The service at Riverside Church was presided over by the Rev. Dr. James Forbes, pastor of Riverside Church, and the Rev. Calvin Butts III, pastor of Abyssinian Baptist Church, where Davis was a member.
Reflections and tributes were made by the actor's children and grandchildren, as well as Alan Alda, Burt Reynolds and Attallah Shabazz, eldest daughter of Malcolm X. Maya Angelou and Sonia Sanchez delivered poetic tributes, Wynton Marsalis performed and Avery Brooks read from "Purlie Victorious," a play written by Davis in 1961.
Hollywood luminaries and political figures joined in mourning Davis who died at age 87 of natural causes Feb. 4. The service was attended by Cicely Tyson, Angela Bassett, Kim Fields, Mary Alice, S. Epatha Merkerson, former President Bill Clinton, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Sen. Chuck Schumer, Rep. Charles Rangel, former New York City Mayor David Dinkins, Percy Sutton, the Rev. Al Sharpton, the Rev. Herbert Daughtry and Vernon Jordan.
He is survived by his wife Ruby, two daughters and son, his brother William; and seven grandchildren.