OMG! “Amen” Actor Reveals Using Women, Drugs, & Being An Abusive Boyfriend
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).
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.”
Another thing most of us didn’t know is that Davis was also a heavy cocaine addict, an admitted womanizer, an 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.
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.”
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).
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.’ ”
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.”
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…
“[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.”
“[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.”
Soon after that, art imitated life, because Davis was taking his finals for his theology degree, when he learned that he’d gotten the part for one of the lead roles on the show, Amen. Although the show had a whopping 32.5 million viewers and Davis was making $35,000 per episode, he was still wearing his $19 shoes he had to wear during his broke theology student days. Davis said:
“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]
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.