Who is John Davidson? "My career has been very confusing," the variety performer and network TV star allowed in a ranging conversation with the Flyer earlier this year. "Is John Davidson just a game show host?" he asked rhetorically. "Is he just a singer? Or an actor?"
The answer, of course, is that the indefatigable Davidson, who's bringing his solo act to BPACC, has been all these things — and something else. As a frequent stand-in for late-night talk pioneer Johnny Carson and longtime host of the celebrity-oriented game show Hollywood Squares, he performed alongside, interviewed, and learned from generations of legendary showpeople.
- Renaissance man John Davidson
Davidson describes comedy icon and film star Bob Hope as a primary influence. "He was an early supporter of mine, and he was a total performer," he says. "I was always attracted to people who knew how to tell a story with a song ... I'm sort of old school — you know, the performers that came on the scene in the '50s and '60s and before always thought of being multifaceted performers."
An early manager told Davidson "don't be a spear, be a pitchfork." In other words, don't do one thing, have "multiple points" of attack.
"The variety is what's kept me going all these years," says Davidson, a Broadway veteran who's hosted beauty pageants, starred in Disney films, guested on countless TV shows, made records, and toured as a well-coiffed song-and-story man. "That's the old-fashioned way of doing it," he says.