Don S. Davis

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Don S. Davis
Davis in 2001
Donald Sinclair Davis

(1942-08-04)August 4, 1942
DiedJune 29, 2008(2008-06-29) (aged 65)
Occupation(s)Actor, stuntman, stunt coordinator, choreographer, painter, sculptor, soldier, professor
Years active1981–2008
Ruby Fleming
(m. 2003)
Military career
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service1960s
Rank Captain

Donald Sinclair Davis (August 4, 1942 – June 29, 2008)[1][2] was an American character actor[3][4] best known for playing General Hammond in the television series Stargate SG-1 (1997–2007),[1] and earlier for playing Major Garland Briggs on the television series Twin Peaks (1990–1991). He was also a theater professor,[1] painter,[1][4] and United States Army captain.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Davis was born and raised in Aurora, Missouri.[5][6] He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in theater and art from Southwest Missouri State College.[5] He said that "during the Vietnam era" he "was with the 7th Infantry in Korea" and at another point was "a personnel and administration officer; I ran records branches."[7] He was a captain at Fort Leonard Wood by the time he left the U.S. Army, "and worked with General Officers, so I've been able to use that in Hammond and other characters."[7]

In 1970 he received a Master's Degree in Theatre from the Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIU); his thesis was "Design and Construction of Stage Settings for Black Comedy and The Two Executioners".[8] He taught for several years before returning to SIUC to complete a Ph.D. degree in theatre; his dissertation was "The Evolution of Scenography in the Western Theater".[9]

He began working in the film industry in the 1980s, while teaching at the University of British Columbia.[1] In 1987, he stopped teaching in order to pursue acting full-time.[1]


Davis stated that he landed the role of the eloquently spoken Major Briggs when "I was living in Vancouver and doing local work. But because of my accent in the '80s I couldn't play a Canadian in commercials. So someone suggested that I get an agent in Seattle. I did and was able to get commercial work and acting jobs there. I had a good resume. So when they were casting the Twin Peaks pilot my agent sent me out to the audition. I met series creator David Lynch and didn't actually read for him—we just visited. ... David liked me and started writing for me. He liked the chemistry I had with other players. I did three days on the pilot and then went on to the series. That was the luckiest break I could have had. There are at least a dozen people from that show who are lifelong friends because of that show. It was a life-changing experience."[7]

In the TV show MacGyver, Davis was the stunt/photography double for Dana Elcar.[6] He was often mistaken for Elcar, and vice versa. Davis did appear in two episodes of MacGyver, as a different character each time. His first appearance was as a cement truck driver in the episode "Blow Out", and his second appearance was as the poacher Wyatt Porter in "The Endangered". He also played Dana Scully's father in the series The X-Files. Canadian audiences may also be familiar with Davis thanks to his appearance in one of the famous Heritage Minutes, in which he played an arrogant American gold prospector who pulls a gun on Mountie Sam Steele.[10] He also played the role of the Racine Belles' manager in the movie A League of Their Own.[6] He also had a guest-starring role in the pilot episode of the comedy-drama television series Psych, playing the character of Mr. McCallum.

He was a member of the main cast of Stargate SG-1 during the first seven seasons of that television series, portraying General Hammond, commander of Stargate Command (SGC). He appeared in a recurring role during Seasons 8 to 10, cutting back his commitment due to health problems. He also played the character in one episode of the Stargate spin-off series Stargate Atlantis.

Later life and death[edit]

Davis died of a heart attack on June 29, 2008, at the age of 65. He had been suffering from heart disease and diabetes.[1][2] At the time of his death, Davis was living in Gibsons, British Columbia, Canada. He was cremated and his ashes were scattered into the Pacific Ocean.[citation needed]

The writers of Stargate Atlantis paid him homage by mentioning the death of his character George Hammond and naming a spaceship after him in the final episode of the show airing January 9, 2009. He was again honored in October 2009, with the appearance of the spaceship Hammond in the pilot episode of Stargate Universe. Coincidentally, in episode 16 of season 4 of SG-1, "2010" (an episode set in the future which originally aired in January 2001), it is stated that General Hammond had died of a heart attack prior to the episode's events. His character on The X-Files, William Scully, had also died of a heart attack fourteen years earlier.

Unfortunately, Davis didn't live to see the release of one of his final performances, Stargate: Continuum, released on July 29, 2008, one month after his death.[11][12]

Personal life[edit]

Davis married Ruby Fleming in 2003, by which time he had a son, Matt Davis, from a previous marriage.[1]

Davis was also a visual artist, spending most of his free time painting or carving. He grew up painting, sculpting, and drawing, and continued to pursue these crafts his entire life, supplementing his income with design commissions and art sales. On the DVD commentary track for Stargate SG-1 season 6 episode 17 ("Disclosure"), Davis said that he once had a job carving wooden cigar store Indians that were sold at Silver Dollar City.

Selected filmography[edit]

Partial television credits[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Skelton, Chad (June 30, 2008). "Actor Don S. Davis dies in Gibsons". The Vancouver Sun. Archived from the original on July 3, 2008.
  2. ^ a b c "Don S. Davis: 1942–2008". GateWorld. June 30, 2008. Archived from the original on April 12, 2009.
  3. ^ "Don S. Davis Profile". IGN. Archived from the original on February 8, 2012.
  4. ^ a b "Don S. Davis - 1948–2008". Zap2it. July 4, 2008. Archived from the original on July 6, 2008.
  5. ^ a b Biography Archived July 1, 2012, at the Wayback Machine at
  6. ^ a b c Fulton, Kristine Anderson (August 28, 1992). "Hollywood comes home to traditional, down-home lifestyle". The Nevada Daily Mail. Nevada, MO. p. 1. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
  7. ^ a b c "Don S. Davis". Sci Fi Channel. chat transcript. October 10, 2002. Archived from the original on August 11, 2003.
  8. ^ Davis, Donald S. (1970). Design and Construction of Stage Settings for Black Comedy and The Two Executioners. Southern Illinois University, Department of Theatre. p. 146.
  9. ^ "Theatre and Oral Interpretation: Abstracts of Doctoral Dissertations Published in "Dissertation Abstracts International," January through June 1984, (Vol. 44 Nos. 7 through 12)" (PDF). Education Resources Information Center. p. 5. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
  10. ^ "Heritage Minute featuring Don S. Davis". Historica Canada.
  11. ^ DeeKayP (January 29, 2009). "View the Final Works of Don S. Davis". Solutions Blog. Archived from the original on July 25, 2012. Retrieved October 27, 2023.
  12. ^ "Stargate: Continuum on DVD July 29". GateWorld. April 4, 2008. Archived from the original on January 30, 2023. Retrieved October 27, 2023.

External links[edit]