Roger H. Davis, 32-year veteran of the William Morris Agency, has died. He was 92 and passed away this morning in Los Angeles after a decade-long battle against cancer, surrounded by his family.
Born in Chicago, Davis moved to Los Angeles when he was a child. Following graduation from Burbank High School he served as a captain in the U.S. Army in the Philippines and New Guinea for 2 ½ years during World War II. After the war he graduated from UCLA and earned his law degree at Boalt Hall at UC Berkeley in 1951.
Davis joined the Morris agency in 1961 after working as an attorney at Loeb & Loeb where he became a partner in 1956. During his tenure at the law firm he was the legal advisor to the entertainment lobby in its dealings with the California Legislature.
He also served as chairman of the executive committee of the agency’s board of directors. As WMA’s executive VP and assistant secretary, he also had overall responsibility for the Motion Picture Department, the Literary Department, Business Affairs Department and all of the Agency’s foreign offices.
His considerable list of clients included the likes of Kirk Douglas, Michael Douglas, Barbra Streisand,Clint Eastwood, Norman Lear, Warren Beatty, Natale Wood, David Wolper, Elvis Presley, Omar Sharif, Fred Zinnemann, Stanley Kramer, Ernest Lehman, and Steve McQueen.
Davis also served as chairman of the Motion Picture and Television Fund Corp., as first VP of the Association of Talent Agents, and on the panel of arbitrators of the Directors Guild of America. Also a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, he was active in Big Brothers of America and participated in its annual “Show Biz Bash” for many years. He also served as a member of the Board of Governors of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
Following his retirement from William Morris, he continued as an entertainment industry arbitrator and expert witness, and as Chairman of the Board of MPTF Corp., the parent corporation of the Motion Picture and Television Fund and Country Hospital.
Survived by his wife, Laura; daughter Shelley Davis Browning, a manager at Magnolia Entertainment; a son Roger Davis Jr. who also worked in the industry; plus seven grandchildren and a pair of great-grandchildren.