Two years after taking over the role of Hannibal Heyes, Roger Davis is still haunted by the circumstances and uncertain of its impact on his career.
'For a long time I couldn't bring myself to talk about it. It was very difficult for everyone but especially for me. I was afflicted with such a strange guilt. It was so potentially good for me, but the circumstances were so bad.'
The two actors were friendly rather than friends. They first met about three years ago. 'He was a person who cared a great deal. He never wanted fame, only to be a good actor. I'm more materialistic I'm afraid. I was bought for Smith and Jones and I didn't think I could be. But what it means for my career, I'm still not sure. Pete had two years of residual loyalty and I'm not unaware that in some cases his episodes are being repeated even before mine are being shown. Since, I've turned down one TV series in which I would have been the sidekick to the star, but I want to act. Acting I liken to Blackjack. You can be hitting so well and suddenly everything goes wrong.'
In the past it has been Roger Davis' voice rather than his face that has been his fortune. It not only introduced Alias Smith and Jones but sang the praises on many products on TV commercials. 'It's a highly lucrative field, and while I may not have been a big star these six or seven years, I've been earning very good money.'
His original ambition to be a lawyer survived
his pre-law studies at Columbia University and just one week at
Harvard Law School, when he left to accept a graduate teaching
fellowship at the U.C.L.A. 'Then in the back of my mind, Hollywood
maybe, perhaps, who knows? Basically I'm a ham. I think that's
the root of it, why I'm an actor. If you strip away what all actors
say about it, I think you'll find that's the truth of it.'
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