Actor Clifton Davis

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.

Early life

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.


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    Year Title Role Notes
    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
    2007 Cover D.A. Simmons
    2011 David E. Talbert’s What My Husband Doesn’t Know Franklin
    2013 God’s Amazing Grace… Is Just A Prayer Away Wilbert Richardson


    Year Title Role Notes
    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
    Ed Webber
    “The Ho Chi Minh Trail”
    “The Malflores”
    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”
    2000–2008 Gospel Superfest Host
    2001 Lifestyle Magazine Host Series
    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

    External Links

    Actor Clifton Davis – Wikipedia

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