“Amen” Actor Went From Being Abusive Cocaine Addict To Something Not Even He Expected
Remember Clifton Davis? He starred in the 70’s hit TV show, That’s My Mama, and the 80’s hit, Amen? He played a reverend in “Amen,” but what most don’t know is that in real life he was admittedly a heavy cocaine addict, a womanizer, abusive boyfriend, and a self proclaimed ‘people user.’ Davis detailed how he somehow turned it all around and began preaching the word of the Bible as a devoted minister. Here’s what he said…
On his ‘user ways’:
“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.
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How his addiction started:
While all of that was going on, Davis said he was becoming an avid cocaine addict and 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,’ said Davis. “
By 1979, Davis was a really heavy coke addict:
“[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.”
He lost his home…
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:
“[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).
The domestic violence:
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 overdose:
Davis eventually hit rock bottom, overdosed and almost died, until his secretary found him…yet he says he found a way to make her tell him to ‘kick rocks’ too:
“I was there dying, and she couldn’t get me to answer the phone. She used her key to the apartment and pried open the door. I was passed out with my freebase pipe in my hand. She screamed, ‘Don’t you die on me!’ I came to and cussed her out and told her to mind her own business. I drove away my very last friend.”
Step-brother saved his life…
On that same night, Davis got a call from his stepbrother, who was living thousands of miles away from him in North Carolina. His stepbrother told him his 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.
“[I realized I] had not been the [entertainment] industry’s fault, but mine. I wasn’t coping properly. My bitterness melted away. God had given me talent, and I realized I could be a Christian and an actor.”
“I may not be the typical preacher—the Bible tucked under the arm and the somber look in the eye. Yet there’s been a large transformation in my life, and I want to share that with others—not from behind a clergy collar, but heart-to-heart.”
[Source: People Magazine]
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