Clifton Duncan Davis (born October 4, 1945) is an American actor, singer, songwriter, minister, and author.
Davis wrote The Jackson 5’s No. 2 hit “Never Can Say Goodbye” in 1971. He appeared on Broadway in the musicals Two Gentlemen of Verona and Aladdin. Davis starred in the television shows That’s My Mama, Amen, Madam Secretary, and others. He has hosted the Stellar Gospel Music Awards, Gospel Superfest and Lifestyle Magazine. Davis has appeared on the game shows Match Game and Pyramid and appeared in many movies.
Davis is a minister of a Baptist church and has also operated an interdenominational ministry for many years. He has been a guest on the Trinity Broadcasting Network many times. Davis wrote a chapter in the book Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul. Titled “A Mason-Dixon Memory,” it recounts the racism which he experienced while he was growing up.
Davis was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Thelma van Putten Langhorn, a nurse, and Toussaint L’Ouverture Davis, a Seventh-day Adventist minister. He was raised in Mastic, New York, and he is a graduate of Pine Forge Academy.
Before finding fame in acting, Davis worked as a songwriter, most famously penning The Jackson 5’s No. 2 hit “Never Can Say Goodbye.” He appeared on Broadway as Valentine in Galt MacDermot and John Guare’s musical Two Gentlemen of Verona, based on the Shakespeare comedy of that name. He starred as barber Clifton Curtis in the mid-1970s television show That’s My Mama with Theresa Merritt, Theodore Wilson, and Ted Lange.
Davis’ romantic interest in songstress and Broadway performer Melba Moore led to his co-starring role on her musical variety television show. Later he made a guest appearance on the third episode of the first season of The Bobby Vinton Show in September 1975, singing “I’ve Got the Music in Me” and “Never Can Say Goodbye.” He successfully sang the Polish lyrics with Vinton to the show’s theme song, titled “My Melody of Love”.
A triple heart bypass survivor, Davis participated in the “Superstars” celebrity TV sports competitions of the 1970s as well as made several appearances on the popular celebrity game show Match Game. Heappeared in the film Scott Joplin, in 1977. Davis made numerous appearances on several incarnations of Pyramid from the early 1970s to the early 1990s.
From 1986 to 1991, Davis co-starred with Sherman Hemsley and Anna Maria Horsford as the Reverend Ruben Gregory in the sitcom Amen, which ran for five seasons. Davis released one acclaimed studio recording in 1991 on Benson Records titled Say Amen. He also played the mayor of Miami in the 1999 film Any Given Sunday. Davis has continued his stage work, starring in Toronto as well as on Broadway in Aladdin, playing the Sultan of Agrabah.
Davis holds a BA in Theology from Oakwood University and a Master of Divinity degree from Andrews University. From 1987 to 1989, he was an Associate Pastor of the Loma Linda University SDA Church in southern California. For the last twenty-five years, Davis has been an active member of Youthville, USA a children’s services organization. He served as the co-founder and co-pastor of the Welcome Christian Center in Huntington Beach, California. Davis is a licensed minister at St. Luke Baptist Church, New York, New York. He has had an interdenominational ministry for over 30 years. Davis has served as its National Spokesperson and Advisory Board Chairman. He is the emcee and host of The Most Soulful Sound, an annual gospel choir competition in Raleigh, North Carolina. Davis also hosts an annual celebrity golf tournament in Elizabeth City State University, where he served as its vice chancellor for Institutional Advancement. Since the end of 2005, Davis has held the position of executive director for Welcome America, a non-profit organization located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which hosts the largest Fourth of July celebration in the nation each year. He is a frequent guest and host on the Trinity Broadcasting Network. Davis also hosted the TV show Gospel Superfest from 2000 to 2008, syndicated by United Television.
|1972||Together for Days||Gus|
|1974||Lost in the Stars||Absalom|
|1999||Any Given Sunday||Mayor Tyrone Smalls|
|2001||Kingdom Come||Charles Winslow|
|2001||Max Keeble’s Big Move||Supt. Bobby ‘Crazy Legs’ Knebworth|
|2001||The Painting||Thomas Ayers|
|2004||Halloweentown High||Principal Phil Flannagan|
|2006||The Engagement: My Phamily BBQ 2||Uncle Joe|
|2011||David E. Talbert’s What My Husband Doesn’t Know||Franklin|
|2013||God’s Amazing Grace… Is Just A Prayer Away||Wilbert Richardson|
|1971||A World Apart||Matt Hampton||1 episode|
|1972||The Melba Moore-Clifton Davis Show||Co-host||Series|
|1973||Love Story||James Monroe||Episode “A Glow of Dying Embers”|
|1973–1977||Police Story||Mark Randolph
|“The Ho Chi Minh Trail”
|1974–1975||That’s My Mama||Clifton Curtis||Main role (39 episodes)|
|1977||Scott Joplin||Louis Chauvin||TV Movie|
|1977||Superdome||P.K. Jackson||TV Movie|
|1978||Vega$||Leon Hazlett||Episode: “The Eleventh Event”|
|1978||Cindy||Captain Joe Prince||TV Movie|
|1980||The Love Boat||Mr. Reeves||Episode: “Invisible Maniac”|
|1980||The Littlest Hobo||Phil McLean||Episode: “Licence to Steal”|
|1980||The Night the City Screamed||Arnold Clements||TV Movie|
|1981||Don’t Look Back: The Story of Leroy ‘Satchel’ Paige||Cool Papa Bell||TV Movie|
|1986–1991||Amen||Reverend Reuben Gregory||Main role (110 episodes)|
|1989||Dream Date||Bill Fairview||TV Movie|
|1990–1994||Stellar Gospel Music Awards||Co-host||Specials|
|1993||The John Larroquette Show||Jada Sweet||Episode: “Pros and Cons”|
|1996||The Jamie Foxx Show||Charles||Episode: “Seems Like Old Times”|
|1997||Living Single||Harrison Cushmore||Episode: “Mother Inferior”|
|1997||Sparks||Pastor Alexander||Episode: “It’s the Gospel”|
|1997||Malcolm & Eddie||Leonard Larson||Episode: “Club Story”|
|1997||Party of Five||Martin Wilcox||Episode: “Point of No Return”|
|1997||Grace Under Fire||Dr. Swanson||Episode: “Sam’s Dad”|
|1997||The Sentinel||President Lemec||Episode: “Fool Me Twice”|
|1997||The Gregory Hines Show||Pauley’s Father||Episode: “Three’s Not Company”|
|1998||Any Day Now||Councilman Lyle Hammond||Episode: “No Comment”|
|1999||In the House||Ted Miller||2 episodes|
|2000||City of Angels||Dr. Langston Ellis||Episode: “Bride and Prejudice”|
|2002||American Dreams||Alvin Lewis||Episode: “The Home Front”|
|2004||Half & Half||Pastor David Adams||Episode: “The Big Practice What You Preach Episode”|
|2012||Political Animals||Reporter||Miniseries; episode: “Pilot”|
|2012||Mr. Box Office||Judge||Episode: “Pilot”|
|2013||The First Family||Clayton||Episode: “The First Triangle”|
|2015–2019||Madam Secretary||Ephraim Ware, Director of National Intelligence||Recurring role|
|2017||Iron Fist||Lawrence Wilkins||Recurring role|
|2017||The Good Fight||Anthony Spiegel||Episode: “Not So Grand Jury”|
|2018||New Amsterdam||Pierre Pampil||Episode: “Rituals”|
|2018||Blue Bloods||Inspector Azoulay||Episode: “Mind Games”|
|2019||Godfather of Harlem||Elijah Muhammad||TBA|