agent Bailey Malone in the NBC television series Profiler, as Vietnam veteran and Special Agent Johnson in Die Hard, the opera-singing heavy Jake Fratelli in The Goonies, Hans Zarba in Son of the Pink Panther and Al Torres in Showgirls.

Classically trained as a singer, Davi launched his professional singing career in 2011.[2][3] His first album, Davi Sings Sinatra -- On The Road To Romance, hit #6 on the Billboard jazz charts. Praised for his voice and vocal interpretations, Davi debuted as a headliner at The Venetian, in Las Vegas, Nevada, six months after the record was released.[4]

Early life[edit]

Davi was born in Astoria, Queens, New York, the son of Maria (née Rulli) and Sal Davi.[2] His mother was an Italian American and his father was a native of Southern Italy; Davi spoke Italian during his childhood.[2] He attended Seton Hall, a Catholic high school in Patchogue, New York.[2] He has two sisters, Yvonne Davi (deceased), and Michelle (Davi) Queal. He graduated from Hofstra University, the alma mater of fellow James Bond villain Christopher Walken. Davi was drawn to Hofstra because of the University's strong drama department as well as its unique reproduction of Shakespeare's Globe Theater.[5]

Acting career[edit]

Davi made his motion picture debut in Contract On Cherry Street, in which he shared the screen with Frank Sinatra. He subsequently worked with Marlon Brando, Clint Eastwood, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Benicio del Toro, James Franco, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Bruce Willis, and Roberto Benigni, among others. He has appeared in movies including The Goonies, Die Hard, Showgirls, Son of the Pink Panther, and in the Bond film Licence to Kill (1989) as the villain Franz Sanchez, a South American drug lord and murderer.[6]

On television, he starred as Commander Acastus Kolya on Stargate Atlantis, appeared in two-part episodes of Criminal Minds, and played Supervisory Special Agent Bailey Malone of the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force in 88 episodes of his own NBC series, Profiler. In 1989, Davi appeared as Mafia Albert Cerrico on the television series Wiseguy, in the 10 episode Mafia arc titled Garbage Wars. He also sang in the first installment of the arc, called Le Lacrime de Amore Part I.

In 2011, Davi appeared alongside Val Kilmer and Christopher Walken in the gangster movie Kill the Irishman. The film, in which Davi played Mafia hitman Ray Ferritto, is a biopic of Danny Greene, an Irish-American mob boss who warred with the Cleveland crime family during the 1970s. Released the same year, he was also in Game of Death with Wesley Snipes. He followed up these projects with crime thriller The Iceman (2012), co-starring alongside Michael Shannon, Winona Ryder and Ray Liotta.

In 2014, Davi appeared as Goran Vata in The Expendables 3.[7] In 2015, Davi appeared in a music video for Bob Dylan's recording of "The Night They Called It A Day", from Dylan's album Shadows In The Night, a selection of songs which had been recorded by Frank Sinatra. Rolling Stone suggested that Davi's role in the video may be a nod towards Davi's having made his acting debut alongside Sinatra in the crime film Contract on Cherry Street, and Davi's release of his own album of Sinatra covers.[8]

Directing career[edit]

In 2007, Davi made his directorial debut with The Dukes, a parable regarding the mid-2000 economic crisis and its impact. In addition to Davi, the film stars Chazz Palminteri and Peter Bogdanovich. The Dukes was selected for the premiere section at the Rome Film Festival, along with films by Francis Ford Coppola, Sean Penn, Robert Redford, Sidney Lumet, and Gavin Hood. Davi was the only first-time director in the premiere section. At the Monte Carlo Comedy Film Festival, the film received awards for best first-time director and best screenplay. Later, The Dukes was invited to the Alpe d'Huez International Comedy Film Festival in France, among other festivals.

Recording career[edit]

In high school, Davi was praised for his singing, and auditioned for the Metropolitan Opera after being awarded first place at the prestigious New York State School Music Association’s Solo Competition, where he sang Vincent Youman's Without A Song. He subsequently received classical training with top vocal teachers, Samuel Margolis and Danial Ferro of Juilliard and Tito Gobbi. However, Davi damaged his voice, and later explained that he was a baritone with the "heart of a tenor and had pushed too hard, too early."[9]

Davi began to focus again on singing in 2011, and worked with "Voice Builder" Gary Catona as he prepared to record his first album.[10] With a thirty-piece orchestra, he recorded the album at the legendary Capitol Records Building in Hollywood, where Frank Sinatra recorded on many occasions.[11] The album, which featured new arrangements by composer Nic. tenBroek, was produced by Phil Ramone, engineered by Dan Wallin, and mixed by the legendary Al Schmitt. The album, Davi Sings Sinatra -- On The Road To Romance, was released October 24, 2011, and received significant attention from the media, garnering positive reviews.[12] Jazztimes called Davi Sings Sinatra "uniformly impressive," [13] and critic Don Heckman wrote in the Orange County Register that "there are, of course, dozens of Sinatra imitators and simulators. But what Davi does is a whole different matter. A tribute? Yes, indeed; all that and more."[14] AllMusic noted that "Davi makes no attempt to copy Sinatra's vocal sound...Rather, he is his own singer."[15] The album reached the Top 10 on the Billboard jazz charts.[16] Quincy Jones said: "I have never heard anyone come this close to Sinatra's sound – and still be himself. Many try, but Robert Davi has the voice, tone, the flavor and the swagger."[17]

