Robert Davi

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Robert Davi
Davi in 2016
Robert John Davi

(1953-06-26) June 26, 1953 (age 70)
EducationHofstra University (B.A.)
  • Actor
  • singer
  • filmmaker
Years active1977–present
Jan Borenstein
(m. 1971; div. 1980)
Jeri McBride
(m. 1980; div. 1990)
Christine Bolster
(m. 1990; div. 2019)
Diana Davi
(m. 2019)
Musical career
GenresTraditional pop, Great American Songbook

Robert John Davi (born June 26, 1953)[1] is an American actor, singer and filmmaker.[2] Over the course of his acting career, Davi has performed in more than 130 films. Among his most known roles are opera-singing Jake Fratelli in The Goonies (1985), Vietnam veteran and FBI Special Agent Johnson in Die Hard (1988), James Bond villain Franz Sanchez in Licence to Kill (1989), police deputy chief Phil Heinemann in Predator 2 (1990) and strip club manager Al Torres in Showgirls (1995). On television, he portrayed FBI Special Agent Bailey Malone in the NBC television series Profiler (1996–2000).

Classically trained as a singer, Davi launched his professional singing career in 2011.[1][3] His first album, Davi Sings Sinatra – On The Road To Romance, hit No. 6 on the Billboard jazz charts. Praised for his voice and vocal interpretations, Davi debuted as a headliner at The Venetian Las Vegas, six months after the record was released.[4]

In 2016, Davi replaced Jerry Doyle as radio host for a nationally syndicated radio program on Talk Radio Network.[5]

Early life[edit]

Davi was born in 1953, in Astoria, Queens, New York, the son of Maria (née Rulli) and Sal Davi.[1] His mother was an Italian American whose family came from Nusco, Avellino, Campania and his father was from Torretta, Palermo, Sicily.[6]

Davi spoke Italian during his childhood.[1] He attended Seton Hall, a Roman Catholic high school in Patchogue, New York.[1] He has two sisters, Yvonne Davi (deceased), and Michelle Queal. He graduated from Hofstra University, which he attended because of that university's strong drama department as well as its reproduction of Shakespeare's Globe Theater.[7] Davi studied with acting coach Stella Adler when he moved to Manhattan.[8]

Film career[edit]

Acting career[edit]

Davi in a 1983 episode of The Optimist

Davi made his motion picture debut in Contract On Cherry Street, in which he shared the screen with Frank Sinatra. He has appeared in films including The Goonies, Die Hard, Showgirls, Son of the Pink Panther, and in the Bond film Licence to Kill (1989) as the villain Franz Sanchez, a South American drug lord and murderer.[9] In 2014, Davi appeared as Goran Vata in The Expendables 3.[10]

In 2015, Davi appeared in a music video for Bob Dylan's recording of "The Night They Called It A Day", from Dylan's album Shadows In The Night, a selection of songs which had been recorded by Frank Sinatra. Rolling Stone suggested that Davi's role in the video may be a nod towards Davi's having made his acting debut alongside Sinatra in the crime film Contract on Cherry Street, and Davi's release of his own album of Sinatra covers.[11]

In 2015, he interpreted Gabriele Tinti's poetry giving voice to the Boxer at Rest at the Getty Museum.[12]

Directing career[edit]

Davi with Stephen Dorff and Michael Shannon at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival

In 2007, Davi made his directorial debut with The Dukes, a parable regarding the mid-2000 economic crisis and its impact. The film starred himself, Chazz Palminteri, and Peter Bogdanovich. The Dukes was selected for the premiere section at the Rome Film Festival, along with films by Francis Ford Coppola, Sean Penn, Robert Redford, and Sidney Lumet. Davi was the only first-time director in the premiere section.[13] The film was screened internationally and won awards at Queens International Film Festival, WorldFest Houston [tr], Monte-Carlo Comedy Film Festiva and the Festival international du film de comédie de l'Alpe d'Huez.[14][better source needed]

