Instead, he tried to follow the example of Sidney Poitier and play more distinguished characters. When he found it necessary to play a Pullman porter or a butler, he tried to inject the role with a certain degree of dignity. In addition to acting, Davis, along with Melvin Van Peebles, and Gordon Parks was one of the notable African American directors of his generation. Along with Bill Cosby and Poitier, Davis was one of a handful of African American actors able to find commercial success while avoiding stereotypical roles prior to 1970. However, Davis never had the tremendous commercial or critical success that Cosby and Poitier enjoyed.
As a playwright, Davis wrote Paul Robeson: All-American, which is frequently performed in theatre programs for young audiences. Davis found recognition late in his life by working in several of director Spike Lee's films, including Do The Right Thing, Jungle Fever, She Hate Me and Get on the Bus. He also found work as a commercial voice-over artist and served as the narrator of the early-1990s CBS sitcom Evening Shade, starring Burt Reynolds, where he also played one of the residents of a small southern town. Davis at the New York City premiere of the Spike Lee film She Hate Me, 2004 Davis at the New York City premiere of the Spike Lee film She Hate Me, 2004 In 1948, Davis married actress Ruby Dee; in their joint autobiography With Ossie and Ruby, they later described their decision to have an open marriage. They were well-known as civil rights activists, and were close personal friends of Malcolm X, Jesse Jackson, Martin Luther King Jr. and other icons of the era. Davis and Dee's deep involvement in the movement is characterized by how instrumental they were in organizing the 1963 civil rights March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, even to the point of serving as emcee.
Davis, alongside Ahmed Osman, delivered the eulogy at the funeral of Malcolm X; he re-read part of this eulogy at the end of Spike Lee's film Malcolm X. He also delivered the eulogy for Martin Luther King, Jr. Davis and wife Ruby Dee were recipients of the Kennedy Center Honors in 2004. They were also named to the NAACP Image Awards Hall of Fame in 1989. Their son Guy Davis is a blues musician and former actor, who appeared in the film Beat Street and the daytime soap opera One Life to Live. Death Davis was found dead on February 4, 2005, in a hotel room in Miami, Florida, of natural causes.
He was in the first stages of working on a film called Retirement. His last role was a several episode guest role on the groundbreaking Showtime drama series The L Word as a father struggling with the acceptance of his daughter Bette (Jennifer Beals) parenting a child with her lesbian partner. In his final episodes, his character was taken ill and died. His wife Ruby Dee was present during the filming of his own death scene. That episode, which aired shortly after Davis's own death, aired with a dedication to the actor. At the 2007 Grammy awards he and his wife were tied winners in the Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album with former President Jimmy Carter. Credits Directing * Kongi's Harvest (1970) * Countdown at Kusini (1976) * Gordon's War (1973) * Black Girl (1972) * Cotton Comes to Harlem (1970) Acting * A Trumpet at the Walls of Jericho (2005) * Proud (2004) * She Hate Me (2004) * BAADASSSSS! (2003) * Beah: A Black Woman Speaks (2003) * Nat Turner: A Troublesome Property (2003) * Unchained Memories (2003) * Bubba Ho-tep (2002) * Why Can't We Be a Family Again? (2002) * Voice of the Voiceless (2001) * Here's to Life! (2000) * Dinosaur (2000) (voice) * The Gospel According to Mr.
