A Mystery in Cabrini Green

If I can remember correctly I was about 11 years old the first time I watched the 1975 classic “Cooley High”. I remember it being an instant favorite and I watched it over and over for a month. [I couldn’t get enough of Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs]. Last night TVOne had a showing of the film just before the debut of Unsung Hollywood’s expose’ on the film. The entire documentary was full of little known facts people may or may not have known, but one thing that especially stood out was the fact that one of the stars of the film disappeared so to speak. [Hypothetically but literally disappeared] Cynthia Davis, the beautiful fair skinned actress [ who almost wasn’t cast because of her complexion] was never heard from again after the movie wrapped.Cynthia Davis Cooley High

This is perhaps the greatest disappearing act in cinematic history. Brenda, [played by Davis] was the beautiful love interest of the film’s star Preach [played by Glenn Thurman]. Her performance was A-1, she was beautiful, graceful and had talent that easily would have made her a household name in Hollywood during the seventies. Davis, has been compared to actresses such as Jane Kennedy and Lonnette Mckee and for years [even now] people have wondered what happened to her. Rumors have speculated that she drop out of sight to raise a family, and then there are others that suggest she passed away. In last night’s episode of Unsung Hollywood, it was said that she passed away about ten years ago, no cause of death given. Maybe it was her performance, or her fair skin and simple beauty that made us want to see more of her. Whatever the reason, “Cooley High” remains and always will be Davis’ only film credit.

Cooley High 25

It makes you wonder, did Cynthia Davis really move to Atlanta, get married, have children and become a librarian?

It makes you wonder, where are her relatives? Why has no one come forward to give us a small glimpse into the life of the infamous Brenda after her 1975 acting debut? I guess it will forever remain an enigma.


18 thoughts on “A Mystery in Cabrini Green

  1. foxygirl says:

    I think she was a sacrifice for the monies, Monte got to make the film. I think she was murdered and by her being an unknown actress no one cared to ask at that time where she was..Mysay.

  2. Mimi says:

    This driving me crazy someone must know something. There’s people claiming to be related but I think they are fakes.

    • B.Marie says:

      Wow.. I havent heard of anyone claiming to be relatives… but the story the director gave was a little weird. How can she just disappear?? Like no trace..its a real mystery

  3. jenni says:

    I think that a lot of actresses leave the film industry to raise families. Out of respect for her privacy they remain quiet Maybe being involved with Cooley High affected her in a negative way and she no longer wanted to be involved in show business. if she wanted to do interviews and be in the media eye, or even on media social sites, she would have done so. out of respect for her, just leave alone. There have been rumors of her passing 10years ago. So God alone knows. I do want to add that I saw this movie when I was 11years old. Ms. Davis made an impression of me. because I am a black woman and I was very light skinned and reddish hair, and I received a lot of negative remarks regarding my appearance. Seeing that movie and the way that she was seen as a beautiful and graceful woman made me feel so much better as a young girl

    • B.Marie says:

      I def agree that her privacy should be respected regardless if she is still alive or not. But you have to admit this is quite a mystery. I wasn’t even born when this movie was made, however I saw it as a young girl and I too am very light skinned. I was not black enough to hang with the darker girls and not light enough to hang with the white kids. Davis was as you said portrayed as a beautiful women of color even with her light skin. As I stated in the post she was compared to other actresses of her time such as Jane Kennedy, her beauty was well noticed. I think she was one of the stars of the movie who actually came from Cabrini Green so we cant say how her life was affected by starring in this movie. Whereever she is may she be blessed.

  4. Brock54 says:

    I can’t say where Cynthia Davis is or how she’s doing,but I hope and pray she’s doing fine. She was a very beautiful and talented actress doing her time on Cooley High.God bless her whatever the case may be

  5. Jromeo says:

    I read the comment about Cynthia Davis saying, “Maybe she did move to Atlanta Georgia and became a librarian with three kids.” I don’t know if the article was making a sarcastic comparison or not? But just in case, I want to clarify that the movie credit never said Ms Davis moved to Georgia. It said “Brenda”, the character whom Ms Davis played was the one who moved to Georgia. Now whether Brenda did or not, we don’t know. But they never said Cynthia Davis moved to Georgia

  6. Laura Neely says:

    Maybe you should contact TV One for a retraction. She’s “Not” dead. She’s alive and well. Her sister posted a current picture of her on her FB page. Just Google her name … Reference the lipstick alley post…

    • B.Marie says:

      I just GOOGLED the lipstick alley post and saw that. Even in my post I questioned the validity of them saying she had passed away. It just didn’t seem right, but then again they never said where they found her to cast her. If she was just one of the residents of the projects as many of the cast members were then I can understand them not really keeping up with her or not wanting to be in the spotlight. But they should have done better research if she really is alive.

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