Brad Davis (actor)
Davis in A Rumor of War
|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||Alex (b. 1983)|
He was born Robert Creel Davis in Tallahassee, Florida to Eugene Davis (a dentist whose career declined due to alcoholism) and his wife, Anne (née Creel) Davis. 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. In 1981 he played American track star Jackson Scholz in the Academy Award winning film Chariots of Fire. 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 married Susan Bluestein, an Emmy Award-winning casting director. They had one child, Alex, a transgender man born as Alexandra. Davis acknowledged having had sex with men and being bisexual in an interview with Boze Hadleigh.
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 end his life on his own terms. With his wife and a family friend present, he committed assisted suicide. He was cremated and his ashes were interred at Forest Lawn-Hollywood Hills Cemetery in the Court of Remembrance/Columbarium of Valor, G64054 in Los Angeles, California. Susan Davis continues to campaign to combat AIDS.
|1976||Song of Myself||Streetcar Conductor||Short film|
|1976||Eat My Dust!||N/A||Uncredited|
|1976||The Secret Life of Ol' John Chapman||Andy||Television movie|
|1978||Midnight Express||Billy Hayes||Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actor
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Newcomer
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
|1980||A Small Circle of Friends||Leonardo da Vinci Rizzo|
|1980||The Greatest Man in the World||Jimmy Schmurch||Television movie|
|1980||A Rumor of War||Lt. Philip 'Phil' Caputo||Television movie|
|1981||Chariots of Fire||Jackson Scholz|
|1984||Terror in the Aisles||Billy Hayes|
|1986||Blood Ties||Julian Salina|
|1986||Vengeance: The Story of Tony Cimo||Tony Cimo||Television movie|
|1987||When the Time Comes||Dean||Television movie|
|1987||Cold Steel||Johnny Modine|
|1988||The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial||Lt. Cmdr. Phillip Francis Queeg||Television movie|
|1989||The Rainbow Warrior Conspiracy||Neil Travers||Television movie|
|1989||The Edge||Kenny||Television movie|
|1989||Rosalie Goes Shopping||Ray "Liebling" Greenspace|
|1990||The Plot to Kill Hitler||Count Claus von Stauffenberg||Television movie|
|1990||Unspeakable Acts||Joseph Braga||Television movie|
|1991||Hangfire||Sheriff Ike Slayton||Alternative title: First Blood Commando|
|1991||Child of Darkness, Child of Light||Dr. Phinney||Television movie|
|1992||The Habitation of Dragons||George Tolliver||Television movie screened posthumously|
|1992||The Player||Himself||Non-speaking cameo released posthumously|
|1974||How to Survive a Marriage||Alexander Kronos||Unknown episodes|
|1976||The American Parade||Streetcar conductor||Episode: "Song of Myself"|
|1976||The American Parade||Thomas Nast||Episode: "Stop Thief"|
|1976||Sybil||Richard J. Loomis||2 episodes|
|1977||Roots||Ol' George Johnson||3 episodes|
|1977||Baretta||Ray||Episode: "Guns and Brothers"|
|1981||BBC2 Playhouse||Young American||Episode: "Mrs. Reinhardt"|
|1983||Chiefs||Sonny Butts||2 episodes|
|1985||Robert Kennedy & His Times||Robert F. Kennedy||Episode: "#1.1"|
|1985||The New Alfred Hitchcock Presents||Arthur||Episode: "Arthur, or the Gigolo"|
|1986||The Twilight Zone||Arthur Lewis||Episode: "Button, Button"|
|1987||The Hitchhiker||Jerry Rulac||Episode: "Why Are You Here?"|
Awards and nominations
|1978||Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards||Best Actor||Midnight Express||Won|
|1979||BAFTA Awards||Best Actor in a Leading Role||Nominated|
|Golden Globe Awards||Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama||Nominated|
|New Star of the Year – Actor||Won|
- Witchel, Alex. (April 16, 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 
- "Davis, Brad". glbtq. Retrieved 2014-06-29.
- Fox, David (1991-09-22). "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 AllMovie
- Brad Davis at the Internet Movie Database
- Brad Davis at the Lortel Archives
- Brad Davis at Find a Grave