Allen (2000) * The Unfinished Journey (1999) * Dr. Dolittle (1998) * Alyson's Closet (1998) * 4 Little Girls (1997) * I'm Not Rappaport (1996) * Get on the Bus (1996) * The Client (1994) * Grumpy Old Men (1993) * Cop and a 1/2 (1993) * Malcolm X (1992) * Gladiator (1992) * Jungle Fever (1991) * Preminger: Anatomy of a Filmmaker (1991) * Joe Versus the Volcano (1990) * Do the Right Thing (1989) * School Daze (1988) * Avenging Angel (1985) * Harry & Son (1984) * The House of God (1984) * Death of a Prophet (1981) * Hot Stuff (1979) * Countdown at Kusini (1976) * Let's Do It Again (1975) * Wattstax (1973) * The Silent Revolution (1972) * Slaves (1969) * Sam Whiskey (1969) * The Scalphunters (1968) * A Man Called Adam (1966) * The Hill (1965) * Shock Treatment (1964) * The Cardinal (1963) * The Joe Louis Story (1953) * Gone Are the Days! (1963) * Fourteen Hours (1951) * No Way Out (1950) Television * The L Word (2004-2005) * Deacons for Defense (2003) * The Feast of All Saints (2001) * Legend of the Candy Cane (2001) * Finding Buck McHenry (2000) * The Soul Collector (1999) * The Secret Path (1999) * The Ghosts of Christmas Eve (1999) * A Vow to Cherish (1999) * 12 Angry Men (1997) * Miss Evers' Boys (1997) * Promised Land (1996-1998) * Home of the Brave (1996) * The Client (1995-1996) * The Android Affair (1995) * Ray Alexander (1994-1995) * The Stand (1994) * The Ernest Green Story (1993) * Evening Shade (1990-1994) * We'll Take Manhattan (1990) * B.L. Stryker (1989-1990) * Don't Look Back: The Story of Leroy 'Satchel' Paige (1981) * Ossie and Ruby! (1980-1981) * All God's Children (1980) * Freedom Road (1979) * Roots: The Next Generations (1979) * King (1978) (miniseries) * Billy: Portrait of a Street Kid (1977) * The Tenth Level (1975) * Night Gallery (1969) * Seven Times Monday (1962) * The Emperor Jones (1955) Stage * A Celebration of Paul Robeson (October 30, 1988) (Benefit Concert) * I'm Not Rappaport (November 19, 1985 - January 17, 1988) (replacing Cleavon Little) * The Zulu and the Zayda (November 10, 1965 - April 16, 1966) * Purlie Victorious (September 28, 1961 - May 12, 1962) * A Raisin in the Sun (March 11, 1959 - June 25, 1960) (replacing Sidney Poitier) * Jamaica (October 31, 1957 - April 11, 1959) * Touchstone (February 3 - February 7, 1953) * Remains to Be Seen (October 3, 1951 - March 22, 1952) * The Green Pastures (Revival) (March 15 - April 21, 1951) * The Wisteria Trees (March 29 - September 16 1950) * The Smile of the World (January 12 - January 15, 1949) * The Leading Lady (October 18 - October 23, 1948) * Jeb (February 21 - February 28, 1946)  Bibliography * Davis, Ossie (1961). Purlie Victorious.
Samuel French Inc Plays. ISBN 978-0573614354. * Davis, Ossie (1977). Escape to Freedom: The Story of Young Frederick Douglass.
Samuel French. ISBN 978-0573650314. * Davis, Ossie (1982). Langston.
Delacorte Press. ISBN 978-0440046349. * Davis, Ossie; Dee, Ruby (1984). Why Mosquitos Buzz in People's Ears (Audio Cassette), Caedmon.
ISBN 978-0694511877. * Davis, Ossie (1992). Just Like Martin. Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing.
ISBN 978-0671732028. * Davis, Ossie; Dee, Ruby (1998). With Ossie and Ruby: In This Life Together. William Morrow.
ISBN 978-0688153960. References 1. ^ Ossie Dave Biography. IMDB.
Retrieved on 2007-01-11. 2. ^ Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee on Open Marriage. About.com. Retrieved on 2007-01-11. 3.
^ Richard Severo; Douglas Martin (5 Feb 2005). Ossie Davis, Actor, Writer and Eloquent Champion of Racial Justice, Is Dead at 87. Retrieved on 2007-02-06. External links * Ossie Davis at the Internet Broadway Database * Ossie Davis at the Internet Movie Database * Ossie Davis at the TCM Movie Database * Ossie Davis at TV.com * Ossie Davis at Yahoo! Movies * Eulogy of Malcolm X * Ossie Davis in the news supporting Mumia Abu-Jamal * Ossie Davis biography and video interview excerpts by The National Visionary Leadership Project * The Ossie Davis Endowment Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ossie_Davis" Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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