Date of Birth : Aug 11th 1965
Tony Award-winning American actress mostly known for her theatre work.
In 2001, she was awarded the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play 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 received two Drama Desk Awards, for her work in King Headley II and in 2004, for her work in an off-Broadway producction of Intimate Apparel.
Davis has also had roles in numerous films, including three films by Steven Soderbergh (Out of Sight, Solaris, and Traffic). Her television work includes a recurring role in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and a starring role in the short-lived Traveler.
Davis was born in South Carolina; her family moved to Central Falls, Rhode Island when she was quite young, a town which at the time Davis experienced as a “rough, all-white community where the racism was naked as a newborn piglet.” interesting to note that Central Falls has the lowest percentage of non-hispanic whites in Rhode Island.
Davis majored in theatre at Rhode Island College, graduating in 1988; in 2002 she received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from the college. She also attended The Juilliard School for four years, characterizing the experience as a “mixed blessing”:I’m happy that I went there. The school does what it says it wants to do, which is to stretch you as an actor, make you break old habits, expand you and make you more versatile. The problem is that it doesn’t celebrate the individual. It stifles everything about you that makes you uniquely you.
In a September 2004 article published in American Theatre magazine, Davis commented on her frustration with casting directors who still think in broad racial stereotypes:When I graduated from Juilliard, I remember thinking that there was no difference between me and any other student in the school; I wanted to do what they were doing. I want to do what Meryl Streep is doing….hen you see black movies, they’re always urban and funny, with pretty much the same actors, which is not a bad thing. The travesty is when you’re not that: I don’t speak Ebonics. I’m too old to be a homegirl. I’m not funny like that—sitcom, WB-UPN funny. So if I’m not that, then sometimes to the acting community you can be considered nothing, as opposed to being a wide range of things.