Bruce Davison (born June 28, 1946) is an American actor and director of television, film, and theater. Davison 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 original movie Vendetta. He featured in the X-Men film franchise – through X-Men (2000) and X2 (2003) – as antagonist Senator Robert Kelly.
Davison at the 52nd Annual Publicists Awards in February 2015
|Education||Marple Newtown Senior High School|
|Alma mater||Pennsylvania State University, University Park (BA)|
New York University (MFA)
|Spouse(s)||Jess Walton (1972–1973; annulled)|
Lisa Pelikan (1986–2006; 1 child)
Michele Correy (2006–present; 1 child)
|Children||Ethan Davison (b. 1996)|
Sophia Lucinda Davison (b. 2006)
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).
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.
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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 film about peaceful student protest and its violent outcome The Strawberry Statement. A year later he portrayed the title role in the 1971 version of Willard, the first of two, as of the year 2015, to have been 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. In 1978, he appeared as Dean Torrence with Richard Hatch in the made-for-TV biopic Deadman's Curve (the story of 1960s pop duo Jan & Dean). The same year, he played the title role in the TV movie adaptation Summer Of My German Soldier.
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 gay 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 movies 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's website states he 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.
He is familiar to movie audiences from his roles in Runaway Jury, Apt Pupil, and his role in the X-Men movie franchise as Senator Robert Kelly in the first film and as a shapeshifting impostor in X2. He was the fanatical Reverened Samuel Parris in Arthur Miller's screen adaptation of his play The Crucible. Davison also portrayed a rich philanthropist in the movie 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, Ghost Whisperer, Castle, Hawaii Five-0, the Stephen King mini-series Kingdom Hospital, and a recurring role on The Practice. 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 TV movie Christmas Angel in 2009. In May 2010, Davison was cast to portray art dealer Wilhelm Van Schlagel for several episodes on ABC's General Hospital to begin airing in July 2010.
In 2010, he starred in the TV movie Titanic II. In 2011, he starred as Police Chief Kirkhoven in the movie Munger Road, and appeared in the Christmas movie 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 movie Saving Lincoln.
In 2016, Davison starred as Dr. Stanley Cole in the comedy/fantasy Abnormal Attraction.
Davison married Michele Correy on April 30, 2006, and they have a daughter, Sophia Lucinda Davison, born on May 29, 2006. They reside in Los Angeles, California. Davison also has a son, Ethan, born on April 5, 1996, from a previous marriage to fellow actor Lisa Pelikan. He was once engaged to actress Karen Austin, and was in a brief marriage with fellow actress Jess Walton, which was annulled in 1973.
|1970||The Strawberry Statement||Simon|
|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|
|1976||Grand Jury||Bobby Allen|
|Mother, Jugs & Speed||Leroy|
|1977||Short Eyes||Clark Davis|
|1978||Brass Target||Col. Robert Dawson|
|French Quarter||Kid Ross / Inspector Sordik|
|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 Award for Best Ensemble Cast|
|Six Degrees of Separation||Larkin|
|1995||Far from Home: The Adventures of Yellow Dog||John McCormick|
|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|
|Apt Pupil||Richard Bowden|
|1999||At First Sight||Dr. Charles Aaron|
|2000||The King Is Alive||Ray|
|X-Men||Senator Robert Kelly|
|Summer Catch||Rand Parrish|
|2002||High Crimes||Brigadier General Bill Marks|
|2003||X2||Senator Robert Kelly|
|Willard||Willard Stiles I|
|Runaway Jury||Durwood Cable|
|2005||Hate Crime||Pastor Boyd|
|8mm 2||Ambassador Harrington|
|2006||The Dead Girl||Leah's father|
|2008||The Librarian: Curse of the Judas Chalice||Professor Lazlo / Vlad|
|MegaFault||Dr. Mark Rhodes|
|Christmas Angel||Nick Anderson|
|A Golden Christmas||Rod|
|Titanic II||James Maine|
|Camp Hell||Fr. Phineas McAllister|
|Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths||President Slade Wilson||Voice-over|
|2011||Munger Road||Chief Kirkhoven|
|3 Holiday Tails||Rod Wright|
|Earth's Final Hours||Rothman|
