Viola Davis

Born: 11/08/1965 (58 yo)
Birth place: St. Matthews, South Carolina (USA)

Citizenship : USA

Occupation : Actress
Active Years: 1996 to present


Viola Davis is an American actress. 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).

Davis has played supporting roles in several films, including Traffic (2000), Solaris (2002), Knight and Day (2010) and Ender's Game (2013). Her eleven-minute-long performance in Doubt (2008), an adaptation of John Patrick Shanley's play earned her several honors, including nominations for Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture. Her leading role in the film The Help (2011) garnered her nominations for the Academy Award for Best Actress and Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama, among others. In 2012, she was listed by Time as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. Beginning in 2014, Davis' leading role in the television series How to Get Away with Murder also drew major praise.


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 she entered the program at the Young People's School for the Performing Arts in West Warwick, Rhode Island while he was the director.

She also attended the Juilliard School for four years, as a member of the Drama Division's Group 22 (1989–1993).



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.

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 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 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 Rash?d.

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 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.

Davis reunited with The Help director Tate Taylor in Get on Up, a biopic of James Brown, playing Brown's mother. Her daughter Genesis also appeared in the movie.

In February of 2014, Davis was cast in Shonda Rhimes’ pilot How to Get Away with Murder as the lead character. It began as a series in September 2014.

Davis appeared in Blackhat (2015), a Michael Mann-directed thriller film starring Chris Hemsworth. In December 2014, it was announced that Viola Davis was cast as Amanda Waller in the 2016 DC Comics movie Suicide Squad. In March 2015, she began filming Custody, in addition to serving as one of the executive producers.


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.

Websites & Social Networks



  • 1996      The Substance of Fire
  • 1998      Out of Sight
  • 2000      Traffic
  • 2001      The Shrink Is In
  • 2001      Kate & Leopold
  • 2002      Far from Heaven
  • 2002      Antwone Fisher
  • 2002      Solaris
  • 2005      Get Rich or Die Tryin'
  • 2005      Syriana
  • 2006      The Architect
  • 2006      World Trade Center
  • 2007      Disturbia
  • 2008      Nights in Rodanthe
  • 2008      Doubt
  • 2009      Madea Goes to Jail
  • 2009      State of Play
  • 2009      Law Abiding Citizen
  • 2010      Knight and Day
  • 2010      Eat Pray Love
  • 2010      It's Kind of a Funny Story
  • 2010      Trust
  • 2011      The Help
  • 2011      Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
  • 2012      Won't Back Down
  • 2013      Beautiful Creatures
  • 2013      Ender's Game
  • 2013      The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby
  • 2013      Prisoners
  • 2014      Get On Up
  • 2015      Blackhat
  • 2015      Lila & Eve
  • 2015      Custody
  • 2016      Suicide Squad



  • 1996      NYPD Blue
  • 1996      New York Undercover
  • 1998      The Pentagon Wars
  • 1998      Grace & Glorie
  • 2000      Judging Amy
  • 2000      City of Angels (19 episodes)
  • 2001      Amy & Isabelle
  • 2001      Providence
  • 2001      The Guardian
  • 2001      Third Watch
  • 2002      Father Lefty
  • 2002      Law & Order: Criminal Intent
  • 2002      The Division
  • 2002      CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
  • 2003      Hack
  • 2003      The Practice
  • 2004      Century City (9 episodes)
  • 2005      Jesse Stone: Stone Cold
  • 2005      Threshold
  • 2006      Jesse Stone: Night Passage
  • 2006      Jesse Stone: Death in Paradise
  • 2006      Without a Trace
  • 2006      Life Is Not a Fairytale: The Fantasia Barrino Story
  • 2007      Fort Pit
  • 2007      Jesse Stone: Sea Change
  • 2007      Traveler (8 episodes)
  • 2008      Brothers & Sisters
  • 2008      The Andromeda Strain
  • 2003–08 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
  • 2009      United States of Tara
  • 2014–present   How to Get Away with Murder (Lead role)


Theatre credits

  • 1992      As You Like It Off-Broadway
  • 1996      Seven Guitars Broadway
  • 1997      God's Heart Off-Broadway
  • 1998      Pericles Off-Broadway
  • 1999      Everybody's Ruby Off-Broadway
  • 1999      The Vagina Monologues Off-Broadway
  • 2001      King Hedley II Broadway
  • 2004      Intimate Apparel Off-Broadway
  • 2010      Fences (Revival) Broadway