Davi directed his third film, My Son Hunter, it was released on September 7, 2022.[15]

Recording career[edit]

Davi in 2013

In high school, Davi was praised for his singing, and auditioned for the Metropolitan Opera after being awarded first place at the prestigious New York State School Music Association's Solo Competition, where he sang Vincent Youman's "Without A Song". He subsequently received classical training with top vocal teachers, Samuel Margolis and Danial Ferro of Juilliard and Tito Gobbi. Davi damaged his voice, and later explained that he was a baritone with the "heart of a tenor and had pushed too hard, too early."[16]

Davi began to focus again on singing in 2011, and worked with "Voice Builder" Gary Catona as he prepared to record his first children's album.[17]

With a thirty-piece orchestra, he recorded the album at the Capitol Records Building in Hollywood, where Frank Sinatra recorded on many occasions.[18]

The album, which featured new arrangements by composer Nic. tenBroek, was produced by Phil Ramone, engineered by Dan Wallin, and mixed by Al Schmitt. The album, Davi Sings Sinatra -- On The Road To Romance, was released October 24, 2011, and received attention from the media, garnering positive reviews.[19] Jazztimes called Davi Sings Sinatra "uniformly impressive",[20] and critic Don Heckman wrote in the Orange County Register that "there are, of course, dozens of Sinatra imitators and simulators. But what Davi does is a whole different matter. A tribute? Yes, indeed; all that and more."[21] AllMusic noted that "Davi makes no attempt to copy Sinatra's vocal sound ... Rather, he is his own singer."[22] The album reached the Top 10 on the Billboard jazz charts.[23]

In December 2012, Davi appeared along with Roger Cicero in the French/German Arte TV program Durch die Nacht mit … The episode was shot in the Little Italy area of New York City and featured conversation between Cicero and Davi and solos of Sinatra standards by both performers. In December 2013, Davi released a Christmas single, "Mistletoe and Holly", with all proceeds benefiting The Salvation Army.[17]

Davi has lent his voice to political ads, including Carly Fiorina's "Demon Sheep" attack ad, "Hot Air: The Movie", and others produced by Republican media consultant Fred Davis.[24]

Davi was chosen by the United Nations to celebrate the Transformative Power of Music at the General Assembly in New York, in June 2015 – and again for the 70th Anniversary Celebration of the UN in September 2015.[25]

Davi was chosen to tribute Sinatra's 100th birthday for the July 4 PBS special; it was watched by 500,000 people outside the Capitol Building in DC and 15 million viewers.[25]

Davi was the guest singer on the Italian version of the TV program The Voice.[25]

Personal life[edit]

Davi is a Roman Catholic.

Davi has been married four times having been divorced three times. His first marriage was to Jan Borenstein, the marriage lasted from 1970 to 1980. His second marriage was to Jeri McBride which lasted from 1980 to 1990, they had one son. His third marriage was to Christine Bolster which lasted from 1990 to 2019.[26][27][28] They have four children together.[26][27][26][27] Davi married his fourth wife Diana Davi in 2019 and they have a daughter.


Davi is an outspoken political conservative, often speaking at Republican Party gatherings.[29] He has been invited to comment on numerous political shows and backed John McCain during his presidential campaign. He narrated several film montages that aired during the 2008 Republican National Convention.[30][31] Davi has spoken at numerous Conservative Political Action Conferences in Washington, D.C. He was a frequent guest on Fox News's late-night satire program Red Eye w/ Greg Gutfeld.[32] Davi endorsed Donald Trump in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and again in 2020.[33]

Awards and honors[edit]

For his contributions to the Canadian Italian community, Davi was enshrined in Toronto's Italian Walk of Fame in 2013.[34]

He was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Al Torres in Showgirls (1995).



