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William B. Davis

Actor, Film Director, Screenwriter, Athlete, Teacher
© Yves Tennevin
Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 3.0 ]
William Bruce Davis (born January 13, 1938) is a Canadian actor and director, known for his role as The Smoking Man on The X-Files. Besides appearing in many TV programs and movies, Davis founded his own acting school the William Davis Centre for Actors Study. In his personal life, Davis is an avid water-skier, works with the Canadian Cancer Society and lectures on skepticism most recently at Committee for Skeptical Inquiry's CSICON. In 2011 Davis published his memoir, Where There’s Smoke .... The Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man. --- Davis was born in Toronto, Ontario, to a lawyer father and psychologist mother. He began his acting career as a child in 1949, in radio drama and summer stock theatre. His cousins Murray and Donald Davis ran The Straw Hat Players in Ontario in the late 1940s and early 1950s, and rehearsed in the basement of Davis' house. When they needed a boy they gave William his first professional acting job. He went on from there to have a career as a boy actor on CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) radio before his voice broke. In 1955 he enrolled in the University of Toronto to study philosophy, but actively pursued a career as an actor alongside future actor Donald Sutherland. In 1959, he graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy. While at university he switched his attention from acting to directing and with his partner, Karl Jaffary, took over and ran The Straw Hat Players for four years. In 1960 Davis went to England to train at LAMDA (The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art). He worked in the U.K. for the next five years directing in repertory theaters and acting schools. He was artistic director of the Dundee Repertory Theatre. His last position in the UK was as an assistant director at The National Theatre of Great Britain under Laurence Olivier where he worked with Albert Finney, Maggie Smith, Derek Jacobi, and Ronald Pickup among others. He returned to Canada in 1965 to work at The National Theatre School of Canada and soon, at the age of 28, was appointed artistic director of the English Acting Section. During this period he was also active as a free lance director at major Canadian theatres. In 1971 he joined the newly formed Drama Department at Bishop's University in Lennoxvile, Quebec. While there he became the founding artistic director of Festival Lennoxville, a professional summer theatre that ran for the next decade. Returning to Toronto in the late seventies Davis spent several years as a radio drama director and on the faculty of Humber College. In demand as an acting teacher during this period, he resumed acting after an absence of nearly twenty years. Davis earned a number of roles on stage and film before accepting the position of artistic director of the Vancouver Playhouse Acting School, which required relocating with his wife and family. Davis writes in his memoir, "And so, in the fall of 1985, we hitched our second hand boat to our second hand car and drove across the country" While his time at the Vancouver Playhouse was short-lived, he remained in Vancouver where he founded his own acting school, The William Davis Centre for Actors Study, a training ground for several future stars including Lucy Lawless. Acting roles became more frequent leading to his iconic role, The Smoking Man, on The X-Files where he made frequent appearances for the next nine years. In addition to The X-Files, Davis has played a wide range of roles, on series from Stargate SG-1 to Smallville and a host of television movies and other projects. --- Davis now divides his time between North America and France where he recently married Emmanuelle Herpin who lives and works in the south of France. He has two daughters, Melinda and Rebecca, from an earlier marriage.

Wikipedia ]

Born
January 13, 1938 (age 86)
Profession
Actor, Film Director, Screenwriter, Athlete, Teacher
Spouse
Emmanuelle Davis
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