Viola Davis Sweetrocks Inspiring Women
Viola Davis is an American actress and producer. Having won an Academy Award, a Primetime Emmy Award, and two Tony Awards, she is the first African-American actor to achieve the “Triple Crown of Acting”. Time magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2012 and 2017. In 2017 she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2020, The New York Times ranked Davis ninth on its list of “The 25 Greatest Actors of the 21st Century”.
Born in St. Matthews, South Carolina, Viola began her acting career in Central Falls, Rhode Island, starring in minor theater productions. After graduating from the Juilliard School in 1993, she won an Obie Award in 1999 for her performance as Ruby McCollum in Everybody’s Ruby. She played minor roles in several films and television series in the late 1990s and early 2000s, before winning the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for her role as Tonya in the 2001 Broadway production of August Wilson’s King Hedley II. Davis’s film breakthrough came in 2008, when her role as a troubled mother in the film Doubt earned her a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Greater success came to Ms. Davis in the 2010s. She won the 2010 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for playing Rose Maxson in the Broadway revival of August Wilson’s play Fences. For starring as a 1960s housemaid in the comedy-drama The Help (2011), she received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress and won a Screen Actors Guild Award. In 2014, Ms. Davis began playing lawyer Annalise Keating in the ABC television drama series 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. In 2016, Viola reprised the role of Maxson in the film adaptation of Fences, winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She went on to receive a BAFTA nomination for her performance in Steve McQueen’s heist film Widows (2018). In 2020, Ms. Davis starred in the titular role of the film adaptation of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
In 2011, Viola donated funds to her hometown public library in Central Falls, Rhode Island, to assist in preventing its closure due to a lack of city funding. In 2018, she donated funds to her alma mater, Central Falls High School, for its theater program.