Year Title Role Notes
1984 City Heat Nino
1985 The Goonies Jake Fratelli
1986 Raw Deal Max Keller
1987 Wild Thing "Chopper"
1988 Action Jackson Tony Moretti
Die Hard FBI Special Agent Johnson
Traxx Aldo Palucci
1989 Licence to Kill Franz Sanchez
1990 Peacemaker Sergeant Frank Ramos
Deceptions Jack "Harley" Kessler
Maniac Cop 2 Detective Sean McKinney
Predator 2 Deputy Chief Phil Heinemann
Amazon Dan
1991 White Hot: The Mysterious Murder of Thelma Todd Charlie "Lucky" Luciano
The Taking of Beverly Hills Robert Masterson
Legal Tender Fix Cleary
1992 Wild Orchid II: Two Shades of Blue "Sully" Sullivan
Christopher Columbus: The Discovery Martin Pinzon
Center of the Web Richard Morgan
1993 Maniac Cop III: Badge of Silence Detective Sean McKinney
Night Trap Detective Mike Turner
Son of the Pink Panther Hans Zarba
1994 No Contest Sergeant Crane
Cops and Robbersons Horace Osborn
1995 Delta of Venus The Collector
Showgirls Al Torres
1996 An Occasional Hell State Trooper Abbott
1998 The Bad Pack McQue
2001 Soulkeeper Mallion
2002 The Sorcerer's Apprentice Merlin, Milner
The 4th Tenor Lerra
The Hot Chick Stan, April's Dad
Hitters Nick Also producer
2003 One Last Ride Father
2004 Call Me: The Rise and Fall of Heidi Fleiss Ivan Nagy
2005 In the Mix "Fish"
2007 The Dukes Danny Also directorial debut, screenwriter and producer
2008 An American Carol Aziz
2009 American Summer Himself
The Butcher Murdoch
Ballistica Macarthur Also executive producer
2010 Magic Man Simpson
Game of Death Frank Smith
Magic David Ortero Also director and producer
2011 Kill the Irishman Ray Ferritto
Swamp Shark Sheriff Watson
2012 The Iceman Leo Merks Based on Anthony Gaggi
2013 Doonby Sheriff Woodley
Blood of Redemption Hayden
2014 Black Rose Captain Frank Dalano
A Long Way Off Frank
The Expendables 3 Goran Vata
Lost Time Xavier Reed Also executive producer
2015 Sicilian Vampire Salvatore "Big Sal"
2016 Criminal Admiral Lance Uncredited
2018 Bachelor Lions Maurice
2019 Mob Town Vito Genovese
2020 Roe v. Wade William J. Brennan Jr.
2022 The Man Who Drew God Lawyer Post-production
2022 My Son Hunter Director
2023 Inside Man Anthony 'Nino' Gaggi
2023 The Engineer Senator David Adler
2023 Reagan Leonid Brezhnev Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1977 Contract on Cherry Street Mickey Sinardos, Greek Hijacker TV film
1978 Charlie's Angels Ritchie Episode: "Mother Angel"
1979 From Here to Eternity Guard TV miniseries
The Legend of the Golden Gun William Quantrill TV film
Lou Grant Hector Episode: "Hector"
The Incredible Hulk Rader Episode: "The Slam"
Barnaby Jones Pete Cerilla Episode: "False Witness"
Trapper John, M.D. Officer Ed Buxton Episode: "Licensed to Kill"
1980 Alcatraz: The Whole Shocking Story Hubbard TV film
1981 Dynasty Amos Episode: "The Honeymoon"
Shannon Mel Episode: "Gotham Swansong"
The Gangster Chronicles Vito Genovese TV miniseries
1982 St. Elsewhere Parick 2 episodes
T. J. Hooker Joe 'The Barber' Picartus, Tom Warfield 2 episodes
The Powers of Matthew Star Zealotta Episode: "The Italian Caper"
Hill Street Blues Stan Mizell Episode: "Stan the Man"
1983 The Optimist The Cabbie Episode: "Burning Rubber"
1983–1984 The Fall Guy Scar De Bond, Dan Kowal 2 episodes
1984 Hart to Hart Tony Bairos Episode: "Always, Elizabeth"
The A-Team Boyle Episode: "Sheriffs of Rivertown"
1985 Hunter Sonny Dunbar Episode: "Million Dollar Misunderstanding"
1986 The Equalizer Michael Riegert Episode: "Wash-Up"
1988 L.A. Law Dominic Simonetti Episode: "Leapin' Lizards"
1989 Wiseguy Albert Cerrico 5 episodes
1993 FBI: The Untold Stories Joe Pistone 2 episodes
1994 Blind Justice Alacran TV film
1995 VR.5 Simon Buchanan Episode: "Simon's Choice"
1996–2000 Profiler FBI Agent Bailey Malone 86 episodes
1999 Batman Beyond Dr. Mike Morgan / Magma Voice, episode: "Heroes"
1999–2000 The Pretender Agent Bailey Malone 2 episodes
2004 Karen Sisco Denton Episode: "No One's Girl"
2004–2008 Stargate: Atlantis Acastus Kolya 6 episodes
2005 Breaking Vegas The Narrator 4 episodes
2006 Huff Dickins Episode: "Which Lip Is the Cervical Lip?"
2010 Nip/Tuck Christian's Dad Episode: "Christian Troy II"
Criminal Minds Detective Kurzbard 2 episodes
2014 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Marvin Braxton Episode: "Uninvited"
Asteroid vs. Earth General Masterson TV film
2015 Hell's Kitchen Himself Reality TV series
2021–2022 Paper Empire Lawrence Fintch 11 episodes

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2002 Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Colonel Juan Garcia Cortez [35]
Disney's PK: Out of the Shadows General Zondag
2004 Halo 2 Rtas 'Vadumee
2006 Scarface: The World Is Yours Alejandro Sosa
2007 Halo 3 Shipmaster Rtas 'Vadumee [35]

Music videos[edit]

Year Title Role
2008 "Burnin' Up" Jonas Brothers
2015 "The Night We Called It a Day" Bob Dylan
"Sopra la media" J-Ax


  1. ^ a b c d e Chutkow, Paul (1996). "Playing the Heavy Actor Robert Davi has made a career of playing tough guys with a signature cigar". Cigar Aficionado. Archived from the original on September 14, 2017. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
  2. ^ Paul, Louis (2007). Tales from the Cult Film Trenches. McFarland & Company. p. 53. ISBN 978-0-7864-2994-3. Archived from the original on May 17, 2016. Retrieved September 3, 2015.
  3. ^ "Famed Film Villain Robert Davi Sings Sinatra". ABC News. December 4, 2013. Archived from the original on February 3, 2014. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
  4. ^ Leach, Robin (February 9, 2012). "Spirit of Sinatra returns as Robert Davi fulfills a childhood dream". Las Vegas Sun. Archived from the original on February 1, 2014. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
  5. ^ "Actor Robert Davi to Replace Jerry Doyle". Radio Ink. August 11, 2016. Archived from the original on August 13, 2016. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  6. ^ "Robert Davi sul palco di #TVOI" (in Italian). Archived from the original on July 21, 2015. Retrieved May 17, 2015.
  7. ^ Gil de Rubio, Dave (2010). "Doing It His Way". LongIslandPress. Archived from the original on March 24, 2014. Retrieved March 24, 2014.
  8. ^ "Buffalo Niagara film fest centers on Niagara Falls for a change!". Niagara Falls Reporter. July 27, 2017. Archived from the original on August 22, 2017. Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  9. ^ EW Staff (August 11, 2013). "21 Most Ruthless TV/Film Drug Lords". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on January 22, 2014. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
  10. ^ Lawton, Adam (November 5, 2013). "'License To Kill' Villain Robert Davi Discusses His Role In 'The Expendables 3' And Reflect On 'The Goonies'". Media Mikes. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved March 3, 2015.
  11. ^ Kreps, Daniel (March 2, 2015). "Watch Bob Dylan Navigate a Bloody Love Triangle in New Video". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on March 4, 2015. Retrieved March 3, 2015.
  12. ^ "The boxer". Archived from the original on November 17, 2017. Retrieved November 16, 2017.
  13. ^ "Commentary: After 70 films as actor Robert Davi directs his first". The Hollywood Reporter. October 7, 2008. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  14. ^ The Dukes (Awards), November 14, 2008, archived from the original on February 22, 2015, retrieved August 13, 2016
  15. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (November 18, 2021). "Gina Carano Joins Hunter Biden Biopic 'My Son Hunter'". Archived from the original on January 4, 2022. Retrieved December 17, 2021.
  16. ^ Wolfe, Zachary (July 14, 2010). "License to trill: The reinvention of Robert Davi". Capitol New York. Archived from the original on February 2, 2014. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
