19 January 1970
Esther Davis (born 19 January 1970) is an Australian actress and singer, best known for her roles as Phryne Fisher in Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries and its film adaptation, Miss Fisher & the Crypt of Tears, and as Amelia Vanek in The Babadook. Other major works include a recurring role as Lady Crane in season six of the television series Game of Thrones, Sister Iphigenia in Lambs of God, and the role of Ellen Kelly in Justin Kurzel's True History of the Kelly Gang.
Davis was born and raised in Hobart, Tasmania. She is the daughter of local artist George Davis. She was educated at Clarence High School; Rosny College; the University of Tasmania, where she was a member of the Old Nick Company; and the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) in Sydney.
Her acting career began with the Bell Shakespeare company when, straight out of NIDA, she was cast as Juliet in its 1993 production of Romeo and Juliet. She followed this with performances for the company in Hamlet and Richard III in 1993, and Macbeth and The Taming of the Shrew in 1994.
Davis's film career started with her role in the 1995 Australian film Dad and Dave: On Our Selection, which starred Geoffrey Rush, Leo McKern and Joan Sutherland. Film roles continued in The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, director Richard Flanagan's 1998 Tasmanian film The Sound of One Hand Clapping, and Girl with a Pearl Earring.
After further stage performances in Australia, including Gwendolen Fairfax in a national tour of The Importance of Being Earnest in 2000 and The School for Scandal for the Sydney Theatre Company in 2001, in 2003 she won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Stella Kowalski opposite Glenn Close in Trevor Nunn's production of Tennessee Williams play A Streetcar Named Desire at the National Theatre in London. In 2004 she starred in a Broadway production of Tom Stoppard's Jumpers at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, for which she earned a Tony Award nomination. In 2005 she appeared as Mrs. Nellie Lovett in the BBC production of Sweeney Todd with Ray Winstone.
In the 2008 film, Hey, Hey, It's Esther Blueburger she plays Esther's controlling mother. Also in 2008, she appeared in the film Australia with Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, directed by Baz Luhrmann. The same year, Davis played Maggie in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof for the Melbourne Theatre Company.
Davis returned to Tasmania to launch the Tasmanian Theatre Company in 2008 and help support local theatre while encouraging youth to continue participating in the arts. In 2011, she received a Logie Award nomination for her role as Anouk in the Australian miniseries The Slap. In 2012, 2013 and 2015, Davis played Phryne Fisher, the central character in ABC Television's high-rating costume drama Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries.
Davis starred in Jennifer Kent's 2014 debut feature The Babadook. For her work in the film Davis was nominated for an AACTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, an AACTA International Award for Best Actress and a Fangoria Chainsaw Award for Best Leading Actress.
In 2016, she joined the HBO series Game of Thrones in Season 6 as Lady Crane; this role did not continue into Season 7. In June 2016 she started filming The White Princess, playing Dowager Queen Elizabeth (Elizabeth Woodville). In early January 2017, the producers released a video clip from the series as a brief trailer (teaser).
In 2018, Davis filmed the mini-series Lambs of God for Foxtel, playing the role of Sister Iphigenia. It was released July 2019 in Australia and has been sold to 46 other territories. For her performance as Sister Iphigenia, Davis has been nominated for an AACTA Award for Best Lead Actress in a Drama Series.
Later the same year, Davis played Ellen Kelly in Justin Kurzel's True History of the Kelly Gang. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival 11 September 2019 and was released in Australian cinemas in 2020 by Transmission Films.
Also in 2018, Davis reprised her role of Phryne Fisher from the popular television series Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries with a stand-alone action-adventure feature film, Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears With an AU$8m production budget, it wrapped production in late November 2018 and was released in cinemas in 2020.
In early 2019, Davis filmed the comedy-drama Babyteeth, playing the role of Anna. The film was selected to compete for the Golden Lion at the 76th Venice International Film Festival, where it had its world premiere on 4 September 2019.
