Davis Roberts

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Davis Roberts
Robert A. Davis

(1917-03-07)March 7, 1917
DiedJuly 18, 1993(1993-07-18) (aged 76)
Years active1946–1989

Davis Roberts (born Robert A. Davis, March 7, 1917 – July 18, 1993) was an American character actor whose career spanned five decades, from the late 1940s until just before his death in 1993.[1][2][3] He started out making films in the 1940s and 1950s and expanded into television work in the following decades. Davis was known for his dignified portrayals which were often in contrast to prevailing stereotypical roles.[3] He played the role of Dr. Caldwell in three episodes in the second and third seasons of the NBC-TV sitcom series Sanford and Son, and as Dr. Ozaba in the 1968 episode "The Empath" in the original Star Trek series.[1][2][3]

He was active off-screen as well, serving several terms on the western advisory board of Actors' Equity Association.[2] As one of the officers of Beverly Hills-Hollywood Branch of the NAACP he help present the first Image Awards in 1967.[3]


Davis died in the home of his brother Charles on July 18, 1993 of emphysema at the age of 76.[1][2][3]


Year Title Role Notes
1947 The Long Night Freddie
1949 Knock on Any Door Jim 'Sunshine' Jackson Uncredited
1949 The Great Dan Patch Smiler Uncredited
1950 In a Lonely Place Flower Shop Employee Uncredited
1950 No Way Out Heckler at Riot Meeting Uncredited
1951 Tarzan's Peril Emissary Uncredited
1951 The Lion Hunters Lohu
1951 The Harlem Globetrotters Frank Uncredited
1952 Phone Call from a Stranger Henry Uncredited
1952 Red Ball Express Pvt. Dave McCord
1953 Jungle Drums of Africa Native Ambusher Serial, [Ch.1]
1953 Jamaica Run Rob Uncredited
1954 The Glenn Miller Story Black Man Uncredited
1956 Female Jungle George
1958 God's Little Acre Farm Hand with Hoe
1958 Murder by Contract Hall of Records Clerk
1960 All the Fine Young Cannibals Darl Uncredited
1962 Sweet Bird of Youth Fly Uncredited
1964 The Killers Maître D'
1964 Quick Before It Melts Military Man
1966 The Chase Roy Uncredited
1967 Hotel Dr. Elmo Adams
1968 Lionheart Corporal
1969 Hook, Line & Sinker Member - Board of Inquiry Jerry Lewis comedy; uncredited
1970 Halls of Anger Mr. Willis
1970 The Great White Hope Pastor Uncredited
1972 Glass Houses
1973 The Trial of the Catonsville Nine Prosecutor
1973 Westworld Supervisor
1973 Detroit 9000
1974 Willie Dynamite Judge #2
1976 From Noon till Three Sam
1977 Demon Seed Warner
1977 Billy Jack Goes to Washington 2nd Handwriting Expert
1981 Honky Tonk Freeway James
1984 Chattanooga Choo Choo Woodrow
1990 To Sleep with Anger Okra Tate
1993 The Gifted (final film role)


  1. ^ a b c Heise, Kenan (29 Jul 1993). "Actor Davis Roberts, 76: Helped Break Stereotype". Chicago Tribune. Chicago, Illinois. Retrieved 4 Jan 2016. Davis Roberts, 76, a Hollywood actor from 1946 to 1989, helped redefine the African-American character actor, performing with dignity and professionalism in 120 movies and in a wide variety of roles.
  2. ^ a b c d "Davis Roberts; Actor, 76". New York Times. New York, New York. 5 Aug 1993. Retrieved 4 Jan 2016. Davis Roberts, who played a broad range of characters in dozens of television shows while championing black causes off screen, died on July 18 in Chicago.
  3. ^ a b c d e Folkart, Burt A. (4 Aug 1993). "Obituaries : Davis Roberts; Actor Fought Stereotypical Roles for Blacks". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, California. Retrieved 4 Jan 2016. Despite an occasional comic appearance, Roberts' greatest acting strength lay in the distinguished attitude he brought to his characters.

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