Biography

Best known as the host of ABC's That's Incredible! (1980-1984) -- a mondo-styled documentary series that showcased the world's most outrageous human feats -- entertainer John Davidson actually sustained a long and impressive career before that program first bowed. Raised in Philadelphia as the son of a homemaker and Baptist pastor, Davidson attended Denison University and earned his bachelor's in theater arts. He commenced dramatic work as a stage performer, opposite Bert Lahr in a 1964 Broadway production of Foxy, but decided to enter film and television at the behest of manager-cum-producer Bob Banner, who helped Davidson land emceeing assignments on the variety programs The Entertainers (1964-1965), Kraft Summer Music Hall (1966), and his own John Davidson Show (1969), as well as plum roles in two big-screen Disney musicals -- The Happiest Millionaire (1967) and The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band (1968). Following lead and supporting roles in such films as Coffee, Tea or Me? (1970), Shell Game (1975), and Roger and Harry (1977), Davidson landed That's Incredible! The program -- which featured extreme and bizarre stunts that ranged from a man catching a bullet in his teeth to a thrill-seeker diving from an airplane in a straitjacket and handcuffs -- courted not only high ratings, but extreme controversy for the injuries and deaths it reportedly caused among hopeful participants; nonetheless, it enjoyed a four-year run, during which Davidson's co-hosts included Cathy Lee Crosby and footballer Fran Tarkenton. Following Incredible!, Davidson himself became somewhat synonymous with variety and game show-themed material, hosting programs such as Hollywood Squares and The $100,000 Pyramid, while tackling scattered movie roles in features including The Squeeze (1987) and Edward Scissorhands (1990). ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi