Brad Davis (actor)

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Brad Davis
BornRobert Creel Davis
(1949-11-06)November 6, 1949
Tallahassee, Florida, U.S.
DiedSeptember 8, 1991(1991-09-08) (aged 41)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Years active1974–91
Spouse(s)Susan Bluestein
(1976–1991; his death)
ChildrenAlex (b. 1983)
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For other people named Brad Davis, see Brad Davis (disambiguation).
Brad Davis
BornRobert Creel Davis
(1949-11-06)November 6, 1949
Tallahassee, Florida, U.S.
DiedSeptember 8, 1991(1991-09-08) (aged 41)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Years active1974–91
Spouse(s)Susan Bluestein
(1976–1991; his death)
ChildrenAlex (b. 1983)

Robert Creel "Brad" Davis (November 6, 1949 – September 8, 1991) was an American actor, known for starring in the 1978 film Midnight Express and 1982 film Querelle.

Early life[edit]

Born Robert Creel Davis in Tallahassee, Florida to Eugene Davis (a dentist whose career declined due to alcoholism) and his wife, Anne 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.[1] Davis was known as "Bobby" during his youth, but took Brad as his stage name in 1973.[1]


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, as well as studied acting at the American Place Theater. 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.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Davis married Susan Bluestein, an Emmy Award-winning casting director. They had one child, Alex, a transgender man born as Alexandra.[1][2] Davis acknowledged having had sex with men and being bisexual [3] in an interview with Boze Hadleigh.


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.[4]

Although the announcement said he died of AIDS, he actually died of an intentional drug overdose. Near death and in severe pain in a hospital, he opted to end his life on his own terms. With his wife and a family friend present, he committed assisted suicide.[5] Susan Davis continues to campaign to combat AIDS.


1976Song of MyselfStreetcar ConductorShort film
Eat My Dust!Bit PartUncredited Role
1978Midnight ExpressBilly Hayes
1980A Small Circle of FriendsLeonardo da Vinci Rizzo
1981Chariots of FireJackson Scholz
1984Terror in the AislesBilly HayesArchival footage
1986Il cugino americanoJulian Salina
Cold SteelJohnny Modine
1989Rosalie Goes ShoppingRay "Liebling" Greenspace
1991HangfireSheriff Ike SlaytonAlternative title: First Blood Commando
1974How to Survive a MarriageAlexander KronosUnknown episodes
1976The American ParadeThomas NastMiniseries
SybilRichard J. LoomisNBC Miniseries
The Secret Life of Ol' John ChapmanAndyCBS Television movie
1977RootsOl' George JohnsonABC Miniseries
BarettaRayEpisode: Guns and Brothers
1980The Greatest Man in the WorldJimmy SchmurchTelevision movie
A Rumor of WarLt. Philip 'Phil' CaputoCBS Miniseries
1981BBC2 PlayhouseYoung AmericanEpisode: "Mrs. Reinhardt"
1983ChiefsSonny ButtsCBS Miniseries
1985Robert Kennedy & His TimesRobert F. KennedyCBS Miniseries
The New Alfred Hitchcock PresentsArthurEpisode: Arthur, or the Gigolo
1986The Twilight ZoneArthur LewisSegment: Button, Button
Vengeance: The Story of Tony CimoTony CimoCBS Television movie
1987The HitchhikerJerry RulacEpisode: Why Are You Here?
When the Time ComesDeanABC Television movie
1988The Caine Mutiny Court-MartialLt. Cmdr. Phillip Francis QueegCBS Television movie
1989The Rainbow Warrior ConspiracyNeil TraversTelevision movie
The EdgeKennyTelevision movie
1990The Plot to Kill HitlerCount Claus von StauffenbergCBS Television movie
1991Child of Darkness, Child of LightDr. PhinneyTelevision movie
1992The Habitation of DragonsGeorge TolliverTelevision movie

Awards and nominations[edit]

1979British Academy Film AwardsNominatedMost Promising Newcomer to Leading Film RolesMidnight Express
Best ActorMidnight Express
Golden Globe AwardsNominatedBest Actor – Motion Picture DramaMidnight Express
WonBest Motion Picture Acting Debut - MaleMidnight Express
Kansas City Film Critics Circle AwardsWonBest ActorMidnight Express


  1. ^ a b c Witchel, Alex. (April 16, 1997) "For the Widow Of Brad Davis, Time Cannot Heal All the Wounds", New York Times; accessed July 31, 2007.
  2. ^ The Sheila Variations: Feb. 19/20 at The Knitting Factory: Alex Davis: Man of the Year [1]
  3. ^ "Davis, Brad". glbtq. Retrieved 2014-06-29. 
  4. ^ Fox, David (1991-09-22). "How Much Does Hollywood Really Care About AIDS?". LA Times. 
  5. ^ Davis, Susan Davis with Hilary Vries. After Midnight: The Life and Death of Brad Davis. Pocket Books, 1997, pp. 283-299; ISBN 0-671-79672-0

External links[edit]