Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Playwright Bill C. Davis, in 2015, attends the Paris premiere of his play "Avow." (Photo: Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images)

Playwright Bill C. Davis, in 2015, attends the Paris premiere of his play "Avow." (Photo: Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images)

Award-Winning Playwright, Longtime Common Dreams Contributor Bill C. Davis Dies at 69

Common Dreams staff

Award-winning playwright, artist, political activist, and veteran Common Dreams contributor Bill C. Davis has died at the age of 69 due to complications from COVID-19.

According to the Washington Post, Davis' death on February 26 at a care facility in Connecticut was confirmed by his sister, Patricia Marks. The newspaper reports that the celebrated author of numerous plays—including the Tony-nominated "Mass Appeal"—had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last month, shortly after being hospitalized with the coronavirus.

As the obituary posted in Deadline details:

Born in Ellenville, NY, and raised in the state's Hudson Valley, Davis attended Catholic schools and, after graduating from Poughkeepsie's Marist College, worked at a residential community for developmentally disabled and emotionally disturbed adults in Rhinebeck, NY. He wrote Mass Appeal, about the conflicting personalities of a stern, conservative priest and a younger, rebellious seminarian, during his time in Rhinebeck.

Davis also wrote the screenplay for the 1984 film adaptation of "Mass Appeal" directed by Glenn Jordan, with Jack Lemmon taking the role of the elder priest and Zeljko Ivanek the young upstart.

Discussing the subject matter of "Mass Appeal" in a 2012 interview with the Irish Independent, Davis said beyond the tensions manifested by the life within the Catholic Church, the play is "about what the life of an artist might be. I have a tension within me between the desire to say what people want and to say what they need to hear."

Bill ran an unsuccessful congressional campaign in Connecticut in 2005 as a Green Party candidate.

Starting in 2001, Davis began contributing op-eds and columns on a variety of subjects to Common Dreams.

For more information about his life and works and a Celebration of his Life in the spring, please go to his website: www.billcdavis.com.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Despite Housing Crisis, Mississippi May Return Up to Millions in Federal Rent Aid to DC

"For them to suggest people like me aren't working? It's a slap in the face," said one woman affected by the end of the pandemic assistance program. "It's very insulting and degrading."

Brett Wilkins ·


80% of US Voters Across Party Lines Support Expanding Social Security

"With Republicans threatening to cut benefits—and worse, eliminate the program entirely—Dems need to make clear they're fighting to protect and expand benefits."

Jessica Corbett ·


Rich Nations Again Accused of Vaccine Hoarding as UK OKs Moderna Omicron Booster

"While countries like the U.K. buy updated vaccines for their fourth doses, people in low- and middle-income countries are fighting today's variants with yesterday's vaccines."

Brett Wilkins ·


With Trumpian Claims of Cheating, Starbucks Demands Halt to Union Elections

"Unfortunately, it's now in vogue for the losers of some elections nationwide to attempt to reverse elections by any means they think are necessary," said Starbucks Workers United.

Jake Johnson ·


Richest Country on Earth to One of Its Poorest: We're Keeping the Money We Stole From You

A foreign affairs columnist called the move by the Biden administration a "shortsighted, morally unconscionable, and potentially calamitous decision for a country on the cusp of universal poverty."

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo