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Vintage American actress who succumbed to cancer after illustrious career



Many years ago, Phyllis Davis graced the screen and did it with grace. Davis established herself in the world of movies by appearing in the iconic Russ Meyer’s softcore masterpiece, as well as contributing to the success of beloved blockbusters spanning the vibrant decades of the 1970s and 1980s.

However, who was the lady who played these alluring parts, and what kind of legacy did she leave behind?

Find out interesting facts about the late Phyllis Davis, including details about her personal life and her career run.

Phyllis Davis’s biography

Phyllis Davis
Phyllis Davis, 1979. (Photo by Getty Images)

Phyllis Ann Davis was an American actress born on July 17, 1940. She was renowned for her appearances in sitcoms and movies, most notably in the popular American TV series, Vega$, which ran from 1998 to 1981. 

She spent her childhood living on the second story of her parent’s house in Port Arthur, Texas, with the ground floor being a funeral home business run by her family. The actress once revealed that she and her siblings had to speak in a low voice on the second level during the funeral rites.

Davis enrolled at Lamar University after completing her high school education in 1958 at Nederland High School. After working for Continental Airlines as a flight attendant and secretary, she moved to Los Angeles in 1965.

Having shown interest in being an actress, Davis began taking acting courses at the Pasadena Playhouse while living in Los Angeles.

The stunning actress stood at 5 feet 4 inches tall.

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Phyllis Davis’s career

Phyllis Davis looking hot

Davis was not just a pretty face on screen during her time from the late 1960s to the early 1990s; she also had great acting skills to show for it, along with an impressive catalogue of works.

The Big Bounce (1969) kicked off her cinematic journey, setting the stage for the greater exposure and bigger roles she subsequently embraced.

Davis had cameos in several TV shows, including the daytime drama Love, American Style (1969). She also appeared in Knight Rider, in which she played the evil “Tanya Walker” in the first episode. Additionally, Davis appeared in episodes of The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Magnum P.I., and The Wild Wild West.

She was featured in an episode of Adam-12, titled: You Blew It, in 1969. Additionally, she occasionally served as a panellist on Match Game, and while she was a cast member of ABC’s Vega$, she took part in a Battle of the Network Stars special.

She went on to appear as a part of Russ Meyer’s Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970). In Sweet Sugar (1972) and Terminal Island (1973), Davis embraced roles that got her accolades from viewers for her performances. 

She played “Scarlett O’Hara” in 1975’s Train Ride to Hollywood, a musical production starring the R&B group “Bloodstone”, the character first portrayed by Vivien Leigh in the 1939 classic Gone With the Wind. Recalling the experience during an interview, Davis remarked: “I portrayed Scarlett O’Hara and thoroughly enjoyed myself.”

As her career began to evolve, she was cast in The Choirboys (1977) and The Wild Women of Chastity Gulch (1982).

Phyllis Davis smiling

Arguably, Davis achieved her greatest recognition through her co-starring role in the ABC prime-time series, Vega$, which spanned from 1978 to 1981. Across all 69 episodes, Davis portrayed the character “Beatrice Travis”. She played the part of the astute secretary and invaluable aide to “Dan Tanna”, the private investigator operating in the Las Vegas setting.

She then went on to appear in Guns (1990), Beverly Hills Cop III and Exit from Eden (both in 1994).

Davis’s last known work was on the 1995 crime thriller, Under Siege 2:Dark Territory, which starred Steven Seagal as the protagonist. Davis featured in the movie, playing the role of a hostage.

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Phyllis Davis’s movies

Having been featured in several notable movies throughout her career, below is a list of some of Davis’s most prominent movie roles, according to IMDb records.

  • Adam-12 (1969): In this classic crime drama, Davis appeared in a single episode and played the character “Betsy Blake”.
  • Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970)
  • Sweet Sugar (1972): Davis portrayed the character “Sugar Bowman”, who becomes wrongly imprisoned and gets entangled in a dangerous world of corruption and violence.
  • Terminal Island (1973): Davis appeared in this dystopian action film as “Bunny O’Hara”. The movie is set in a future where criminals are exiled to an isolated island, leading to chaos.
  • The Day of the Dolphin (1973): In this science fiction thriller, Davis played the role of a receptionist.

Phyllis Davis in a movie

  • The Choirboys (1977)
  • Train Ride to Hollywood (1975): In this unique film, Davis portrayed “Scarlett O’Hara”. The film is a musical spectacle featuring the R&B ensemble, Bloodstone, and follows a train journey to Los Angeles, with appearances by iconic figures from Old Hollywood’s Golden Age.
  • Vega$ (1978–1981): In the series, she portrayed the character “Beatrice Travis”, the astute secretary and indispensable aide to “Dan Tanna”, a private investigator.
  • The Wild Women of Chastity Gulch (1982): She portrayed the role of “Sugar Harris” in this romance comedy.
  • Guns (1990): She was cast as “Kathryn Hamilton” in this crime action movie.

Phyllis Davis’s net worth

There is no official confirmation of Davis’s net worth. However, some sources state that she was worth $5 million as of the time of her demise.

Phyllis Davis’s family

Major information about the late actress’s family is limited, aside from the known fact that she was raised by mortician parents.

Davis remained unmarried her whole life. However, she was known to be in a long-term relationship with Dean Martin in the 1970s and a subsequent one with the horse jockey, Laffit Pincay, Jr., in the 1980s.

Phyllis Davis age

Davis was born on July 17, 1940.

She maintained an intense struggle with cancer privately. She passed away due to cancer on September 27, 2013, at her home in Las Vegas, Nevada. She was 73 years old when she died.

Phyllis Davis Instagram

Currently, there is no active official Instagram page in Phyllis Davis’ name.

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