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Bruce Davison
Bruce Davison 52nd Annual Publicists Awards - Feb 2015 (cropped).jpg
Davison in 2015
Born
Bruce Allen Davison

(1946-06-28) June 28, 1946 (age 77)
Education Marple Newtown Senior High School
Alma mater Pennsylvania State University, University Park (BA)
New York University (MFA)
Occupation
  • Actor
  • director
Years active 1968–present
Spouse(s)
Jess Walton
(m. 1972; ann. 1973)
Lisa Pelikan
(m. 1986; div. 2006)
Michele Correy
(m. 2006)
Children 2

Bruce Allen Davison (born June 28, 1946) is an American actor and director. He is well known for his starring role as Willard Stiles in the cult horror film Willard (1971) and his Academy Award-nominated and Golden Globe-winning performance in Longtime Companion (1989), and as Thomas Semmes in the HBO film Vendetta. He featured in the X-Men film franchise – through X-Men (2000) and X2 (2003) – as antagonist Robert Kelly.

In the 2010s, Davison appeared in Fred Schepisi's Words and Pictures (2013), had a recurring role on The Fosters (2015–2016) and shares the screen with Miles Teller and Anna Kendrick in Get a Job (2016).

Early life

Davison was born in 1946 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His parents divorced when he was three years old. He was raised by his mother and spent weekends with his father.

He graduated in 1964 from Marple Newtown Senior High School, entered Penn State as an art major, and then stumbled into acting when he accompanied a friend to an audition. He attended New York University's acting program, graduating in 1969.

Career

Davison made his Broadway debut in Tiger at the Gates in 1968. He also appeared as John Merrick in The Elephant Man, and starred in The Glass Menagerie with Jessica Tandy. Davison was one of a quartet of newcomers, including Barbara Hershey, Richard Thomas, and Catherine Burns when he made his film debut in Last Summer in 1969. In 1970, he played opposite Kim Darby in The Strawberry Statement, a film about peaceful student protest and its violent outcome. A year later he portrayed the title role in the 1971 version of Willard, based on the novel Ratman's Notebooks. He also appeared in Ulzana's Raid, Peege, Mame, Mother, Jugs & Speed, Short Eyes, The Lathe of Heaven and Six Degrees of Separation.

Davison was an uncredited extra in Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977). He recalled, "Steven Spielberg was a great friend, although I never got to work with him, except for playing an extra in Close Encounters of the Third Kind because we were friends. I got off the mothership as one of the pilots."

Davison has worked extensively in television. In 1973, he played the brother of a crippled Natalie Wood in the made-for-TV movie The Affair on ABC. In 1978, Davison appeared as Dean Torrence with Richard Hatch in the biopic Deadman's Curve (the story of 1960s pop duo Jan & Dean). The same year, he played the title role in the television film adaptation Summer of My German Soldier.

In 1981, he had the lead role in The Wave based on real events, starring as a history teacher who had conducted an experiment in Nazi philosophy on his own students.

Davison also starred in Tales from the Darkside (Season 1, Episode 8) and played the role of the father in the short-lived Harry and the Hendersons TV series.

In 1983, Davison was cast by Joseph Papp in the Public Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival production of King Richard III. Additional Off-Broadway credits include Love Letters, The Cocktail Hour and Paula Vogel's Pulitzer Prize-winning play How I Learned to Drive. He also played the role of Ruby in the 1985 comedy Spies Like Us, starring Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase.

In 1990, he portrayed a homosexual man whose lover is dying of AIDS in Longtime Companion. The role earned Davison a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture. He concluded his Golden Globe acceptance speech with the hope that humankind would devote as much effort to the war on AIDS as its wars against each other. Davison appeared in other films addressing AIDS: In 1995's The Cure, he portrayed a physician sought by a young boy with AIDS in search of medical help. In 1996, Davison appeared in the film It's My Party, which chronicled the true events of a man dying with AIDS who decides to hold a farewell party for family and friends before taking his own life. Davison is a spokesperson for many AIDS-related groups and is a board member of the industry AIDS organization Hollywood Supports.

In Los Angeles, Davison has appeared on stage in Streamers and The Normal Heart, winning the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award and Drama-Logue Award for his performances. Other theatre credits include The Caine Mutiny Court Martial (directed by Henry Fonda) and a stage adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird.

