skip navigation
Clifton Davis

Clifton Davis

Up
Down

| VIEW ALL

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here
ADD YOUR COMMENT>

share:

TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (0)

Recent DVDs

 
 

Lost In The Stars DVD The American Film Theater's Lost in the Stars transforms Alan Paton's world... more info $29.95was $29.95 Buy Now

Max Keeble's Big Move DVD He's got one week to settle the score for a lifetime of bullying. In "Max... more info $14.99was $14.99 Buy Now

Halloweentown High DVD This Disney Channel original movie chronicles the life of a young witch named... more info $14.99was $14.99 Buy Now



Also Known As: Died:
Born: October 4, 1945 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Chicago, Illinois, USA Profession: actor, singer, composer, scenery painter, minister

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A tall, handsome black actor best known for his work on TV sitcoms and variety shows, Clifton Davis is also an ordained Seventh Day Adventist minister as well as a composer of such hit songs as the Jackson Five's "Never Can Say Good-bye". Davis' sitcom work has included regular stints as a barber living with his mother in what was a then-pioneering show starring African-Americans, "That's My Mama" (ABC, 1974-75), and "Amen" (NBC, 1986-1991), in which, ironically, he played Reuben Gregory, the young minister of a church assisting a wheeling-dealing deacon (Sherman Hemsley). A native of Chicago and the son of a Baptist minister, Davis first appeared on Broadway playing Cornelius, the feed store worker with aspirations for much more, in the Pearl Bailey cast of the hit musical "Hello, Dolly!" This led to his performing at nightclubs in the New York area as well, including the famed Reno Sweeney's in Manhattan. In 1968, he was alongside Dustin Hoffman in the cast of "Jimmy Shine" on Broadway, then performed in the Off-Broadway hit "To Be Young, Gifted and Black" (1969) and won a 1971 Theatre World Award for his Broadway work in "Do It Again". While appearing in the latter, Davis had a regular role on...

A tall, handsome black actor best known for his work on TV sitcoms and variety shows, Clifton Davis is also an ordained Seventh Day Adventist minister as well as a composer of such hit songs as the Jackson Five's "Never Can Say Good-bye". Davis' sitcom work has included regular stints as a barber living with his mother in what was a then-pioneering show starring African-Americans, "That's My Mama" (ABC, 1974-75), and "Amen" (NBC, 1986-1991), in which, ironically, he played Reuben Gregory, the young minister of a church assisting a wheeling-dealing deacon (Sherman Hemsley).

A native of Chicago and the son of a Baptist minister, Davis first appeared on Broadway playing Cornelius, the feed store worker with aspirations for much more, in the Pearl Bailey cast of the hit musical "Hello, Dolly!" This led to his performing at nightclubs in the New York area as well, including the famed Reno Sweeney's in Manhattan. In 1968, he was alongside Dustin Hoffman in the cast of "Jimmy Shine" on Broadway, then performed in the Off-Broadway hit "To Be Young, Gifted and Black" (1969) and won a 1971 Theatre World Award for his Broadway work in "Do It Again". While appearing in the latter, Davis had a regular role on the ABC daytime drama "A World Apart" (1970-1971), before going to Hollywood, where he was featured in the stock cast doing the comic sketch wrap-arounds on "Love, American Style" (ABC, 1971).

Returning to NYC, Davis scored a critical hit as Valentine, one of "The Two Gentlemen of Verona" (1971-72), the John Guare-Galt MacDermot-Mel Shapiro musical based on the Shakespeare play, first in NYC's Central Park and later on Broadway. At the end of the theater season, Davis and co-star Raul Julia both earned Tony Award nominations as Best Actor in a Musical. Again Hollywood beckoned and Davis was teamed with Melba Moore for "The Melba Moore-Clifton Davis Show" (CBS, 1972), a summer variety series and then "That's My Mama". In 1975, Davis earned a Grammy nomination for "Never Can Say Good-Bye" and sang in the NBC special "Cotton Club '75". He made his TV-movie debut in "Little Ladies of the Night" (ABC, 1977).

