Robert Davi is an award-winning actor, screenwriter, director, producer and jazz vocalist.
From his portrayal of the opera singing baddie in “The Goonies” and one of the most popular James Bond villains Franz Sanchez in “Licence to Kill” to FBI Special Agent Big Johnson in” Die Hard” or Al Torres in “Showgirls” to most recently Leo Marks in “The Iceman ” Robert Davi is one of the film industry’s most recognized tough guys . He has also starred in the small screen in hit shows like Profiler, Stargate Atlantis, Criminal Minds and CSI . With over 140 film and TV credits he has frightened us , romanced us ,made us cry or split our seams laughing . He is also one of the top vocalists of our day in interpreting the Great American Songbook, thrilling audiences by playing top venues like the Venetian in Las Vegas where he headlines or for 10,000 people at the Harry Chapin Theater in East Meadow ,Long Island or the Orleans in Vegas where he gave 3 sellout shows with Don Rickles. His debut album Davi Sings Sinatra- On the Road to Romance produced by Phil Ramone shot to number 6 for more than several weeks on Billboard’s Jazz Charts.
In his early acting years, Davi attended Hofstra University on a drama scholarship. He then moved to Manhattan, New York where he studied with the legendary acting coach Stella Adler, who became his mentor. Davi became a lifetime member of the Actors Studio, where he studied with acting teacher Lee Strasberg. Always perfecting his craft, Davi studied under Sandra Seacat, Larry Moss, Milton Katselas, Martin Landau, Mala Powers and George Shdanoff, the creative partner and collaborator with Michael Chekhov.
Robert Davi was born in Astoria, Queens, to Maria (Rulli) and Sal Davi. His father was an Italian immigrant and his mother was of Italian descent. Davi was introduced to film when he was cast opposite Frank Sinatra in the telefilm, “Contract on Cherry Street.” Later, his work as a Palestinian terrorist in the award-winning television movie, “Terrorist on Trial: The United States vs. Salim Ajami” brought him critical acclaim and caught the eye of legendary James Bond producer Albert R. Broccoli and writer Richard Maibaum, who cast Davi as Colombian drug lord and lead villain Franz Sanchez in the Bond film “Licence to Kill.” Today, Davi is one of the top Bond villains of all time ranking at the top on many lists. Davi also received critical acclaim within the industry for his provocative portrayal of Bailey Malone in “Profiler.” The show struck a chord with audiences, paving the way for such shows as “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “Without a Trace,” “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” “Criminal Minds” and many others. In 2004, Davi joined the cast of television’s “Stargate: Atlantis,” which earned Davi many science fiction fans. He has also shown his comedic strength in films such as “The 4th Tenor” with Rodney Dangerfield and “The Hot Chick,” produced by Rob Schneider and Adam Sandler.
Having appeared in more than 100 motion pictures, some of Davi’s most notable film credits span 30 years and include cult-classics and blockbuster hits with roles as Jake Fratelli in “The Goonies,” Max Keller in “Raw Deal,” Special Agent Big Johnson in “Die Hard,” Al Torres in “Showgirls,” Leo Marks in “The Iceman” with Michael Shannon, Winona Ryder, Ray Liotta, Chris Evans and James Franco, and most recently, with Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger among a large A-list cast in “Expendables 3.” He has worked with such directors as Steven Spielberg, Richard Donner, Blake Edwards, John McTiernan, Paul Verhoeven and Patrick Hughes. In addition, he has worked on film projects with acting talent such as Marlon Brando, Roberto Benigni, Bruce Willis, Clint Eastwood, Christopher Walken, Benicio Del Toro, Danny Glover and Catherine Zeta Jones, to name a few.
In 2007, Davi produced, directed, co-wrote, and starred in “The Dukes,” which tells the story of a once-successful Doo Wop group who fall on hard times. The film won nine awards including the coveted Coup de Coeur award. Davi was also awarded Best First-time Director and Best Screenplay in the Monte Carlo Festival of Comedy by the legendary director Ettore Scola where Prince Albert presented him with the awards. Davi was the only first-time director in the Premiere Section of the International Rome Film Festival along with Sean Penn, Robert Redford, Sidney Lumet, Julie Taymor and others.
In October of 2011, Davi released his debut album, Davi Sings Sinatra: On the Road to Romance (produced by Grammy award-winning producer Phil Ramone) to rave reviews. Within weeks of its highly anticipated release, the album soared onto Billboard Magazine’s Top 10 Jazz Chart taking the number 6 spot for several weeks. In response to the release, the legendary Quincy Jones stated, “As FS would say, ‘Koo, Koo.’ Wow! I have never heard anyone come this close to Sinatra’s sound – and still be himself. Many try, but Robert Davi has the voice, tone, the flavor and the swagger. What a surprise. He absolutely touched me down to my soul and brought back the essence and soul of Ol’ Blue Eyes himself.” In support of the album release, Davi is touring the U.S. with his live stage show, receiving standing ovations. He has performed at The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas for a three-night engagement, the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza with a 55-piece orchestra, the National Italian-American Foundation’s (NIAF) special tribute to the 25th anniversary of its Lifetime Achievement Award to Frank Sinatra at the Washington Hilton in D.C., the Soboba Casino in San Jacinto, Calif., with David Foster at the Beverly Hilton, and in August of 2013, at Long Island’s Eisenhower Park for more than 10,000 people. In November of 2013, Davi released the Christmas single, “New York City Christmas.”
Besides working in film, television, and music and raising his five children, four dogs and two cats, Davi keeps busy volunteering his time with such charities as The Dream Foundation, Exceptional Children’s Foundation, Heart of a Child Foundation, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Youth Foundation, The Humane Society of the United States, Heart of a Horse, NIAF, The Order ‘Sons of Italy’ in America (OSIA), and UNICO . Since its inception in 1998, Davi has been the National Spokesperson for i-Safe America, which is regarded by many internet experts as the most complete internet safety program in the country and is available in grades K-12 in all 50 U.S. states.
Among his numerous awards for career achievement and community involvement, Davi has received the George M. Estabrook Distinguished Service Award from the Hofstra University Alumni Association (past recipients include Francis Ford Coppola and William Safire). In 2000, Davi was awarded the FBI’s Man of the Year Award in Los Angeles. In 2004, Davi was named KNX radios’ “Citizen of the Week” for saving a young girl from a fire in her home. The same year, he also received the Sons of Italy’s Royal Court of the Golden Lion Award, including a $20,000 donation to a foundation in which he is involved. In addition, he received the 2004 STEP Award (Science, Technology and Education Partnership). In 2007, Davi was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Italian Board of Governors in New York, where New York State recognized his value as an artist and community leader. In 2008, he received the Italo-Americano Award from the Capri-Hollywood Festival. In 2011, Davi was awarded the “Military Order of the Purple Heart” (MOPH) Special Recognition Award for dedication and service honoring America’s service members, veterans, and their families. In June of 2013, Davi was honored with a star on the Italian Walk of Fame in Toronto, Canada.
Davi is on The Steering Committee for George Washington University’s Homeland Security Policy Institute and is the only entertainer among 28 members, which consists of mainly Senators and former heads of the FBI and CIA. Davi has developed Civilian Patrol 93, which is at Homeland Security, where a lesson plan is being written.
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