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Davis in A Rumor of War
Robert Creel Davis|
November 6, 1949
Tallahassee, Florida, U.S.
September 8, 1991 (aged 41)|
Studio City, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Education||American Academy of Dramatic Arts|
(1976–1991; his death)
|Children||Alex (b. 1983)|
He was born in Tallahassee, Florida to Eugene Davis (a dentist whose career declined due to alcoholism) and his wife, Anne (née Creel) Davis. His brother Gene is also an actor. According to an article in The New York Times published in 1987, Davis suffered physical abuse and sexual abuse at the hands of both parents. As an adult, he was an alcoholic and an intravenous drug user before becoming sober in 1981. Davis was known as "Bobby" during his youth, but took Brad as his stage name in 1973. Davis attended and graduated from Titusville High School.
At 16, after winning a music-talent contest, Davis worked at Theater Atlanta. He later moved to New York City and attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and the American Place Theater where he studied acting. After a role on the soap opera How to Survive a Marriage, he performed in Off-Broadway plays.
In 1976, he was cast in the television mini-series Roots, then as Sally Field's love interest in the television film Sybil. In 1981, he played American track star Jackson Scholz in the Academy Award-winning film Chariots of Fire. He played the lead role in Larry Kramer's play about AIDS, The Normal Heart (1985). His most successful film role was as the main character, Billy Hayes, in Midnight Express (1978), for which he won the Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actor and the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture Acting Debut – Actor. He was also nominated for a similar award at that year's BAFTA Awards, in addition to receiving Best Actor nominations at both ceremonies.
Diagnosed with HIV in 1985, Davis kept his condition a secret until shortly before his death at age 41, on September 8, 1991, in Los Angeles. It was revealed in a book proposal that Davis had written before his death that he had to keep his medical condition a secret in order to be able to continue to work and support his family. He is interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills). Later, his wife Susan revealed that he committed assisted suicide by a drug overdose.
|1976||Eat My Dust!||Uncredited|
|1976||Song of Myself||Streetcar Conductor||Short film|
|1976||The Secret Life of Ol' John Chapman||Andy||TV Movie|
|1978||Midnight Express||Billy Hayes||Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actor|
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Newcomer
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
|1980||A Small Circle of Friends||Leonardo da Vinci Rizzo|
|1980||The Greatest Man in the World||Jimmy Schmurch||TV Movie|
|1980||A Rumor of War||Lt. Philip 'Phil' Caputo||TV Movie|
|1981||Chariots of Fire||Jackson Scholz|
|1984||Terror in the Aisles||Himself|
|1986||Blood Ties||Julian Salina||TV Movie|
|1986||Vengeance: The Story of Tony Cimo||Tony Cimo||TV Movie|
|1987||When the Time Comes||Dean||TV Movie|
|1987||Cold Steel||Johnny Modine|
|1988||The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial||Lt. Cmdr. Phillip Francis Queeg||TV Movie|
|1989||Rosalie Goes Shopping||Ray "Liebling" Greenspace|
|1989||The Rainbow Warrior Conspiracy||Neil Travers||TV Movie|
|1989||The Edge||Kenny||TV Movie|
|1990||Unspeakable Acts||Joseph Braga||TV Movie|
|1990||The Plot to Kill Hitler||Count Claus von Stauffenberg||TV Movie|
|1991||Hangfire||Sheriff Ike Slayton||Alternative title: First Blood Commando|
|1991||Child of Darkness, Child of Light||Dr. Phinney||TV Movie|
|1992||The Habitation of Dragons||George Tolliver||TV Movie screened posthumously|
|1992||The Player||Himself||Non-speaking cameo released posthumously|
|1974||How to Survive a Marriage||Alexander Kronos||Unknown episodes|
|1976||The American Parade||Streetcar conductor||Episode: "Song of Myself"|
|1976||The American Parade||Thomas Nast||Episode: "Stop Thief"|
|1976||Sybil||Richard J. Loomis||2 episodes|
|1977||Roots||Ol' George Johnson||2 episodes|
|1977||Baretta||Ray||Episode: "Guns and Brothers"|
|1981||BBC2 Playhouse||Young American||Episode: "Mrs. Reinhardt"|
|1983||Chiefs||Sonny Butts||2 episodes|
|1985||Robert Kennedy & His Times||Robert F. Kennedy||Episode: "#1.1"|
|1985||The New Alfred Hitchcock Presents||Arthur||Episode: "Arthur, or the Gigolo"|
|1986||The Twilight Zone||Arthur Lewis||Episode: "Button, Button"|
|1987||The Hitchhiker||Jerry Rulac||Episode: "Why Are You Here?"|
|1978||Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards||Best Actor||Midnight Express||Won|
|1979||BAFTA Awards||Best Actor in a Leading Role||Nominated|
|Golden Globe Awards||Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama||Nominated|
|New Star of the Year – Actor||Won|