“I would like to create a non partisan Think Tank of influential celebrities and politicos where differences can be discussed in an atmosphere of congeniality”

A Conversation with Actor and Singer Robert Davi

I would like to create a non partisan think tank of influential celebrities and politicos where issues and differences can be discussed in an atmosphere of congeniality to help bring our nation and world together — We must at this time in our history not act seditiously but act for unity. I would ask Norman Lear and Clint Eastwood, as elder statesman in Hollywood, who have differing world views to convene a symposium of unity and mutual respect.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Robert Davi, the respected actor who has been in over 150 movies and TV shows, and is known worldwide as an incredible Sinatra tribute singer. Classically trained as a singer, Davi launched his professional singing career in 2011. His first album, Davi Sings Sinatra — On The Road To Romance, hit №6 on the Billboard jazz charts. The album was recorded with a 30-piece orchestra at the Capitol Records studio, where Sinatra recorded many of his greatest albums. Over the course of his acting career, Davi has performed in more than 130 films. Among his most recognized roles are opera-singing heavy Jake Fratelli in The Goonies (1985); Vietnam veteran and FBI Special Agent Big Johnson in Die Hard (1988); Bond villain Franz Sanchez in Licence to Kill (1989); police deputy chief Phil Heinemann in Predator 2(1990); and strip club manager Al Torres in Showgirls (1995). On television, he played FBI special agent Bailey Malone in the NBC series Profiler (1996–2000) among various other notable roles over his career, and has a new series currently in development.
Davi is featured in a new documentary called Davi’s Way which follows Italian-American and New York-born actor Robert Davi, a Frank Sinatra song stylist, as he attempts to plan a tribute performance to his singing idol, a re-creation of The Chairman’s famous “Main Event” held in 1974 at Madison Square Garden. With the help of his friend Abeckaser, notable producer (film + nightlife), and a hired assistant, actor Stevie Guttman, the documentary depicts Davi on a year-long mission to reach his goal. However, it does not go as smoothly as he envisioned. The film Davi’s Way hit Amazon, Amazon Prime and itunes on September 4th.
Through comedic interactions too engaging not to have been documented, viewers will see an engaging, driven, sensitive and intriguing side to Robert Davi, which is what prompted Abeckaser to create the film in the first place. He was won over by Davi’s charm, and wants the world to be as well.

Thank you so much for joining us, Robert. Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your acting/directing/performing/hosting career?

In1980 while filming CITY HEAT with Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds, we were shooting a scene on the back-lot at Universal Pictures. This being my second film I was taking it all in. I mean, after first working with Frank Sinatra here I was working with Eastwood! Being rather new to Hollywood I had some preconceived ideas on how it would be on film sets. This one evening as we were between shots I noticed a limousine driving onto the set. At first I thought it a bit odd then I thought well of course this is probably a car for Clint or Burt. That thought was quickly changed when the driver approached me and started a conversation. He said he was with the Princess of Bulgaria. I thought “Of course” she is here to see Clint and they are probably “old friends”. I wanted to be sociable and friendly of course because it would get back to Clint who was a great guy and friendly to his “guests”.

After a while the driver said “would you like to meet the Princess?” I said “Sure”. He brought her out of the limo and onto the set and we started to have a conversation. After a while we broke for dinner. Since this was a night shoot it was abut 11 pm. I was kind of surprised that the Princess found me so interesting and was waiting for Clint to come over and thank me for being so nice to his guests . While at dinner they sat down with me and had dinner from the set caterers. Still no Eastwood. After dinner, the executive producer Fritz Manes approached me or should I say began to” dress me down”. Fritz was a retired Army guy and had been Clint’s producing partner. What he said is “who the hell do you think you are ? Inviting strangers to the set and then bringing them to dinner !!!!! ? “ his reprimand was so vitriolic and seemingly out of the blue , I mean they were Clint’s guests ??? It took me a while to realize I had been had and that some would go through extremes to get on to a movie set !!! SHE WAS’NT EVEN A PRINCESS.

One could say this was my film protocol “BAPTISM BY FIRE” . Oh as a postscript, years later at Arnold’s house,(yes the Terminator), I mentioned this story to Clint, I don’t think he saw the humor in the incident. LOL

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

On August 17th Davi’s Way is opening in New York. I am very excited about it — In Davi’s Way, I am depicted given one year to recreate Sinatra’s fabled ‘Main Event’ concert in Madison Square Garden on Sinatra’s 100th Birthday. This unpredictable, poignant and comedic documentary feels like a real life cross between Curb Your Enthusiasm and This Is Spinal Tap.

Also, I will be filming a new movie called “The Sit-down” playing Vito Genovese based on a true story and directed by Danny Abeckaser.

Also, I am currently filming a new TV series called “ PAPER EMPIRE”. In the series, Laurence Fintch,(Robert Davi) Money Manager of Fintch Wealth Management Services, seems to have it all figured out to become the greatest financial fraudster through the use of his Digital, Virtual currency technology. Moments before he disappears into the darkness, he is arrested by the FBI. He strikes a deal to be broken out of prison, but ends up being enlisted as the first major crime organization CFO.

Musically, I continue to tour the world and am working on a new CD in which David Thomas from Take Six has arranged a few songs, as well as one of the most exciting and groundbreaking cellists.

Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? Do you have any stories?

There have been many — a few are, Frank Sinatra, Quincy Jones ,Stella Adler, Marlon Brando, Bob Dylan, Natan Sharansky, Steven Spielberg, Albert R Broccoli, Sidney Korshak, Lee Strasberg, and Al Pacino. What was that like? Do I have any stories? I have incredible stories. You will have to come to one of my concerts or read the book if I ever write one. 🙂

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would like to create a non partisan think tank of influential celebrities and politicos where issues and differences can be discussed in an atmosphere of congeniality to help bring our nation and world together. We must at this time in our history not act seditiously but act for unity. I would ask Norman Lear and Clint Eastwood, as elder statesman in Hollywood ,who have differing world views, to convene a symposium of unity and mutual respect.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“You must make yourself over” — Stella Adler. My mentor in acting was Stella Adler. She used to passionately repeat the previous quote. This to me was the battle cry of an artist. It says, do not be complacent! Do not rest on your own past success. Life is a continual shedding of skin , emotionally and physically. It says, “strive to be the best you can be!!” Grow !! Continual growth. Challenge yourself and do not be afraid. Let go of who you think you are. Live in a constant state of becoming!! Then, take this and apply it to a character you are interpreting and creating. You must constantly challenge yourself! This is a mantra I use every day — it generates in me a constant source of energy to strive for GROWTH.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

There are many who helped me along the way that I am grateful for. But one in particular who probably never thought he was of assistance, was a gentleman in a subway toll booth in New York City in the mid 1970s . I never even knew his name nor do I think he knew how he helped me.

One evening after going to the theater, I was taking the subway back to my apartment. I was daydreaming when I got off the wrong stop! Now this would not have been a big thing except for the fact that back then sometimes money was scarce for me. So, I went back down to the token booth to get another token and take the subway to the correct stop. The only problem is I didn’t have the money for a token. Hoping I would get some sympathy I proceeded to tell the clerk I had been daydreaming and missed my stop. I explained I had made a mistake. The clerk in the tollbooth protected by thick plexiglass, looked at me and said “My Man , I am 58 years old and I never made a mistake I didn’t pay for!!!”

Needless to say he did not let me jump the turnstile — his pronouncement still echos in my ears and I must say I have used his words on others over the years.

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