Davis in 2010
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)|
Beginning her career on the stage, Davis won a Tony and a Drama Desk Award for her role in August Wilson's King Hedley II (2001). She won a second Drama Desk Award for Intimate Apparel (2004), followed by a second Tony and a third Drama Desk Award for her role in Fences (2010).
Among her most notable films are Traffic (2000), Antwone Fisher (2002), Solaris (2002) and The Help (2011). Her eleven-minute-long performance in the film adaptation of John Patrick Shanley's Doubt (2008) earned several honors, including an Academy Award nomination. Her role in the film The Help has garnered two Screen Actors Guild Awards (one for Lead Actress and one for Best Ensemble in a motion picture), a BAFTA Award nomination, another Academy Award nomination, and a Golden Globe nomination. In addition to her success, she was listed in Time's 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2012. In 2014, Davis stars in the ABC legal thriller How to Get Away with Murder by Shonda Rhimes.
Davis was born on her grandmother's farm, on the former Singleton Plantation, in St. Matthews, South Carolina. She is the second youngest of six children. Her father, Dan Davis, was a horse trainer; her mother, Mary Alice, 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, as director of Young People's School for the Performing Arts in West Warwick, Rhode Island, he awarded Davis a scholarship into that program.
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 "Badge", a Law & Order: Criminal Intent episode. 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 her good friend 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 April 2013 it was reported that Davis is in talks to play a starring role in the untitled Michael Mann-directed film that will star Chris Hemsworth and Maggie Casey as his love interest. Legendary Pictures is producing the thriller.
In September 2013, it was announced that Davis would reunite with The Help director Tate Taylor in a biopic of James Brown playing Brown's mother. Her The Help co-star Octavia Spencer was also slated for a role. Davis later revealed that her daughter Genesis would also appear in the movie.
Davis has been married to actor Julius Tennon since 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|
|2009||State of Play||Dr. Judith Franklin|
|2009||Law Abiding Citizen||Mayor April Henry|
|2010||Knight and Day||Director George|
|2010||Eat Pray Love||Delia|
|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||Ender's Game||Major Anderson|
|2013||The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby||Professor Lillian Friedman||Post-Production|
|2014||Get on Up||Susie Brown||Filming|
|2015||Lila & Eve||Lila Walcott||Filming|
|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||How to Get Away with Murder||Annalise Dewitt||lead role|
|1997||God's Heart||Eleanor||Off Broadway|
|1998||Pericles||2nd Fisherman/Lychorida/Bawd||Off Broadway|
|1999||Everybody's Ruby||Ruby McCollum||Off Broadway|
|1999||The Vagina Monologues||Performer (Replacement)||Off Broadway|
|2001||King Hedley II||Tonya||Broadway|
|2004||Intimate Apparel||Esther||Off Broadway|
Awards and nominations
- "IMDb Filmotype". Retrieved December 2013.
- Boroff, Philip (June 14, 2010). "Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, ‘Memphis,’ Win Top Tony Awards". bloomberg. 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.
- 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.
- "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.
- "Viola Davis In Talks To Star In Michael Mann’s Cyber Crime Pic". Deadline. April 19, 2013. Retrieved July 5, 2013.
- "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.
- "Viola Davis Adopts a Daughter, Genesis". October 18, 2011, People Magazine.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Viola Davis.|
- Viola Davis at the Internet Broadway Database
- Viola Davis at the Internet Movie Database
- Works by or about Viola Davis in libraries (WorldCat catalog)