Monday, 21 September 2015


            BLACK   SOCIAL   HISTORY                                                                                                                        

Viola Davis

Viola Davis
Viola Davis June 2015.jpg
Davis at the SAG Awards, 2015
BornAugust 11, 1965 (age 50)
St. Matthews, South Carolina, United States
Alma materRhode Island College (1988)
Juilliard School (1993)
OccupationActress, producer
Years active1996–present
Home townCentral Falls, Rhode Island
Spouse(s)Julius Tennon (m. 2003)
Viola Davis (born August 11, 1965) is an American actress and producer. After graduating from the Juilliard School, 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 role as Tonya in the 2001 production of King Hedley II, and for her role as Rose Maxson in the 2010 revival of Fences.[1]
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 GlobeSAG, 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 GlobeBAFTA, andAcademy Award for Best Actress. She also won the SAG Award.[2]
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 universal critical acclaim. For her work, she won a SAG Award, received a Golden Globe nomination, and in 2015, became the first African-American woman to win aPrimetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.[3][4]

Early life

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,[5] she is the second youngest of six children.[6] Her father was a horse trainer and her mother was a maid, factory worker, and homemaker,[7][8][9] as well as a civil rights activist.[10] Her family moved to Central Falls, Rhode Island a few months after she was born.[11] Davis has described herself as having "lived in abject poverty and dysfunction" during her childhood.[12]
Davis partially credits her love of stage acting with her involvement in the arts at her alma materCentral Falls High School.[13] Davis majored in theatre at Rhode Island College, graduating in 1988; in 2002 she received an honorary doctorate in Fine Arts from the college.[14] She was involved in the federal TRIO Upward Bound and TRIO Student Support Services programs.[15] 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.[16]
She also attended the Juilliard School for four years,[8] as a member of the Drama Division's Group 22 (1989–1993).[17]


Viola Davis received her Screen Actors Guild card in 1996 for doing one day of work as a nurse who passes a vial of blood to Timothy Hutton in the film The Substance of Fire. She was paid $528.[18]
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."[19] 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 SightSolaris 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.[20] 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 StreepPhilip Seymour Hoffman, and Amy Adams. Though Davis had only one scene in the film,[21] she was nominated for several awards for her performance, including a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.[22]
On June 30, 2009, Davis was inducted into The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.[23] On June 13, 2010, Davis won her second Tony Award for her role as Rose Maxson in a revival of August Wilson's Fences.[24] 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 novelby Ned Vizzini.[25] 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,[26] 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.[27] Also in 2012, Glamour magazine named Davis Glamour's Film Actress of the year.[28]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.[29] 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.[30]
Davis reunited with The Help director Tate Taylor in Get on Up, a biopic of James Brown, playing Brown's mother.[31] Her daughter Genesis also appeared in the movie.[32]
In February 2014, Davis was cast in Shonda Rhimes' pilot How to Get Away with Murder as the lead character.[33] It began as a series in September 2014.[34] On September 20, 2015, she won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her work on the show, making history as the first African-American woman to win the award.[35].
Davis appeared in Blackhat (2015), a Michael Mann-directed thriller film starring Chris Hemsworth.[36] In December 2014, it was announced that Viola Davis was cast as Amanda Waller in the 2016 DC Comics movie Suicide Squad.[37] In March 2015, she began filming Custody, in addition to serving as one of the executive producers.[38]

Personal life

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.[39]



1996The Substance of FireNurse
1998Out of SightMoselle Miller
2000TrafficSocial Worker
2001The Shrink Is InRobin
2001Kate & LeopoldPolicewoman
2002Far from HeavenSybil
2002Antwone FisherEva May Fisher
2002SolarisDr. Gordon
2005Get Rich or Die Tryin'Grandma
2005SyrianaCIA ChairwomanUncredited
2006The ArchitectTonya Neely
2006World Trade CenterMother in Hospital
2007DisturbiaDetective Parker
2008Nights in RodantheJean
2008DoubtMrs. Miller
2009Madea Goes to JailEllen St. Matthews
2009State of PlayDr. Judith Franklin
2009Law Abiding CitizenMayor April Henry
2010Knight and DayDirector Isabel George
2010Eat Pray LoveDelia Shiraz
2010It's Kind of a Funny StoryDr. Minerva
2010TrustGail Friedman
2011The HelpAibileen Clark
2011Extremely Loud and Incredibly CloseAbby Black
2012Won't Back DownNona Alberts
2013Beautiful CreaturesAmarie "Amma" Treadeau
2013Ender's GameMajor Anderson
2013The Disappearance of Eleanor RigbyProfessor Lillian Friedman
2013PrisonersNancy Birch
2014Get On UpSusie Brown
2015BlackhatFBI Agent Carol Barrett
2015Lila & EveLila Walcott
2015CustodyJudge Martha ShermanPost-production
Also executive producer
2016Suicide SquadAmanda WallerPost-production


1996NYPD BlueWomanEpisode: "Moby Greg"
1996New York UndercoverMrs. StapletonEpisode: "Smack is Back"
1998The Pentagon WarsPlatoon Sgt. Fanning
1998Grace & GlorieRosemary Allbright
2000Judging AmyCelesteEpisode: "Blast from the Past"
2000City of AngelsNurse Lynnette Peeler19 episodes
2001Amy & IsabelleDottie
2001ProvidenceDr. Eleanor WeissEpisode: "You Can Count On Me"
2001The GuardianAttorney Suzanna ClemonsEpisode: "The Men from the Boys"
2001Third WatchMargo RodriguezEpisode: "Act Brave"
2002Father Lefty
2002Law & Order: Criminal IntentTerry RandolphEpisode: "Badge"
2002The DivisionDr. Georgia DavisEpisode: "Remembrance"
2002CSI: Crime Scene InvestigationAttorney CampbellEpisode: "The Execution of Catherine Willows"
2003HackStevie MorganEpisode: "Third Strike"
2003The PracticeAisha CrenshawEpisode: "We the People"
2004Century CityHannah Crane9 episodes
2005Jesse Stone: Stone ColdMolly Crane
2005ThresholdVictoria RossiEpisode: "Shock"
2006Jesse Stone: Night PassageMolly Crane
2006Jesse Stone: Death in ParadiseMolly Crane
2006Without a TraceAudrey WilliamsEpisode: "White Balance"
2006Life Is Not a Fairytale: The Fantasia Barrino StoryDiane BarrinoTV movie
2007Fort Pit
2007Jesse Stone: Sea ChangeMolly Crane
2007TravelerAgent Jan Marlow8 episodes
2008Brothers & SistersEllen SnyderEpisode: "Double Negative"
2008The Andromeda StrainDr. Charlene Barton
2003–2008Law & Order: Special Victims UnitDonna Emmett7 episodes
2009United States of TaraLynda P Frazier6 episodes
2014–presentHow to Get Away with MurderProfessor Annalise KeatingLead role

Theatre credits

1992As You Like ItDeniseOff-Broadway
1996Seven GuitarsVeraBroadway
1997God's HeartEleanorOff-Broadway
1998Pericles2nd Fisherman/Lychorida/BawdOff-Broadway
1999Everybody's RubyRuby McCollumOff-Broadway
1999The Vagina MonologuesPerformer (Replacement)Off-Broadway
2001King Hedley IITonyaBroadway
2004Intimate ApparelEstherOff-Broadway