Embeth Davidtz

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Embeth Davidtz
Born Embeth Jean Davidtz
(1965-08-11) August 11, 1965 (age 49)
Lafayette, Indiana, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 1989–present
Spouse(s) Jason Sloane (m. 2002)
Children 2

Embeth Jean Davidtz (born August 11, 1965) is an American actress. She is best known for her role as Jennifer Honey in the film Matilda. Her screen roles include movies such as Mansfield Park, Bicentennial Man, and Fracture, and the television series Mad Men. Davidtz spent much of her early life in South Africa.

Early life[edit]

Davidtz was born in Lafayette, Indiana, while her father was studying chemical engineering at Purdue University. Her parents, John and Jean, later moved to Trenton, New Jersey, and then back to their native South Africa, when Davidtz was nine years old.[1] Davidtz has Dutch, English, and French ancestry.[2] She had to learn Afrikaans before attending school classes in South Africa,[1] where her father took up a teaching post at Potchefstroom University. She graduated from The Glen High School in Pretoria in 1983, and earned a degree in English Literature from Rhodes University in Grahamstown.[citation needed]

Early roles[edit]

Davidtz made her professional acting debut at age 21 with CAPAB (Cape Performing Arts Board, now known as Artscape) in Cape Town, playing Juliet in a stage production of Romeo and Juliet, at the Maynardville Open-Air Theatre. Performing in English and Afrikaans, the bilingual actress also starred in other local plays, including Stille Nag (Silent Night) and A Chain of Voices, both earning her nominations for the South African equivalent of the Tony Award.[citation needed]

Her film debut came in 1988 with a small role in South African-filmed American horror Mutator,[citation needed] (where her character was eaten by a giant cat). Shortly after she won a bigger part in South African shot tele-movie A Private Life, as the daughter of an interracial couple.[citation needed].[citation needed]

Hollywood career[edit]

After meeting with an agent in London, Davidtz moved to Los Angeles in 1992,[citation needed] and quickly landed a role in her first American film, Sam Raimi's Evil Dead sequel Army of Darkness. Soon after, she appeared in two NBC projects, the made-for-television film Till Death Do Us Part and the miniseries Deadly Matrimony.[citation needed] She was also seen in Laura Ziskin's short film Oh, What A Day, opposite Viggo Mortensen.[citation needed] Director Steven Spielberg spotted the actress in Deadly Matrimony and cast her in Schindler's List as Helen Hirsch, the Jewish maid.

Davidtz next had a high-profile central role in the fact-based film Murder in the First (1995), followed by the Merchant Ivory production Feast of July (also 1995). In Matilda (1996), a feature based on Roald Dahl's children's fantasy, she played the role of Miss Honey, the grade-one teacher of the title character.

In 1998, Davidtz played a theologian helping Denzel Washington crack a supernatural wave of crimes in the mystery drama Fallen and a femme fatale linked to Kenneth Branagh in Robert Altman's take on a previously unused John Grisham manuscript, The Gingerbread Man. The following year, Davidtz portrayed a 19th-century woman of the world in Patricia Rozema's reworking of the Jane Austen comedy Mansfield Park, and played a dual role opposite Robin Williams in the futuristic fable Bicentennial Man.

A supporting role in the film adaptation of Bridget Jones' Diary (2001) saw Davidtz play Natasha, a colleague and one of the love interests of Mark Darcy (Colin Firth). That year, she began her run on the CBS drama Citizen Baines, playing the daughter of a defeated United States Senate incumbent (James Cromwell) who is herself leaning towards a career in politics. Other roles included horror thrillers like 2001's Thir13en Ghosts. In 2002, she was cast in the Michael Hoffman drama, The Emperor's Club, which co-starred Kevin Kline and Emile Hirsch.

In Junebug (2005), Davidtz played an outsider art dealer from Chicago brought to North Carolina by her husband (Alessandro Nivola) to meet his family for the first time. Davidtz has also guest-starred on the hit ABC drama series Grey's Anatomy as Dr. Derek Shepherd's sister Nancy in the Season 3 episode "Let the Angels Commit". In 2008, she had a regular role on HBO's In Treatment as Amy, part of a fractious couple alongside Josh Charles's Jake.

She portrayed the unfaithful and unfortunate wife of Anthony Hopkins in the 2007 drama Fracture.

From 2009 to 2012, she played Rebecca Pryce, wife of Lane Pryce in the hit AMC television show Mad Men.[3] She also played Felicia Koons, the wife of the dean and the mother of Becca's best friend, Chelsea, on Showtime's Californication.

Davidtz played Annika Blomkvist in David Fincher's adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. She also appeared in Marc Webb's Spider-Man reboot The Amazing Spider-Man as Peter Parker's mother Mary, who vanished under mysterious circumstances along with Peter's father Richard.

Personal life[edit]

Davidtz had long-term relationships with actors Harvey Keitel and Ben Chaplin. She married entertainment attorney Jason Sloane on June 22, 2002, and has two children, Charlotte Emily (born in 2002) and Asher Dylan (born in 2005).[4]

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1989 Mutator Jennifer
1989 Screen Two Older Karen Episode: "A Private Life"
1990 Sweet Murder Laurie Shannon
1992 Till Death Us Do Part Katherine Palliko TV movie
1992 Nag van die 19de Tessa
1992 Army of Darkness Sheila
1992 Deadly Matrimony Dianne Masters TV movie
1993 Schindler's List Helen Hirsch
1995 Murder in the First Mary McCasslin
1995 Feast of July Bella Ford
1996 Matilda Miss Jennifer Honey
1997 Garden of Redemption, TheThe Garden of Redemption Adriana TV movie
1998 Last Rites Dr. Lauren Riggs TV movie
1998 Fallen Gretta Milano
1998 Gingerbread Man, TheThe Gingerbread Man Mallory Doss
1999 Simon Magus Leah
1999 Mansfield Park Mary Crawford
1999 Bicentennial Man "Little Miss" Amanda Martin / Portia Charney
2001 Bridget Jones's Diary Natasha
2001 Hole, TheThe Hole Dr. Philippa Horwood
2001 Thir13en Ghosts Kalina Oretzia
2001 Citizen Baines Ellen Baines Croland 7 episodes
2002 Shackleton Rosalind Chetwynd TV movie
2002 Emperor's Club, TheThe Emperor's Club Elizabeth
2004 Scrubs Maddie Episode: "My Tormented Mentor"
2005 Junebug Madeleine Johnsten
2006 Grey's Anatomy Nancy Shepherd Episode: "Let the Angels Commit"
2007 Fracture Jennifer Crawford
2008 In Treatment Amy 8 episodes
2009 Fragments Joan Laraby
2009–2012 Mad Men Rebecca Pryce 8 episodes
2009 Californication Felicia Koons 10 episodes
2010 3 Backyards The Actress
2011 The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Annika Giannini
2012 The Amazing Spider-Man Mary Parker
2013 Paranoia Dr. Judith Bolton
2013 Europa Report Dr. Samantha Unger
2013 Miracle Rising: South Africa Herself
2014 The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Mary Parker

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Cinema: The star of Davidtz". The Independent. [dead link]
  2. ^ Schaeffer, Stephen (1998-03-03). "Movies; Actress Davidtz leaves out sweetness in `Gingerbread Man'". Boston Herald. Retrieved 2011-01-11. 
  3. ^ Mad Men cast AMC TV
  4. ^ "Embeth Davidtz - Rotten Tomatoes Celebrity Profile". www.rottentomatoes.com. Retrieved 2009-04-25. 

External links[edit]