Abbott ElementaryHis host, Mr. Johnson (William Stanford Davis), on the ABC hit comedy, may have been a surprising stage presence to some, but the actor behind him had a career that led to the recognizable role.
Davis sat down with StrippedPixel to look back on his enduring entertainment career, which began in music and radio before his impressive 100 (and counting) acting credits on the big and small screen. Starting the retrospective, the performer remembers when he started the O’Jays movie when he was 19 years old.
“My band (The Fabulous Paramount Review) opened for the O’Jays. I was 19 at the Highlander Club in St. Louis and we made it,” he says.
The concert that really started his career, however, was a role on a daytime soap The Bold and the Beautiful. “That’s where it all started,” the actor recalls of his role as “a young janitor cleaning floors.”
“People like to say it ended because (I) started as a carer and now (I’m) a carer on Abbott Elementary. And thank God for the goalkeeper.”
Other experiences he reflects on in the video interview above include roles on shows like Sister, sister, Angel, NYPD Blue, Lincoln Heights (with a young man Chadwick Boseman!), and Ray Donovan, where Davis says, “I made a lifelong friend with Eddie Marsan,” who played Terry Donovan on the Showtime drama with Liev Schrieber.
It’s a show that’s still near and dear to the actor’s heart, and he admits he was “broken when they moved (the location) from LA to New York. I thought it was a traditional Los Angeles story.”
Hear what other stories he shares in the full video above and catch William Stanford Davis Abbott Elementary when it returns for season 3.
Abbott ElementarySeasons 1-2, Streaming Now, Hulu and Max