Clifton Davis

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Clifton Davis
Clifton Davis in 1998.jpg
Davis in 1998
Clifton Duncan Davis

(1945-10-04) October 4, 1945 (age 73)
OccupationActor, songwriter, singer, minister
Years active1971–present
Known forThat's My Mama, Amen
  • Ann Taylor (m. 1981–1991)
  • Monica Durant (m. 2000)

Clifton Duncan Davis (born October 4, 1945) is an American actor, songwriter, singer, pastor and author.

Davis wrote The Jackson 5's No. 2 hit "Never Can Say Goodbye" in 1971. He appeared on Broadway in the musicals Two Gentlemen of Verona and Aladdin. Davis starred in the television shows That's My Mama, Amen and Madam Secretary and many others. He has hosted the Stellar Gospel Music Awards, Gospel Superfest and Lifestyle Magazine. Davis has appeared on the game shows Match Game and Pyramid. And has also appeared in many movies.

Davis is a minister of a Baptist church and he has also operated an interdenominational ministry for many years. He has been a guest on the Trinity Broadcasting Network many times. Davis has also written a book about the racism which he experienced while he was growing up.

Early life[edit]

Davis was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Thelma van Putten Langhorn, a nurse, and Toussaint L'Ouverture Davis, a Baptist minister. He was raised in Mastic, New York. Clifton Davis is a graduate of Pine Forge Academy. In a piece which he wrote for Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul, he described the racism which he suffered while he was growing up during the pre-Civil Rights Act era.[1]


Davis in a club

Before finding fame in acting, Davis worked as a songwriter, most famously penning The Jackson 5's No. 2 hit "Never Can Say Goodbye." He appeared on Broadway as Valentine in Galt MacDermot and John Guare's musical Two Gentlemen of Verona, based on the Shakespeare comedy of that name.[2][3] He starred as barber Clifton Curtis in the mid-1970s television show That's My Mama with Theresa Merritt, Theodore Wilson and Ted Lange.[4]

Davis' romantic interest in songstress and Broadway performer Melba Moore led to his co-starring role on her musical variety television show. Later he made a guest appearance on the third episode of the first season of The Bobby Vinton Show in September 1975, singing "I've Got The Music In Me" and "Never Can Say Goodbye." He successfully sang the Polish lyrics with Vinton to the show's "My Melody of Love" theme song.

A triple heart bypass survivor, he participated in the "superstars" celebrity TV sports competitions of the seventies, in addition to making several appearances on the popular celebrity game show Match Game. He also appeared in the film Scott Joplin in 1977. He also made numerous appearances on several incarnations of Pyramid from the early 1970s to the early 1990s.

From 1986 to 1991, he co-starred with Sherman Hemsley, as the Reverend Ruben Gregory, in the NBC sitcom Amen, which ran for five seasons. Davis released one acclaimed (and now hard to find) studio recording in 1991 on Benson Records titled Say Amen. He also played the mayor of Miami in the 1999 film Any Given Sunday. Davis has continued his stage work, starring in Toronto as well as on Broadway in Aladdin, playing the Sultan of Agrabah.[5]


Davis holds a BA in Theology from Oakwood University and a Master of Divinity degree from Andrews University.[6] From 1987 to 1989, he was an Associate Pastor of the Loma Linda University SDA Church in southern California. For the last twenty-five years, he has been an active member of Youthville, USA a children's services organization. He served as the co-founder and co-pastor of the Welcome Christian Center in Huntington Beach, California. Davis is a licensed minister at St. Luke Baptist Church, New York, New York. He has had an interdenominational ministry for over 30 years. He has served as its National Spokesperson and Advisory Board Chairman.[7] He is the emcee and host of The Most Soulful Sound, an annual gospel choir competition in Raleigh, North Carolina. He also hosts an annual celebrity golf tournament in Elizabeth City, NC at Elizabeth City State University, where he served as its Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement. Since the end of 2005 Davis has held the position of Executive Director for Welcome America, a non-profit organization located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania which hosts the largest Fourth of July celebration in the nation each year. Davis is a frequent guest and host on the Trinity Broadcasting Network. Davis also hosted the Gospel Superfest TV show from 2000 to 2008, which is syndicated by United Television.[8] Davis is the author of an autobiographical essay entitled "A Mason-Dixon Memory" in which he recounts his experiences as an eighth grader who dealt with prejudice on a trip to a southern state.[9]



