Volume 76, Number 3 | June 7 - 13, 2006


Donn Davis, 71, hairstylist to women of a certain age

Donn Davis, a popular hairstylist on W. Eighth St., died of a heart attack in his Grove St. apartment on May 19. He was 71.

For more than 40 years, Davis, who lived on Sheridan Square, served as hairdresser and confidante to Village dowagers, doyennes and debutantes through several incarnations of Eighth St. salons.

An aspiring dancer, he came to New York in 1953 from his native Tennessee. For a time he was an instructor at the Arthur Murray School of Dancing. Then, after a brief stint in the Army, he began styling hair at Norbert’s Beauty Salon and held that position until his death, lasting through several changes of management, names and Eighth St. locations. The salon is now Village Studio V at 16 E. Eighth St. In addition to working at the salon, he also went to clients’ apartments to do their hair.

“He was very, very funny,” said actress Margo Avery, whose mother, actress Margo Stevenson, was a longtime client. “His specialty was ladies of a certain age who wear their hair up — wash, set and up. He became good friends with many of his clients.”

Avery hosted a memorial cocktail party for Davis on her roof. Many of the attendees met each other for the first time, with Davis the thread connecting them.

He is survived by a sister and brother-in-law, Patsy and Kenneth Gilreath, of Hermitage, Tenn., a nephew and three nieces. He was cremated at Redden’s funeral parlor on W. 14th St.

“He would joke that he wanted to be buried underneath [the statue of] Sheridan, which he looked out on from his apartment every day,” Avery noted. However, per his wishes, his ashes are to be scattered at sea, she said.

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