Ossie Davis Biography (1917-)

Born Raiford Chatman Davis, December 18, 1917, in Cogdell, GA; son of Kince Charles (a railway construction engineer) and Laura (maiden name, Cooper) Davis; married Ruby Ann Wallace (an actress and writer known as Ruby Dee), December 9, 1948; children: Nora, Guy, LaVerne. Career: Actor, playwright, director, and stage manager. Began acting career with Rose McClendon Players;chairman of the board for Institute for New Cinema Artists; founder with wife, Ruby Dee, of Emmalyn II Productions; Apollo Theatre Foundation, chair, 1999--; served on the advisory board of CORE, supports the NAACP, the Urban League, SCLC and is involved in the Civil Rights Movement. Previously worked as janitor, shipping clerk, and stock clerk in New York City, 1938-41. Militaryservice: U.S. Army, Medical Corps and Special Services, 1942-45. Member: Actors' Equity Association, Screen Actors Guild, American Federation of Radio and Television Artists, Director's Guild of America, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (advisory board), Southern Christian Leadership Conference (advisory board), Congress of Racial Equality, Masons. Awards, Honors: First Mississippi Freedom Democratic PartyCitation, 1965; Emmy Award nomination, best actor in a special, 1969, for "Teacher, Teacher," Hallmark Hall of Fame; Emmy Award nomination, c. 1978, for King; Antoinette Perry Award nomination, best musical, 1970, for Purlie; Frederick Douglass Award from New York Urban League, for "distinguished leadership toward equal opportunity," 1970; Paul Robeson Citationfrom Actors' Equity Association, 1975, for "outstanding creative contributions in the performing arts and in society at large"; Coretta Scott King Book Award from American Library Association and Jane Addams Children's Book Award from Jane Addams Peace Association, 1979, both for Escape to Freedom; Jury Award from Neil Simon Awards, 1983, for "For Us the Living," American Playhouse; National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Image Award, best performance by a supporting actor, 1989, forDo the Right Thing; Hall of Fame Award for outstanding artistic achievement, 1989; Monarch Award, 1990; Inductee, Theater Hall of Fame, 1994; Lifetime Achievement Award (with Ruby Dee), Multicultural Motion Picture Association, 1995; National Medal of the Arts (with Dee), 1995. Addresses: Agent: Artists Agency, 10000 Santa Monica Blvd, Suite 305, Los Angeles, CA 90067.

Actor, playwright, director, stage manager
Birth Details
December 18, 1917
Cogdell, Georgia, United States

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