Year Title Role Notes
1971 A World Apart Matt Hampton 1 episode
1972 The Melba Moore-Clifton Davis Show Co-host Series
1973 Love Story James Monroe Episode "A Glow of Dying Embers"
Police Story Mark Randolph
Ed Webber
"The Ho Chi Minh Trail"
"The Malflores"
1974–1975 That's My Mama Clifton Curtis Main role (39 episodes)
1977 Scott Joplin Louis Chauvin Movie
1977 Superdome P.K. Jackson Movie
1977 Vega$ Leon Hazlett Episode: "The Eleventh Event"
1978 Cindy Captain Joe Prince Movie
1980 The Love Boat Mr. Reeves Episode: "Invisible Maniac"
1980 The Littlest Hobo Phil McLean Episode: "Licence to Steal"
1980 The Night the City Screamed Arnold Clements Movie
1981 Don't Look Back: The Story of Leroy 'Satchel' Paige Cool Papa Bell Movie
1986–1991 Amen Reverend Reuben Gregory Main role (110 episodes)
1989 Dream Date Bill Fairview Movie
1990–1994 Stellar Gospel Music Awards Co-host Specials
1993 The John Larroquette Show Con Artist Episode: "Pros and Cons"
1996 The Jamie Foxx Show Charles Episode: "Seems Like Old Times"
1997 Living Single Harrison Cushmore Episode: "Mother Inferior"
1997 Sparks Pastor Alexander Episode: "It's the Gospel"
1997 Malcolm & Eddie Leonard Larson Episode: "Club Story"
1997 Party of Five Martin Wilcox Episode: "Point of No Return"
1997 Grace Under Fire Dr. Swanson Episode: "Sam's Dad"
1997 The Sentinel President Lemec Episode: "Fool Me Twice"
1997 The Gregory Hines Show Pauley's Father Episode: "Three's Not Company"
1998 Any Day Now Councilman Lyle Hammond Episode: "No Comment"
1999 In the House Ted Miller 2 episodes
2000 City of Angels Dr. Langston Ellis Episode: "Bride and Prejudice"
2000–2008 Gospel Superfest Host
2001 Lifestyle Magazine Host Series
2002 American Dreams Alvin Lewis Episode: "The Home Front"
2004 Half & Half Pastor David Adams Episode: "The Big Practice What You Preach Episode"
2012 Political Animals Reporter Miniseries; episode: "Pilot"
2012 Mr. Box Office Judge Episode: "Pilot"
2013 The First Family Clayton Episode: "The First Triangle"
2015–present Madam Secretary Ephraim Ware, Director of National Intelligence Recurring role
2017 Iron Fist Lawrence Wilkins Recurring role
2017 The Good Fight Anthony Spiegel Episode: "Not So Grand Jury"
2018 New Amsterdam Pierre Pampil Episode: "Rituals"
2018 Blue Bloods Inspector Azoulay Episode: "Mind Games"


Year Title Role Notes
1972 Together for Days Gus
1974 Lost in the Stars Absalom
1999 Any Given Sunday Mayor Tyrone Smalls
2001 Kingdom Come Charles Winslow
2001 Max Keeble's Big Move Supt. Bobby 'Crazy Legs' Knebworth
2001 The Painting Thomas Ayers
2004 Halloweentown High Principal Phil Flannagan
2006 The Engagement: My Phamily BBQ 2 Uncle Joe
2007 Cover D.A. Simmons
2012 What My Husband Doesn't Know Franklin
2013 God's Amazing Grace... Is Just A Prayer Away Wilbert Richardson


  1. ^ "Mason-Dixon Memory". Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul (pages 127-133).
  2. ^ "Two Gentlemen of Verona Broadway @ St. James Theatre - Tickets and Discounts - Playbill". Playbill. Retrieved 12 June 2018.
  3. ^ "Mansion (Two Gentlemen Of Verona/1971 Original Broadway Cast/Remastered)". Retrieved 12 June 2018.
  4. ^ baydog (17 December 2006). "Ted Lange And Clifton Davis". Retrieved 12 June 2018 – via YouTube.
  5. ^ "Adam Jacobs and Courtney Reed Will Co-Star in Disney's Aladdin; Complete Cast Announced". Playbill. 16 September 2013. Archived from the original on 13 December 2013. Retrieved 16 September 2013.
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Bio".
  8. ^
  9. ^ A Mason-Dixon Memory Archived 2006-09-08 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]