Academy Awards afterparty CUN Bruce Davison
Davison at the 79th Annual Academy Awards Children Uniting Nations/Billboard after party, February 25, 2007

Davison had roles in Runaway Jury and Apt Pupil, as well as the X-Men film franchise as Robert Kelly in the first film and a shapeshifting imposter in X2. He was the fanatical Reverend Samuel Parris in Arthur Miller's screen adaptation of his play The Crucible. Davison also portrayed a rich philanthropist in the film Christmas Angel. Davison's many television credits include Hunter (in which he was a semi-regular for at least one season), Marcus Welby, M.D., Love, American Style, The Waltons, Lou Grant, Murder, She Wrote, Designing Women, Seinfeld, Chicago Hope, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, V: The Series, Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek: Enterprise, Battlestar Galactica, Lost, CSI: Miami, Supernatural, Ghost Whisperer, Castle, Hawaii Five-0, the Stephen King mini-series Kingdom Hospital, and a recurring role on The Practice. He played Mark Davis, a therapist who was a love interest for Cybill Shepherd's character in a Season 1 episode ("Look Who's Stalking") of her sitcom Cybill. Davison also had the recurring role of defense attorney Doug Hellman in Close to Home.

In 2001, Davison directed the TV film Off Season, which starred Sherilyn Fenn, Rory Culkin, Hume Cronyn and Adam Arkin. In 2007, Davison returned to the big screen as the father of Eric O'Neill in Breach. Also in that year, Davison was cast in the role of Charles Graiman, a protege of Wilton Knight who was the creator of the Knight Industries Three Thousand, in NBC's revival of the television series Knight Rider.

Davison also played the role of Dr. Silberman, the psychiatrist who once tormented Sarah Connor, in the seventh episode of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. He portrayed Nick Anderson (a secret Santa Claus) in the television film Christmas Angel in 2009. In May 2010, Davison was cast to portray art dealer Wilhelm Van Schlagel for several episodes on General Hospital to begin airing in July 2010.

In 2010, he starred in the television film Titanic II. In 2011, he starred as Police Chief Kirkhoven in the film Munger Road, and appeared in the Christmas film 3 Holiday Tails. In 2012, he appeared in Rob Zombie's The Lords of Salem. In addition, he played Secretary of State William H. Seward in the film Saving Lincoln.

He played the role of Rear Admiral Arthur Shepard, Lieutenant Grace Shepard's father, in the short-stint TV series Last Resort.

In 2016, Davison starred as Dr. Stanley Cole in the comedy/fantasy Abnormal Attraction.

Personal life

From 1969 to 1971, Davison had an unpublicized affair with married actress Sondra Locke. In 2017, one year before Locke's death, Davison acknowledged their affair on the DVD commentary for Willard.

Davison has been married three times and has two children. He married actress Jess Walton on May 20, 1972, but the marriage was annulled in March 1973. He was engaged to actress Karen Austin. He has a son, Ethan, born April 5, 1996, from his marriage to actress Lisa Pelikan. They were married from July 4, 1986 until their divorce in April 2006. Davison and Michele Correy married on April 30, 2006. They have a daughter, Sophia, born May 29, 2006. They reside in Woodland Hills, California.

