Greg Tarzan Davis may be a newcomer in Hollywood but he’s already making waves for his starring roles in ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and most recently in Top Gun: Maverick starring opposite Tom Cruise. Not only does he star in the highly anticipated Top Gun sequel, but he’s also in Tom Cruise’s upcoming Mission: Impossible- Dead Reckoning Part One.
Davis began acting with a theater background in college before leaving his hometown of New Orleans to move to Los Angeles and pursue his acting career full-time. Some of his other credits include a recurring role on Good Trouble and guest-starring roles on series like Chicago P.D. and All Rise.
Shadow and Act recently spoke with Davis about the film, in which he said he was so excited to be living in the moment.
“It’s an amazing feeling…something I’ve been dreaming about since I was a kid is coming true,” he said on the red carpet. “So why not have fun? Somebody told me you need to act like you’ve been somewhere before… I have has never been here. I don’t know how to act. [laughs]”
Here’s what you should know about the actor, model, and all-around powerhouse Greg Tarzan Davis.
Before acting, Davis was a first grade teacher
While in school Davis’ had a goal of becoming an elementary school teacher, though his real passion was acting. He graduated from Louisiana State University (LSU) with a B.A. in Elementary Education and began teaching 1st-grade. In an interview with KTLA5, Davis explained how he always encouraged his students to chase their dreams but he felt like an imposter because he wasn’t practicing what he preached in his own life. When a student asked Davis about his childhood aspirations, he realized that while he loved teaching, he truly wanted to be an actor.
“I was like ‘I’m not following my dreams, I’m being a hypocrite,’” Davis told KTLA5. “I decided to take some classes and pursue it. I stopped teaching and it was sad because I did love the kids but we’re here now and I think I’m setting a great example for them.”
Davis accredits his New Orleans upbringing for some of his success in Hollywood
Davis was born and raised in the vibrant city of New Orleans, LA. In multiple interviews, Davis has expressed just how impactful New Orleans has been in shaping his adulthood and acting career. In an interview with New Orleans Magazine Davis explained that New Orleans is “built different” and its residents are all “unique in so many different ways.” Davis went on to explain how growing up in such a unique place helped him stand out.
“I feel that has allowed me to stand out as an actor AND an individual against other people not solely because of my accent, but the mindset, the attitude. I think that essence exudes when I walk in the room with people, and just the right amount of it blends into each role that I take on,” Davis explained. “My upbringing in New Orleans has also helped me develop a thick skin to handle the many, many rejections that come along with this business. I’m able to take it in stride and move on to the next. I love my city, man, and I thank it and the people for its lessons.”
Davis has a diverse athletic background
Davis is an accomplished athlete in many sports including football, basketball, baseball and track. He also has a background in martial arts, where he is a 2nd-degree Black belt in Taekwondo. His father, Gregory Davis Sr., also had a career in martial arts as a boxer.
He gained a following on social media under the name "Tarzan"
While attending LSU, Davis began posting comedic content on his social media accounts, mostly of him doing comedy skits and videos. He posted under the pseudonym “TheRealTarzan,” which eventually garnered him recognition under the self-given nickname “Tarzan”. Davis and a group of friends all gained a significant social media following from the videos they posted. Davis even wrote, produced, recorded and starred in his own weekly soap opera on Instagram titled Living with Jane and followed up with a sequel, Living with Jane 2.
His first feature-length film was ‘Tales from the Hood 2’
In 2018, Davis moved to Los Angeles to focus on his acting career, and not long after that, he landed his first major film role playing Kahad in the horror-comedy anthology film Tales from the Hood 2. This sequel helped launch Davis’ acting career and he soon expanded his credits to include TV shows like Good Trouble and CBS’s All Rise. Ultimately leading him to Grey’s Anatomy, and now, Top Gun: Maverick and Mission: Impossible- Dead Reckoning Part One.