“Amen” Actor-Turned Pastor Confessed What Made Him Stop Abusing Drugs And Women
Remember Clifton Davis? He starred in the 70’s hit TV show, That’s My Mama, and the 80’s hit, Amen (also starring Sherman Hemsley), and he currently has a recurring role n the hit drama series, Madame Secretary.
What many may not know is that Davis was a very successful songwriter also, with two of his biggest hits being the Jackson 5’s “Never Can Say Goodbye” and “Lookin’ Through The Windows.”
Davis was also admittedly a heavy cocaine addict, an admitted womanizer, an abusive boyfriend, and a self proclaimed ‘people user.’ In a past interview with People Magazine, he detailed how he somehow turned it all around and began preaching the word of the Bible as a devoted minister:
“I was committed to getting over with the women, enjoying my life and doing what I pleased. I was selfish and cold, and I felt no shame about it.”
Davis is referring to the reputation he had of using the women in his life. He was in a four year relationship with singer, Melba Moore, back in the day. He also had a thing going on with jazz singer, Nancy Wilson, and a few other celebs, mixed in with the groupie love and one-night stands he confessed to having at the same time.
While all of that was going on, Davis said he was becoming an avid cocaine addict and he said the unstable nature of show business is what sparked it. His addiction kicked in right after winning a Tony Award in 1972 for Two Gentlemen of Verona:
“You’re nervous until you get the next job, and when you get it, you think, ‘I got it because I am great! Then the job would end. ‘I’m nothing. Nobody loves me.’ Finally I got to the point where I said to myself, ‘You ain’t nothing. Let’s get high and don’t worry about it.’ “
By 1979, Davis was a really heavy coke addict. He’d ruined tons of personal and business relationships and he was only getting worse:
[That period of time was filled with] “invading emptiness. It was all going out, there wasn’t anything going in. I was so high I couldn’t audition, and I didn’t show up for a few gigs. I was coked from morning to night.”
Davis’ Downward Spiral Into Drug Abuse
Although he was raking in $250,000 a year from That’s My Mama and other TV appearances, he was still falling short on being able to keep up payments on his drug bill. He eventually had to sell his Hollywood Hills house (in L.A.) and move into a much smaller penthouse apartment just to make ends meet. Here’s how he survived:
“[I sold] half the profits [of the sale of my house] on drugs in six months. I went through a quart of vodka daily. No food—just coke. I was skin and bones, about 130 pounds.” (His normal weight at that time was 200 pounds and he is 6 feet tall).
He Confessed To Abusing His Then Girlfriend
Then Davis says the domestic violence kicked in and he began physically abusing his then-girlfriend, Ann Taylor. By this time his relationship with Melba Moore and Nancy Wilson were well over:
“I slapped her around a couple of times. Finally I realized I was in danger of hurting her, so I sent her away. Still she’d call three times a day, saying, ‘Don’t snort that—talk to me instead.’ “
His Near Death Experience That Changed It All
Davis eventually hit rock bottom, overdosed and almost died, until his stepbrother called him and said the family was extremely worried about him and had been holding an all-night prayer meeting for him. Davis said:
“[That phone call] pierced through my heart like an arrow right into my soul. It was a message from God. My stepbrother knew I was about to die. I knelt down and prayed, and my life began to change from that moment on.”
After that moment, Davis successfully kicked his habit and married his girlfriend, Ann in 1981 (they divorced in 1991) and began taking theology courses to become a minister.
It sounds like Clifton Davis’ drug days and years of being a self-confessed ‘people user’ humbled the heck out of him and we’re happy for the brotha. It’s been decades now since his coke days and he’s still preaching to anyone willing to listen. He’s been married to his wife, Monica Durant, since 2000. Sometimes we only truly understand how high we can climb after we’ve hit the lowest point that we can possibly fall. For Davis, that lowest point was the brink of death and he has clearly learned his lesson.