During World War II, and following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Ms. Davis sold two million dollars in war bonds, and later made a considerable contribution to the war effort by lending her assistance to organize the Hollywood Canteen in 1942 to entertain troops passing through Los Angeles. She also appeared in a film version of the Hollywood Canteen.
New York’s Stage Door Canteen was the inspiration for her vision to transform a once-abandoned nightclub into an inspiring entertainment facility. In 1980, Ms. Davis was awarded the Distinguished Civilian Service Medal, the Defense Department’s highest civilian award, for running the Hollywood Canteen. She later commented that the Hollywood Canteen was one of her accomplishments that caused her to beam with pride.