Website last updated: 15-7-2017

26 JUNE 2015
A CELEBRATION OF ACTOR/SINGER ROBERT DAVI

By: Anders Frejdh
Published:
2015-06-26
A celebration of Robert Davi on his birthday. Robert will forever be rememberd amongst Bond fans for playing the villain role in Licence to Kill 1989 opposite Timothy Dalton.

With this page, From Sweden with Love would like to celebrate Robert Davi and officially thank him for attending our James Bond festival in Stockholm on 19-21 September 2014.

"Robert, happy birthday and warmest regards from Sweden, you are one of the best villains in the Bond series!"

In 2011, FSWL organized for Club James Bond France to make an interview with Robert for their club magazine Le Bond, click here for the original interview in English.

"Robert Davi would make a worthy successor to the incomparable Frank Sinatra, whether in the fields of Stage, Screen or Television. And having been chosen years ago by the Master himself, to act in a film side by side with him, this is not a vain pronouncement.” - Ervin Drake

About Robert Davi:
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 (1977), 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 (1985), Die Hard (1988), Son of the Pink Panther (1993), Showgirls (1995), and in the James Bond 007 film Licence to Kill (1989) as the villain Franz Sanchez who is considered one of the best 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.

Davi recently made his directorial debut with The Dukes (2007), 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.”

In 2010, Robert also starred in Game of Death with Wesley Snipes.

In 2011, he was 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.

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 has 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.

While many know Robert as an entertainer, many do not know the man off screen.

The album, Davi Sings Sinatra: On the Road to Romance, was released in October 2011 by Sun Lion Records / Fontana (Universal Music Group).

Editor's note:
For other posts covering Robert Davi featured on From Sweden with Love, click here.

For more "Bond villains" featured on From Sweden with Love, click here.

Photo above:
Robert Davi at the National Film House in Stockholm during our James Bond weekend, 19-21 September, 2014. Photo by Sascha Braun. © From Sweden with Love.

Visit the official Davi Sings Sinatra website and support Robert Davi's work:
davisingssinatra.com

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