Robert Davi

Last updated
Robert Davi
2016-02-01 Robert Davi (5).jpg
Davi in February 2016
Robert John Davi

(1951-06-26) June 26, 1951 (age 69)
  • Actor
  • singer
  • writer
  • director
Years active1977–present
Political party Republican
    Jeri McBride
    (m. 1980;div. 1990)
      Christine Bolster
      (m. 1990;div. 2019)
        Diana Davi
        (m. 2019)
Musical career
Genres Traditional Pop, Great American Songbook
Website Davi Sings Sinatra

Robert John Davi (born June 26, 1951) is an American actor, singer, writer, and director. [1] Over the course of his acting career, Davi has performed in more than 130 films. Among his most known roles are opera-singing heavy Jake Fratelli in The Goonies (1985), Vietnam veteran and FBI Special Agent Johnson in Die Hard (1988), James Bond villain Franz Sanchez in Licence to Kill (1989), police deputy chief Phil Heinemann in Predator 2 (1990) and strip club manager Al Torres in Showgirls (1995). On television, he portrayed FBI Special Agent Bailey Malone in the NBC television series Profiler (1996–2000).


Classically trained as a singer, Davi launched his professional singing career in 2011. [2] [3] His first album, Davi Sings Sinatra - On The Road To Romance, hit No. 6 on the Billboard jazz charts. Praised for his voice and vocal interpretations, Davi debuted as a headliner at The Venetian Las Vegas, six months after the record was released. [4]

In 2016, Davi replaced the late Jerry Doyle as radio host for a nationally syndicated radio program on Talk Radio Network. [5]

Early life

Davi was born in Astoria, Queens, New York, the son of Maria (née Rulli) and Sal Davi. [2] His mother was an Italian American whose family came from Nusco, Avellino, Campania and his father was from Torretta, Palermo, Sicily. [6]

Davi spoke Italian during his childhood. [2] He attended Seton Hall, a Roman Catholic high school in Patchogue, New York. [2] He has two sisters, Yvonne Davi (deceased), and Mrs. Michelle Queal. He graduated from Hofstra University, which he attended due to that university's strong drama department as well as its unique reproduction of Shakespeare's Globe Theater. [7] Davi also studied with legendary acting coach Stella Adler when he moved to Manhattan. [8]

Film career

Acting career

Davi made his motion picture debut in Contract On Cherry Street , in which he shared the screen with Frank Sinatra. He subsequently worked with Marlon Brando, Clint Eastwood, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Benicio del Toro, Bruce Willis, and Roberto Benigni, among others. He has appeared in movies including The Goonies , Die Hard , Showgirls , Son of the Pink Panther , and in the Bond film Licence to Kill (1989) as the villain Franz Sanchez, a South American drug lord and murderer. [9]

In 2014, Davi appeared as Goran Vata in The Expendables 3 . [10]

In 2015, Davi appeared in a music video for Bob Dylan's recording of "The Night They Called It A Day", from Dylan's album Shadows In The Night , a selection of songs which had been recorded by Frank Sinatra. Rolling Stone suggested that Davi's role in the video may be a nod towards Davi's having made his acting debut alongside Sinatra in the crime film Contract on Cherry Street , and Davi's release of his own album of Sinatra covers. [11]

In 2015, he interpreted Gabriele Tinti's poetry giving voice to the Boxer at Rest at the Getty Museum. [12]

Directing career

Davi with Stephen Dorff and Michael Shannon at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival RobertDaviStephenDorffMichaelShannonTIFFSept2012.jpg
Davi with Stephen Dorff and Michael Shannon at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival

In 2007, Davi made his directorial debut with The Dukes , a parable regarding the mid-2000 economic crisis and its impact. The film starred himself, Chazz Palminteri, and Peter Bogdanovich. The Dukes was selected for the premiere section at the Rome Film Festival, along with films by Francis Ford Coppola, Sean Penn, Robert Redford, and Sidney Lumet. Davi was the only first-time director in the premiere section. [13] The film was screened internationally and won awards at Queens International Film Festival, WorldFest Houston  [ tr ], Monte-Carlo Comedy Film Festival, and International Festival of comedy film of Alpe d'Huez  [ fr ]. [14]

