Daniel Davis

Daniel Davis


11/26/1945, Gurdon, Arkansas, USA

Birth Name


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Daniel Davis is an Arkansas native, born November 26th, 1945 in Gurdon. He was born to parents who owned and operated a movie theater. His desire to become an actor started when he spent a lot of time in the theater's "crying room" for babies. His first professional…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • As a child, Davis took elocution lessons to rid himself of his southern accent.

    • As a child, Davis wanted to be a fireman, doctor, or astronaut until he realized that they were excuses to be theatrical.

    • Davis was let go from La Cage aux Folles on March 27, 2005. The reason cited was "obnoxious offstage behavior". Davis was replaced by Robert Goulet.

    • He took the initiative and arranged his own audition at the age of 11, for Betty's Little Rascals. His parents were in no way involved.

    • Davis is left-handed.

    • Davis is a horseman, having learned how to ride dressage, a form of English horseback riding.

    • Davis is an avid reader, and is an exercise enthusiast.

    • In 1994, Davis hosted a Toronto segment of the All American Thanksgiving Day Parade, which aired on CBS.

    • In 2001, Davis was cast as Oscar Wilde in the Broadway production of Tom Stoppard's play, The Invention of Love.

    • Davis acted as a replacement for the character of the repentant Salieri in the Broadway production of Amadeus.

    • Davis starred in an off-Broadway play, Futz.

    • Davis participated in the national tour of Coco with Katharine Hepburn.

    • Davis was one of the many celebrities featured lip-synching to Stayin' Alive in the American Idol episode, Idol Gives Back.

    • Daniel Davis was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actor in 2000 for his performance in Wrong Mountain.

    • Davis has a younger sister, Diane. She and her husband run a radio station in Texas, and they have three sons.

    • Davis received a 2003 OBIE Award as part of the acting company "Talking Heads," a series of six one-person shows.

    • His British accent for his role as Niles on The Nanny is not authentic. Although he normally has a Southern accent, many fans wrote to the show and suggested that he teach Charles Shaughnessy (a British native) how to improve his accent.

    • Davis considers his love for Tyrone Power movies as his inspiration to act.

    • Acted and taught for seven years at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco.

    • His take-off on Tom Cruise's underwear dance in the film Risky Business became one of The Nanny's classic moments.

  • Quotes

    • Davis: And that's the wonderful thing about being an actor. You get to be everything you ever wanted to be without having to go through any of the heartache of being it. It is the advantage of being in this profession.

    • Davis: (Referring to his character on The Nanny, Niles) It was one of those moments you find out something about a character... a side to them that you have no idea exists. In some ways, Niles works best the less you know about him. You don't really want to blow too much knowledge about him at this point or maybe ever, because he really works best when he comes in and does something completely surprising.

    • Davis: They all really believed in the whole notion of sinister, and being lefthanded you were somehow marked by Satan. I don't mean to make us out as booga-booga type people, but there was pressure. When I first got to school, my first grade teacher was kind of questioning my choice of picking up the pencils and crayons with my left hand.

    • Davis: I hardly ever go to the theater because I'm almost always wanting too much from it and it almost never gives me what I want. I haven't learned to go without expectation yet. I go to the movies with no expectations whatsoever and so they almost always entertain me. I thought I wouldn't television as well.

    • Davis: I wanted to be a lawyer if I could be Raymond Burr on Perry Mason. I wanted to be an evangelist if I could be Billy Graham. I wanted to be a scientist, but only if I could be Albert Einstein or Albert Schweitzer. It was all bigger than life; it was always about being enormous.