Filmography

Film

Year Title Role Notes
1969 Last Summer Dan
1970 The Strawberry Statement Simon
1971 Willard Willard Stiles
Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me Fitzgore
1972 Ben Willard Stiles Archival Footage
The Jerusalem File David
Ulzana's Raid Lt. Garnett DeBuin
1973 Peege Greg Short film
1974 Mame Patrick Dennis
1976 Grand Jury Bobby Allen
Mother, Jugs & Speed Leroy
1977 Short Eyes Clark Davis
The Gathering George
1978 Brass Target Col. Robert Dawson
French Quarter Kid Ross / Inspector Sordik
1978 Summer of My German Soldier Anton Friedrich Reiker
1980 The Lathe of Heaven George Orr
1981 High Risk Dan
1983 Lies Stuart Russell
1984 Crimes of Passion Donny Hopper
1985 Spies Like Us Ruby
1986 The Ladies Club Richard Harrison
1987 The Misfit Brigade Corporal Joseph Porta
1989 Longtime Companion David Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor
National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—LA Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
1991 Steel and Lace Albert Morton
1993 Short Cuts Howard Finnigan Golden Globe Special Ensemble Cast Award (non-competitive)
Volpi Cup for Best Emsemble Cast
Six Degrees of Separation Larkin
1995 Far from Home: The Adventures of Yellow Dog John McCormick
Widow's Kiss Justin
The Cure Dr. Jensen
The Baby-Sitters Club Watson Brewer
1996 It's My Party Rodney Bingham
Grace of My Heart John Murray
The Crucible Reverend Samuel Parris
1997 Lovelife Bruce
1998 Paulie Dr. Reingold
Apt Pupil Richard Bowden
1999 At First Sight Dr. Charles Aaron
2000 The King Is Alive Ray
X-Men Senator Robert Kelly
2001 Crazy/Beautiful Tom Oakley
Summer Catch Rand Parrish
2002 High Crimes Brigadier General Bill Marks
Dahmer Lionel Dahmer
2003 X2 Mystique
Willard Willard Stiles I
Runaway Jury Durwood Cable
2005 Hate Crime Pastor Boyd
Going Shopping Adam
8mm 2 Ambassador Harrington
2006 The Dead Girl Leah's father
2007 Breach John O'Neill
2008 The Librarian: Curse of the Judas Chalice Professor Lazlo / Vlad
2009 La linea Anthony
MegaFault Dr. Mark Rhodes
Christmas Angel Nick Anderson
A Golden Christmas Rod
2010 Arctic Blast Winslaw
Titanic II James Maine
Camp Hell Fr. Phineas McAllister
Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths President Slade Wilson Voice
2011 Munger Road Chief Kirkhoven
3 Holiday Tails Rod Wright
Earth's Final Hours Rothman
Coffin Garrison
Elwood Congressman Barber Short film
2012 Return of the Killer Shrews Jerry Farrell
The Lords of Salem Francis Matthias
2013 Saving Lincoln William H. Seward
Words and Pictures Walt
2014 Persecuted Senator Donald Harrison
37 Psychic
2015 Black Beauty Grandpa
The Leisure Class Edward HBO's Project Greenlight season 4 film
Oceanus: Act One Commander Mitch Conrad Short film
2016 The Curse of Sleeping Beauty Richard Meyers
Get A Job Lawrence Wilheimer
The Bronx Bull D.A. Bonomi
2017 9/11 Monohan
Love Locks Hugo Blanchet Television film (Hallmark)
Yamasong: March of the Hollows P'Torr The Exile
2018 Insidious: The Last Key Christian Rainer
Abnormal Attraction Dr. Cole In post-production
2019 Itsy Bitsy Walter
Wish Man Frank Shankwitz Sr.
The Great Alaskan Race Governor Bone
More Beautiful for Having Been Broken Colin
Christmas at the Plaza Reginald Brookwater Television film (Hallmark)
2020 We Still Say Grace Harold
2021 The Manor Roland
2023 Condor's Nest Gerhardt Schrude
Suitable Flesh Ephraim