Recording career

In high school, Davi was praised for his singing, and auditioned for the Metropolitan Opera after being awarded first place at the prestigious New York State School Music Association's Solo Competition, where he sang Vincent Youman's "Without A Song". He subsequently received classical training with top vocal teachers, Samuel Margolis and Danial Ferro of Juilliard and Tito Gobbi. Davi damaged his voice, and later explained that he was a baritone with the "heart of a tenor and had pushed too hard, too early." [15]

Davi began to focus again on singing in 2011, and worked with "Voice Builder" Gary Catona as he prepared to record his first album. [16]

With a thirty-piece orchestra, he recorded the album at the legendary Capitol Records Building in Hollywood, where Frank Sinatra recorded on many occasions. [17]

The album, which featured new arrangements by composer Nic. tenBroek, was produced by Phil Ramone, engineered by Dan Wallin, and mixed by the legendary Al Schmitt. The album, Davi Sings Sinatra -- On The Road To Romance, was released October 24, 2011, and received significant attention from the media, garnering positive reviews. [18] Jazztimes called Davi Sings Sinatra "uniformly impressive", [19] and critic Don Heckman wrote in the Orange County Register that "there are, of course, dozens of Sinatra imitators and simulators. But what Davi does is a whole different matter. A tribute? Yes, indeed; all that and more." [20] AllMusic noted that "Davi makes no attempt to copy Sinatra's vocal sound ... Rather, he is his own singer." [21] The album reached the Top 10 on the Billboard jazz charts. [22]

In December 2012, Davi appeared along with Roger Cicero in the French/German Arte TV program Durch die Nacht mit … The episode was shot in the Little Italy area of New York City and featured conversation between Cicero and Davi and solos of Sinatra standards by both performers. In December 2013, Davi released a Christmas single, "Mistletoe and Holly", with all proceeds benefiting The Salvation Army. [16]

Davi has lent his voice to political ads, including Carly Fiorina's "Demon Sheep" attack ad, "Hot Air: The Movie", and others produced by Republican media consultant Fred Davis. [23]

Robert Davi was chosen by the United Nations to celebrate the Transformative Power of Music at the General Assembly in New York, in June 2015 - and again for the 70 Anniversary Celebration of the UN in September, 2015. [24]

Davi was chosen to tribute SINATRA's 100th birthday for the July 4th PBS SPECIAL; it was watched by 500,000 people outside the Capitol Building in DC and 15 million viewers. [24]

Davi was also the guest singer on the Italian version of TV program "The Voice". [24]

Personal life

Davi is a devout Roman Catholic.

He is an outspoken political conservative, often speaking at Republican Party gatherings. [25] He has been invited to comment on numerous political shows and backed John McCain during his presidential campaign. He narrated several film montages that aired during the 2008 Republican National Convention. [26] [27] Davi has spoken at numerous Conservative Political Action Conferences in Washington, D.C. He was a frequent guest on Fox News's late-night satire program Red Eye w/ Greg Gutfeld . [28] Davi endorsed Donald Trump in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and again in 2020. [29]

Awards and honors

For his notable contributions to the Italian community, Davi was enshrined in Toronto's Italian Walk of Fame in 2013. [30]

