Frances Taylor Davis, the first wife of music legend Miles Davis, died Saturday morning. She was 89.
The news of her death was announced by her family in a statement to the media, though they did not disclose the cause of death.
“It is with great sadness and heavy heart that we, the family of Frances Taylor Davis, announce her passing early this morning…”
A Chicago native, Davis was an entertainer at heart. Dance was her first love, an art form that allowed her to tour the world over.
“Frances was granted a scholarship at age 16 to study dance at the Dunham Technique in NY with Katherine Dunham. She trained and toured extensively with Dunham’s professional dance company in Europe and South Africa,” according to the family’s press statement. “On the 1948 tour, Frances was recruited for a special presentation to perform with the Paris Opera Ballet. She was the first African American in the history of the company to be invited to perform with the esteemed ballet company.”
She also appeared with Sammy Davis, Jr. in “Porgy And Bess,” “Mr. Wonderful” and “Shinbone Alley,” in addition to appearing with the original cast of West Side Story on Broadway.
Despite her immense talent, however, many remember her for her relationship to Miles Davis. The famous musician put her on the cover of his iconic 1961 album “ “Someday My Prince Will Come.”
But it was a relationship marked by domestic violence, and she left him in 1965 after five years of marriage. They eventually divorced it 1968.
“Every time I hit her, I felt bad because a lot of it really wasn’t her fault but had to do with me being temperamental and jealous,” Davis wrote in his 1990 memoir “Miles: The Autobiography.”
She was portrayed by Emayatzy Corinealdi in Don Cheadle’s 2015 film Miles Ahead.
After she retired, she was a popular figure in West Hollywood, according to the WeHoVille
“..She was best known in West Hollywood as the hostess of Hamburger Hamlet, the Sunset Boulevard gathering spot for celebrities such as Lucille Ball, Bette Davis, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin that closed in 2011.”
She is survived by her son Jean Pierre Durand, step-daughter Cheryl Davis, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and many who loved her.
Our thoughts are with her family and friends.