Viola Davis is an American actress and producer.
Let’s see some intriguing facts about her!
1. Viola Davis was born August 11, 1965 in St. Matthews, South Carolina.
2. She was born at her grandparents’ house on the Singleton Plantation.
3. She is the daughter of Mary Alice and Dan Davis and is the second youngest of six children.
4. Her father was a horse trainer and her mother was a maid, factory worker and homemaker.
5. Her mother was also an activist during the Civil Rights Movement.
6. At the age of two, Davis was taken to jail with her mother after she was arrested during a civil rights protest.
7. Two months after she was born, her family moved to Central Falls, Rhode Island, with Davis and two of her sisters, leaving her older sister and brother with her grandparents.
8. She has described herself as having “lived in abject poverty and dysfunction” during her childhood, recalling living in “rat-infested and condemned” apartments.
9. Davis is the second cousin of actor Mike Colter, who is known for portraying the Marvel Comics character Luke Cage.
10. Davis attended Central Falls High School, the alma mater to which she partially credits her love of stage acting with her involvement in the arts.
11. As a teen, she was involved in the federal TRIO Upward Bound and TRIO Student Support Services programs.
12. When enrolled at the Young People’s School for the Performing Arts in West Warwick, Rhode Island, Davis’ talent was recognized by a director at the program, Bernard Masterson.
13. Following graduation from high school, Davis studied at Rhode Island College, majoring in theater and graduating in 1988.
14. She was awarded an honorary doctorate in Fine Arts from the college in 2002.
15. After her graduation from Rhode Island, Davis attended the Juilliard School for four years, and was a member of the school’s Drama Division “Group 22″(1989–1993).
16. Davis received her Screen Actors Guild card in 1996 for doing one day of work, playing a nurse who passes a vial of blood to Timothy Hutton in the film The Substance of Fire. She was paid $528.
17. 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.
18. 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.
19. 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”.
21. In 2008, Davis played Mrs. Miller in the film adaptation to the Broadway play Doubt, with Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Amy Adams. Though Davis had only one scene in the film, 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. She is the second African-American woman to win the award, after Phylicia Rashad.
24. 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.
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, which she ultimately lost to Meryl Streep.
27. She also received Golden Globe Award and BAFTA nominations for the same performance.
28. In 2012, Time magazine listed Davis as one of the most influential people in the world.
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. On January 5, 2017, Davis received the 2,597th star on the Walk of Fame.
31. Davis reunited with The Help director Tate Taylor in Get on Up, a biopic of James Brown, playing Brown’s mother. Her three year old daughter, Genesis also appeared in the movie.
32. In February 2014, Davis was cast in Peter Nowalk’s pilot How to Get Away with Murder (executive produced by Shonda Rhimes for her ShondaLand production company) as the lead character.
33. On September 20, 2015, she became the first black woman of any nationality to win the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.
34. She received a second Primetime Emmy Award nomination for the role in 2016.
35. In 2015, Davis appeared in Blackhat, a Michael Mann-directed thriller film starring Chris Hemsworth.
36. She also appeared in Lila & Eve with Jennifer Lopez. Davis also served as a producer.
37. In 2016, Davis starred in the courtroom drama Custody, on which she also served as an executive producer, played Amanda Waller in the film Suicide Squad, an adaptation of a DC Comics series of the same name, and reprised her role as Rose Maxson for the film adaptation of Fences, for which she received her third Academy Award nomination and first win for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress, the BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actress, and the Screen Actors Guild Award.
38. Davis married actor Julius Tennon, in June 2003. They have a daughter, Genesis, whom they adopted as a newborn in October 2011.
39. Davis is stepmother to Tennon’s son and daughter from previous relationships.
40. Davis has remained a booster of her hometown of Central Falls, Rhode Island.
41. In 2016, she attended the groundbreaking of a community health center there. She has also raised and donated money for the city’s library and the Central Falls High School.