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Clifford David (June 30, 1928 – November 30, 2017)[1] was an American actor, singer[2], and coach. His career began in the 1950s with early live television appearances leading to roles in Broadway musicals. He also played character roles in television series, feature films, and theatre. He is most recognized for his singing performances on several original Broadway cast albums[3].

Clifford David
Clifford David.jpg
David in 2007
Born(1928-06-30)June 30, 1928
Toledo, Ohio, United States
DiedNovember 30, 2017(2017-11-30) (aged 89)
OccupationActor, singer
Years active1953–2017

Early lifeEdit

David was born in Toledo, Ohio, the youngest son of Farris and Lily (nee Abdow). His uncle was Metropolitan archdiocese Samuel David of Toledo, the archbishop of a diocese of Syrian Orthodox parishes. Samuel David's chanting of the Byzantine mass was world-renowned, and Clifford, inspired by his uncle's voice, went to New York City to pursue music and theater.


A protégé of Lee Strasberg, David made his Broadway debut as Scipio in Albert Camus' Caligula directed by Sidney Lumet[4]. He also played Pasquale in The Aspern Papers directed by Margaret Webster, Antipholus in the 1963 Off-Broadway revival The Boys from Syracuse, Laertes in Joseph Papp's Hamlet, and Lord Byron in the Lincoln Center production of Tennessee Williams' Camino Real with Al Pacino.

A member of the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences [5], Clifford's filmography includes Invitation to a Gunfighter (1964), Resurrection, and M. Night Shyamalan's Signs (2002). As an accomplished pianist, he was cast as Beethoven in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989).

A member of the Actors Studio from 1962, David worked with many of the greats of American theater, film and television. He told stories of drinking with Richard Burton and shopping with Marilyn Monroe. He was working with Monroe on a play entitled The Cat, adapted from a Colette novel by Arthur Miller, when she died.

David was featured in the principal casts and on the original studio albums of such Broadway musicals as Wildcat[6] with Lucille Ball,[7] 1776,[8][9] with William Daniels, Alan Jay Lerner's On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, and Andrew Lloyd Webber's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

Other feature film credits include The Last Mile (1959), The Party's Over (1965) with Oliver Reed, Riot (1969), The Betsy (1978), with Laurence Olivier, Fort Apache, The Bronx with Paul Newman (1981), and The Exorcist III (1990).

He was seen on television in the miniseries Blind Ambition as well as in political dramas Fear on Trial and Missiles of October with Martin Sheen. He appeared in episodes of Bonanza, The Big Valley, Charlie's Angels, Mary Tyler Moore, Murphy Brown, Party of Five, Murder, She Wrote, Will & Grace and Law & Order.[10][11]


  1. ^ "Clifford David's New York Times Obituary". Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  2. ^ "Clifford David, Discography". Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  3. ^ "Clifford David, Performer: Playbills". Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  4. ^ "Caligula, Internet Broadway Database". Retrieved 2018-05-25.
  5. ^ "Clifford David, Oscars in Memoriam 2018". Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  6. ^ "Clifford David, Musical Credits". Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  7. ^ Coleman, Cy (2015-04-15). "You Fascinate Me So: The Life and Times of Cy Coleman". Hal Leonard Corporation. Masterworks Broadway. Retrieved 2015-04-15.
  8. ^ "Clifford David, listed as author for 1776". Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  9. ^ Swope, Martha (1969-01-01). "Actor Clifford David as Edward Rutledge in a scene from the Broadway musical "1776."(New York)". BILLY ROSE THEATRE DIVISION.
  10. ^ Clifford David on IMDb
  11. ^ "Clifford David, TV Guide Credits". Retrieved 2018-05-28.

External linksEdit