Viola Davis (born on August 11, 1965) is an African-American actress and producer from St. Matthews, South Carolina. Viola made a groundbreaking achievement by becoming the first Black person to attain the Triple Crown of Acting and is the third person to accomplish this feat. Additionally, she is one of a small group of actors to have won all four major North American entertainment awards, namely an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony (EGOT).
Early Life & Education
Viola Davis was born and raised in St. Matthews, South Carolina, and spent her childhood with her struggling family in Rhode Island. To escape financial difficulties at home, she turned to movies.
Her father worked as a horse groomer at racetracks, while her mother held domestic and factory jobs to support the family.
Viola’s love for acting developed early in high school. In 1988, Viola obtained a degree in theater from Rhode Island College. Following that, she wasted no time pursuing her studies at the prestigious Juilliard School of Performing Arts in New York City.
Viola quickly established herself in the New York theater scene, earning a reputation for outstanding performances. She proceeded to the Young Peoples School for the Performing Arts in Rhode Island on scholarship before attending the Juilliard School, from which she graduated in 1994.
Viola is widely known for her notable film, television, and theater performances. One of her early theater appearances was in the off-Broadway production of William Shakespeare’s comedy As You Like It, where she co-starred with Elizabeth McGovern in 1992 at the Delacorte Theatre, playing the role of Denis.
Davis became a theater actor and made her Broadway debut in 1996 with August Wilson‘s Seven Guitars. In the play, she played Vera, a character who forgives her abusive partner. Viola worked with Wilson again on his 2001 play King Hedley II, which earned her a Tony Award.
In 2008, Viola garnered critical acclaim for her role as Mrs. Miller in the film Doubt. In the subsequent year, Viola took on the role of Aibileen Clark in the movie The Help, which earned her an esteemed nomination for the highly coveted Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role.
Davis made a significant milestone in 2014 by becoming the first Black female actress to win the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. Her remarkable and awe-inspiring portrayal of Annalise Keating in How to Get Away with Murder earned her this achievement. Her performance in the show was also acknowledged with several Screen Actors Guild Awards and NAACP Image Awards.
Davis gave a stunning performance in the 2020 film Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom as the titular character, earning her widespread critical acclaim and securing her second Academy Award win. This incredible feat made her the first Black actress to receive an Oscar, Emmy, and Tony Award in acting categories. Beyond her impressive achievements, Viola remains a vocal advocate for greater diversity and representation in Hollywood.
In 2022, Viola was featured as the lead role in the movie, Woman King, playing the role of Nanisca/The woman King. The movie featured many talented actors, including Lashana Lynch, John Boyega, Thuso Nokwanda Mbedu, Adrienne Warren, Sheila Atim and many others.
Her trailblazing achievements and contributions to the industry inspire and set an example for future generations of actors and actresses.
- The Help
- Suicide Squad
- Get on Up
- Ender’s Game
- The Help
- Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
- Woman King
Viola was born into a Christian Home in South Carolina on August 11, 1965, and grew up in a struggling family.
She has been married to actor and producer Julius Tennon since 2003, and the couple has one daughter together, Genesis Tennon, whom they adopted in 2011.
In interviews, Viola has spoken about her experiences with poverty and racism and advocated for social justice causes throughout her career. She is also known for her love of fashion and has made several appearances at red-carpet events wearing stunning designer gowns.
Viola Davis had an estimated net worth of $25 million.