Davis in 2007
Warwick Ashley Davis
3 February 1970
|Height||3 ft 6 in (107 cm)|
|Children||4 (2 deceased), including Annabelle Davis|
|Relatives||Peter Burroughs (father-in-law)|
Warwick Ashley Davis (born 3 February 1970) is an English actor, television presenter, writer, director, comedian, and producer. He played the title characters in Willow (1988) and the Leprechaun film series (1998–2003), several characters in the Star Wars film series (most notably the Ewok Wicket) (1982–2018), and Professor Filius Flitwick and Griphook in the Harry Potter film series (2001–2011). Davis starred as a fictionalised version of himself in the sitcom Life's Too Short (2012–2013). He has also presented the ITV game shows Celebrity Squares (2014–2015) and Tenable (2016–present).
Davis was born in Epsom, Surrey, the son of Susan J. (Pain) and Ashley Davis, an insurance worker. Davis has a younger sister. He was educated at Chinthurst School and later the City of London Freemen's School. Davis was born with spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita, a rare form of dwarfism. When Davis was 11, his grandmother heard a radio advertisement calling for people who were 4 feet (1.2 m) tall or shorter to be in Return of the Jedi. To Davis, who was a fan of the Star Wars films, it was a dream come true. During the filming of Return of the Jedi, Mark Hamill bought Davis every Star Wars action figure he did not have.
Davis was originally cast as an extra Ewok, but when Kenny Baker, who was originally going to be Wicket, fell ill, George Lucas picked Davis to be the new Wicket after seeing how he carried himself as an Ewok.
Davis based his Ewok movements on his dog, who tilted his head from side to side whenever he saw something strange. During production on the film, Davis was the subject of a short mockumentary film about his experience as Wicket, titled Return of the Ewok, made by Return of the Jedi's first assistant director, David Tomblin. The unreleased film was a fictional look at his decision to become an actor and act in the film and his transformation into Wicket the Ewok. Davis reprised his role as Wicket in the ABC made-for-TV films Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure and Ewoks: The Battle for Endor.
In 1987, Davis was called to Elstree Studios near London to meet with Ron Howard and George Lucas to discuss a new film project called Willow, which was written with Davis specifically in mind. Willow was his first opportunity to act with his face visible. He co-starred with Val Kilmer in the film, which received a Royal Premiere before the Prince and Princess of Wales. He then moved to television to be in the BBC Television adaptation of the classic The Chronicles of Narnia, specifically in Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (as Reepicheep), and The Silver Chair (as Glimfeather) and an episode of Zorro filmed in Madrid. In 1993, he played the villainous Irish lead character in Leprechaun, opposite Jennifer Aniston, a role he reprised in five sequels, from 1994 to 2003. He also played a leprechaun in the 1998 family film A Very Unlucky Leprechaun. Davis returned to the Star Wars universe, playing four roles in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace: Weazel, a gambler sitting next to Watto at the Podrace; Wald, who was Anakin's Rodian friend, Yoda in some scenes where Yoda was seen walking, and finally, the handler for Boss Nass' riding creature during the parade at the end of the film.
Davis played the role of Professor Filius Flitwick in the Harry Potter films. In addition to playing Flitwick, Davis played the role of the goblin Griphook in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, despite the role being played previously by fellow dwarf actor Verne Troyer.
In 2004, Davis played the character "Plates" in the indie film Skinned Deep, directed by special effects artist Gabriel Bartalos. In 2006, Davis appeared, alongside fellow Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe, in an episode of BBC's comedy series Extras as a satirical version of himself. Davis starred in the film version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, as the "body" of Marvin the Paranoid Android (the voice was provided by Alan Rickman). In December 2006, Davis starred in the pantomime Snow White and the Seven Dwarves at the Opera House, Manchester, and again in 2007–08 at the New Wimbledon Theatre.
Davis appeared in The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, in which he played Nikabrik the Dwarf, adding to his previous involvement in TV adaptations of the Chronicles of Narnia series. He also appeared as a contestant on the 2007 series of Children in Need reality show Celebrity Scissorhands. Davis starred as a fictional version of himself in Life's Too Short, written by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, who also starred. In December 2012, Davis returned to New Wimbledon Theatre to reprise his role in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
In March 2013, Davis presented an episode of the ITV series Perspectives: Warwick Davis – The Seven Dwarfs of Auschwitz, in which he explored the story of the Ovitz family, a touring musical troupe which included seven dwarfs who survived the Nazi Auschwitz concentration camp and the experiments of Josef Mengele.
In late 2013, Davis appeared for one month as Patsy in the musical comedy Spamalot, based on the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail in London, At the same time, Davis hosted a press conference to announce the Monty Python reunion.
In 2014, Davis hosted a factual series for ITV called Weekend Escapes with Warwick Davis. The show saw Davis and his family travelling around Britain, enjoying short weekend holiday breaks. The show returned for a second series in spring 2015. From 2014 to 2015, he hosted the revived version of game show Celebrity Squares on ITV. The first series was shown in 2014 and a second aired in 2015.
