A tall and imposing actor, David began performing as a child, singing in New York's All Borough Chorus. After graduating from the renowned High School of Performing Arts, he studied theater and voice at Juilliard. Within hours of graduating, he was rehearsing for Joseph Papp's Public Theater production of "Coriolanus" opposite Christopher Walken. He went on to understudy Raul Julia in the title role of "Othello" at the Shakespeare Festival in Central Park. For much of the 1980s, David alternated between theater, TV movies, and films, making his Broadway debut in Albee's "The Lady From Dubuque" (1980) and his feature debut in John Carpenter's remake of "The Thing" (1982). He garnered critical praise for his turn as King in Oliver Stone's Oscar-winning "Platoon" (1986). Other notable movie performances are as jazz saxophonist Buster Franklin in Clint Eastwood's "Bird" (1988) and as a paraplegic Vietnam veteran in "Article 99" (1992). He returned to Broadway, winning critical kudos (and a Tony nomination) for his sensational singing and dancing in "Jelly's Last Jam" (1992) opposite Gregory Hines. In 1995, David received attention for a quartet of roles: a gunfighter hired to kill Gene Hackman in "The Quick and the Dead"; a tough but paternalistic housing cop in Spike Lee's "Clockers"; Jackie Robinson in a fantasy sequence of "Blue in the Face"; and a one-legged owner of a pool hall in "Dead Presidents." David has a secondary career providing narration for National Geographic specials and character voices for two Disney-produced animated series, "Aladdin" and "Gargoyles."