Don Sinclair Davis (August 4, 1942 – June 29, 2008) was an American character actor best-known for playing General Hammond in the television series Stargate SG-1 (1997–2007), and earlier for playing Major Garland Briggs on the television series Twin Peaks (1990–1991). He was also a theater professor, painter, and United States Army captain.
Don S. Davis was born on August 4, 1942 in Aurora, Missouri, USA as Don Sinclair Davis. He was an actor, known for The Fan (1996), Twin Peaks (1990) and The Uninvited (2009). He was married to Ruby Fleming-Davis. He died on June 29, 2008 in Gibsons, British Columbia, Canada.
Davis was born and raised in Aurora, Missouri. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in theater and art from Southwest Missouri State College. He said that "during the Vietnam era" he "was with the 7th Infantry in Korea" and at another point was "a personnel and administration officer; I ran records branches." He was a captain at Fort Leonard Wood by the time he left the U.S. Army, "and worked with General Officers, so I've been able to use that in Hammond and other characters."
In 1970 he received a Master's Degree in Theatre from the Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIU); his thesis was "Design and Construction of Stage Settings for Black Comedy and The Two Executioners". He taught for several years before returning to SIUC to complete a Ph.D. in Theatre; his dissertation was "The Evolution of Scenography in the Western Theater".
He began working in the film industry in the 1980s, while teaching at the University of British Columbia. In 1987, he stopped teaching in order to pursue acting full-time.
He got the role of the eloquently spoken Major Briggs, he said, when "I was living in Vancouver and doing local work. But because of my accent in the '80s I couldn't play a Canadian in commercials. So someone suggested that I get an agent in Seattle. I did and was able to get commercial work and acting jobs there. I had a good resume. So when they were casting the Twin Peaks pilot my agent sent me out to the audition. I met series creator David Lynch and didn't actually read for him — we just visited. ... David liked me and started writing for me. He liked the chemistry I had with other players. I did three days on the pilot and then went on to the series. That was the luckiest break I could have had. There are at least a dozen people from that show who are lifelong friends because of that show. It was a life-changing experience."
In the TV show MacGyver, Davis was the stunt/photography double for Dana Elcar. He was often mistaken for Elcar, and vice versa. Davis did appear in two episodes of MacGyver, as a different character each time. His first appearance was as a cement truck driver in the episode "Blow Out", and his second appearance was as the poacher Wyatt Porter in "The Endangered". He also played Dana Scully's father in the series The X-Files. Canadian audiences may also be familiar with Davis thanks to his appearance in one of the famous Heritage Minutes, in which he played an arrogant American gold prospector who pulls a gun on Mountie Sam Steele. He also played the role of the Racine Belles' manager in the movie A League of Their Own. He also had a guest-starring role in the pilot episode of the comedy-drama television series Psych, playing the character of Mr. McCallum.
He was a member of the main cast of Stargate SG-1 during the first seven seasons of that television series, portraying General Hammond, commander of Stargate Command (SGC). He appeared in a recurring role during Seasons 8 to 10, cutting back his commitment due to health problems. He also played the character in one episode of the Stargate spin-off series Stargate Atlantis.
Later life and death
Davis, who was living in Gibsons, British Columbia, Canada, died on June 29, 2008, of a heart attack. His ashes were scattered into the Pacific Ocean.
The writers of Stargate Atlantis paid him homage by mentioning the death of his character George Hammond and naming a spaceship after him in the final episode of the show airing January 9, 2009. He was again honored in October 2009, with the appearance of the spaceship Hammond in the pilot episode of Stargate Universe. Coincidentally, in episode 16 of season 4 of SG-1, "2010" (an episode set in the future which originally aired in January 2001), it is stated that General Hammond had died of a heart attack prior to the episode's events.
Davis married Ruby Fleming in 2003, by which time he had a son, Matt Davis, from a previous marriage. He was given a GMC Envoy as a gift from the producers of Stargate SG-1 which his son still drives to this day. He was also a visual artist, spending most of his free time painting or carving. Davis grew up painting, sculpting and drawing. He continued to pursue these crafts his entire life, supplementing his income with design commissions and art sales. On the DVD commentary track for Stargate SG-1 season 6 episode 17 ("Disclosure"), Davis said that he once had a job carving wooden cigar store Indians that were sold at Silver Dollar City.