Davis appeared in the 2015 sequel Star Wars: The Force Awakens. In July 2015, he became the voice of Gordon the Gopher in a pilot developed for BBC Taster, and the pilot progressed well, becoming one of the highest rated on the BBC's Taster section.
In November 2016, Davis began presenting the daytime ITV game show Tenable. The show returned for further series in 2017 and 2018. Davis also appeared in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, released December 2016, as the rebel fighter Weeteef Cyubee and that was also his first Star Wars role with a blaster. In April 2017, at Star Wars Celebration Orlando, it was announced that Davis would play Grand Admiral Thrawn's bodyguard Ruhk in the fourth season of Star Wars Rebels. In December 2017, Davis appeared as Wodibin, an alien gambler, in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Davis appeared in the film Solo: A Star Wars Story, released in May 2018, reuniting with his Willow director Ron Howard. This was Davis' eighth appearance in a Star Wars film. In the film, Davis reprised his role of Weazel from The Phantom Menace. Davis also briefly appeared in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, reprising his role of Wicket. He appeared in the role alongside his son Harrison, who also cameoed as Wicket's son Pommet. In the Star Wars franchise Davis has played more characters than any single actor to date. Taking on as many as four roles in the 1999 original release of The Phantom Menace, including as a body double of Yoda for a CGI version when the Jedi is seen walking. Davis has only reprised or played two characters more than once in multiple projects and films.
In addition to his acting career, in 1995, Davis co-founded, with fellow dwarf actor and father-in-law Peter Burroughs, the talent agency Willow Management, that specialises in representing actors under five feet (1.52 m) tall. Many of Davis's co-stars and fellow dwarf actors from Star Wars, Willow, Labyrinth and the Harry Potter series are represented by the agency. In 2004, the agency also began representing actors over seven feet (2.13 m) tall who had suffered from being confined to "niche" roles. Over forty members of Willow Management were cast as goblins in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2.
In October 2012, Davis appeared in a set of videos with the popular YouTube group The Yogscast, after the hosts of the yogscast's podcast "The YogPod" discussed him in several episodes. In January 2013, he appeared in a Comic Relief episode of The Great British Bake Off, winning that episode's title of "Comic Relief Star Baker".
Davis is a founder of the Reduced Height Theatre Company, which stages theatrical productions cast exclusively with short actors and using reduced height sets. Their first production was See How They Run, touring the UK in 2014. In February 2015, the production was the subject of the BBC's "Warwick Davis' Big Night" as part of the Modern Times documentary series.
On 15 July 2014, Davis appeared on stage with Monty Python during their live show Monty Python Live (Mostly). He was the special guest in their "Blackmail" sketch. In June 2016, he was the castaway on the BBC Radio 4 programme Desert Island Discs.
Davis produced a new original musical Eugenius! by Ben Adams and Chris Wilkins, which premiered as a concert performance on 29 June 2016 at the London Palladium (which Davis also starred in as Evil Lord Hector) followed by fully staged runs at The Other Palace in 2018.
The BBC broadcast an episode of Who Do You Think You Are? genealogy programmes on Warwick Davis in February 2017. In the episode Davis learned that in his family tree he had an ancestor that had been married to two women at the same time, another who had died in an asylum from syphilis and another who performed as a minstrel in blackface.
Unlike most people with dwarfism (70.65%), who have a condition called achondroplasia, Davis' dwarfism is caused by an extremely rare genetic condition called spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita (SED). He has said the only real drawback to being small was the associated health problems. Of his own dwarfism, Davis has said, "Well, as you get older, it gets worse... Your joints, for a start. My hips are dislocated, so they’re sitting out here. Very painful knees. I had surgery on my feet when I was very young. There’s a risk of retinal detachment, but I know the signs now."
Davis' wife, Samantha (née Burroughs), has achondroplasia, and their two children also have SED. Their daughter, Annabelle Davis, stars in the CBBC show The Dumping Ground as Sasha Bellman. As a result of having different causes of dwarfism, the couple's first two children, sons Lloyd and George, died shortly after birth, having had a fatal combination of the conditions. Samantha is the daughter of Davis' business partner Peter Burroughs and the sister of actress Hayley Burroughs. Davis met the Burroughs family while filming Willow, where Samantha and Peter had minor roles as Nelwyn villagers.
Davis is co-founder of Little People UK, a charity that provides support to people with dwarfism and their families.
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- Brown, Kat (6 August 2015). "Nineties children's favourite Gordon the Gopher makes return to BBC comedy as washed-up reject". Retrieved 14 September 2015.
- "Gordon". BBC Taster. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
- Davis, Warwick (24 July 2017). "Just wrapped on more 3 more series of my @ITV quiz #Tenable. Huge thanks to the entire production team, the contestants & @PinewoodStudios.pic.twitter.com/YM9yGqWsqx". Twitter.com. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
- "Star Wars Rebels is ending after season 4". 15 April 2017.
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