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Bond villain Robert Davi turns to music, concert at Hofstra this month

02-Jul-2010 • Actor News

James Bond fans will remember him as villain Franz Sanchez in “Licence to Kill.” Other readers may recall his portrayal of Jake Fratelli in the cult classic “The Goonies" - reports the Queens Tribune.

One of Hollywood’s most recognizable tough guys, Queens native Robert Davi, will soon reprise the music of America’s most beloved entertainer, in the world premiere of “A Tribute to a Legend: Davi Sings Sinatra,” at Hofstra University’s John Cranford Adams Playhouse. Viewers will be treated to all original arrangements played by 30-piece band Joe Battaglia & The New York Big Band.

“Right now I’m mounting [the show] at Hofstra, and then we’ll be booking it around,” Davi said. “I’m hoping to play it in as many places as I can. I think there is a love of this music. It goes across many generations.”

Sinatra’s heyday was a more cordial time in America, he said.

“There was romance in the lyrics,” he said. “There was respect towards women. If your heart was broken in a relationship, you didn’t want to strangle her. You lamented over it. The violence today, I think it hurts society.”

After more than 30 years as an actor, Davi want to expand his professional repertoire. Singing the songs of his boyhood idol, who he referred to repeatedly as “America’s Shakespeare,” was a perfect way to do it.

“Now I just have a real yen to get out there and communicate through song,” he said. “It’s not a departure from my essence. I sang at City Center and I studied opera. The departure was not to sing.”

Davi has had the privilege of working with the best since the earliest days of his career. He attended Hofstra on a drama scholarship, but left as a junior to study with legendary acting coach Stella Adler.

“I did not give myself an exit strategy,” he said. “I don’t know if that was smart or stupid, it’s just what it was.”

His first big role was with Sinatra in “Contract on Cherry Street,” and the two remained friendly over the years. It was quite an honor, especially to an Italian-American kid.

“The week I got the film, my mother was diagnosed with cancer,” he said. “She died by the time we finished filming, but she died knowing her son was going to be filming a movie with Frank Sinatra. They were worried about, ‘is he doing the right thing going into this business.’”

It seems that he made the right move. Davi has appeared opposite Hollywood legends such as Roberto Benigni in “Son of the Pink Panther,” Marlon Brando in “Christopher Columbus: The Discovery” and Clint Eastwood in “City Heat.”

“It’s like a Jazz musician,” Davi said. “I don’t care if he’s a name actor or not, it’s always a joy to work with good people.” Today he’s living the life of his dreams. Anywhere in the world he goes, fans await.

“I remember when I first started, it was, ‘hey, that guy. You’re an actor, aren’t you? Now, I get, hey, you’re Robert Davi,’” he said. “I’m not one of these guys who is resentful if people come up to me. You feel connected in a very nice way. I can come off the plane in South America, the Middle East, Europe, and there’s a camaraderie. You feel part of the world community.”

See the world premiere of “A Tribute to a Legend: Davi Sings Sinatra” at Hofstra University’s John Cranford Adams Playhouse at 900 Fulton Avenue in Hempstead on Friday and Saturday, July 16 and 17 at 8 p.m., and Sunday, July 18 at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $30 for general admission, $25 for seniors ages 65 and up; $18 for matriculated non-Hofstra student with ID; $15 for Hofstra faculty/staff/students with current HofstraCard with a two ticket maximum. For tickets and more information, call the Hofstra Box Office at (516) 463-6644, Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3:45 p.m., or visit hofstra.edu/HofstraEntertainment.

On Friday, July 9, at 7 p.m., Davi will present “An Evening with Robert Davi,” which will benefit the Joseph and Mary Ann Monticciolo Endowed Scholarship at Hofstra. The evening will include a cocktail reception and conversation with Davi as he shares memories of a life in show business. Tickets are $100 per person or $175 per couple. Attendees will receive a ticket to “Davi Sings Sinatra” and a DVD copy of Davi’s “The Dukes.” For tickets and more information, call (516) 463-5339, or e-mail [email protected]

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