About the Author
William B Davis is best known as “Cancerman” from The X-Files. On the small screen his recent credits include guest appearances on hit shows including Human Target, Caprica, and Supernatural. He was the artistic director of the English Acting Program at Canada’s National Theatre School and later founded Vancouver’s The William Davis Centre for Actor’s Study. Davis has also appeared in a succession of films opposite stars including Penelope Ann Miller, Martin Sheen, Anne Archer, Margot Kidder, Matthew Perry, and Brian Dennehy. He lives in Vancouver, B.C
About the book
Where There’s Smoke… Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man
One of the most iconic villains in the history of television, the enigmatic Cigarette Smoking Man fascinated legions of fans of the 1990s’ hit TV series, The X-Files. Best known as “Cancerman,” he was voted Television’s Favourite Villain by the readers ofTV Guide. The man behind the villain, William B. Davis, is a Canadian actor and director, whose revelations in this memoir will entertain and intrigue the millions of X-Files aficionados worldwide.
But there is more to Davis’s story than just The X-Files.
Davis’s extensive acting experience began when he was a child in Ontario in the 1950s, and grew to encompass radio, theatre, film, and television. At the University of Toronto, where he graduated with a degree in philosophy, he turned his hand to directing, a move that took him to theatre school in Britain and a directing career. There, he reconnected with his undergraduate colleague, Donald Sutherland, and worked at the National Theatre, with such notables as Sir Laurence Olivier, Dame Maggie Smith, and Albert Finney.
Those who love the theatre will delight in his recollections of the Straw Hat Players in Ontario or the trials and tribulations of an artistic director of repertory theatre in Dundee, Scotland, or his valiant attempt to create a theatre in Quebec devoted to the Canadian repertoire. Those who love history will relive with Davis those “golden years” of Canadian radio drama and theatre, not to mention enjoying an inside look at the National Theatre School of Canada where he directed the English Acting Program in the ’60s. Those who love a bit of scandalous gossip will not be disappointed.
Written in an easy conversational style, this memoir truly is “The Musings of the Cigarette Smoking Man” – as William B. Davis reflects on his loves, his losses, his hopes, his fears, and his accomplishments in this unique and engaging autobiography.
Every actor or student who is thinking about becoming an actor should read this book
Now available online and at your favourite bookstore
Internet Review of Books http://internetreviewofbooks.blogspot.ca/2012/03/where-theres-smoke.html
X-files Lexicon Book review:
The Vancouver Province
Shadowland Magazine Review Where There’s Smoke…Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man ECW Press; 2011, 279 pages; Author: William B. Davis.
THE TRUTH IS IN HERE
Bill Davis is one of the greatest television villains of all time – the Cigarette Smoking Man, a mysterious individual who had first appeared in the pilot episode of The X-Files, sulking in the shadows with a lit cigarette firmly clenched between thumb and forefinger. As the series progressed, so did Davis’ role; his character’s sinister machinations were always one of the show’s highlights and his volatile relationship with FBI agent Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) was an intriguing rivalry imbued with tense complexities that are lacking in most television programs today. It goes without saying that The X-Files turned Davis into a distinguished television luminary the world over. The iconic show may have ended its nine season run back in 2002 but it still remains a fan favorite to this day – despite 2008’s disappointing I Want to Believe feature film (which sadly didn’t co-star Davis, an addition that would have likely improved the story to a considerable degree).
While X-Files fans and aficionados may only be familiar with Davis when equipped with cigarette in hand, encircled by a plume of smoke, and committing villainous deeds, rest assured, there is much more to this versatile actor than mere smoke and mirrors. At first glance Davis’ memoir, Where There’s Smoke, is surprisingly light on X-Files content – though the last chapter does his contribution to the show justice. Instead, the bulk of Davis’ writing comprises his early life and impressive work in theatre, both in the UK and Canada.
The problem with a number of recent memoirs I’ve read is their tendency to become dull after awhile or, worst yet, that you find the author to be either unbearable in attitude or by their precedent actions. Evidently the new method of scribing one’s own memoir entails droning on about a particular impassioned subject, giving primary direction to no shortage of depressing material (misery loves company, perhaps?), and focusing heavy fire on their friends, now-turned-bitter-enemies. This is not the case here; Davis writes with a candid humor that will have you turning page after page to join him in his many adventures, trials and triumphs. You can’t help but be swept into the man’s life.
Truth be told, I have only a passing interest in theatre. I certainly respect the men and women who work in the medium, but it’s never been a passion for me. Nevertheless, I couldn’t help but be enthralled by Davis’ work in the field, the accounts of other actors he’s worked with (Donald Sutherland, for one), and his many experiences therein. As much as Where There’s Smoke is a memoir, it is also a cultural commentary that transports you to the ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s, and beyond. Often, I felt like I was time traveling with Davis through these decades, reliving the events that shaped his eventful if not, at times, checkered past. Davis’ conversational tone proved to be a welcomed surprise as he recounted his life stories, which ranged from the poignant to the mildly scandalous.
Ironically, Davis played one of the nastiest, deplorable characters on television, yet he has penned one of the most likable, downright fun, and certainly well-written memoirs I have ever had the pleasure of reading.
Davis has directed and produced theatre, performed on stage, worked on radio, acted in television and film, he’s an avid skier, a respected teacher, apparently quite a lover, and a smoker. Davis holds nothing back as he shares his experiences about fellow X-Files actors and crew members, his thoughts on theatre, acting, directing, the cultural landscape, politics, and shares his opinion on paranormal phenomena, among many other subjects.
Fans of The X-Files, lovers of theatre, or those simply interested in the human experience are recommended to give Where There’s Smoke a read. You will not be disappointed. If you ever wanted to sit down in your living room and have a drink with the Cigarette Smoking Man, while he unravels his innermost mysteries, here’s your chance. Get ready for some interesting recollections, but please, don’t mind the smoke.
On Screen and Beyond- “Where There’s Smoke: Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man:A Memoir by William B. Davis”
William B. Davis may not be a household name, but he has been a talented actor for over 60 years and is best known for his roll as the cigarette smoking man on “The X-FIles”. I was impressed by his memoir. He could have sugar-coated his stories of his fellow actors, but instead we get a realistic and open look into his life, being on “The X-Files” and his fellow actors. Not that he bashes anyone, but we get what seems to be an honest, candid and sometimes funny read. An enjoyable book for everyone and a must for all X-Files fans!
Interview with the X-files Lexicon
The Arts and Entertainment Magazine http://www.eeriedigest.com/wordpress/2011/12/taem-interview-with-actor-william-b-davis/#more-6924
University of Toronto magazine
The Good Atheist Podcast
Interview for slice of Sci Fi
Interview on Industry Revue
Interview on the Neil Haley Total Education Network
Industry Revue with Martone Williams
Global Regina Interview
Breakfast Television Vancouver with Jody Vance
Interview on Fanny Kiefer – Studio 4 Vancouver
Fanny Kiefer with William B Davis
Interview with Fan Quarterly magazine
Front Row Lit
Interview with CFAX 1070
Interview with the Mothership Connection Radio Show