Fanny Brice had a long-standing relationship with a man named Roger Davis, who she met in 1916 when he was in the chorus of the Ziegfeld Follies. According to an article in the New York Herald Tribune of June 14, 1931, Davis appeared in three more Follies with Fanny Brice, traveled to Europe with her and Norma Talmadge in 1927, and performed in the vaudeville act with which she toured in 1927 and 1928. He subsequently played minor roles in Sweet and Low, Crazy Quilt and the Ziegfeld Follies of 1936.
Although Fanny Brice apparently valued Davis' companionship more than his acting abilities, there was nothing sexual about their relationship. He was variously described as her mascot, stooge and social guide.
The Tribune reported that "she has a bad memory for names and Davis guides her through the intricacies of large parties with constant nudges and sly whispers that enable her to identify other guests." William characterized him as "my mother's dear and close friend, an amazing and humorous man who never managed to succeed in show business on his own." According to William, Davis lived with the Brices "for a while" and always traveled with Fanny on the road where "he kept her company and watched over her."
"One had a sense, though," William reflected, "of him being not quite a real person, of him being like a jester." It is interesting to note as well that whatever influence Davis may have had, Brice does not mention him at all in her reminiscences.
Roger Davis vs. Roddy McDowall
Roddy McDowall portraid Roger Davis in the movie Funny Lady. In the movie however, the name of Roddy's character was Bobby Moore.
- SSN: 573-03-9769
- Born: January 20, 1884
- Died: 3 March 3, 1980
- Residence: 913545 Groman Mortuary, Eden Memorial Park, 11500 Sepulveda Boulevard, Mission Hills, Los Angeles, California
- Last benefit: 61209 Glendale, Los Angeles, California
- Issued: CA (before 1951)
- Our Miss Gibbs (1910)
The Passing Show of 1912 (The Wintergarden, New York, 1912)
- Cast: Jobyna Howland, Willie & Eugenen Howard, Harry Fox, Trixie Friganza, Anna Wheaton, Shirley Kellogg, Charlotte Greenwood, Charles J. Ross, Ernest Hare, Adelaide & Hughes, Clarence Harvey, Daniel Morris, George Moon, Oscar Schwarz, Sydney Grant
- Book by George Bronson-Howard and Harol Atterigde
- Costumes by Melville Ellis
- Music by Louis Hirsch and others
- Staged by Ned Wayburn
- Ran 136 performances
- The Ziegfeld Follies of 1916 (1916)
- Hollywood Music Box Revue (1927)
- Sweet and Low (1930)
- Crazy Quilt (1931)
- The Ziegfeld Follies of 1936 (1936)
- A Social Celebrity (1926) as Tenny
- Exit Laughing (1930) uncredited
- Are You There? (1930) as barber
- That Certain Woman (1937) as waiter (uncredited)
- Youth Takes a Fling (1938) as floorwalker (uncredited)
- Miss Tatlock's Millions (1948) uncredited
- Dear Wife (1949) as committee chairman (uncredited)
- Adam's Rib (1949) uncredited
- Riding High (1950) as butler (uncredited)
- Mr. Music (1950) uncredited
- Pat and Mike (1952) uncredited
- The Belle of New York (1952) as Judkins (uncredited)
References in books
Fanny Brice by Herbert C. Coldman
Pages 80, 85, 125, 128, 135, 137, 149, 151-52 and 177
Stage credits on pages 254, 258, 260 and 265-266
Funny Woman by Barbara W. Grossman
Help me find more information
I am looking for further information and pictures on Roger Davis. The information on him seems to be very rare, because he was always in the background of the great names on the stage.
Using these collected materials, I want to write his biography and lift him out of anonymity, make a tribute to him, and all those who, all though never mentioned by name, were important to the theatre productions (for example, the Ziegfeld Girls were mostly well known, but male dancers were never mentioned and photographed).
To accomplish this, I need the help of family, relations, people who where close - people who know about his life or are able to look through the archives (especially in New York City). I appreciate anyone able to supply me with further information on Roger Davis, helping me to extend his biography.
When you have any information on Roger Davis, please share it with me.