Davis at the SAG Awards, 2015
August 11, 1965 |
St. Matthews, South Carolina, United States
|Alma mater||Rhode Island College (1988)
Juilliard School (1993)
|Home town||Central Falls, Rhode Island|
|Spouse(s)||Julius Tennon (m. 2003)|
Viola Davis (born August 11, 1965) is an American actress and producer. After graduating from Juilliard, she began her career on the stage, and in 1999 she won an Obie Award for her performance as Ruby McCollum in Everybody's Ruby. She is a three-time Tony Award nominee and has won twice, for her roles as Tonya in the 2001 production of King Hedley II, and for her role as Rose Maxson in the 2010 revival of Fences.
In 2003, Davis was nominated for an Indie Spirit Award for her performance in Antwone Fisher. In 2008 her performance as Mrs. Miller in Doubt earned her several nominations, including for the Golden Globe, SAG, and Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. For her lead role as Aibileen Clark in the film The Help (2011), she received nominations for the Golden Globe, BAFTA, and Academy Award for Best Actress. She also won the SAG Award.
In 2012, she was listed by Time as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. In 2014 she began starring as Annalise Keating in the television series How to Get Away with Murder, for which she has received critical acclaim. For her performance she has won a SAG Award and received Emmy Award and Golden Globe nominations.
Davis was born in St. Matthews, South Carolina on her grandmother's farm, the former Singleton Plantation. The daughter of Mary Alice and Dan Davis,she is the second youngest of six children. Her father was a horse trainer and her mother was a maid, factory worker, and homemaker, as well as a civil rights activist. Her family moved to Central Falls, Rhode Island a few months after she was born. Davis has described herself as having "lived in abject poverty and dysfunction" during her childhood.
Davis partially credits her love of stage acting with her involvement in the arts at her alma mater, Central Falls High School. Davis majored in theatre at Rhode Island College, graduating in 1988; in 2002 she received an honorary doctorate in Fine Arts from the college. She was involved in the federal TRIO Upward Bound and TRIO Student Support Services programs. While Davis was a teenager, her talent was recognized by Bernard Masterson when she entered the program at the Young People's School for the Performing Arts in West Warwick, Rhode Island while he was the director.
In 2001, she won the Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award for her portrayal of Tonya in King Hedley II, a "35-year-old mother fighting eloquently for the right to abort a pregnancy." She has also won another Drama Desk Award for her work in a 2004 off-Broadway production of Intimate Apparel by Lynn Nottage.
Davis appeared in numerous films, including three films directed by Steven Soderbergh – Out of Sight, Solaris and Traffic, as well as Syriana, which Soderbergh produced. Viola was also the uncredited voice of the parole board interrogator who questions Danny Ocean (George Clooney) in the first scene in Ocean's Eleven. She also gave brief performances in the films Kate & Leopold and Antwone Fisher. Her television work includes a recurring role in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, starring roles in two short-lived series, Traveler and Century City, and a special guest appearance in a Law & Order: Criminal Intent episode entitled "Badge".
In 2008, Davis played Mrs. Miller in the film adaptation to the Broadway play Doubt, with Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Amy Adams. Davis was nominated for several awards for this performance, including a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
On June 30, 2009, Davis was inducted into The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. On June 13, 2010, Davis won her second Tony Award for her role as Rose Maxson in a revival of August Wilson's Fences. She is the second African-American woman to win the award, after Phylicia Rashād.
Davis played the role of Dr. Minerva in It's Kind of a Funny Story (2010), a coming-of-age film written and directed by Anna Boden with Ryan Fleck, adapted from the 2006 novel by Ned Vizzini. In August 2011, Davis played the role of Aibileen Clark in the screen adaptation of Kathryn Stockett's novel The Help, directed by Tate Taylor. For her performance, Davis garnered great critical acclaim, and eventually received two Screen Actors Guild Awards, as well as her second Academy Award nomination, which she ultimately lost to Meryl Streep. She also received Golden Globe Award and BAFTA nominations for the same performance.
In 2012, Time magazine listed Davis as one of the most influential people in the world. Also in 2012, Glamour magazine named Davis Glamour's Film Actress of the year. On June 12, 2012, Davis was presented with the Women in Film's Crystal Award by her friend and Oscar rival that year Meryl Streep. On June 25, 2012, The Walk of Fame Committee of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce announced that Davis was part of the new group of entertainment professionals who have been selected to receive stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2013.
In February of 2014, Davis was cast in Shonda Rhimes' pilot How to Get Away with Murder as the lead character. It began as a series in September 2014. On July 16, 2015 she was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her work on the show. 
Davis appeared in Blackhat (2015), a Michael Mann-directed thriller film starring Chris Hemsworth. In December 2014, it was announced that Viola Davis was cast as Amanda Waller in the 2016 DC Comics movie Suicide Squad. In March 2015, she began filming Custody, in addition to serving as one of the executive producers.
