WILLIAM B. DAVIS
ACTOR - DIRECTOR - WRITER
Best known for his role as The Cigarette Smoking Man on The X-Files, Davis has had a long career as a director and artistic director, an acting teacher, and an actor on stage, film, and television
William Bruce Davis was born on January 13, 1938 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He began his acting career at age 11, when his older cousins needed a boy actor for the murder mystery they were staging for their summer theatre. Work in stage and radio followed. While at the University of Toronto where he graduated in 1959 with a degree in philosophy he turned his attention from acting to directing and continued down that path for the next twenty years. He spent a formative year at The London Academy of Dramatic Art in Britain before beginning several intensive years directing in British Rep, from Colchester to Dundee where he was artistic director for a year.
He joined Britain's National Theatre in 1964, working with Maggie Smith and Laurence Olivier, and returned to Montreal the following year to become first, Assistant Artistic Director, and subsequently Artistic Director, of the National Theatre School of Canada.
An active career in Canada followed, directing in many regional theatres and becoming the founding Artistic Director of Festival Lennoxville in Lennoxville, Quebec. While continuing to direct and teach he returned to acting in the late seventies, based primarily in Toronto, before moving to Vancouver, BC, in 1985.
In 1989 he opened the William Davis Centre for Actors' Study in Vancouver. Beginning in the mid-nineties acting began to dominate his working life highlighted of course by the iconic role of The Cigarette Smoking Man on The X-Files. While continuing to act he has recently returned to directing and has published two books, Where There’s Smoke … Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man, in 2011 and On Acting …and Life in 2022.
An avid skier, on both water and snow, Davis attends fan conventions and gives talks on skepticism, climate change, and acting philosophy.
He is the author of two books, a personal memoir, Where There’s Smoke …Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man, and a book about acting, On Acting …and life, A New Look at an Old Craft. Both are available from the Shop.
William lives with his wife, Emmanuelle Davis, in Vancouver. He has two adult children and three grandchildren.