  • Best known as Niles the Butler on The Nanny

    Niles the Butler (born in the fifties, UK) was a fictional character in the sitcom, The Nanny. He was portrayed by American actor Daniel Davis, in a British accent. Niles was the butler for the Sheffield family. His job can be summed up in 10 words: When he's not dishing it up, he's dishing it out. He had been a valet for Maxwell Sheffield for most of his life. When Sheffield came to America, Niles had come along as well. He had been with the family for many years, even when Maxwell was married to his late first wife, Sara. It was revealed in the Season 1 Episode 9 ("The Nanny-in-Law") that Niles' father had been the butler for Maxwell Sheffield's father; and that they had therefore grown up together and known each other all their lives. This was revealed by Clara Mueller (played by Cloris Leachman), who had been Sheffield's nanny. The two of them (Niles and Nanny Mueller) have a continued affair which Maxwell and Fran find out about in 1.9 (The Nanny-In-Law). His surname was never revealed in the series. At one point, he claims he has only one name "...like Cher."[1] In the episode 'What the Butler Sang' C.C is caught not knowing Niles' last name while introducing him at a backers' audition, and she simply says "Niles...Niles...Niles DeBuetlier" (i.e. "Niles the butler"). He is portrayed as strategical, loyal, kind and protective of the Sheffield household (especially loyal to Fran, except for a period in 'From Flushing with Love' when he teams up with C.C.) However he is known for his manipulative attitudes, constant whining and sulking over minor matters. He also has an issue with compulsive gambling, and constant snooping. In the years following Sara's death, the house was somber, and Maxwell's business partner C. C. Babcock descended like a vulture and tried to woo Maxwell into marrying her. The fact that Niles considers C.C. a necessary evil did not necessarily mean he had to like her. In fact, he outright hated her, and made it his mission to torment her at every opportunity. As he would reflect to C.C. years later, "Well, truth be told my life was a little empty. But now I have a hobby." When Maxwell hired Fran Fine as the new nanny for the children, Niles bonded with her right away. To Niles, Fran was a breath of fresh air that brought back some life in the house, which had been lacking since Sara died. He encouraged the romantic tension between Fran and Maxwell, and helped undermine C.C.'s constant attempts to sabotage it. Fran and Niles both delighted in holding what became known as "The Thing", (Maxwell telling Fran that he loved her and taking it back) over Maxwell's head for almost a whole season. Niles is part of a Butler's Association that is a constant joke throughout the series. He is sometimes jealous of other's butlers because "they allow their butler to gamble" (a decent proposal). In the episode (The Butler, the Husband) two people come to see if Niles is suitable to join the National Butler's Association. Even though Niles despised C.C., the mutual rage between the butler and socialite suddenly turned to lust at the apex of their hate for one another. After the premiere of a play he co-produced with Fran, Niles could no longer muster insults for C.C. like those which had come naturally in the past. Having been advised by Fran to admit his feelings to C.C., he nervously blurted out a proposal. Appalled at the thought of marrying someone below her station, C.C. flatly turned him down several times. But after becoming trapped in an elevator with Fran (who was in labor with her twins), C.C. broke down and accepted Niles' proposal through the closed doors. C.C. and Niles marry in the series finale, as Fran is giving birth to twins. After them being pronounced Man and Wife, C.C. learns that she is pregnant with Niles' baby, which causes both of them to faint. When he served the Sheffields before, Niles went through an "awkward stage" where he was heavier than he is during the series. There are constant jokes about that on The Nanny. Niles is known as the household snoop. He is always caught listening to the intercom, "cleaning" keyholes, and conviently cleaning rooms where important conversations are being held. As the all-seeing butler, Niles was known for manipulating events to ensure that Maxwell wasn't shortchanging Fran or others. He was also known for "overhearing" things that weren't really meant for him to hear. He gained a friendship with Sylvia Fine, Fran's mother, and always made sure something for her to eat was available. He is always dropping hints about Fran and Maxwell getting together from the very beginning of the series. When Fran finds out she is pregnant, Niles refers to the it as "their baby" because he loves Fran and Maxwell's relationship. Niles is also the driver for the family, navigating their Lincoln Town Car limosuine He is very similar to Geoffrey from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. They are both butlers, both from England, both went to Oxford, and they have the same attitude.moreless