Davis married actor Julius Tennon in June 2003. They have a daughter, Genesis, whom they adopted as a newborn in October 2011. Davis is stepmother to Tennon's two sons from previous relationships.
|1996||Substance of Fire, TheThe Substance of Fire||Nurse|
|1998||Out of Sight||Moselle Miller|
|2001||Shrink Is In, TheThe Shrink Is In||Robin|
|2001||Kate & Leopold||Policewoman|
|2002||Far from Heaven||Sybil|
|2002||Antwone Fisher||Eva May|
|2005||Get Rich or Die Tryin'||Grandma|
|2006||Architect, TheThe Architect||Tonya Neely|
|2006||World Trade Center||Mother in Hospital|
|2008||Nights in Rodanthe||Jean|
|2009||Madea Goes to Jail||Ellen St. Matthews|
|2009||State of Play||Dr. Judith Franklin|
|2009||Law Abiding Citizen||Mayor April Henry|
|2010||Knight and Day||Director Isabel George|
|2010||Eat Pray Love||Delia Shiraz|
|2010||It's Kind of a Funny Story||Dr. Minerva|
|2011||The Help||Aibileen Clark|
|2011||Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close||Abby Black|
|2012||Won't Back Down||Nona Alberts|
|2013||Beautiful Creatures||Amarie "Amma" Treadeau|
|2013||Ender's Game||Major Anderson|
|2013||The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby||Professor Lillian Friedman|
|2014||Get On Up||Susie Brown|
|2015||Blackhat||FBI Agent Carol Barrett|
|2015||Lila & Eve||Lila Walcott|
|2015||Custody||Judge Martha Sherman||Post-production
Also executive producer
|2016||Suicide Squad||Amanda Waller||Post-production|
|1996||NYPD Blue||Woman||Episode: "Moby Greg"|
|1996||New York Undercover||Mrs. Stapleton||Episode: "Smack is Back"|
|1998||Pentagon Wars, TheThe Pentagon Wars||Platoon Sgt. Fanning|
|1998||Grace & Glorie||Rosemary Allbright|
|2000||Judging Amy||Celeste||Episode: "Blast from the Past"|
|2000||City of Angels||Nurse Lynnette Peeler||19 episodes|
|2001||Amy & Isabelle||Dottie|
|2001||Providence||Dr. Eleanor Weiss||Episode: "You Can Count On Me"|
|2001||Guardian, TheThe Guardian||Attorney Suzanna Clemons||Episode: "The Men from the Boys"|
|2001||Third Watch||Margo Rodriguez||Episode: "Act Brave"|
|2002||Law & Order: Criminal Intent||Terry Randolph||Episode: "Badge"|
|2002||Division, TheThe Division||Dr. Georgia Davis||Episode: "Remembrance"|
|2002||CSI: Crime Scene Investigation||Attorney Campbell||Episode: "The Execution of Catherine Willows"|
|2003||Hack||Stevie Morgan||Episode: "Third Strike"|
|2003||Practice, TheThe Practice||Aisha Crenshaw||Episode: "We the People"|
|2004||Century City||Hannah Crane||9 episodes|
|2005||Jesse Stone: Stone Cold||Molly Crane|
|2005||Threshold||Victoria Rossi||Episode: "Shock"|
|2006||Jesse Stone: Night Passage||Molly Crane|
|2006||Jesse Stone: Death in Paradise||Molly Crane|
|2006||Without a Trace||Audrey Williams||Episode: "White Balance"|
|2006||Life Is Not a Fairytale: The Fantasia Barrino Story||Diane Barrino||TV movie|
|2007||Jesse Stone: Sea Change||Molly Crane|
|2007||Traveler||Agent Jan Marlow||8 episodes|
|2008||Brothers & Sisters||Ellen Snyder||Episode: "Double Negative"|
|2008||Andromeda Strain, TheThe Andromeda Strain||Dr. Charlene Barton|
|2003–2008||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Donna Emmett||7 episodes|
|2009||United States of Tara||Lynda P Frazier||6 episodes|
|2014–present||How to Get Away with Murder||Professor Annalise Keating||Lead role|
|1992||As You Like It||Denise||Off-Broadway|
|1999||Everybody's Ruby||Ruby McCollum||Off-Broadway|
|1999||The Vagina Monologues||Performer (Replacement)||Off-Broadway|
|2001||King Hedley II||Tonya||Broadway|
- Boroff, Philip (June 14, 2010). "Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, ‘Memphis,’ Win Top Tony Awards". Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved July 8, 2012.
- SAG Awards 2012: Complete list of winners The Associated Press via New York Daily News, January 30, 2012.
- "The 100 Most Influential People In The World". Time. April 18, 2012.
- "Best actress nominee Viola Davis has roots in St. Matthews". February 25, 2012. Retrieved July 8, 2012.
- "Viola Davis’ path from poverty in Central Falls to Hollywood glamour" February 22, 2009, Providence Journal.
- Veteran Actors, First Time Nominees.
- Buckley, Michael (March 14, 2004). "Chats with Intimate Apparel's Viola Davis and New York Newcomer, King Lear's Geraint Wyn Davies". Playbill.com.
- "Viola Davis: "The Help" and "Daring Yourself to Dream Big". August 1, 2011, Life Goes Strong.
- Davis spoke of her mother's activism during an appearance on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, relating how she had been taken to jail along with her mother at age two when Mary Davis was arrested during a Civil Rights protest (September 20, 2012).
- "Best actress nominee Viola Davis has roots in St. Matthews". thestate.com.
- "Viola Davis Tackles Fear, Shines In 'Doubt'" December 10, 2008, NPR.
- A.V. Club Viola Davis interview, February 2009.
- RIC to Award 1,300 Degrees at Commencement Exercises, from the website of Rhode Island College.
- TV Guide Viola Davis: Biography.
- Brown, Gita, "Exclusive What’s News @ RIC interview: Viola Davis talks about her life and her new film", What's News, Rhode Island College, August 2, 2011.
- "Alumni News". Juilliard School. October 2011. Archived from the original on 2011-11-11.
- Moynihan, Rob (January 19, 2015). "How I Got My SAG-AFTRA Card", TV Guide. p. 8
- Truly, Madly, Intimately, September 2004. American Theatre magazine.
- Stodghill, Alexis Garrett (December 23, 2011). "Viola Davis' top 10 performances: From 'Traffic' to 'The Help'". Grio. Retrieved 8 July 2012.
- "Oscar nominations 2009: Amy Adams and Viola Davis discuss their roles in Doubt". The Daily Telegraph. January 22, 2009. Retrieved July 8, 2012.
- "Academy Invites 134 to Membership". oscars.org. June 30, 2009. Retrieved 8 July 2012.
- "Fences Stars Viola Davis & Denzel Washington Win 2010 Tony Awards". broadway.com. June 13, 2010. Retrieved July 8, 2012.
- Sciretta, Peter (November 30, 2009). "Ryan Fleck’s It’s Kind of a Funny Story Begins Production". /Film. Archived from the original on June 12, 2010. Retrieved June 12, 2010.
- Eggertsen, Chris (September 14, 2014). "Shocker: Oscar nominee Viola Davis is routinely offered 'mammy-ish' roles by Hollywood". HitFix.
- "TIME '100 Most Influential People': Kristen Wiig, Viola Davis And Other Actors Honored". moviefone. 2012-04-18. Retrieved July 8, 2012.
- "Film Actress - Viola Davis". glamourmagazine. May 29, 2012. Retrieved July 8, 2012.
- "Meryl Streep-Viola Davis Love Fest at Women in Film Awards". showbiz. June 14, 2012. Retrieved July 8, 2012.
- Gans, Andrew (June 25, 2012). "Viola Davis, Helen Mirren, Jane Lynch, Olympia Dukakis, Jennifer Hudson Are Hollywood Walk of Fame Recipients". Retrieved July 8, 2012.
- "Tate Taylor Reunites With 'The Help’s' Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer On James Brown Pic". Deadline. September 30, 2013. Retrieved October 23, 2013.
- "Viola Davis - Viola Davis' Daughter To Make Acting Debut In James Brown Biopic". WENN. October 22, 2013. Retrieved October 23, 2013.
- "Viola Davis to Star in ABC Drama 'How to Get Away With Murder'". hollywood reporter. Retrieved 10 May 2014.
- Andreeva, Nellie (8 May 2014). "ABC Picks Up Shonda Rhimes ‘How To Get Away With Murder’, John Ridley’s ‘American Crime’, Comedy ‘Black-ish’ To Series". Deadline.com. Retrieved 9 May 2014.
- Nakamura, Reid. "Viola Davis and Taraji P. Henson Make Emmy History With ‘How to Get Away With Murder,’ ‘Empire’ Roles". Retrieved 27 August 2015.
- "Viola Davis In Talks To Star In Michael Mann’s Cyber Crime Pic". Deadline. April 19, 2013. Retrieved July 5, 2013.
- McNary, Dave. "Hayden Panettiere, Ellen Burstyn Join Viola Davis in ‘Custody’". Variety. Retrieved May 15, 2015.
- "Viola Davis Adopts a Daughter, Genesis". October 18, 2011, People Magazine.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Viola Davis.|
- Viola Davis at the Internet Movie Database
- Viola Davis at the Internet Broadway Database
- Viola Davis at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- Works by or about Viola Davis in libraries (WorldCat catalog)