Viola Davis life and biography

Viola Davis picture, image, poster

Viola Davis biography

Date of birth : 1965-08-11
Date of death : -
Birthplace : St. Matthews, South Carolina, U.S.
Nationality : American
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2011-10-18
Credited as : Actress, Doubt movie, Academy Award for Best Actress

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Viola Davis was born on August 11, 1965, in Saint Matthews, South Carolina. Most of her childhood was spent in Cedar Falls, Rhode Island, with her parents and three siblings. Despite her father's job working with horses, Viola Davis lived in poverty for much of her upbringing and was forced to contend with racism. Luckily, she dealt with these difficulties in healthy ways by focusing on academics and visiting movie theaters as often as possible.

Viola Davis left Rhode Island to attend the highly regarded Juilliard School to study acting. Although she learned many invaluable acting skills there, she felt that the individual focus was lacking and vowed to find an individual style that would help her stand out as an actress. She wound up completing her acting studies at Rhode Island College in 1988 with a theater degree. Confident that she had the tools for acting, Viola Davis was now ready to earn sufficient professional experience.

In her early years as a professional actress, Viola Davis enjoyed a greater degree of critical success on stage. Living in the Big Apple, she performed in the well-received 1996 Broadway production of Seven Guitars and made waves in 2001 as a woman fighting for the right to have an abortion in King Hedley II. Her heartbreaking performance won both a Tony Award and Drama Desk Award, putting her front and center as an acclaimed stage actress. Viola Davis proved that her performance in Hedley wasn't a fluke by winning a second Drama Desk Award, this time in 2004 for playing a soft-spoken seamstress in Intimate Apparel.

In trying to replicate her stage success on screen, Viola Davis worked steadily but didn't immediately enjoy the same kind of exposure. Her first film role was as a nurse in 1996's The Substance of Fire, which costarred Sarah Jessica Parker, but it led to slightly higher-profile guest spots on NYPD Blue and New York Undercover. In 1998, film director Steven Soderbergh offered her a small role in Out of Sight with George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez. This association proved to be key for Viola Davis, as she would later star as a social worker in Soderbergh's drug drama Traffic, an emotionally battered astronaut in the sci-fi opus Solaris, which also starred Clooney and was again directed by Soderbergh. Viola Davis also starred in 24 episodes of the series City of Angels, and shared the screen with Denzel Washington in his 2002 directorial debut Antwone Fisher. The latter would earn her an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

Having developed her skills in TV and film, Viola Davis longed for something more permanent in the TV world. She had plum roles in the 2004 futuristic legal series Century City and the mystery 2007 series Traveler, but neither one lasted more than 10 episodes. While she did enjoy a key role in the TV miniseries The Andromeda Strain, Viola Davis proved to have better luck in movies. She starred as a detective opposite Shia LaBeouf in the hit 2007 thriller Disturbia, and followed it up with the 2008 drama Nights in Rodanthe with Diane Lane and Richard Gere.

At the end of 2008, Viola Davis finally earned some much-needed on-screen critical recognition for her performance in the film Doubt. Based on the stage play of the same name, Viola Davis played the mother of an abused boy and earned a Golden Globe Award nomination and an Oscar nomination in the process. The future looks promising for Viola Davis, with roles in the upcoming thriller State of Play, starring Russell Crowe, Rachel McAdams and Ben Affleck, as well as Law Abiding Citizen with Jaime Foxx and Gerard Butler. With several theater awards already on her shelf, it's inevitable that the talented Viola Davis will soon find some matching screen awards to stand tall next to them.

At the 2009 Academy Awards, Viola Davis was honored with the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her work in Doubt.

On June 13, 2010, Davis won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play 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, 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 joined Octavia Spencer, Emma Stone, Jessica Chastain, and Bryce Dallas Howard in DreamWorks' production of The Help, in which she played the stalwart domestic, "Aibileen Clark."
The film was directed by Tate Taylor, and produced by Brunson Green, Chris Columbus, Michael Barnathan, and Mark Radcliffe. Her role has garnered her critical acclaim, and has started buzz for various awards nominations.

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