  17. ^ a b Staff (December 2013). "Robert Davi's new Christmas single "Mistletoe and Holly" to benefit The Salvation Army". Cision. Archived from the original on December 3, 2011. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
  18. ^ Sterling, Ellen (September 24, 2013). "No Overstatement: Singer-Actor-Writer-Director Robert Davi Is A Legend in the Making". Huffington Post. Archived from the original on February 3, 2014. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
  19. ^ Truitt, Brian (October 27, 2011). "Robert Davi Sings Sinatra, Sincerely". USA Today. Archived from the original on March 22, 2019. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
  20. ^ Loudon, Christopher (October 24, 2011). "A Singer Turned Legend Turns Singer Again". Jazztimes. Archived from the original on December 19, 2016. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
  21. ^ Heckman, Don (October 21, 2013). "Don Heckman: Robert Davi sings Sinatra". Orange County Register. Archived from the original on February 1, 2014. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
  22. ^ Ruhlman, William (2011). "Davi Sings Sinatra". AllMusic. Archived from the original on June 11, 2015. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
  23. ^ Berk, Dr. Nancy (December 5, 2013). "Showbiz Analysis with Robert Davi". Parade. Archived from the original on December 18, 2013. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
  24. ^ Gilson, Dave. "Demon Sheep Ad Man Tells All". Mother Jones. Archived from the original on August 26, 2015. Retrieved September 20, 2015.
  25. ^ a b c Serran, Paul (September 15, 2020). "Put-A-Name-To-That-Face-Excellence-And-Swagger-In-The-Work-Of-Movie-Icon-Robert-Davi". Artvoice. Archived from the original on September 20, 2020. Retrieved September 18, 2020.
  26. ^ a b c "Robert Davi's wife files for divorce". November 7, 2013. Retrieved October 31, 2022.
  27. ^ a b c "Robert Davi's wife files for divorce". November 7, 2013. Retrieved October 31, 2022.
  28. ^ "Actor and Wife To Divorce After 23 Years of Marriage". November 7, 2013. Retrieved October 31, 2022.
  29. ^ "License to trill: The reinvention of Robert Davi". Politico. July 14, 2010. Archived from the original on January 18, 2018. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  30. ^ "Where are they now? Bond villains". Virgin Media. 2013. Archived from the original on February 1, 2014. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
  31. ^ Robert Davi Backstage at the Republican National Convention on YouTube
  32. ^ "Robert Davi on 'Red Eye'". Fox News. August 4, 2013. Archived from the original on February 3, 2014. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
  33. ^ Lee, Chris (March 23, 2016). "Here Are All of the D-List Celebrities Endorsing Donald Trump". Fortune. Archived from the original on February 19, 2021. Retrieved November 15, 2016.
  34. ^ Alexander, Julia (June 15, 2013). "Four Inducted Into Little Italy's Italian Walk Of Fame". Toronto Sun. Archived from the original on May 6, 2014. Retrieved May 6, 2014.
  35. ^ a b "Robert Davi (visual voices guide)". BTVA. Retrieved November 5, 2022. A green check mark indicates that a role has been confirmed using a screenshot (or collage of screenshots) of a title's list of voice actors and their respective characters found in its opening and/or closing credits and/or other reliable sources of information.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: postscript (link)

External links[edit]