Monday, October 01, 2012

Taylor Negron Writes About Cathy Davis

A beautiful and touching letter from Taylor Negron about Cathy Davis, the woman who was killed by Sons Of Anarchy actor, Johnny Lewis.


If you look at initial reports of the death of Johnny Lewis -- the "Sons of Anarchy" actor and, as all the media outlets have made sure to note, the ex of Katy Perry -- the name of the woman he is accused of brutally and horrifically murdering is not even mentioned at all. Her name is Catherine Davis. And she is a Hollywood legend. A near saint. And a kind and loving mother to so many, including me. A writer, artist and entrepreneur, the media later explained her as an “elderly 81-year-old woman." This could maybe be used to describe her bones. Cathy Davis was a woman of astounding energy and clear-minded self-creation. The house she rented to accused killer Johnny Lewis -- and to me, Parker Posey, Thomas Jane, Chris Parnell, Paula Poundstone, and so many others -- was known to us as the "Writer's Villa." It is located in an affluent part of Los Feliz and was built in 1927 to resemble a Villa in Spain or Italy. The original bathrooms of Malibu tile still exist, reflected by the beveled mirrors in the medicine cabinet. Hand-painted pink. Turquoise and lemon yellow ceramic tiles are inlaid in the sunny staircase that is at the center of the house leading to a carved door that is always open. Born into humble roots in Texas, Cathy made sure she got into UCLA and there flourished in that atmosphere of 1950s Los Angeles where endless possibilities and vacant lots and a lot of handiwork led to a dream fulfilled. Marrying and having a baby, Catherine moved into what clearly was a dream house on that gentle hill. The marriage dissolved and the feminist movement took hold and Cathy became what I always called a "Sesame Street feminist." Bold and colorful, simple, direct. Easy. She understood how to flatter men, but was never taken hostage. These were the women who raised my generation -- equal pay for equal work. Independent with the smarts on their sleeves. This quintessentially modern California lady living life on her own terms, armed with only a stack of Sunset Magazines and 100-watt smile. The ad I answered in The LA Times when I was in my early twenties, read “rooms to rent in Villa." I went there to see. At this point I was making money from acting in movies and needed to settle down and start thinking about buying my own home. "Well,” Cathy said in her pert Texas twinch, "you're in the right place. I am a real estate agent, and we will find you something you will love.” I liked that she used the royal "we.” Hollywood is usually more about “me” than “we.” I knew nothing about mortgages or equity. “Your job is to be an artist, to tell jokes," she told me. I made Cathy laugh intensely. That is the greatest gift of all that I treasure. When we make others laugh, the tension grinds away, and the moment is balanced. The “me” becomes a “we.” Those of us, that fraternity that lived at the Villa, understood that. They were the sum of our parts. I took the room on the right upstairs with a large rounded fireplace and a view of succulents hemmed by aromatic sumac bushes. These native plants give off a slight aroma like gasoline. Clean and startling. Over time, I would move in and out of the Villa while Cathy looked around for my first home. She was quick to tell me I was home and that it was “my room … always.” The door was always open, and soon I found that my boyhood friend Val Kilmer was living in one of the rooms, and there we had parties with serious actors like George Clooney and his then wife Talia Balsam. Paula Poundstone lived there. You can read the rest of the letter here.

42 comments:

rejectedcarebear said...

I read this over the weekend and its very sweet and touching. A fitting tribute to someone who tragically lost their life.

Em Cue Em said...

That was utterly perfect - his emotions are clear and raw, his anger is palpable, but tinged with so much hurt and sadness. There are some in my life that I feel the same for - people who, to some, might be considered those that come into your life and revolve out of it just as quick. But for some of us, those people make their way into our hearts, and no matter how many years or miles are between us, we never stop caring for them and feeling their presence, the same as if they were sitting right next to us. I fear losing those people so much, and I feel so much sorrow for those people who learn that not only have they lost a person who means the world to them, but that they lost them violently, and senselessly.

