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Daniel Davis (born November 26, 1945) is an American stage, screen, and television actor best known for portraying Niles the Butler on the popular sitcom The Nanny and his guest appearances as Professor Moriarty on Star Trek: The Next Generation.


Davis was born in Gurdon, Arkansasmarker, and first became interested in acting at a young age, when his parents operated and owned a movie theatre. He specifically enjoyed Tyrone Power movies, stating later that they were what inspired his desire to act. His first acting job was at the age of 11, when he was cast on a local Little Rockmarker broadcast program called Betty's Little Rascals. Davis was graduated from Hall High School in 1963. He studied at the Arkansas Arts Center, followed by work with the Oregon Shakespeare Festivalmarker, the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, and six years with the American Conservatory Theatremarker -- during his time at ACT, he also taught acting.


Davis first became popular in daytime television, playing opposite Beverlee McKinsey as her character Iris Cory's former husband, Elliot Carrington, on the soap opera Texas from October 1980-December 1981.

Davis’ natural accent is Southern American, however his English accent as “Niles” was so accurate that many viewers became convinced that Davis is actually English. This also stems from Davis being cast as Professor Moriarty in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes “Elementary, Dear Data” and “Ship in a Bottle.” Coincidentally, during the same time in Davis’ career, he was cast as CO of the USS Enterprisemarker in the film The Hunt for Red October where he speaks in his regular voice with an American accent.The character of Niles was known for his frequent use of deadpan one-liners usually insulting C.C. Babcock, whom he eventually married. In one episode, he recreated the iconic scene from Risky Business in which Tom Cruise danced in his underwear.

At the 2000 Tony Awards, Davis was recognized with a nomination for “Best Actor” for his role in Wrong Mountain. In Star Trek: The Next Generation, Davis guest-starred as Professor Moriarty in the episodes “Elementary, Dear Data” and “Ship in a Bottle.”

In 2003, he appeared in the Alan Bennett play Talking Heads. In 2004, he appeared in the Stephen Sondheim musical The Frogs, in which he portrayed George Bernard Shaw. He co-starred in La Cage Aux Folles with Gary Beach from November 2004 to March 2005. He reportedly clashed frequently with Beach and others, and was replaced by Robert Goulet. He also played a doctor in an episode of Frasier.

Davis briefly appeared in the 2006 film release of The Prestige directed by Christopher Nolan. In addition, he was among the odd assortment of celebrities featured lipsynching to The Bee Gees’ “Stayin' Alive” on the "Idol Gives Back" episode of American Idol on April 25, 2007.

In July 2008, he portrayed King Lear at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, under the direction of Bonnie Monte. That same year, he appeared in the TV series Ugly Betty.



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