7 January 1970
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Justin Kurzel (m. 2002)
Esther Davis (born 7 January 1970), better known by the stage name Essie Davis, is an Australian actress. She is best known for her roles as Phryne Fisher in Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries and Amelia Vanek in The Babadook. Other major work has included a recurring role as actress Lady Crane in season six of the television series Game of Thrones, and the role of Elizabeth Woodville in the television series The White Princess, an adaptation of Philippa Gregory's historical novel.
Davis was brought up on the outskirts of Hobart. 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' film career started with her role in the Australian 1995 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 late 2016, there were some plans for a movie, possibly a full trilogy, featuring the character Phryne Fisher. In May 2016, the actress said she would certainly consider appearing in a Miss Fisher film. "[We’re] just working out the ideas of how to make it bigger and better and more fabulous than the TV show." In September 2017, a crowdfunding campaign launched in support of the feature film Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears. The campaign reached its goal in less than 48 hours. The producers plan to begin production on the feature in 2018.
|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|
|TBA||True History of the Kelly Gang||Filming|
|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|
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|
- "True crime as a spectator sport" by Bryce Hallett, The Sydney Morning Herald, 11 December 2009
- Peter Gotting,"Big screen dreaming", The Sydney Morning Herald, 17 March 2004.
- "Essie Davis". www.ausstage.edu.au. Retrieved 2016-05-27.
- "The Face: Essie Davies" by Michael Davis, The Australian, 6 September 2008
- Production details Archived 1 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine. for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Melbourne Theatre Company; accessed 10 October 2014.
- About The Tasmanian Theatre Company, tastheatre.com; accessed 10 October 2014.
- Mr. Babadook Speaks!
- For Your Consideration: The 2015 Chainsaw Award Nominees for Best Actress
- 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.
- Bowden, Ebony (17 November 2016). "ABC's Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries set to become an action movie trilogy". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 30 December 2016.
- Spring, Alexandra (9 May 2016). "The thousand faces of Essie Davis: 'People don't realise I'm the same person'". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
- Moran, Rob (19 September 2017). "Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries movie smashes Kickstarter goal in hours". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
- Karl Quinn,"Lunch with Essie Davis", The Sydney Morning Herald, 12 March 2012.