Clifton Davis

Actor, Composer, Singer
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 ... Read more »
Born: 10/03/1945 in Chicago, Illinois, USA

Filmography

Actor (62)

The Engagement 2014 (Movie)

(Actor)

Political Animals 2012 (Tv Show)

Actor

Cover 2008 (Movie)

(Actor)

The Painting 2005 (Movie)

(Actor)

Half & Half 2004 (Tv Show)

Actor

American Dreams 2002 (Tv Show)

Actor

The Climb 2002 (Movie)

Joseph Martin (Actor)

City of Angels 1993 - 1998, 2000 - 2001 (Tv Show)

Actor

Kingdom Come 2001 (Movie)

Charles Winslow (Actor)

Max Keeble's Big Move 2001 (Movie)

Knebworth (Actor)

Any Given Sunday 1999 (Movie)

Mayor Tyrone Smalls (Actor)

Any Day Now 1998 (Tv Show)

Actor

The Gregory Hines Show 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Actor

The Sentinel 1993 - 1998 (Tv Show)

Actor

Grace Under Fire 1993 - 1997 (Tv Show)

Actor

Living Single 1995 - 1997 (Tv Show)

Actor

The John Larroquette Show 1993 - 1997 (Tv Show)

Actor

Malcolm and Eddie 1995 - 1996 (Tv Show)

Actor

Party of Five 1995 - 1996 (Tv Show)

Actor

Sparks 1995 - 1996 (Tv Show)

Actor

The Jamie Foxx Show 1995 - 1996 (Tv Show)

Actor

The 9th Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Actor

Scott Ross Street Talk (03/14/93) 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Actor

The 7th Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

1990 King Orange Jamboree Parade 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Actor

Amen 1986 - 1991 (TV Show)

Actor

The 22nd Annual Dove Awards 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Actor

56th Annual King Orange Jamboree Parade 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

Dream Date 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

Night of 100 Stars III 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

Starathon '90 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

The 21st Annual Dove Awards 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

The 22nd Annual NAACP Image Awards 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

The 5th Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

A Day to Care For the Children 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Actor

Battle of the Network Stars XIX 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Actor

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Actor

The 21st Annual NAACP Image Awards 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Actor

The 19th Annual NAACP Image Awards 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Actor

The Eleventh Annual Circus of the Stars 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Actor

Don't Look Back 1980 - 1981 (TV Show)

Actor

Scott Joplin 1977 (Movie)

Louis Chauvin (Actor)

Celebration: The American Spirit 1975 - 1976 (TV Show)

Actor

That's My Mama 1974 - 1976 (TV Show)

Actor

Cotton Club '75 1974 - 1975 (TV Show)

Actor

Mitzi and a Hundred Guys 1974 - 1975 (TV Show)

Actor

Love, American Style 1969 - 1974 (TV Show)

Actor

Lost in the Stars 1973 (Movie)

Absalom (Actor)

The Melba Moore-Clifton Davis Show 1971 - 1972 (TV Show)

Actor

A World Apart 1969 - 1971 (TV Show)

Actor

Together for Days 1971 (Movie)

Gus (Actor)

Cindy (TV Show)

Actor

Halloweentown High (TV Show)

Actor

Little Ladies of the Night (TV Show)

Actor

Superdome (TV Show)

Actor

The Night the City Screamed (TV Show)

Actor
Music (5)

Soul Men 2008 (Movie)

("Never Can Say Goodbye") (Song)

Happy Feet 2006 (Movie)

("Never Can Say Goodbye") (Song)

Janice Beard 2002 (Movie)

("Never Can Say Goodbye") (Song)

Crooklyn 1994 (Movie)

("Never Can Say Goodbye") (Song)

Gleaming the Cube 1989 (Movie)

("Never Can Say Goodbye") (Song)

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 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").

Relationships

Toussaint Davis

Father

Holly Davis

Daughter
born c. 1984

Noel Davis

Son
born c. 1981

Monica Durant

Wife
Married May 27, 2000 in Kauai, HI

Irma Langhord

Mother

Ann Taylor

Wife

EDUCATION

Andrews University

Berrien Springs , Michigan 1987
(Divinity)

Oakwood College

Huntsville , Alabama 1984

Milestones

1996

Made episodic guest appearances on "Sparks", "Malcolm & Eddie", "Living Single" and "The Jamie Foxx Show"

1990

Hosted the syndicated "Stellar Gospel Music Awards" for first time

1977

TV-movie debut, "Little Ladies of the Night" (ABC)

1972

Starred on the CBS variety series "The Melba Moore-Clifton Davis Show"

1970

Earned Tony nomination for starring role in the Broadway musical "Two Gentlemen of Verona"

1970

Earned Grammy nomination for writing hit Jackson Five song "Never Can Say Good-bye"

1970

Was cast member on "Love American Style" (ABC) doing skit wrap-arounds

1969

Appeared on ABC daytime drama "A World Apart"

1969

Film debut in Hal Ashby's "The Landlord"

1967

Made Broadway debut as Cornelius in "Hello, Dolly!", starring Pearl Bailey

Co-starred in "Kingdom Come", a comedy

Starred with Sherman Hemsley on "Amen" (NBC)

Starred in the ABC sitcom "That's My Mama"

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