Brad Davis (actor)

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For other people named Brad Davis, see Brad Davis (disambiguation).
Brad Davis
Brad Davis actor 1980.jpg
Born Robert Creel Davis
(1949-11-06)November 6, 1949
Tallahassee, Florida, U.S.
Died September 8, 1991(1991-09-08) (aged 41)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Years active 1974–91
Spouse(s) Susan Bluestein
(1976–1991; his death)
Children Alex (b. 1983)

Robert Creel "Brad" Davis (November 6, 1949 – September 8, 1991) was an American actor, known for starring in the 1978 film Midnight Express and 1982 film Querelle.

Early life[edit]

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.[1] Davis was known as "Bobby" during his youth, but took Brad as his stage name in 1973.[1]

Career[edit]

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.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Davis married Susan Bluestein, an Emmy Award-winning casting director. They had one child, Alex, a transgender man born as Alexandra.[1][2] Davis acknowledged having had sex with men and being bisexual in an interview with Boze Hadleigh.[3]

Death[edit]

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.[4]

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.[5] Susan Davis continues to campaign to combat AIDS.

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
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
1982 Querelle Querelle
1984 Terror in the Aisles Billy Hayes
1986 Blood Ties Julian Salina
1986 Vengeance: The Story of Tony Cimo Tony Cimo Television movie
1987 Heart Eddie
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 Child of Darkness, Child of Light Dr. Phinney Television movie
1991 Hangfire Sheriff Ike Slayton Alternative title: First Blood Commando
1992 The Habitation of Dragons George Tolliver Television movie

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
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[edit]

Year Association Category Nominated work Result
1978 Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards Best Actor Midnight Express Won
1979 BAFTA Awards Best Actor in a Leading Role Nominated
Best Newcomer Nominated
Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama Nominated
New Star of the Year – Actor Won

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Witchel, Alex. (April 16, 1997) "For the Widow Of Brad Davis, Time Cannot Heal All the Wounds", New York Times; accessed July 31, 2007.
  2. ^ The Sheila Variations: Feb. 19/20 at The Knitting Factory: Alex Davis: Man of the Year [1]
  3. ^ "Davis, Brad". glbtq. Retrieved 2014-06-29. 
  4. ^ Fox, David (1991-09-22). "How Much Does Hollywood Really Care About AIDS?". LA Times. 
  5. ^ 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

External links[edit]