Selected filmography

1977 Contract on Cherry Street Mickey Sinardos, Greek HijackerTV Film
1978 Charlie's Angels RitchieTV Series
1979 From Here to Eternity GuardTV Miniseries
The Legend of the Golden Gun William QuantrillTV Film
1982 St. Elsewhere Man In restaurantTV Series
T. J. Hooker Joe 'The Barber' Picartus / Tom WarfieldTV Series
1983-1984 The Fall Guy TV Series
1984 City Heat Nino
The A-Team Boyle (episode "Sheriffs of Rivertown")TV Series
1985 The Goonies Jake Fratelli
Hunter 'Sonny' DunbarTV Series
1986 The Equalizer Michael RiegertTV series
Raw Deal Max Keller
1987 Wild Thing 'Chopper'
1988 Action Jackson Tony Moretti
L.A. Law Dominic SimonettiTV Series
Die Hard FBI Special Agent Johnson
Traxx Aldo Palucci
1989 Licence to Kill Franz Sanchez
Wiseguy Albert CerricoTV Series
1990 Peacemaker Sergeant Frank Ramos
Deceptions Jack 'Harley' Kessler
Maniac Cop 2 Detective Sean McKinney
Predator 2 Deputy Chief Phil Heinemann
Amazon Dan
1991 White Hot: The Mysterious Murder of Thelma Todd Charlie 'Lucky' Luciano
The Taking of Beverly Hills Robert Masterson
1992 Wild Orchid II: Two Shades of Blue 'Sully' Sullivan
Christopher Columbus: The Discovery Martin Pinzon
1993 Maniac Cop III: Badge of Silence Detective Sean McKinney
Night Trap Mike Turner
Son of the Pink Panther Hans Zarba
FBI: The Untold Stories Donnie Brasco TV Series
1994 No Contest Sergeant Crane
Blind Justice Alacran
Cops and Robbersons Horace Osborn
1995 VR.5 Simon BuchananTV Series
Delta of Venus The Collector
Showgirls Al Torres
1996 An Occasional Hell State Trooper Abbott
Profiler Agent MaloneTV Series
1998 The Bad Pack McQue
1999 Batman Beyond Dr. Mike MorganTV Series
The Pretender Agent Bailey MaloneTV Series
2001 Soulkeeper Mallion
2002 The Sorcerer's Apprentice Merlin / Milner
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Colonel Juan Garcia Cortez Video Game
The 4th Tenor Lerra
The Hot Chick Stan, April's Dad
Disney's PK: Out of the Shadows ZondagVideo Game
2003 One Last Ride Father
2004 Call Me: The Rise and Fall of Heidi Fleiss Ivan Nagy
Karen Sisco DentonTV Series
Halo 2 Rtas 'Vadumee (SpecOps Leader)Video Game
Stargate: Atlantis Commander Acastus Kolya TV Series
2005 Breaking Vegas Narrator TV Series
In the Mix Fish
2006 Huff DickinsTV Series
Scarface: The World Is Yours Alejandro 'Alex' SosaVideo Game
2007 The Dukes Danny (also: Directorial Debut)
Halo 3 Shipmaster Rtas 'Vadumee Video Game
2008 An American Carol Aziz
Burnin' Up Jonas Brothers Music Video
2009 American Summer Himself
The Butcher Murdoch
2010 Magic Man Simpson
Spring Break '83Dean Whitter
Apocalypse Island Narrator
Game of Death Frank Smith
Criminal Minds Detective KurzbardTV series
2011 Kill the Irishman Ray Ferritto
Swamp Shark Sheriff Watson
2012 The Iceman Leo Merks
2013 Doonby Sheriff Woodley
Blood of Redemption Hayden
2014 Black Rose Captain Frank Dalano
A Long Way Off Frank
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Marvin Braxton
The Expendables 3 Goran Vata
2015 Sicilian Vampire Salvatore 'Big Sal'
Hell's Kitchen HimselfReality TV Series
2016 Criminal Admiral LanceUncredited
2018Fishing for GiantsNarratorTV Series
2019 Mob Town Vito Genovese
2019-2020Paper EmpireLawrence FintchTV Series
2020 Roe v. Wade William J. Brennan Jr.
2022 Reagan Leonid Brezhnev Post-production

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  1. Paul, Louis (2007). Tales from the Cult Film Trenches. McFarland & Company. p. 53. ISBN   9780786429943.
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  12. "The boxer".
  13. "Commentary: After 70 films as actor Robert Davi directs his first" . Retrieved 2016-08-13.
  14. The Dukes (Awards), 2008-11-14, retrieved 2016-08-13
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  23. Gilson, Dave. "Demon Sheep Ad Man Tells All". Mother Jones. Mother Jones. Retrieved September 20, 2015.
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  29. Lee, Chris (March 23, 2016). "Here Are All of the D-List Celebrities Endorsing Donald Trump". Fortune. Retrieved November 15, 2016.
  30. Alexander, Julia (June 15, 2013). "Four Inducted Into Little Italy's Italian Walk Of Fame". Toronto Sun. Retrieved May 6, 2014.