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Ossie Davis ACTOR


Ossie Davis was born December 18th, 1917 with the birth name Raiford Chatman Davis in Cogdell, Clinch County, Georgia.  His father was Kince Charles Davis, a railway construction engineer and his mother was Laura Cooper. 

Upon completion of High School he attended Howard University in Washington D.C, but decided to drop out in 1939 in pursuit of a career as a writer and in  acting.  He moved to New York to try and get involved in acting and later on he did decide to complete a college degree in General Studies by attending Columbia University.  He joined the military during Word War II and after he returned back to New York City to pursue his goal of becoming an actor.

His acting career began working with the Rose McClendon Players in Harlem follwed by his Broadway debut in "Jeb" (1946).  It was on this stage production that he also met his future wife, Ruby Dee whom in 1948 he wed.

In 1950, Davis made his film debut in, "No Way Out".  Davis like many other African American actors did not want to be type cast into roles just based on his race, he wanted to portray more distinguished like characters.  

Davis and Ruby appeared on screen a number of times.  One more well known was in, "Purlie Victorious" (1961).

Not only was Davis involved in acting, he was also a director, playwright, poet and social activist.  Some of the films he directed were, "Gordon's War" (1973), "Black Girl" (1972) and "Cotton Comes to Harlem" (1970).  Ossie was also a playwright for "Paul Robeson: All American".

Davis was also praised by Hollywood for his amazing and successful relationship to his wife Ruby Dee.  He was also a very passionate man about civil rights and humanitarian causes.  Davis and his wife Ruby were very involved in organizing the 1963 Civil Rights March on Washington with Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for Jobs and Freedom.

As his career progressed he continued to work on various films as well as some commercial work.  He worked with the director Spike Lee on, "Do the Right Thing" (1989), "Jungle Fever" (1991) and "Get on the Bus" (1996) among others.

Davis's final role had been the portrayal of a father in , "The L Word" (2004-2005) in which the film ends with him pasing away from prostate cancer on screen, sadly on February 4th, 2005 Davis was found in his Miami hotel room dead.  He passed away from natural causes. 

Throughout his lifetime he was honored in many ways.  Davis and his wife Ruby were honored with an award for the National Medal of Arts along with receiving the Kennedy Center Honors in 2004.  In 2007 he and his wife were also tied winners in the Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album.   


2005  A Trumpet at the Walls of Jericho
2004-2005 The L Word
2004  She Hate Me
2004  Proud
2003  Deacons for Defense
2003  Unchained Memories
2003  Nat Turner: A Troublesome Property
2003  Beah: A Black Woman Speaks
2002  Why Can't We Be a Family Again?
2002  Bubba Ho-tep
2001  Voice of the Voiceless
2001  Legend of the Candy Cane
2001  The Feast of All Saints
2000  The Gospel According to Mr. Allen
2000  Finding Buck McHenry
2000  Dinosaur
2000  Here's to Life!
1999  The Unfinished Journey
1999  The Black And The White
1999  A Vow to Cherish
1999  The Ghosts of Christmas Eve
1999  The Secret Path
1999  The Soul Collector
1998  Alyson's Closet
1998  Dr. Dolittle
1997  4 Little Girls
1997  Miss Evers' Boys
1997  12 Angry Men
1996-2002 Touched By An Angel
1996-1998 Promised Land
1996  Get on the Bus
1996  Home of the Brave
1996  I'm Not Rappaport
1995-1996 The Client
1995  The Android Affair 
1994  The Client
1994  The Stand
1994-1995 Ray Alexander
1993  Cop and a 1/2
1993  Grumpy Old Men
1993  The Ernest Green Story
1992  Gladiator
1992  Alex Haley's Queen
1992  Malcolm X
1991  Preminger: Anatomy of a Filmmaker
1991  Jungle Fever
1990  Joe Versus the Volcano
1990  We'll Take Manhattan
1990-1994 Evening Shade
1989  Do the Right Thing
1989-1990 B.L. Stryker
1988  School Daze
1985  Avenging Angel
1984  The House of God
1984  Harry & Son
1981  Death of a Prophet
1980  All God's Children
1980-1981 Ossie and Ruby!
1981  Don't Look Back: The Story of Leroy 'Satchel' Paige 
1979  Hot Stuff
1979  Roots: The Next Generations
1979  Freedom Road
1978  King 
1977  Billy: Portrait of a Street Kid
1976  Countdown at Kusini
1975  Let's Do It Again
1975  The Tenth Level
1973  Wattstax
1972  The Silent Revolution
1969  Sam Whiskey
1969  Slaves
1969  Night Gallery
1968  The Scalphunters
1966  A Man Called Adam
1965  The Hill
1964  Shock Treatment
1963  Gone Are the Days!
1953  The Joe Louis Story
1963  The Cardinal
1963  Car 54 Where Are You?
1962  Seven Times Monday
1955  The Emperor Jones
1950  No Way Out
1950  Fourteen Hours

Matinee Classics - Slaves starring Dionne Warwick, Ossie Davis, Stephen Boyd, Marilyn Clark, Nancy Coleman, Julius Harris, James Heath, David Huddleston, Eva Jessye, Oscar Paul Jones, Aldine King, Robert Kya-Hill, Gale Sondergaard, Shepperd Strudwick and Barbara Ann Teer

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