Jimmie Davis (James Houston Davis)
BiographyQuitman, Louisiana, USA
American politician and songwriter who appeared in a number of films. Davis was born in the now-nonexistent town of Beech Springs, Louisiana, the son of sharecroppers. He and his ten siblings lived in dire poverty, but Davis paid his way through Louisiana College and Louisiana State University as a street musician. After graduate school, he taught at Dodd College for Women, supporting himself with a singing job on a local radio station. Read more... a hit. A 1931 song, "You Are My Sunshine," became a 1939 hit, a standard eventually recorded by a score of singing stars from Bing Crosby to Aretha Franklin. No longer poor, but unable to live off his songs, Davis entered politics and was elected police chief of Shreveport. He continued to record songs and occasionally acted in movies, especially B-Westerns, until in 1943 he decided to run for governor of Louisiana. Although Davis's opponent tried to use his singing background against him, it actually was a great factor in Davis's election to the post. Even after he was elected governor, he continued to record songs and played himself in a movie of his life, Louisiana (1947). During the 1950s, he made records and concert appearances, then ran again for governor again in the 1960s. He was elected again and reluctantly presided over Louisiana's difficult transition into greater racial equality. After this second term, Davis spent the rest of his career singing, recording over fifty albums. He died at 101, enormously popular in his home state and likely to be remembered less as a politician or actor than as the composer of "You Are My Sunshine," one of the most familiar American songs of all time.