Synthetic drugs are the new epidemic. Hide your kids, hide your wife, and hide your husband, cause they fucking everybody up in here.

Jemtastic said...

What a lovely letter.

Totally OT: Katy Perry sure knows how to pick'em.

Vikingwench said...

A beautiful eulogy.

rejectedcarebear said...

Em- that's not only my favorite you tube video of all time but also my ring tone. Thanks for the giggle in this otherwise somber post!

KLM said...

Really well said, Em.

I am really glad that Taylor wrote that letter.

timebob said...

She seemed like a surrogate mom for a lot of writers and actors. Hollywood beats you up pretty badly, and she sheilded you from the storm in comfort. What a lovely lady, I wish I had known her kindness.

He is so right so much attention is always paid to the villian while the victims get overlooked and forgotten. I hope her and her cat Jesse are in a happier place somewhere.

Hollyweird said...

Such a beautiful tribute. She sounds like a real life, magical Anna Madrigal. May she rest in peace.

Kendra Muenter said...

Such a beautiful letter, so often in these types of cases the victim is often forgotten.

On an aside, my brother is a police officer and they used to hate getting domestic violence calls (since you never know what you are walking into) he said he would take 1000 DV calls over 1 call of someone on suspected bath salts or smilies or whatever the newest synthetic drug is being called.

kelly said...

Thanks for this post. It's wonderful to know the real story behind the story.

Patty said...

Simply beautiful.

DisembodiedThumb said...

Such a beautiful remembrance; makes you imagine it would have been an honor to have known her. Thanks for posting this, Enty, and many thanks to Taylor for sharing Ms. Davis with us.

GrowFarmington said...

I've always liked him as an actor/entertainer, nice to see that he's also a wonderful human being. So sorry about that lovely woman.

RIP Ms. Davis.

auntliddy said...

What patty said. Rest in peace nice lady.

Laura said...

A lovely, touching letter. So nice to be that well thought off but what a horrible way to have to have come about. Sounded a lovely lady. RIP Cathy

car54 said...

What a beautiful tribute. She'll be a part of Hollywood history because of the way she nurtured artists.

All about Eve said...

I'm glad he wrote this letter because the victim in cases like this are always overlooked.

It sounds like she was a lovely woman who lived a great life. RIP Miss Cathy Davis

smashbash said...

Beautiful letter. Thank you for posting it.

Em- true that.

Under the Big Skyy said...

Thank you for remembering Cathy, Taylor. Usually, we never get to see the person that the victims were. You gave us, the readers, a glimpse of the caring person, Cathy was to many. Cathy may have been the only support system for countless artists.

A truly beautiful soul. RIP Cathy and may angles lead you home.

AKM said...

An absolute tragedy. Mr. Negron has penned something brutiful here, though. (I learned that word recently..."brutal" plus "beautiful." It fits too many of our experiences, sadly.)

As a devoted cat lover, I shudder to think that one of the last things she saw was what he'd done to her cat. RIP, Cathy Davis.

BigMama said...

I am glad someone spoke up about one of the victims. I hate that so many people lost such lovely human being. Poor guy. I feel for him and her family.

tara17 said...

Lovely to read about this dear lady's life. It's clear Cathy Davis was one of those angelic individuals who quietly cheer and nurture the best in others, changing lives and making the world a greater place.

Carrie L. said...

I'm so glad someone like him took the time to write such a beautiful piece about her. The harsh "news" system cares nothing about her and I found it unsettling that they didn't bother to honor her in any way. If it was a 21 year old that was killed, they'd talk about what a great gal she was and what a sparkling future she had ahead of her. But this woman was 81, so to me they just didn't care. "Nothing to mourn, she was close to death anyway" type of mentality, and it's just wrong.

AnotherOneBitesTheDust said...

Throughout the years, I've become somewhat jaded to Hollywood folk. Meaning, I think that they are all a bunch of self entitled, greedy, a-holes that will stab a bitch in the back with a spork if it means getting attention.

