Robert Davi

Robert Davi is an award-winning actor, screenwriter, director, producer and jazz vocalist. An entertainer few can rival, he is a movie star and is being hailed by many as one of today’s Great interpreters of song. A new Documentary on his musical journey is currently in post production, Tentative titled ” Robert Davi- Thats Life ” by the  award winning Creative Chaos team.Besides his extensive career in entertainment , Robert Davi has many other facets . 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 currently at Homeland Security, where a lesson plan is being written. He is a frequent contributor for Fox News and Fox Business .He has a column for Breibart . 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. In 2008, he received the Italio-Americano Award from the Capri-Hollywood Festival. In 2008 he was Grand Marshall of the San Gennaro Festival in New York’s Little Italy In September of 2010; Robert was recognized for his charitable work, especially his work with our military, with the San Gennaro Foundation Award. The award was presented to him by Jimmy Kimmel and Adam Carolla during the Feast of San Gennaro Prima Notte Opening Gala in Hollywood. 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. July 17th of 2014, he is receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Long Island Film and TV Foundation.  On August 14th 2014 he is being honored by the Lt. Det. Joseph Petrosino Association in America for his contribution to the arts.
So its no wonder why Music icon Quincy Jones also shared his praises: “I have never heard anyone come this close to Sinatra’s sound and still be himself. Many try but Robert Davi has the voice, the tone, the flavor and the swagger. He absolutely touched me down to my soul and brought back the essence and soul of Ol’ Blue Eyes himself.”
Broadway luminary Chazz Palminteri recently remarked after catching a performance: “Once there was Sinatra an now there is Davi. Robert Davi sang and left the audience breathless.”   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.

From his portrayal of the opera singing baddie in “Goonies” and one of the most popular James Bond villains Franz Sanchez in “License 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, and made us cry or split our seams laughing.

 

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.

 

