He dropped from Howard University1939 to pursue his acting career in New York, however, he left New York to serve in World War II from where he returned in 1946. He started to work for the film industry in the early fifties and continued until his death. He had acted in several Hollywood movies including respected films like The Cardinal, Doctor Dolittle, Bubba Ho- Tep, Do the Right Thing etc.
He was married to actress Ruby Dee and was blessed with three children together. Davis held an American nationality and belonged to the black ethnicity. He died in Miami, Florida on February 4, 2005, at an age of 87.Since he is dead, his net worth might have passed to his wife and children.