|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|
|2015||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|
|Love Locks||Hugo Blanchet||Hallmark TV Movie|
|2018||Insidious: The Last Key||Christian Rainer|
|Abnormal Attraction||Dr. Cole||In post-production|
|Wish Man||Frank Shankwitz Sr.|
|The Great Alaskan Race||Governor Bone|
|More Beautiful for Having Been Broken||Colin|
|Christmas at the Plaza||Reginald Brookwater||Hallmark TV movie|
|1970–1979||Insight||Andy Fry/Randy King/Greg||4 episodes|
|1973||Love Story||Jeffrey||1 episode|
|Break Up||Himself||Music comedy special for ABC|
|1974–1978||Police Story||Victor Joe Vero/Clyde Griffiths||2 episodes|
|1975||The Waltons The Shivaree||Bob Hill||1 episode|
|1977||The Gathering||George||Television film|
|1978||Deadman's Curve||Dean Torrence|
|Summer of My German Soldier||Anton Reiker|
|Mourning Becomes Electra||Orin Mannon||Miniseries|
|Lou Grant||Andrew Raines||2 episodes|
|1980||The Lathe of Heaven||George Orr||Television film|
|1981||The Wave||Ben Ross|
|1983||Ghost Dancing||Calvin Oberst||Television film|
|1984||Tales from the Darkside||Richard Hagstrom||1 episode|
|1985||V||John Langley||3 episodes|
|1985–1989||Hunter||Capt. Wyler/Dep. Chief Wyler||16 episodes|
|1990||Designing Women||Reverend Eugene 'Gene' Chapman||1 episode|
|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||1 episode|
|1996||Star Trek: Voyager||Jareth|
|After Jimmy||Ward "Sam" Stapp||Television film|
|Hidden in America||Dr. Michael Millerton|
|1998||Touched by an Angel||Jacob 'Jake' Weiss||1 episode|
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||1 episode|
|Star Trek: Enterprise||Menos|
|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||1 episode|
|The Triangle||Stan Lathem||3 episodes|
|Law & Order: Trial by Jury||Peter Betts||1 episode|
|2005–2007||Close to Home||Attorney Doug Hellman||13 episodes|
|2006||CSI: Miami||Dane Daniels||1 episode|
|2006–2010||Lost||Dr. Douglas Brooks||2 episodes|
|2007||The L Word||Leonard Kroll||3 episodes|
|Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series)||Dr. Michael Robert||1 episode|
|2008||Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles||Dr. Peter Silberman|
|2008–2009||Knight Rider||Dr. Charles Graiman||11 episodes|
|2009||Criminal Minds||Father Davison||1 episode|
|2009–2010||Ghost Whisperer||Josh Bedford||5 episodes|
|2010||Psych||Walter Snowden||1 episode|
|General Hospital||Wilhelm von Schlagel||5 episodes|
|2011||Castle||Lou Karnacki||1 episode|
|CSI: Crime Scene Investigation||Avery Tinsdale|
|Hawaii Five-0||Steven Carver|
|Covert Affairs||Max Langford|
|2011–2012||Drop Dead Diva||Judge Cyrus Maxwell||3 episodes|
|2012||Bigfoot||Sheriff Walt Gunderson||Television film|
|Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23||Gabe Sharpe||1 episode|
|2012–2013||Last Resort||Admiral Arthur Shepard||6 episodes|
|2014||Those Who Kill||Howard Burgess||10 episodes|
|The Legend of Korra||Lord Zuko (voice)||6 episodes|
|Sequestered||Danny Firmin's father||12 episodes|
|2014–2016||Kingdom||Ron Prince||4 episodes|
|2015–present||The Fosters||Stuart Adams||5 episodes|
|2016||The Exorcist||Pope Sebastian||1 episode|
|2018||Mozart in the Jungle||Hesby||1 episode|
|2018||Forgive Me||Archbishop||1 episode|
|2019||The Gift of Christmas||Bob Rodgers||Television film|
|The Son||Mr. Roy Endicott|
|Defrost: The Virtual Series||Michael Garrison||Television Film|
- Rosen, Marjorie (July 23, 1990). "A Role as a Gay Companion Brings Bruce Davison An Oscar Buzz". People. Retrieved March 22, 2020.
- Ames, Denise (June 22, 2015). "One-on-One with Oscar-Nominated Actor Bruce Davison". The Tolucan Times. Archived from the original on September 5, 2015. Retrieved May 4, 2016.
- P, Ken (May 20, 2012). "An Interview with Bruce Davison". IGN.
- "NYU Graduate Acting Alumni". 2011. Archived from the original on September 11, 2012. Retrieved December 1, 2011.
- Sterritt, David. "The Strawberry Statement (1970)". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved December 8, 2018.
- "Bruce Davison Wins Best Supporting Actor Motion Picture – Golden Globes 1991". AwardsShowNetwork. January 26, 2011 – via YouTube.
- Mollabeciri, Donik (January 30, 2019). "Fuzz on the Lens flick features host of 'Abnormal' cult movie icons". Staten Island Advance. Retrieved March 29, 2020.
- Thompson, Ruth (February 4, 1984). "Karen Austin Tries Comedy Role in 'Night Court'". Ocala Star-Banner. Newspaper Enterprise Association. p. 15; TV Week.
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