In December 2012, Davi appeared along with Roger Cicero in the French/German Arte TV program Durch die Nacht mit.... The episode was shot in the Little Italy area of New York City and featured conversation between Cicero and Davi and solos of Sinatra standards by both performers. In December 2013, Davi released a Christmas single, "Mistletoe and Holly," with all proceeds benefiting The Salvation Army.[10]

In September 2013, Davi recorded a single by Nick Vallelonga called, "New York City Christmas", which was arranged by Chris Walden, performed by members the Chris Walden Big Band, and recorded and mixed at Capitol Records by Al Schmitt and Steve Genewick. It was released in November 2013.

Personal life[edit]

Davi, a devout Roman Catholic, is an outspoken conservative and often speaks at Republican gatherings. He has been invited to comment on numerous political shows and backed John McCain during his presidential campaign. He narrated several film montages that aired during the 2008 Republican National Convention.[18][19] Davi also spoke at the 2009 Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C. He is a frequent guest on Fox News's late-night satire program Red Eye w/ Greg Gutfeld.[20]

Davi's children are Sean Christian Davi (born 1981), with Jeri McBride, and Ariana Marie Davi (born April 3, 1990), Frances Davi (born 1992), and Isabella Davi and Nicholas Edward Davi (twins, born on January 11, 2001), with Christine Bolster.

Although he is frequently seen smoking cigarettes in films and on television, Davi is an avid cigar smoker.[2]

Awards and honors[edit]

For his notable contributions to the Italian community, Davi was enshrined in Toronto's Italian Walk of Fame in 2013.[21]


Year Title Role Notes
1977 Contract on Cherry Street Mickey Sinardos, Greek hijacker TV
1978 Charlie's Angels Ritchie TV Series
1979 And Your Name Is Jonah Dickie TV
1979 From Here to Eternity Guard mini TV series
1979 The Legend of the Golden Gun William Quantrill TV
1980 Alcatraz: The Whole Shocking Story Hubbard TV
1982 T. J. Hooker Joseph "The Barber" Picartus/Tom Warfield TV, 2 episodes
1984 City Heat Nino
1984 The A-Team Boyle (episode "Sheriffs of Rivertown")
1985 The Goonies Jake Fratelli
1985 Hunter Sonny Dunbar TV series
1986 The Equalizer Michael Riegert TV series
1986 Raw Deal Max Keller
1987 Wild Thing Chopper
1988 Terrorist on Trial: The United States vs. Salim Ajami Salim Ajami
1988 Action Jackson Tony Moretti
1988 L.A. Law Dominic Simonetti TV series
1988 Die Hard FBI Special Agent Johnson
1988 Traxx Aldo Palucci
1989 Licence to Kill Franz Sanchez
1989 Wiseguy Albert Cerrico TV series
1990 Peacemaker Det. Sgt. Frank Ramos
1990 Deceptions Jack 'Harley' Kessler
1990 Maniac Cop 2 Det. Sean McKinney
1990 Predator 2 Captain Phil Heinemann
1990 Amazon Dan
1991 Legal Tender Fix Cleary
1991 Under Surveillance
1991 White Hot: The Mysterious Murder of Thelma Todd Lucky Luciano
???? FBI: The Untold Stories Donnie Brasco TV series
1991 The Taking of Beverly Hills Robert Masterson
1992 Wild Orchid II: Two Shades of Blue Sully
1992 Center of the Web Richard Morgan
1992 Illicit Behavior Lt. Matt Walker
1992 Christopher Columbus: The Discovery Martin Pinzon
1993 Maniac Cop III: Badge of Silence Det. Sean McKinney
1993 Night Trap Mike Turner
1993 Son of the Pink Panther Hans Zarba
1993 Quick Matthew Davenport
1994 No Contest Sergeant Crane
1994 The Dangerous Billy Davalos
1994 Blind Justice Alacran
1994 The November Men Robert Davi
1994 Cops and Robbersons Osborn
1995 Cyber Vengeance R.D. Crowley
1995 VR.5 Simon Buchanan TV series
1995 Codename: Silencer Eddie Cook
1995 Delta of Venus The Collector
1995 Showgirls Al Torres
1996 Absolute Aggression R. D. Crowley
1996 For Which He Stands Carlito Escalara
1995 The Zone Rowdy Welles
1996 An Occasional Hell Trooper Larry Abbott
1997 The Beneficiary Gil Potter
1998 The Bad Pack McQue
1999 Batman Beyond Dr. Mike Morgan TV series
1999 My Little Assassin Frank Sturgis
1999 The Pretender Agent Bailey Malone TV series
1996 Profiler Agent Bailey Malone TV series
2001 Soulkeeper Mallion
2002 The Sorcerer's Apprentice Merlin/Milner
2002 Verdict in Blood Wade Waters
2002 Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Colonel Juan Garcia Cortez
2002 The 4th Tenor Ierra
2002 The Hot Chick Stan, April's Dad
2002 Hitters Nick
2003 One Last Ride Father
2004 Call Me: The Rise and Fall of Heidi Fleiss Ivan Nagy
2004 Karen Sisco Denton TV series
2004 Halo 2 Rtas 'Vadumee (SpecOps Leader)
2005 Breaking Vegas Narrator TV series
2005 In the Mix Fish
2006 Huff Dickins TV series
2006 Scarface: The World Is Yours Alejandro "Alex" Sosa
2004 Stargate: Atlantis Commander Acastus Kolya TV series
2007 The Dukes Danny (also: directorial debut)
2007 Halo 3 Shipmaster Rtas 'Vadumee
2008 An American Carol Aziz
2008 Burnin' Up Jonas Brothers Music video
2009 American Summer Himself
2009 The Butcher Murdoch
2009 Magic Man Simpson
2010 Spring Break '83 Dean Whitter
2010 Magic Dr. David Ortero
2010 One in the Gun Vincent
2010 Ballistica Macarthur
2010 Apocalypse Island Narrator
2010 Game of Death Frank Smith
2011 Doonby Sheriff Woodley
2011 Kill the Irishman Ray Ferritto
2011 Swamp Shark Sheriff Watson
2012 The Iceman Leonard Marks
2013 A Long Way Off Frank
2013 Blood of Redemption Hayden
2014 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Marvin Braxton
2014 The Expendables 3 Goran Vata


