Roger Davis
Dark Shadows Characters: Jeff Clark, Peter Bradford, Charles Delaware Tate, Dirk Wilkins, Ned Stuart

Appeared in: 129 episodes

First episode: # 404, January 11, 1968

Last episode: # 968, March 11, 1970

Birth Name: Jon Roger Davis

Born: April 5, Bowling Green, Kentucky

Roger Davis worked as an English instructor at UCLA before becoming an actor. "I found that I was more interested in reading plays than in grading papers," he said in a 1970 ABC-TV press release. "Then one day in 1962 I decided to quit teaching and study acting. A casting director saw me in a scene I did in acting class, and I was signed for a part in a TV series, The Gallent Men." After that show, a war drama in which he played a radio operator, was cancelled, Roger starred in Redigo, a 1963 Western series starring Richard Egan. (Note: Richard's daughter, Jenny Egan, was a DS dayplayer.

In New York, Roger enjoyed a successful run of the political satire MacBird!, in which he played a character based on Robert Kennedy. (He took over the role from William Devane, who originated it in February 1967.) That play closed January 21, 1968, the same month he joined the cast of Dark Shadows.

On DS, he first played one in a long line of Victoria Winters’ suitors, during the 1795 storyline. Unlike others who came before him, however, his Peter Bradford finally wed the ingénue later that year, after both characters returned to present time. Off-screen, Roger married actress Jaclyn Smith at the same time his DS wedding took place. (After five years of marriage, the couple divorced, and Jaclyn found enormous fame working with DS alum Kate Jackson on the TV cop show Charlie’s Angels.) Roger played several other roles, including enchanted artist Charles Delaware Tate, and he played Maggie's boyfriend in House of Dark Shadows.

As she recalls in The Dark Shadows Movie Book, Kathryn Leigh Scott was less than pleased to be working opposite the temperamental, unpredictable actor in HODS. In fact, in interviews, books, and at Dark Shadows Festivals, many DS stars have singled him out as the most unpleasant and unprofessional cast member. In the biographical The Bennetts, even the usually coy Joan Bennett is quoted as saying he had no talent. A notable exception is Lara Parker, who has remained the actor's friend since their time working together on Shadows. She has often praised his loyalty and his head for business, which has helped him earn millions as a real estate developer.

Roger Davis and his first wife, Jaclyn Smith.

After leaving Dark Shadows in March 1970, Roger returned to California. He did a voice-over introduction to each episode of the ABC-TV western series Alias Smith and Jones, starring Ben Murphy and Peter Duel in 1971. After Duel’s suicide on New Year’s Eve that year, Roger took over his role. (Duel died of a gunshot wound to the head.) Critics likened the actor change to the "Darren Switch" which had occurred on the primetime hit Bewitched in 1969, when fans accepted a new leading man; however that was a more successful transition. Bewitched stayed on the air for three more years.

Alias Smith & Jones went on for just one season with Roger in the featured role. Scheduled against ratings champ All in the Family it was cancelled.

Roger continued to work on television and in film—and he became one of the one of the most successful and recognizable voice-over artists of the past 45 years, doing hundreds of ads for products including Anacin pain reliever, Brut cologne, and McDonald’s restaurants.

In the 1980s, Roger moved into real estate development and continued to act occasionally. He also formed a clothing company called Packing Crate Classics, based in Santa Monica, California. (He lives in Malibu.)

In 2003, Roger portrayed Ned Stuart in the reunion play Return to Collinwood. (Click here to read about the play.)

In Return to Collinwood Nancy Barrett and Roger Davis played husband and wife Carolyn and Ned Stuart.

Career Highlights

PRIMETIME TV: Nightman (1998), Matlock (1989), The Highwayman (1988), Galactica 1980 (Andromus, 1980), Medical Center (1978), Wonder Woman (Jack Corbin, 1978), Quincy (Paul Taggert, 1977), Hardy Boys (Sonny, 1977), Bionic Woman (Tom Hallaway, 1976), This is the West that Was (Narrator, 1974), Alias Smith and Jones (Hannibal Heyes, 1972-73; narrator, 1971-73), Bonanza (2 episodes), Rockford Files (Travis Buckman), Night Gallery, The Bold Ones, The Big Valley (Walt Tempkins), From Here to Eternity (1965, pilot), Twilight Zone (David Mitchell, 1964), The Gallent Men (Gibon, 1962), Redigo (Mike, 1963), The Alamo.

TV FILMS: Aspen (aka The Innocent and the Damned, Max Kendrick, 1978 miniseries), Killer Bees (Dr. Helmut VanBohlem, 1974), River of Gold (Marcus McAllister, 1971), The Young Country (Stephen Foster Moody, 1970), ABC Wide World of Mystery: A Little Bit of Murder (Jeff).

TV COMMERCIALS: McDonald's (voice-over), American Express (voice-over), Nationwide Insurance (voice-over), Chevrolet Citation, Plymouth (voice-over), Forest Lawn (voice-over), Salem Cigarettes, Close-Up Toothpaste, Brute Cologne, Canada Dry, Norelco, Gold Medal Flour (voice-over), Anacin (voice-over), Red Cross (voice-over), Equitable Life (voice-over), Heinz Ketchup (voice-over), Mrs. Paul's Yams (voice-over), Armour Star Bacon (voice-over), Glad Bags (voice-over), Kawasaki (voice-over), Quiet World (voice-over).

SCREEN: Beyond The Pale (1998), Bless 'em All, aka The Act (1983), Ruby (Dr. Keller, 1977), Flash and the Firecat (1975), House of Dark Shadows (Jeff Clark, 1970), Parachute to Paradise (1969), Nashville Girl, aka Country Music Daughter (1976), Ride the Wild Surf (1964), PT 109 (1963).

THEATER: Alice in Wonderland (Madhatter and White Knight, 1966, NYC), MacBird! (Ken O' Dunc, 1967-68, NYC).



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