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Character actor Charles Davis dies

Starred in Broadway musical 'Finian's Rainbow'

Character actor Charles Davis, who also wrote and directed for film and television, died of an apparent heart attack Dec. 12 in Thousand Oaks, Calif. He was 84.

The Irish-born actor appeared in numerous plays at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, acting alongside such talents as Burgess Meredith. When the producers of the hit Broadway musical “Finian’s Rainbow,” were looking for an actor to play the role of Og the leprechaun, they cast Davis in the part and brought him to New York. He appeared in over 1000 performances on Broadway and in the national touring company.

After moving to Hollywood, Davis appeared in 22 major motion pictures and more than 100 TV shows. Among his film appearances were “The Desert Rats” with Richard Burton, “Hong Kong Story” with Clark Gable and Susan Hayward, “The Wreck of the Mary Deare” with Gary Cooper and Charlton Heston,and “Star” with Julie Andrews. He made guest appearances on TV shows including “The Twilight Zone,” “Night Gallery,’ “Perry Mason,” “The Wild Wild West,” “Leave It To Beaver,” “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” “The Donna Reed Show” and “Playhouse 90.”

In the 1950s and 60s, he co-owned the Hollywood School of Drama and The Hollywood Repertory Theater with actor Dan O’Herlihy.

Davis was also a writer, director and film producer. He wrote for shows including “Death Valley Days,” “Have Gun Will Travel,” and “The Bold Ones,” and directed movies of the week and TV specials, for NBC. He wrote, directed and produced feature films including “Kennedy’s Ireland,” “Thunder Run,” “Hazel’s People,” and “The Violent Ones.”

In 1984, Davis ran for Congress, winning the Democratic primary but losing the general election.

In recent years, he taught acting classes at the Actors and Singers Studio in Thousand Oaks, which he co-founded with his daughter, singer and actress Maripat Davis. In addition to his daughter, he is survived by his wife of 59 years, actress Marilyn O’Connor, whom he met while both were starring in the national touring company production of “Finian’s Rainbow.” He is also survived by a son.

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