  1. ^ "Robert Davi Awards". 2014. IMDb. Retrieved 27 February 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Chutkow, Paul. "Playing the Heavy Actor Robert Davi has made a career of playing tough guys with a signature cigar". Winter 96. Cigar Aficionado. 
  3. ^ "Famed Film Villain Robert Davi Sings Sinatra". December 4, 2013. ABC News (Transcribed). Retrieved 23 January 2014. 
  4. ^ Leach, Robin. "Spirit of Sinatra returns as Robert Davi fulfills a childhood dream". February 9, 2012. Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 23 January 2014. 
  5. ^ Gil de Rubio, Dave. "Doing It His Way". 2010. LongIslandPress. Retrieved 24 March 2014. 
  6. ^ EW Staff. "21 Most Ruthless TV/Film Drug Lords". August 11, 2013. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 23 January 2014. 
  7. ^ Lawton, Adam (November 5, 2013). "‘License To Kill’ Villain Robert Davi Discusses His Role In ‘The Expendables 3′ And Reflect On ‘The Goonies’". Media Mikes. Retrieved March 3, 2015. 
  8. ^ Kreps, Daniel (March 2, 2015). "Watch Bob Dylan Navigate a Bloody Love Triangle in New Video". Rolling Stone. Retrieved March 3, 2015. 
  9. ^ Wolfe, Zachary. "License to trill: The reinvention of Robert Davi". July 14, 2010. Capitol New York. Retrieved 23 January 2014. 
  10. ^ a b Staff. "Robert Davi’s new Christmas single "Mistletoe and Holly" to benefit The Salvation Army". December 2013. New Frontier. Retrieved 23 January 2014. 
  11. ^ Sterling, Ellen. "No Overstatement: Singer-Actor-Writer-Director Robert Davi Is A Legend in the Making". September 24, 2013. Huffington Post. Retrieved 23 January 2014. 
  12. ^ Truitt, Brian. "Robert Davi Sings Sinatra, Sincerely". USA Today. Retrieved 23 January 2014. 
  13. ^ Loudon, Christopher. "A Singer Turned Legend Turns Singer Again". October 24, 2011. Jazztimes. Retrieved 23 January 2014. 
  14. ^ Heckman, Don. "Don Heckman: Robert Davi sings Sinatra". October 21, 2013. Orange County Register. Retrieved 23 January 2014. 
  15. ^ Ruhlman, William. "Davi Sings Sinatra". 2011. AllMusic. 
  16. ^ Berk, Dr. Nancy. "Showbiz Analysis with Robert Davi". December 5, 2013. Parade. Retrieved 23 January 2014. 
  17. ^ Vallelonga, Nick. "His Way; Robert Davi Hits a High Note with Sinatra Tribute Read Latest Breaking News from Urgent: Should Obamacare Be Repealed? Vote Here Now!". July 2, 2013. Newsmax. Retrieved 23 January 2014. 
  18. ^ "Where are they now? Bond villains". 2013. Virgin Media. Retrieved 23 January 2014. 
  19. ^ Robert Davi Backstage at the Republican National Convention on YouTube
  20. ^ "Robert Davi on 'Red Eye'". August 4, 2013. Fox News. Retrieved 23 January 2014. 
  21. ^ Alexander, Julia. "Four Inducted Into Little Italy's Italian Walk Of Fame". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 6 May 2014. 

External links[edit]