“I’ve a great left eye - that’s my secret”
Davenport, who was best known for dark villains and brutal heroes, also provided the original voice for the sinister computer HAL during rehearsals for Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Throughout his career he suffered a strong squint caused by a lazy eye...but he went on to make a virtue of his "dodgy" sight despite numerous attempts to correct it.
Born into an academic family in Cambridgeshire, he studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford before switching to English.
After working as an army disc jockey in Hamburg, his first job was as an understudy in Noel Coward's play Relative Values in 1952 and he gradually began to appear in British film and TV productions in supporting roles including a walk-on in Tony Richardson's 1959 film Look Back in Anger.
Subsequent higher profile roles included a theatre manager opposite Laurence Olivier in the film version of The Entertainer and a policeman in Michael Powell's controversial Peeping Tom.
He made a critical impression as the Duke of Norfolk opposite Paul Scofield's Thomas More in A Man for All Seasons and had a major role of Lord Bothwell in Mary, Queen of Scots.
During production of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, Davenport read the lines of HAL 9000 off-camera during the computer's dialogues with actors Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood. (Canadian actor Douglas Rain was ultimately chosen for the role of HAL's voice).
He memorably starred as Lord Birkinhead in Hugh Hudson's Oscar-winning Chariots of Fire before largely switching to TV, particuarly in the 1980s BBC drama Howards' Way where he played Sir Edward Frere, father of property tycoon Charles Frere.
His more recent roles on TV included parts in Midsomer Murders and comedy Keeping Up Appearances.
Davenport was married twice, first to Helena Margaret White whom he met while he was studying at Oxford University. His second wife was actress Maria Aitken with whom he had a second son, actor Jack best known for starring in Pirates of the Caribbean series.
You can see Nigel Davenport on Sky Movies in the sci-fi yarn Phase IV.