November 26, 1945 |
Gurdon, Arkansas, U.S.
|Other names||Danny Davis|
Daniel Davis (born November 26, 1945) is an American stage, screen, and television actor. He is known for portraying Niles the butler on the sitcom The Nanny (1993–99) and for his two guest appearances as Professor Moriarty on Star Trek: The Next Generation, affecting an upper class English accent for both roles. Davis also voices the intelligent Cro Magnon, Longhair from the Longhair and Doubledome cartoon shorts from Cartoon Network's Big Pick.
Davis was born in Gurdon, Arkansas, and grew up in Little Rock. His parents operated a movie theater. His first acting job was at the age of 11, when he was cast in a local broadcast program called Betty's Little Rascals. Davis graduated from Hall High School in Little Rock in 1963. He graduated from the Arkansas Arts Center with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, followed by work with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, and six years with the American Conservatory Theatre. During his time at ACT, he also taught acting.
Davis first became popular in daytime television playing opposite Beverlee McKinsey as her character Iris Cory's former (and presumed dead) husband, Elliot Carrington, on the soap opera Texas, a spin-off of Another World, from October 1980 through December 1981. In 1985, he played a renegade soldier in the Season 4 episode of the television series The A-Team "The Doctor is Out".
Davis played his most famous character, Niles the butler on the television series The Nanny, throughout its run from 1993 to 1999 and in its reunion special in 2004 (in cameo flashbacks only). Niles was known for his frequent use of deadpan one-liners, usually insulting character C.C. Babcock, whom Niles eventually fell in love with and married in the series' last season.
Davis' natural accent is Southern American; however, his English accent as Niles was so accurate that many viewers have been convinced that Davis actually is English. He also used an English accent as Professor Moriarty in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes "Elementary, Dear Data" and "Ship in a Bottle." However, as the Commanding Officer of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise in the 1990 film The Hunt for Red October, Davis spoke with his own American accent. Davis' voice role for Longhair uses a British accent.
In 2000, Davis was nominated for a Best Actor Tony Award for his role in David Hirson's Broadway play Wrong Mountain. In 2003, he appeared in the Alan Bennett play Talking Heads. In 2004, he portrayed George Bernard Shaw in the Stephen Sondheim musical The Frogs. He co-starred in La Cage Aux Folles with Gary Beach from November 2004 to March 2005. (Reportedly, he clashed frequently with Beach and others. He was eventually replaced by Robert Goulet.)
Davis was among the group of celebrities lip-synching to The Bee Gees' Stayin' Alive on the Idol Gives Back episode of American Idol on April 25, 2007. He appeared briefly in the 2006 film The Prestige, directed by Christopher Nolan.
Off-Broadway, he played Rubin in Lake No Bottom in 1990, the Duke of Buckingham in The Tragedy of Richard III, Graham in the Alan Bennett monologue "A Chip in the Sugar" for the series Talking Heads in 2003, and he starred as Gaev in The Cherry Orchard in 2011.
On Broadway, he played Antonio Salieri in Amadeus in 1980, Maurice Montesor in Wrong Mountain in 2000, Oscar Wilde in The Invention of Love in 2001, Georges in La Cage aux Folles in 2004, George Bernard Shaw in The Frogs, also in 2004.
|1970||The Sidelong Glances of a Pigeon Kicker||Skinny||Uncredited|
|1986||Blind Justice||Attorney Seth Thompson|
|1990||The Hunt for Red October||Captain Davenport|
|2005||Thru the Moebius Strip||Arthur (voice)|
|1983||Hardcastle and McCormick||Joe Kello||Episode: "The Day the Music Died"|
|1986||Cheers||Mr. Reinhardt||Episode: "The Peterson Principle"|
|1984||Highway to Heaven||Lance Gaylord||Episode: "Catch a Falling Star"|
|1985||Remington Steele||Pierre Fumar||Episode: "Gourmet Steele"|
|1986||Matlock||James Billings||Episode: "The Professor"|
|1985||Scarecrow and Mrs King||Robert Castille||Episode: "Vigilante Mothers"|
|1986||Scarecrow and Mrs King||Tony Martinet||Episode: "All the World's a Stage"|
|1988||Dirty Dancing||1 Episode|
|1989||MacGyver||Mr. Helman||Episode: "Halloween Knights"|
|1992||Murder, She Wrote||Neal Dishman||Episode: "Badge of Honor"|
|1992||Columbo||Wedding photographer||Episode: "No Time to Die"|
|1993–99||The Nanny||Niles||145 episodes|
|Star Trek: The Next Generation||Professor James Moriarty||Episodes: "Elementary, Dear Data" and "Ship in a Bottle"|
|The Practice||Judge Barton Wolfe|
|2000||Longhair and Doubledome||Longhair||Failed pilot; voice only|
|2010||The Fran Drescher Show||Himself||Guest|
|2015||Gotham||Jacob Skolimski||Episode: "Under the Knife"|
- "Daniel Davis". Playbill Vault. Playbill. Retrieved December 22, 2014.
- Arkatov, Janice (February 18, 1987). "Daniel Davis: An Actor In His Milieu". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 22, 2014.
- Zoren, Neal (September 21, 2014). "Michael Learned and Daniel Davis write new chapter in 'Love Letters'". Delaware County Daily Times. Retrieved October 25, 2014.
- Ludvigson, Evelyn (December 21, 1994). "Lucky Jill Eikenberry only takes projects that interest her". The Spokesman-Review. Retrieved December 22, 2014.
- Horwitz, Simi (September 7, 2004). "Daniel Davis: Playing Shaw in "The Frogs"". Back Stage. Retrieved December 22, 2014.
- "The Nutler presents...Daniel Davis in the American Theater Wing Seminar". Angelfire.com. April 19, 2001. Retrieved February 12, 2012.
- "Wrong Mountain". Playbill Vault. Playbill. Retrieved October 25, 2014.
- Gans, Andrew; Simonson, Robert (March 28, 2005). "Daniel Davis Let Go From La Cage; Robert Goulet to Step in Mid-April". Playbill. Retrieved October 25, 2014.
- "Long Center Presents Celebrity Autobiography". Thelongcenter.org. Retrieved February 12, 2012.
- Rizzo, Frank (February 9, 2012). "Daniel Davis Is Prospero In "The Tempest" At Hartford Stage". Hartford Courant. Retrieved December 22, 2014.