Television

Year Title Role Notes
1970 Medical Center Mickey Peters Episode: "A Duel with Doom"
NBC Experiment in Television Episode: "Moby Tick"
1970–1979 Insight William/Greg/Randy King/Andy Fry 4 episodes
1971 Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law Raymond 'Cowboy' Leatherberry Episode: "A Pattern of Morality"
1972 Marcus Welby, M.D. Donald Lorimer Episode: "Love Is When They Say They Need You"
1973 Hec Ramsey Josh Hollister Episode: "The Mystery of Chalk Hill"
Cops Detective Dennis Till Television film
Love, American Style Episode: "Love and the Secret Spouse"
Break Up Himself Music comedy special for ABC
The Affair Jamie Patterson Television film
1974 Love Story Jeffrey Episode: "Time for Love"
Ma and Pa Television film
The Lives of Benjamin Franklin William Franklin - Son Miniseries
1974–1978 Police Story Clyde Griffiths/Victor Joe Vero Episodes: "Requiem for C.Z. Smith" and "Day of Terror... Night of Fear"
1975 The Waltons Bob Hill Episode: "The Shivaree"
The Last Survivors Michael Larsen Television film
1976 Police Woman Binns Episode: "Bait"
1977 ABC Weekend Specials Bruce - as a Young Man Episode: "Portrait of Grandpa Doc"
The Gathering George Television film
1978 Deadman's Curve Dean Torrence
Summer of My German Soldier Anton Reiker
Mourning Becomes Electra Orin Mannon Miniseries
1979 Mind Over Murder Jason Television film
The Gathering, Part II George
Lou Grant Andrew Raines Episodes: "Andrew: Part 1" and "Andrew: Part 2"
1980 The Lathe of Heaven George Orr Television film
1981 The Wave Ben Ross
Incident at Crestridge Clint Larsen
1982 The Astronauts Technical Officer David Ackroyd
1983 Ghost Dancing Calvin Oberst
1984 Tales from the Darkside Richard Hagstrom Episode: "The Word Processor of the Gods"
1985 V John Langley 3 episodes
1985–1989 Hunter Capt. Wyler/Dep. Chief Wyler 16 episodes
1987 Murder, She Wrote David Carroll Episode: "The Cemetery Vote"
1990 Designing Women Reverend Eugene 'Gene' Chapman Episode: "Have Faith"
1991–1993 Harry and the Hendersons George Henderson 72 episodes
1992 Desperate Choices: To Save My Child Richard Robbins Television film
Live! From Death Row Laurence Dvorak
1993 A Mother's Revenge Bill Sanders
1995 Down, Out & Dangerous Brad Harrington
The Outer Limits Dr. McEnerney Episode: "White Light Fever"
Cybill Mark Davis Episode: "Look Who's Stalking"
1996 Star Trek: Voyager Jareth Episode: "Remember"
After Jimmy Ward "Sam" Stapp Television film
Hidden in America Dr. Michael Millerton
1996–1997 Seinfeld Wyck 3 episodes
1998 Touched by an Angel Jacob 'Jake' Weiss Episode: "Elijah"
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
1999 Vendetta Thomas Semmes Television film
1999–2000 Chicago Hope Dr. Burt Peters 2 episodes
2000–2001 The Practice Scott Wallace 9 episodes
2001 Off Season Dr. Zimmer Television film (also director)
Nominated—Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing in a Children's Special
2002 Without a Trace Paul Cartwright Pilot episode
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Dr. Graham Mandell Episode: "Waste"
Star Trek: Enterprise Menos Episode: "The Seventh"
L.A. Law: The Movie Lawrence Diebenkorn Television film
2003 Out of the Ashes Peter Schuman
2004 Kingdom Hospital Dr. Stegman 13 episodes
JAG Dr. Morris Sperling Episode: "The Man on the Bridge"
2005 Numb3rs Robert Oliver Episode: "Sacrifice"
The Triangle Stan Lathem 3 episodes
Law & Order: Trial by Jury Peter Betts Episode: "Baby Boom"
2005–2007 Close to Home Attorney Doug Hellman 13 episodes
2006 CSI: Miami Dane Daniels Episode: "Dead Air"
2006–2010 Lost Dr. Douglas Brooks 2 episodes
2007 The L Word Leonard Kroll 3 episodes
Battlestar Galactica Dr. Michael Robert Episode: "The Woman King"
2008 Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Dr. Peter Silberman Episode: "The Demon Hand"
2008–2009 Knight Rider Dr. Charles Graiman 11 episodes
2009 Criminal Minds Father Davison Episode: "Demonology"
2009–2010 Ghost Whisperer Josh Bedford 5 episodes
2010 Psych Walter Snowden Episode: "Think Tank"
General Hospital Wilhelm von Schlagel 5 episodes
2011 Castle Lou Karnacki Episode: "Law & Murder"
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Avery Tinsdale Episode: "Father of the Bride"
Hawaii Five-0 Steven Carver Episode: "Ua Lawe Wale (Taken)"
Childrens Hospital Narrator Episode: "Childrens Hospital: A Play in Three Acts"
Covert Affairs Max Langford Episode: "Horse to Water"
2011–2012 Drop Dead Diva Judge Cyrus Maxwell 3 episodes
2012 Bigfoot Sheriff Walt Gunderson Television film
Luck Hartstone 2 episodes
Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 Gabe Sharpe Episode: "Whatever It Takes..."
2012–2013 Last Resort Admiral Arthur Shepard 6 episodes
2014 Those Who Kill Howard Burgess 10 episodes
The Legend of Korra Zuko Voice, 6 episodes
Sequestered Danny Firmin's father 12 episodes
2014–2016 Kingdom Ron Prince 4 episodes
2015–2018 The Fosters Stuart Adams 5 episodes
2016 The Exorcist Pope Sebastian Episode: "Chapter Ten: Three Rooms"
2018 Mozart in the Jungle Hesby 3 episodes
2018 Forgive Me Archbishop Episode: "With the Help of Your Grace To Sin No More"
2019 The Gift of Christmas Bob Rodgers Television film
Creepshow Avery "Whitey" Whitlock 2 episodes
The Son Mr. Roy Endicott
Defrost: The Virtual Series Michael Garrison Television film
2022 Ozark Sen. Randall Schafer 6 episodes
The Lincoln Lawyer Judge at hearing Episode: "The Brass Verdict"
2022–2023 1923 Arthur 2 episodes
2023 Bosch: Legacy James Rafferty

See also

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