RIP – Heidi Helen Davis

Although this day was expected to arrive, I quietly still hoped it would never really happen.

Heidi finally passed away last morning after her year-long battle with breast cancer.

It’s tough to convey the feeling one feels of the debt owed when someone so integral to your being and makeup dies.

I  vividly recall her last lesson to me.  It was the second to last time I was putting up a scene from Neil LaBute’s, “The Shape of Things” and she was raining down a hailstorm of notes on me.

And even though I was eagerly soaking in and scribbling down her notes of wisdom (I don’t think she ever saw anything but the top of my head during notes), she probably recognized she was being particularly tough on me.  Because she ended it by saying:

“… because Parry, I know you don’t want to be a good actor —

I know you want to be a great actor.”

The following week I put up that scene for the last time, on the last day of class, fueled with her notesthat comment… and it was honestly, the best work I’ve ever done on a stage to this date.  At the end she smiled and out the corner of her mouth gave a, “Good Job”,  in that low, wry and playful tone of hers.

And that was the kind of teacher she was.  Her vast knowledge could challenge and push you to be your absolute best but she also knew when to nurture and give assurance that she was on your side.

I will always feel somewhat lost at sea without her on this planet.  But if there’s one thing I’ll try to carry from her everyday throughout my life and impart to my daughters — it’s that last lesson.  To never settle for just being good, but great in anything we do.  Because that’s how she lived.

Love you, Heidi.  XO

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8 thoughts on “RIP – Heidi Helen Davis

  1. Parry,
    I love how much you “got” my sister. When she dropped out of college to pursue a life in the theatre, it did not go over so well with the folks who had worked so hard to get her to college. She moved to SF, lived at the YWCA, waited tables, and studied acting with Philip Pruneau, paying for her classes with tip money, in quarters. She worked hard. She never compromised. Eventually she found herself at ACT under the tutelage and direction of great teachers such as Bill Ball, Allen Fletcher, and David Hammond. And even after her time at ACT she never stopped looking for the truth, the nut, the kernel, that makes great acting.
    That she touched your life and influenced you makes me so proud to have had her as my older sister, my first acting teacher, my good friend, my protector.

    I will miss her more than I can express. It’s odd, unfair, sad and frustrating that I cannot pick up the phone and talk with her.
    Thanks for sharing her talents with all of the people here.

    Bill Davis

    • Thanks Bill, for filling in Heidi’s backstory that a lot of her students didn’t know about. She was your ‘mentor’ the longest of us all – how lucky you were to have grown up with her.

      If there are any public memorials/services being conducted to celebrate her life, please let me know as there have been so many people writing in and inquiring. Best, P.

      • Hi Parry,

        I worked with Heidi Davis at The Los Angeles Film School. I just found out that the school is having a memorial service for Heidi on Saturday 2/25/12 at 430pm, main theater at LAFS.

        More details to come. I have created an event invite on Facebook.

        Best Regards,
        Mario J. Novoa

  2. I was scouring the internet for more information on Heidi’s passing and I came upon this site. I have such fond memories of Heidi. I studied with her over a decade ago at Howard Fine. Parry, you’re right. She was very demanding of her students. She always knew when I wasn’t giving 100%. And she always knew when I needed a little nurturing from her.
    Bill, if you are still checking this blog-your sister was a beautiful person. I haven’t seen her in over a decade, yet when I saw her picture on the LATimes site today, I recognized her gorgeous brite and slightly asymmetrical almond eyes straight away 🙂 I understand that there will be a memorial service for her in the Spring at the Theatricum Botanicum. I will keep an eye out for it. Heidi was a lovely lovely lovely woman. My sympathies to your and your family, I am so sorry for your loss.

    Tina Hahn

  3. Devastating news. Heidi was an all time favorite piano student of mine in Palo Alto from when she was 11 till she graduated from Cubberley High School. I tried to touch bases with her last year, but posted e-addresses never worked. Condolences to Nan, Bob, Esther, Chris (also a student), and Bill. Communing with Heidi at her Kenneth Dr. residence was always the high point of my week!

    • Well as you can read from above, she became a wonderful teacher herself that touched everyone she taught. So thank you for helping to ‘shape’ Heidi into the sum total person she became.

      • Hi Parry,
        Thanks for that reply. Even as a pre-teen she was extraordinarily vital, creative, and had a wonderful (sometimes very dark!) sense of humor. This will sound strange, but it’s really not: She had all these jokes about how to commit suicide, but it was NOT serious in the least but in the baliwick of creative black humor. When I told my wife that Heidi was gone, she said, “Oh no. Your suicide student!” My wife loved her too, and I’m really down that I didn’t get a chance to tell her how much she meant to me in those days!

        Don

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