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 “License 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 130 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 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 2008, 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 support of the album release, Davi is touring the U.S. and world 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,Ed Mangano presented him  at Long Island’s Eisenhower Park where more than 10,000 people attended.  In November of 2012, Davi released a Christmas single where all the proceeds went to the Salvation Army. He recently completed a tour of Australia in June 2014 where he received standing ovations and marvelous reviews for his Tribute to the American Songbook and Sinatra.
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. In 2008, he received the Italio-Americano Award from the Capri-Hollywood Festival. In 2008 he was Grand Marshall of the San Gennaro Festival in New York’s Little Italy In September of 2010; Robert was recognized for his charitable work, especially his work with our military, with the San Gennaro Foundation Award. The award was presented to him by Jimmy Kimmel and Adam Carolla during the Feast of San Gennaro Prima Notte Opening Gala in Hollywood. 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. July 17th of 2014, he is receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Long Island Film and TV Foundation.  On August 14th 2014 he is being honored by the Lt. Det. Joseph Petrosino Association in America for his contribution to the arts.
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 currently at Homeland Security, where a lesson plan is being written.
Just about anywhere on this earth, American movie star Robert Davi cannot walk into a busy room without a sudden permeation of instant recognition. Gentlemen’s Quarterly has compared him to silver screen classics Robert Mitchum and Lee Marvin. Interview Magazine called him a latter-day Humphrey Bogart. Davi made his motion picture debut in Contract On Cherry Street, in which he shared the screen with the Chairman of the Board himself, Frank Sinatra. Since then he’s continued to work with the biggest names in Hollywood – Marlon Brando, Clint Eastwood, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Benicio Del Toro, James Fraco, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Bruce Willis, and Roberto Benigni, among others. He’s been in such movies as The Goonies, Die Hard, Showgirls, Son of the pink Panther, and in the James Bond 007 film License to Kill as the villain Franz Sanchez – which considered one of the three top Bond villains of all time. On TV, he starred as Commander Acastus Kolya on Stargate Atlantis, appeared in two-part episodes of Criminal Minds, and played Agent Baily Malone in 82 episodes of his own NBC series, Profiler. On March 17, 2001, he can be seen with Val Kilmer and Christopher Walken in Kill The Irishman, the true story of Danny Greene, a tough Irish thug working for mobsters in Cleveland during the 1970’s. And currently he can be seen in Game of Death with Wesley Snipes.
In 2007, Davi made his directorial debut with The Dukes, a parable for today about how the current economic crisis is affecting the everyman. The story follows the members of a once successful Doo Wop group who, like most of the world, have fallen on hard times. The film is about chasing the American Dream, even when the reality of that dream is changing faster than you can run. The Dukes stars Chazz Palminteri, Robert Davi, and Peter Bogdanovich. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone called the film “a gem – irresistible.” Jen Johans from Film Intuition said, “Frequently funny yet consistently relatable, especially given our current economic climate – The Dukes is an irresistible feel-great movie that manages to tap right into the resilient, independent, prideful and tough-minded spirit of what it means to be Italian-American. Yet at the same time, Davi’s film also celebrates the extraordinary beauty of the culture whether it’s in our ability to put family and loyalty first or to sublimate our frustrations into perfect, sweet-sounding musical harmony.”
The Dukes was selected for the premiere section at the Rome Film Festival, along with other filmmakers such as Francis Ford Coppola, Sean Penn, Redford, Sidney Lumet, and Gavin Hood. Davi was the only first-time director in the premiere section. The film was then invited to the Monte Carlo Comedy Film Festival, where it received awards for best first-time director and best screenplay. Artistic director of the festival was Mario Monicelli (Big Deal On Madonna Street), and president of the jury was Ettore Scola, one of the giants of Italian cinema who has won the Golden Palm several times, an Oscar, Italian Oscars, and French Oscars. Following that, The Dukes was invited to the Alpe d’Huez International Comedy Film Festival in France. The Dukes and Jason Reitman’s Juno were the only two American films selected, with The Dukes receiving the special jury prize, The Coup de Coeur: “The Prize of the Heart.”
While most know Davi as an iconic screen presence, not many know that Davi’s first passion is singing. As this current quote by jazz great Shelly Berg, Dean of the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami, may illustrate…
“Everyone knew Robert Davi would be great as Lucky Luciano in the new, Phil Ramone-produced musical “Lanza”, but what blew the crowd away was Robert singing Sinatra as the encore! In a performance for 600 college students, they leapt to their feet and screamed with delight. The same result was achieved the next night with the “adult” audience. Very few people can sing Sinatra with the voice, authority and phrasing of Robert Davi.”
But even as far back as high school, Davi received acclaim for his singing, being awarded first place in the prestigious New York State School Music Association’s – Solo Competition, singing Vincent Youmans’ Without A Song. As a young man, Davi studied under several of the top vocal teachers: Samuel Margolis (the famed singing teacher at the Metropolitan Opera who incidentally taught Robert Merrill the man who Sinatra would sometimes call upon for vocal workshops). Then he studied with Danial Ferro of Juilliard and later opera great Tito Gobbi. While Davi learned a tremendous amount from these men, he always felt something was missing.
It wasn’t until two years ago when it all came together. The first step was to find a teacher so he asked Bob Cavallo who would be good to study with. Cavallo instantly recommended Gary Catona, the legendary “voice builder to the stars,” who has trained such voices as: Whitney Houston, Sade, Brian Wilson, Lionel Richie, Shirley MacLaine, and Liza Minnelli. Davi met with Catona and the two became fast friends. Catona’s revolutionary technique was the vocal approach Davi had always been searching for. Catona says of Davi, “Unlike other singers who are doing the American songbook, Robert truly has ‘the voice,’ a rich, masculine tone and beauty, with a sensitive, artistic heart to match. In this sense, he resembles Sinatra, but does not sound like him. His uniquely colorful baritone voice has a flair for the dramatic that he expresses thoughtfully in his interpretation. All in all, Robert Davi could easily wrestle the Sinatra mantle away from all would-be contenders.”
Davi recently completed his first album, “Davi Sings Sinatra: On The Road to Romance,” which he recorded at the famous Capitol Records in Hollywood (where Sinatra recorded on many occasions). Phil Ramone, who is one of the industry’s most accomplished and respected music producers achieving, 33 Grammy nominations and 14 Grammy Awards, is overseeing the project. Ramone’s impeccable list of credits includes collaborations with artists such as Franks Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Madonna, Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, and Stevie Wonder, among many others.  The album, “Davi Sings Sinatra – On The Road To Romance,” charted to number 6 on Billboard Jazz and received wonderful notices.
A new Voice that captures the Essence of Frank Sinatra like No other to say that award-winning actor, screenwriter, director and producer Robert Davi is multi-talented would be an understatement. As Hollywood now knows, he is also an exceptional singer!  Few in Hollywood have made the transition from actor to singer so naturally, eloquently and passionately as Robert Davi. His debut album – Davi Sings Sinatra…..On The Road To Romance – shot to an unprecedented number 6 on Billboard Magazine’s Jazz Chart within weeks of its October 2011 release. As music icon Quincy Jones said: “I have never heard anyone come this close to Sinatra’s sound and still be himself. Many try but Robert Davi has the voice, the tone, the flavor and the swagger. He absolutely touched me down to my soul and brought back the essence and soul of Ol’ Blue Eyes himself”
You likely recognize Robert Davi, the actor, from his renowned on-screen “tough guy” roles. Considered one of the top Bond villains of the entire series (this year is the 50th anniversary of the Bond Films) in “License to Kill” to his outstanding TV credits (Profiler, Stargate: Atlantis, Criminal Minds), Davi has acted in over 100 movies and his directorial film debut (The Dukes) was an award-winner. Recently garnering terrific critical response in “The Iceman” with Michael Shannon, Winona Ryder James Franco, Chris Evans, and Ray Liotta Davi has several films in the can and will be one of the stars in Sylvester Stallone’s Expendables 3. Davi is much more complex than the roles he plays. Interview Magazine called him “a latter-day Humphrey Bogart” and GQ Magazine compared him to actors Robert Mitchum and Lee Marvin. His tough exterior masks a powerful inner sensitivity – and that passion comes across loud and clear in this latest album.
“I did my first film with Frank Sinatra,” says Davi. “Now realize that to many, he was the greatest entertainer of all time. He conquered radio, stage, television and the big screen with his acting and singing. In an Italian household, there were two figures, the Pope and Sinatra – and not necessarily in that order,” a smiling Davi recalls. Continuing in a more serious tone we have come to know from the parts Davi pays: “I always felt a commonality with Sinatra as an Italian immigrant growing up in America. Sinatra was the son of a Sicilian father and his mother was from Genoa. My father was also Sicilian and my mom was from Naples. Sinatra was really the first superstar who spoke out against anti-Semitism and racial bigotry of any kind. He also spoke to an immigrant population in a way that empathized with their struggles and gave them a sense of dignity. His contribution to social issues is huge and is as relevant today as it was back then.
He was the greatest interpreter of the American Songbook, the golden age of American music – a unique combination of sounds that reflected the struggle of the Black jump and blues jazz artists, the Scotch, Welsh, Irish, Swedish, Latino and a host of other nationalities that made up America since the Revolution and subsequently an inordinate number of sons and daughters of Jewish immigrants. This amalgam of peoples and their struggles found its greatest voice in the son of Italian immigrants. It was an age of hope and romanticism. Those sounds comprised the Great American Songbook – it brought us together. I call my album ‘On The Road To Romance’ because I want to bring back that Romantic way people related to each other back then. A world that had a gentler, more respectful and hopeful attitude toward each other,” concludes Davi.
The early transition to singer – Davi always loved to sing and entertain. At 15, he won the prestigious New York State School Music Association Solo Competition for Voice. As a young adult he studied under legendary opera star Tito Gobbi, Dan Ferro of Juilliard, Samuel Margolis (who taught Robert Merrill) and most recently, renowned voice-builder Gary Catona who Davi says is “the teacher he was looking for.” In fact, Davi was singing long before Sinatra personally selected him at the age of 20 to play Mickey Sinardos in the 1977 NBC TV drama “Contract on Cherry Street.” This was a moment that would catapult him into the limelight and finally convince his parents that he is destined to have a successful career in the arts.
When asked about why he thinks the cognoscenti are responding to his music and reminiscence to Sinatra, Davi believes “it’s all about making the individual experience universal. Everyone’s experiences are unique. You must bring this kind of interpretation to your work, but with an honesty of performance. Having not only worked with Sinatra but studying his art and being a friend, I can tell you he has an authenticity, honesty. He lives the music, not just sings it. He can be considered the first method singer.”
Speaking in confidence with Davi, I can tell you without exaggeration that he has journeyed as a person and as an actor to the darker side of the soul, but he has also experienced many joys of life. Combine this fascinating, bittersweet odyssey with his classical background and his understanding and training in bel- canto, and that makes his tribute album to this extraordinary man a genuine and unique homage destined to endure.
The album was produced by Grammy Award winner Phil Ramone. “Sinatra’s collection of unforgettable masterpieces helped the world fall in love with our country,” says Davi. “During my parents’ time, while our country faced many difficulties, this music helped it glow with promise and optimism. Frank Sinatra’s voice was the soundtrack for their lives, and no one sang it better.” In support of his album release, Davi is currently touring the U.S. with his live stage show and receiving standing ovations.

Davi was born in Astoria, New York and attended Hofstra University on a drama scholarship. He moved to Manhattan where he studied with legendary acting coach Stella Adler. Davi is also a lifetime member of the Actors Studio where he studied acting with Lee Strasberg. After being cast opposite Sinatra in Contract on Cherry Street, his role as a Palestinian terrorist in the award-winning TV movie, “Terrorist on Trial: The United States vs Salim Ajami” brought him critical acclaim and caught the eye of James Bond producer Albert R. Broccoli who subsequently cast Davi as the lead villain in “Licence to Kill.” Davi’s films span 30 years and include cult classics and blockbuster hits such as “The Goonies,” “Raw Deal,” “Die Hard,” “Son of the Pink Panther” and “Showgirls.”

The song that launched a music career – In 2007, Davi produced, directed, co-wrote and starred in “The Dukes,” which told the story of a music group that fell on hard times. It was a metaphor of what is happening in the world today .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. In 2011, Davi starred in “Kill the Irishmen,” the true story of Danny Greene, the infamous Irish-American mobster. Davi’s latest major motion pictures include  “The Iceman” with Michael Shannon, Chris Evans, James Franco, Winona Ryder and Ray Liotta as well as “The Bronx Bull” with an all-star cast and “The Great Chameleon” with Canada’s Victor Altamare and veteran actor Stacy Keach. All are set to release in 2013.

Davi’s music career got its first real boost when he sang “So Much In Love” near the end of “The Dukes.” Friends immediately encouraged him to pursue his singing. “So I went to Bob Cavallo, Chairman of the Disney Music Group,” recalls Davi. “He told me to see Gary Catona who had trained dozens of successful singers such as Whitney Houston, Andrea Bocelli, Lionel Ritchie and others.” Catona later described Davi’s voice as “rich, colorful and masculine.” Davi returned to Cavallo with a demo record of four songs and after hearing the first song for only 30 seconds, gave Davi and his team the go-ahead to produce their debut album. “Several Major labels’s wanted the album but Cavallo orchestrated acquiring my own label from Universal Music Group, Sun Lion Records,” said Davi. “I had the best production team you could possibly imagine – producer Phil Ramone, arranger Nic Ten Broek and engineers Dan Wallin and Al Schmitt. Suddenly the album was being played on radio stations across the country and climbed to number 6 on Billboard Magazine’s Jazz Chart.”
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