Obituary: Sally Davis

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Former Malibu resident Sally Davis died in December after a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer at the age of 71.

Former Malibu resident Sally Davis died in December after a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer at the age of 71. 

This year’s Ventura County Jewish Film Festival, which begins March 9, is dedicated to the memory of Davis. She and her husband, Ivor Davis, were founders of the festival.

Davis grew up as a part of the Jewish community in Ireland. 

She earned a degree in English literature from Queens University in Belfast and went on to become the youngest anchor ever on the nightly BBC television news program in Northern Ireland. 

After moving to California in l967, Davis became a correspondent for BBC television, and spent her career as an entertainment writer for magazines and newspapers around the world. She interviewed a number of well-known figures, including The Beatles, Ronald Reagan, Gene Kelly and many others. 

During her career, Davis wrote stories that appeared in The New York Times Magazine, London’s The Sunday Times and Ladies’ Home Journal. She was also an editor at Los Angeles magazine and wrote columns for the Los Angeles Jewish Journal

While living in Malibu, Davis helped found a satellite synagogue of Pacific Palisades Kehillat Israel in Malibu, along with the late Malibu Planning Commissioner Leslie Moss and his wife, Barbara, before the Malibu Jewish Center and Synagogue came into being. 

During her time in Malibu, Davis was also a volunteer counselor for the Los Angeles Suicide Prevention Center. When she moved to Ventura, she joined the board of Ventura’s Temple Beth Torah and the boards of the Ventura Music Festival and Planned Parenthood of Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. 

“Sally was a driving force in getting our Jewish Film Festival off the ground more than a decade ago,” festival chair and co-founder Bobbi Swerdlin said. “She was a sensitive and astute critic of movies and helped put us on the road to bringing dozens of world-class movies to Ventura County.”