It is so heartwarming to hear there was someone out there such as the beautiful Ms. Davis, that was doing her part to make that town a better place for aspiring artists and people in general. She sounds as if she was a truly inspiring person and her legacy will live on. This letter was very eloquent and captured her essence. RIP.

MissMatador said...

A wonderful tribute to a woman who seemed to have a true geneorous spirit and love of life.

A very beautiful letter written with emotion and earnest without sounding trite or deitifiying, just honest and from the heart.

Thank you Taylor for taking your time to remember your friend and sharing your story. RIP Ms, Davis.

parissucksliterally said...

I met Taylor Negron years ago- such a nice man.

Beautiful letter.

Thomas said...

"It is located in an affluent part of Los Feliz and was built in 1927 to resemble a Villa in Spain or Italy. The original bathrooms of Malibu tile still exist, reflected by the beveled mirrors in the medicine cabinet. Hand-painted pink. Turquoise and lemon yellow ceramic tiles are inlaid in the sunny staircase that is at the center of the house leading to a carved door that is always open."

I'm interested. I realize this won't be a FSBO, but when do you think we can do a walk-through?

(too soon?)

Nervous Nelly said...

I'm glad someone did something to pay tribute/attention to the life lost. So sad.

Stacey Charter said...

What a beautiful tribute to a true life angel. Thank you for sharing this Enty and Thank you to Taylor for writing about such a wonderful woman. A woman more people should be interested in, instead of her killer. What a book her life story would have been...

Mango said...

That was lovely.

I'm a fan of Mediterranean styled houses and Taylor's vivid description made me want to see what it looked like, so I googled and some photos came up on TMZ. They are calling it, "The Death House". Classy, all the way, TMZ!

Momster said...

She deserved a better ending to her rich life. Rip, Ms. Davis.

Shallow Gal said...

a moving tribute and also a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the part of Hollywood that includes the artists, writers, and other artists who are working steadily but not filthy rich.

TSA said...

Beautiful letter, Taylor. Thank you for sharing your memories of this lovely lady, Catherine Davis. So sorry we'll never get to read her book. I would love to read her daughter Margaret's book. And I'm so sorry for your loss...she touched so many lives in such a positive way. And that's how she should be remembered.

Robert said...

Check out writersvilla.com, a website for the house, or look the pictures up on TMZ--that place was really beautiful, as was Catherine Davis!

MadLyb said...

I read this yesterday and I'm glad someone wrote a beautiful tribute to Cathy. All to often, the media focus is on the murderer, and the victims are quickly forgotten. There should always be a face to each and every victim of heinous crimes such as this. Taylor Negron gave her a face, and a story, and bless him for doing this. She seemed like a wonderful human being.

Lissette said...

How sad...beautiful tribute...tragic.

dia papaya said...

Taylor, what a beautiful and touching tribute to a woman you obviously loved dearly. Thank you for sharing a piece of her soul with the rest of us.

I am so sorry for your loss. Ms Davis looks like a firecracker! someone who lived her life with passion and shared her infectious gifts with everyone. she seems like a woman I would have loved to know myself. I'm sure she is honored to have so many loving friends and family members supporting her memory.

God bless you. RIP Ms Davis. May the Angels carry you home.

Call me yndy... said...

I wish I'd met her. I'll leave it at that.

Snoopy said...

This makes me like Taylor even more! Such a sweet eulogy and I wish I had know her friendship :)

E Gee Be said...

Hollyweird, I thought the exact same thing! Thank you for letting us know about this, it was very touching

altar boy said...

THIS. Wonderful. A faceless "81 year old woman" victim regains her humanity after death because a friend shared this beautiful letter with the world. If only there were more letters like this and letter-writers out there! Love and respect your elders!

chopchop said...

I've always been a big fan of Taylor Negron. From his mailman character in Better Off Dead to his standup which was featured frequently on MTV & Comedy Central back in the late 80s/early 90s. This letter proves to me he was and is a class act.

Thank you, Taylor.