Bruce Davison made his Broadway debut in Tiger at the Gates in 1968. He also appeared as John Merrick in The Elephant Man and in The Glass Menagerie opposite Jessica Tandy. Davison was one of a quartet of newcomers including Barbara Hershey, Richard Thomas, and Catherine Burns when he made his film debut in Last Summer in 1969. In 1970 he played opposite Kim Darby in the film about peaceful student protest and its violent outcome The Strawberry Statement. Two years later he portrayed the title role in Willard. He also
appeared in Ulzana's Raid, Peege, Mame, Mother, Jugs & Speed, Short Eyes,The Lathe of Heaven, and Six Degrees of Separation. In 1978 he appeared as Dean Torrence opposite Richard Hatch in the made-for-TV biopic Deadman's Curve (the story of 1960s pop duo Jan & Dean). The same year, he played the title role
in the TV movie adaptation Summer Of My German Soldier.
In 1981 he had the lead in The Wave, based on real events,starring as a history teacher who conducts an experiment in Nazi philosophy on his students.
Bruce also starred in Tales from the Darkside, Season 1, Episode 8.
In 1983, Bruce was cast by Joseph Papp in the Public Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival production of King Richard III. Additional Off-Broadway credits include Love Letters, The Cocktail Hour, and Paula Vogel's Pulitzer Prize-winning play How I Learned To Drive. He also played the role of Ruby in the 1985 comedy Spies Like Us starring Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase.
In 1990 he portrayed a gay man whose lover is dying of AIDS, in Longtime Companion. The role earned Davison a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Davison went on to appear in other movies addressing AIDS: in 1995's The Cure, he portrayed a physician sought by a young boy with AIDS in search of medical help. In 1996, Davison appeared in the film It's My Party, which chronicled the true events of a man dying with AIDS who decides to hold a farewell party for family and friends before taking his own
life. Davison's website states he is a spokesperson for many AIDS-related groups and is a board member of the industry AIDS organization Hollywood Supports.
In Los Angeles, Bruce has appeared on stage in Streamers and The Normal Heart, winning the Los
Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award and Drama-Logue Award for his performances. Other LA theatre credits include The Caine Mutiny Court Martial (directed by Henry Fonda) and a stage adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird.
He is familiar to movie audiences for Runaway Jury, Apt Pupil, and his role as Senator Robert Kelly in the X-Men movie franchise. Though his character died in the first film, Davison appeared in X2 as a
shapeshifting impostor of Kelly. Davison also portrayed a rich philanthropist in the movie Christmas Angel. Davison's many television credits include Hunter, Marcus Welby, M.D., Love, American Style, The Waltons, Lou Grant, Murder, She Wrote, Designing Women, Seinfeld, Chicago Hope, Law & Order: Special
Victims Unit, V: The Series, Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek: Enterprise, Battlestar Galactica, Lost, CSI: Miami, Ghost Whisperer, Castle, Hawaii Five-0, the Stephen King mini-series Kingdom Hospital, and a recurring role on The Practice. Davison also had the recurring role of defense attorney Doug Hellman in the CBS drama Close to Home.
In 2001, Bruce directed the TV film Off Season, which starred his Lovelife co-star Sherilyn Fenn, Rory Culkin, Hume Cronyn, and Adam Arkin. In 2007, Bruce returned to the big screen, playing Eric O'Neill's father in Breach. Also in that year, Davison was cast in the role of Charles Graiman, creator of the Knight Industries Three Thousand in NBC's revival of the television series Knight Rider.
Bruce also played the role of Dr. Silberman, the psychiatrist who once tormented Sarah Connor, in the seventh episode of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. In May 2010, Davison was cast to portray art dealer Wilhelm Van Schlagel for several episodes on ABC's General Hospital to begin airing in July, 2010.
In 2010 he starred in the TV movie Titanic II. He is currently filming for Rob Zombie's The Lords of Salem set for release in 2012.