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Book Review: 'After Midnight: The Life and Death of Brad Davis'

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After the movie Midnight Express made him a star, Brad Davis went on a one-way star trip, using a fifth of vodka and five grams of cocaine a day, plus Percodan, Demerol, Valium, amyl nitrate, and God knows how many party-animal bed buddies (”Brad had an insatiable need: if he couldn’t have sex four times a day, he masturbated. Or he found someone else,” says his widow, Susan, the Emmy-winning casting director of NYPD Blue). According to her, Davis — who died in 1991 at age 41 — was the first acknowledged Hollywood heterosexual victim of AIDS. His tragic life was also the stuff of a classic Hollywood tale: Although he made Chariots of Fire and narrowly escaped playing Rambo, his mad habits reduced him to a film-history footnote. Brad Davis was a junkie when junkie wasn’t cool: Years before Pulp Fiction, he revived his coke dealer by injecting her heart with adrenaline. Though Bluestein Davis is at times a repetitious writer, she casts a sharp light on Hollywood’s seamy side. B+

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