Viola Davis is an American actress and producer. She was the first black woman to be nominated for three Academy Awards, winning one, and is the only black actor to achieve the Triple Crown of Acting.
In 2012 and 2017, she was listed by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
After graduating from the Juilliard School in 1993, Davis began her career on stage and won an Obie Award in 1999 for her performance as Ruby McCollum in Everybody’s Ruby. She played supporting and minor roles in several films and television series in the late 1990s and early 2000s, including the films Kate & Leopold (2001) and Far from Heaven (2002), and the television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. In 2001, she won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for her role as Tonya in the original production of August Wilson’s King Hedley II.
Davis’ film breakthrough came in 2008 when her supporting role in the drama Doubt earned her several nominations, including the Golden Globe, SAG, and the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Greater success came to Davis in the 2010s. She won the 2010 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for her role as Rose Maxson in the revival of August Wilson’s play Fences. For her lead role as 1960s housemaid Aibileen Clark in the comedy-drama The Help (2011), she received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress among others, and won a SAG Award.
Since 2014, Davis has played lawyer Annalise Keating in the ABC television drama How to Get Away with Murder, and in 2015 she became the first black woman to win the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. Her portrayal also won her two SAG Awards in 2015 and 2016.
In 2016, Davis played Amanda Waller in the superhero action film Suicide Squad and reprised the role of Rose Maxson in the film adaptation of Fences, for which she won the Academy Award, BAFTA Award, Critics’ Choice Award, SAG Award and Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Davis and her husband, Julius Tennon, are the founders of the production company JuVee Productions. Davis has starred in their productions Lila & Eve (2015) and Custody (2016).