|1995||Dad and Dave: On Our Selection||Kate Rudd|
|1996||River Street||Wendy Davis|
|1997||The Two-Wheeled Time Machine||Young Alice||Short film|
|1998||The Sound of One Hand Clapping||Jean|
|2003||The Matrix Reloaded||Maggie|
|2003||The Pact||Helene Davis|
|2003||Girl with a Pearl Earring||Catharina|
|2003||The Matrix Revolutions||Maggie|
|2006||Charlotte's Web||Mrs. Arable|
|2008||Hey, Hey, It's Esther Blueburger||Grace Blueburger|
|2008||Australia||Catherine "Cath" Carney Fletcher|
|2010||South Solitary||Alma Stanley|
|2010||The Wedding Party||Jane|
|2010||Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole||Marella (voice)|
|2011||The Last Time I Saw Michael Gregg||Lottie||Video|
|2014||The Babadook||Amelia Vanek|
|2016||Assassin's Creed||Mary Lynch|
|2019||True History of the Kelly Gang||Ellen Kelly|
|2020||Miss Fisher & the Crypt of Tears||Phryne Fisher|
|2021||The Justice of Bunny King||Bunny King|
|1997||Water Rats||Senior Det. Nicola Bourke||"Blood Trail"|
"Dead or Alive"
|1997||The Ripper||Evelyn Bookman||TV film|
|1998||Kings in Grass Castles||Mary Costello||TV miniseries|
|1998||Murder Call||Judy St. John||"Deadfall"|
|2000||Halifax f.p.||Alison Blount||"The Spider and the Fly"|
|2001||Corridors of Power||Sophie||"1.4"|
|2002||Young Lions||Julie Morgan||"1.2", "Mardi Gras"|
|2003||Enter the Matrix||Maggie (voice)||Video game|
|2003||After the Deluge||Beth||TV film|
|2006||Sweeney Todd||Mrs. Lovett||TV film|
|2006||The Silence||Juliet Moore||TV film|
|2011||Cloudstreet||Dolly Pickles||TV miniseries|
|2011||The Slap||Anouk||Main role|
|2012–15||Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries||Phryne Fisher||Lead role|
|2014||A Poet in New York||Caitlin Thomas||TV film|
|2014||Funny or Die Presents||Amelia||"The Babadooks of Hazzard"|
|2016||Game of Thrones||Lady Crane||"The Door"|
"Blood of My Blood"
|2017||The White Princess||Elizabeth Woodville|
|2017||Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams||Vera||Episode: "Human Is"|
|2017||The Last Post||Martha Franklin|
|2019||Lambs of God||Sister Iphigenia|
Awards and nominations
Film and television
|2002||Helpmann Awards||Best Female Actor in a Play||The School for Scandal||Nominated|
|2003||Olivier Awards||Best Performance in a Supporting Role||A Streetcar Named Desire||Won|
|2004||Tony Award||Best Featured Actress in a Play||Jumpers||Nominated|
- Hallett, Bryce (11 December 2009). "True crime as a spectator sport". The Sydney Morning Herald.
- Gotting, Peter (17 March 2004). "Big screen dreaming". The Sydney Morning Herald.
- "Essie Davis". The Australian Live Performance Database. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
- Davis, Michael (6 September 2008). "The Face: Essie Davies". The Australian.
- "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof". Melbourne Theatre Company. Archived from the original on 1 October 2008. Retrieved 10 October 2014.
- About The Tasmanian Theatre Company, tastheatre.com. Retrieved 10 October 2014.
- Barton, Steve (26 January 2015). "Mr. Babadook Speaks!". Dread Central.
- "For Your Consideration: The 2015 Chainsaw Award Nominees for Best Actress". Archived from the original on 2 March 2015. Retrieved 26 February 2015.
- Robinson, Joanna (11 September 2015). "Game of Thrones Casts Babadook Star Essie Davis to Play Queen Cersei ... Kinda [Updated]". Vanity Fair Hollywood. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
- Bradley, Laura (13 June 2016). "Two More Game of Thrones Actors Just Joined Starz's The White Queen Follow-Up". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 30 December 2016.
For those who already dearly miss Essie Davis as Lady Crane, who got assassinated in the show's most recent installment, great news: you’ll soon see her again in The White Princess.
- "White Princess, Starz". Coming Soon. Early Word. 7 January 2017. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
The trailer has just been released for the TV series adaptation of Philippa Gregory's White Queen, set to air on the STARZ channel some time in 2017.
- Ramos, Dino-Ray (13 May 2018). "Ann Dowd And Essie Davis Set for Gothic Drama Series 'Lambs Of God'". Retrieved 12 July 2018.
- "Worldwide sales for Lingo Pictures' 'Lambs of God'". Inside Film. 5 August 2019. Retrieved 6 September 2019.
- Keast, Jackie (23 October 2019). "'Lambs of God', 'The Nightingale' lead AACTA nominees". Inside Film. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
- McNary, Dave (6 November 2017). "Russell Crowe, Nicholas Hoult, George MacKay Join 'True History of the Kelly Gang'". Variety. Penske Business Media, LLC. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
- Groves, Don (9 August 2019). "Justin Kurzel to direct TV drama series for Apple". Inside Film. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
- "Rupert Penry-Jones boards 'Miss Fisher & the Crypt of Tears'". Inside Film. 19 October 2018. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
- Groves, Don (25 November 2018). "It's a wrap for 'Miss Fisher & the Crypt of Tears'". Inside Film. Retrieved 25 November 2018.
- "Essie Davis talks about the challenge of bringing Miss Fisher to the big screen," by Travis Johnson, SBS website, 27 Feb 2020
- Wigney, James (10 July 2019). "How Essie Davis defied ageism thanks to Miss Fisher, Game Of Thrones and Lambs Of God". Herald Sun. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
- Vivarelli, Nick (25 July 2019). "Joker, Ad Astra, The Laundromat, Marriage Story to Compete in Venice". Variety. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
- Wiseman, Andreas (16 September 2019). "'The Babadook' Star Essie Davis & 'Leave No Trace' Actress Thomasin McKenzie Lead Cast In 'The Justice Of Bunny King'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
- Quinn, Karl (12 March 2012). "Lunch with Essie Davis". The Sydney Morning Herald.