Roger H. Davis, Longtime WMA Executive and MPTF Leader, Dies at 92

Roger H. Davis, a longtime executive at the William Morris Agency and a former leader of the Motion Picture Television Fund Corp., died Aug. 16 after a 10-year battle with cancer. He was 92.

Davis spent 32 years with WMA where he helped rep such clients as Natalie Wood, Barbra Streisand, Kirk Douglas, Michael Douglas, Elvis Presley, Clint Eastwood, Norman Lear, Warren Beatty, Omar Sharif, Fred Zinnemann, Stanley Kramer, David Wolper and Steve McQueen. He was also chairman of the WMA board’s executive committee and oversaw business affairs and international offices for the agency, in addition to its overseeing its motion picture and literary departments.

Davis was active in numerous entertainment industry organizations. He served as chairman of the Motion Picture Television Fund Corp., the parent entity of the MPTF medical and residential services operation. He was vice president of the Assn. of Talent Agents advocacy org, and served as an arbitrator for the Directors Guild of America.

Born in Chicago, Davis moved to Los Angeles at the age of 2. After graduating as president of his class from Burbank High School, Davis served as a U.S. Army captain stationed in the Philippines and New Guinea during World War II. He later attended UCLA on the G.I. Bill and earned his law degree from UC Berkeley in 1951.

Davis joined law firm Loeb & Loeb and was upped to partner by 1956. During his time at Loeb & Loeb he worked as a legal advisor to the entertainment industry’s lobbying efforts in the California state legislature. He left the firm in 1961 to join WMA.

After retiring from WMA Davis worked as a entertainment industry arbitrator and as an expert witness in showbiz-related legal cases.

Davis was a member of AMPAS and served on the board of governors of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Davis’ survivors include his wife of 33 years, Laura; two children, Roger Davis Jr. and Shelley Davis Browning, who heads management firm Magnolia Entertainment; as well as seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

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