Emmy-winning producer, screenwriter and playwright Walter Halsey Davis, whose credits include the television movies Last Flight Out, Jane Doe, The Killing Mind, Stone Fox, and The Great Escape II: The Untold Story, has died. He was 76.
Davis died on Aug. 31 after a battle with metastatic prostate cancer, according to his family and former associates. The Redondo Beach native was a fifth generation Californian whose aviator aspirations led to a U.S. Navy officers training program. Davis excelled in his class but set aside that ambition in favor of creative writing and poetry pursuits and a UC Santa Barbara degree in English literature.
While working on an MFA degree at UCLA, Davis’ pursuits got a major boost when his 1971 play The Tapioca Misanthropa won the Samuel Goldwyn Award. His other stage credits included Panhandle and Tilden.
Davis has spent some of his teen years in Germany and his command of the language made his English translation of The Threepenny Opera one of the few iterations to earn the endorsement of the estate of lyricist Bertolt Brecht.
Davis’s script for Silent Cries (1993), a television movie about the wartime ordeal of civilians in Singapore in 1942, was written with his wife, Vickie Patik, and the couple were honored for it with a Writers Guild Award (in the adapted long form category) the following year.
The raconteur and natural storyteller added an Emmy to his mantle as the co-producer of Do You Remember Love, the May 1985 television movie that was written by Patik. The CBS movie starred Joanne Woodward as a professor staggered by the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Woodward won an Emmy for her performance and the production won numerous other honors including a Peabody Award.
Davis is survived by his children Jenny and Jack Davis and Rhett Johannessen (Ben); his sister Mercedes Cohen (Michael); and nephews Alex and Sean (Audrey) Cohen.
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