Feature work has proven less steady for the actor. He appeared as one of the tenement dwellers in Hal Ashby's "The Landlord" (1970) and had perhaps his best role as Absalom (opposite Melba Moore) in the feature version of Kurt Weill's musical "Lost in the Stars" (1974). He also appeared as Louis Chauvin, who cannot read music but nevertheless partners with Billy Dee Williams' "Scott Joplin" in the 1977 biopic.

By the early 80s, however, despite a handful of guest appearances on TV shows and in longforms, Davis had all but disappeared from public view. Few knew that he had returned to school to work towards his divinity degree. In 1986, he re-emerged as a co-star of the NBC sitcom "Amen", which in turn led to more work in TV-movies like "Dream Date" (NBC, 1989). Davis hosted the syndicated "Stellar Gospel Music Awards" in 1990, 1992 and 1994. Yet when "Amen" left the airwaves in 1991, the actor again seemed to disappear from public view, although parishioners of the Union Seventh Day Adventist Church in Loma Linda, CA, would see him regularly. Davis' bank account was also buoyed by royalties from his musical compositions that included such songs as "Here Comes the Sunrise", "Lookin' Through the Windows" and "Searchin' For a Dream". (He had been under contract as a composer at Motown in the 70s.)

Davis emerged once again, having departed his work as associate pastor on a full-time basis, in 1995. He could be seen in guest appearances on such series as "Party of Five" and "Grace Under Fire". In 1996, it was practically de rigeur for sitcoms starring black performers to feature Davis as guest star (i.e., "Sparks", "Malcolm & Eddie", "The Jamie Foxx Show", "Living Single").

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

2.
 Cover (2008)
3.
 Climb, The (2002) Joseph Martin
4.
 KINGDOM COME (2001) Charles Winslow
5.
 Max Keeble's Big Move (2001) Knebworth
6.
 Any Given Sunday (1999) Mayor Tyrone Smalls
7.
 Dream Date (1989) Bill Fairview
8.
 Don't Look Back: Story of Lero (1981) Cool Papa Bell
9.
 Night the City Screamed, The (1980) Arnold Clements
10.
 Cindy (1978) Captain Joe Prince
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1967:
Made Broadway debut as Cornelius in "Hello, Dolly!", starring Pearl Bailey
1970:
Film debut in Hal Ashby's "The Landlord"
1970:
Appeared on ABC daytime drama "A World Apart"
1971:
Was cast member on "Love American Style" (ABC) doing skit wrap-arounds
1971:
Earned Tony nomination for starring role in the Broadway musical "Two Gentlemen of Verona"
1971:
Earned Grammy nomination for writing hit Jackson Five song "Never Can Say Good-bye"
1972:
Starred on the CBS variety series "The Melba Moore-Clifton Davis Show"
:
Starred in the ABC sitcom "That's My Mama"
1977:
TV-movie debut, "Little Ladies of the Night" (ABC)
:
Starred with Sherman Hemsley on "Amen" (NBC)
1990:
Hosted the syndicated "Stellar Gospel Music Awards" for first time
1996:
Made episodic guest appearances on "Sparks", "Malcolm & Eddie", "Living Single" and "The Jamie Foxx Show"
:
Co-starred in "Kingdom Come", a comedy
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Oakwood College: Huntsville , Alabama - 1984
Andrews University: Berrien Springs , Michigan - 1987

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Ann Davis. Married c. 1982; Clifton Davis filed for divorce 1991.
wife:
Monica Durant. Flight attendant. Married on May 27, 2000 in Kauai, Hawaii.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Toussaint L'Ouverture Davis. Baptist minister.
mother:
Irma Davis Langhord. Nurse.
son:
Noel Davis. Born c. 1981.
daughter:
Holly Davis. Born c. 1984.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute