Fast Facts

  • Her introduction to acting came in her teens during her time with Upward Bound, a program that assists low-income students in graduating high school and enrolling in college; Davis continues to support the organization as a speaker, role model and cofounder of an endowment fund.
  • Traveled to Africa when awarded a scholarship in 1981 to study the role of art in native cultures.
  • Made her feature-film debut in 1996's The Substance of Fire.
  • Among her theater awards: a Tony nomination for August Wilson's Seven Guitars (1996); an Obie for Everybody's Ruby (1999); a Tony and a Drama Desk Award  for Wilson's King Hedley II (2001); Drama Desk and Obie Awards for her role in Intimate Apparel (2004); and a Tony Award for Fences (2010).
  • Has worked several times with director Steven Soderbergh, including the films Out of Sight (1998), Traffic (2000) and Solaris (2002).
  • Received an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts Degree in 2002 from Rhode Island College, her alma mater.
  • Consulted with her mother frequently about her mom's experiences working as a maid to help create the backstory for Aibileen, Davis' character from 2011's The Help.
  • Named to the 2012 TIME 100, a list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Awards

  • 2001, Tony — Actress (Featured Role--Play): Winner
  • 2009, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture: Nominee
  • 1996, Tony — Actress (Featured Role--Play): Nominee
  • 2008, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role: Nominee
  • 2010, Tony — Actress (Play): Winner
  • 2008, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture: Nominee
  • 2011, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role: Nominee
  • 2012, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama: Nominee
  • 2011, BAFTA Film Awards — Best Leading Actress: Nominee
  • 2011, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role: Winner
  • 2011, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture: Winner
  • 2015, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Drama: Nominee
  • 2015, People's Choice Awards — Favorite Actress in a New TV Series: Winner
  • 2014, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series: Winner
  • 2015, Critics' Choice Television Awards — Best Actress in a Drama Series: Nominee
  • 2015, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series: Nominee
  • 2009, Critics' Choice Awards — Best Acting Ensemble: Nominee
  • 2009, Critics' Choice Awards — Best Supporting Actress: Nominee
  • 2012, Critics' Choice Movie Awards — Best Actress: Nominee
  • 2003, Independent Spirit Awards — Best Supporting Female: Nominee
  • 2008, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role: Nominee

Relationships

  • Genesis — Daughter
  • Dianne Wright — Sister
  • Julius Tennon — Husband
  • Mary Davis — Mother
  • Dan Davis — Father
  • Deloris Grant — Sister

College

  • Rhode Island College, Providence, RI (BA in Theater, 1988); The Juilliard School, New York, NY (Theater Arts, 1994)

Details

  • Birth Name: Viola Davis
  • Birth Place: Saint Matthews, SC
  • Birthday: August 11, 1965, Leo
  • Profession: Actor
  • User Rating:3.99 out of 5 (89 ratings)
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