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Birth:
26 Dec 1924 1
Death:
09 Mar 2005 1
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Also known as:
Heisman Trophy, Mr Outside 2
Full Name:
Glenn W Davis 1
Birth:
26 Dec 1924 1
Death:
09 Mar 2005 1
Burial:
Burial Place: United States Military Academy Post Cemetery, West Point NY 2
Burial:
Burial Place: United States Military Academy Post Cemetery, West Point NY 2
Residence:
Last Residence: Berwyn, PA 1
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Social Security:
Card Issued: Unknown Code (PE) 1

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Glenn Davis, 80, Mr. Outside Of Army Backfield, Is Dead

Glenn Davis, the 1946 Heisman Trophy winner who teamed with Doc Blanchard on the undefeated Army teams of the mid-1940's to form college football's most celebrated backfield pairing, died yesterday at his home in La Quinta, Calif. He was 80.

The cause was complications of prostate cancer, said his stepson, John Slack III.

Davis, a speedy and elusive halfback, was known as Mr. Outside. Blanchard, a bruising fullback who won the Heisman as college football's top player in 1945, was Mr. Inside. Each captured all-American honors three times, and they were pictured together on the covers of Time and Life magazines.

Davis scored 59 touchdowns (43 rushing, 14 receiving and 2 on punt returns) playing from 1943 to 1946. His career rushing average of 8.26 yards a carry (358 carries for 2,957 yards) remains a collegiate record, and he was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1961.

''He had an elusiveness about him, a kind of fifth speed,'' Blanchard once said. ''He'd get out and look like he was running wide open and then run faster.''

Davis was perhaps the greatest all-around athlete in West Point history. He was a star center fielder on the baseball team, an outstanding sprinter, and he played basketball. He posted the highest score that had ever been attained on the academy's physical proficiency test.

During the World War II years, the exploits of Mr. Outside and Mr. Inside -- the nicknames bestowed by George Trevor, a sportswriter for The New York Sun -- were featured in homefront newsreels. ''Surely, I don't think of myself as a hero, but maybe we made people feel better at just the right time,'' Davis told Bill Pennington in ''The Heisman.''

Glenn Woodward Davis, a native of Claremont, Calif., and the son of a bank manager, was a football star at Bonita High School in La Verne, near Los Angeles, playing alongside his twin, Ralph, who became an outstanding shot-putter at West Point.

As a plebe, or freshman, in 1943, Davis scored eight touchdowns and was seventh in the nation in total offense for an Army team that was 7-2-1. He was dismissed from the academy in December 1943 for failing mathematics, then gained readmission after several months of remedial work.

The Cadets, stockpiling talent under Coach Red Blaik when many colleges curtailed or dropped football because of the war, were 27-0-1 with Davis and Blanchard playing together from 1944 to 1946.

Davis scored a collegiate-record 20 touchdowns in 1944 and was runner-up to Les Horvath of Ohio State in the Heisman balloting as Army went 9-0, averaged 56 points a game and was voted the nation's No. 1 team. He scored 18 touchdowns in 1945 and finished second again in the Heisman vote, this time to Blanchard, as the Cadets were 9-0 once more and again the national champions. Davis had 13 touchdowns in 1946 for an Army team that went 9-0-1, a third straight undefeated season spoiled by a memorable 0-0 tie with Notre Dame at Yankee Stadium.

At 5 feet 9 inches and 170 pounds, Davis was brilliant in the open field. A favorite play was to have him start off right tackle, then cut to his left, go to the sideline and try to outrun everyone. Davis was also a passing threat and a safety on defense.

Davis and Blanchard played themselves in ''Spirit of West Point,'' a Hollywood movie filmed in the summer of 1947 during their 60-day leave from military service.

Davis joined the National Football League's Los Angeles Rams in 1950 after serving in the infantry and was voted to the Pro Bowl.

But a knee injury incurred in the filming of ''Spirit of West Point'' hampered his mobility and ended his pro career after the 1951 season, when the Rams won the N.F.L. championship.

While on Army leave in 1948, Davis dated Elizabeth Taylor, and he married the actress Terry Moore in 1951. They were divorced two years later.

After leaving pro football, Davis was a longtime promotional executive for The Los Angeles Times.

Davis is survived by his third wife, Yvonne; his son, Ralph, of California; his stepson, John Slack III, of Baton Rouge, La., from his marriage to the former Harriet Slack, who died in 1995; a sister, Mary Gammons, of Pomona, Calif., and four grandchildren. Yvonne Davis, whom he married in 1996, was formerly the wife of Alan Ameche, the Wisconsin fullback who won the Heisman Trophy in 1954 and died in 1988. Glenn Davis's twin, Ralph, died in January 2005.

Blaik paid Davis a supreme compliment in his memoir ''You Have to Pay the Price,'' written with Tim Cohane.

