Daniel Davis is an American actor best known for his role as Niles the Butler on the television sitcom The Nanny, from 1993-1999.
Davis was born in Gurdon, Arkansas and first became interested in acting at a young age, when his parents operated and owned a movie theatre. He specifically enjoyed Tyrone Power movies, stating later that this inspired his desire to act.
His first acting job was at the age of 11, when he was cast on a local Little Rock broadcast program called Betty's Little Rascals.
He then studied at the Arkansas Arts Centre, followed by work with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, and six years with the American Conservatory Theatre.
He also taught acting while with the A.C.T. He guest starred on an episode of Frasier in which he plays a doctor who comes to visit Dr. Niles Crane.
Davis' natural accent is Southern American, however his English accent as Niles was so accurate that many viewers have become convinced that Davis is actually English.
This also stems from Davis being cast as Professor Moriarty in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Elementary, Dear Data" (Season 2, Episode 3), and speaking with a perfect Victorian accent.
Coincidentally, during the same time in Davis's career, he was cast as CO of the USS Enterprise in the film The Hunt for Red October, in which he speaks in his regular voice with an American accent.
The character Niles is mostly the comic relief of The Nanny, frequently using deadpan one-liners.
Davis first became popular in daytime television, playing Beverlee McKinsey's former husband, Eliot Carrington, for two years on the soap opera Texas in the early 1980s.
At the 2000 Tony Awards, Davis was recognised with a nomination for "Best Actor" for his role in Wrong Mountain. He appeared in the musical La Cage Aux Folles with Gary Beach from November 2004 to March 2005, along with many other theatre roles.
Davis briefly appeared in the 2006 film release of The Prestige directed by Christopher Nolan. In addition, he was among the odd assortment of celebrities featured lipsynching to The Bee Gees Stayin' Alive on the Idol Gives Back episode of American Idol on March 25, 2007.