Artist Bio

Ossie Davis

Ossie Davis (1917-2005) began his career in 1939 with the Rose McClendon Players in Harlem, In 1946, he made his Broadway debut in Jeb, followed by Jamaica, The Zulu and the Zayda and I’m Not Rappaport (which he later reprised on film with Walter Matthau), among many others. In 1961, he wrote and starred in the critically acclaimed Purlie Victorious. His many film credits include No Way Out (1950, with Sidney Poitier), The Cardinal, The Hill, The Scalphunters, Let’s Do It Again, Do the Right Thing, Jungle Fever, Grumpy Old Men and Get on the Bus. He also directed four films. He made his television debut in 1955’s Emperor Jones, in the title role. Emmy Award nominations followed for his work in Teacher, Teacher; King; and Miss Evers’ Boys. In 2001, he received a Daytime Emmy for the children’s special Finding Buck McHenry. He was also the author of three children’s books. Mr. Davis was the recipient of the NAACP Image Award, the National Medal of Arts, the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award and, with Ruby Dee, the Kennedy Center Honors (2004). In 1998, he and Ms. Dee marked their 50th wedding anniversary with the publi­cation of their joint autobiography, With Ossie and Ruby: In This Life Together. Mr. Davis was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame in 1994.

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