''Anybody who ever saw Davis carry the football must realize there could not have been a greater, more dangerous running back in the history of the game,'' Blaik said. ''He was emphatically the greatest halfback I ever knew. He was not so much a dodger and sidestepper as a blazing runner who had a fourth, even fifth gear in reserve, could change direction at top speed, and fly away from tacklers as if jet-propelled.'' 

Heisman Winner Glenn Davis, Army Halfback in the '40s, Dies

Glenn Davis, a Heisman Trophy-winning football star with Army in the 1940s, whose exploits on the field helped buoy the spirits of Americans on the front lines and on the home front during World War II, died March 9 of prostate cancer in La Quinta, Calif. He was 80.

A halfback with the speed of an Olympic sprinter, Mr. Davis teamed with fullback Felix "Doc" Blanchard for three years to form what is widely regarded as the greatest backfield duo in college football history. The 210-pound Blanchard was called "Mr. Inside" for his punishing runs through the middle of opposing lines. Mr. Davis was dubbed "Mr. Outside" for his end sweeps and his fleet open-field running.

In three seasons together at the U.S. Military Academy, from 1944 to 1946, their Army teams, coached by Earl "Red" Blaik, were undefeated. The only blemish on their 27-0-1 record was a scoreless tie in 1946 with Notre Dame.

Blanchard won the Heisman Trophy, awarded to the top player in college football, in 1945. Mr. Davis won the Heisman in 1946 after finishing second the two previous years. Together, they hold the record for most touchdowns by a pair of college teammates in a career, with 97. Mr. Davis scored 59 of those touchdowns, a record that was not matched for 30 years.

"Anybody who ever saw Davis carry the football," Blaik once said, "must realize there could not have been a greater, more dangerous running back in the history of the game. He was emphatically the greatest halfback I ever knew."

A blond, blue-eyed Californian with movie-star looks, Mr. Davis was a true golden boy of the gridiron. He received 13 letters in four sports in high school in La Verne, Calif., and agreed to attend the Military Academy at West Point only if his twin brother, Ralph, was admitted as well.

In the academy's demanding physical fitness tests, the 5-foot-9, 170-pound Mr. Davis had the highest score ever recorded. He didn't do quite as well in the classroom, though. After leading the football squad to a record of 7-2-1 during his freshman season in 1943, he was dismissed for failing a math class. Reinstated after doing remedial work, Mr. Davis became, in his final three years at West Point, perhaps the best-known athlete in America.

He and Blanchard were on the covers of Time and Life magazines, and highlights of Army football games were shown on newsreels nationwide. In 1944, the team's games were broadcast on the radio to military units abroad and became symbolic of America's military might. When Army ended its perfect season with a 23-7 victory over Navy, Blaik received a telegram from the South Seas:

"The greatest of all Army teams.

"We have stopped the war to celebrate your magnificent success.

"MacArthur."

During that season, Mr. Davis scored 20 touchdowns -- a collegiate record at the time -- and gained an average of 11.5 yards every time he carried the ball. His career rushing average of 8.26 yards per carry is the NCAA record. He also was a talented passer and kick returner and played safety on defense. He still holds the Army record for career interceptions, with 14.

His teammate, Bill Yeoman, who later coached the University of Houston, once said, "There are words to describe how good an athlete Doc Blanchard was. But there aren't words to describe how good Davis was."

Mr. Davis was a three-time all-American in football and also starred in baseball and basketball. As a centerfielder on Army's baseball team, he batted .403 and stole 64 bases in 65 attempts. At an indoor track meet in 1947, he ran the 60-yard dash in 6.1 seconds, beating the man who would win the silver medal in the 100-meter dash the following year in the Olympics.

He and Blanchard were offered record-breaking contracts to play professional football with the San Francisco 49ers, but when Mr. Davis petitioned for an early release from his military commitment, his request was denied by the secretary of the Army. He served three years as an infantry officer.

In 1947, while making the movie "The Spirit of West Point," Mr. Davis tore ligaments in his knee and was never the same as an athlete. He finally played professionally with the Los Angeles Rams in 1950 and 1951 but could not equal the spectacular heroics of his West Point years.

A native of Claremont, Calif., Mr. Davis lived in Southern California for most of his life. In the late 1940s, he had a highly publicized romance with Elizabeth Taylor and, from 1951 to 1953, was married to actress Terry Moore.

He spent most of his career as an executive in the promotion department of the Los Angeles Times before retiring in 1987. His teammate, Blanchard, became an Air Force officer and lives near San Antonio.

Mr. Davis's wife of 42 years, Harriet Slack Davis, died in 1995. His twin brother died in January.

Survivors include a son and stepson from the second marriage.

In 1996, Mr. Davis married Yvonne Ameche, the widow of Alan Ameche, who won the 1954 Heisman Trophy at the University of Wisconsin and later played for the Baltimore Colts. Mrs. Davis, who survives her husband, is the only woman to have married two winners of the Heisman.

 

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