Photo of Viola Davis Viola Davis

A Tony Award-winning actress who wowed theater critics long before film audiences caught a glimpse of her dramatic range, Viola Davis was born in St. Matthews, S.C., on Aug. 11, 1965, but raised in Cedar Falls, R.I.

Davis's childhood was marked by bouts with poverty and prejudice, but her thirst for acting led her to the prestigious Juilliard School and, eventually, to the Broadway stage. She is best known in the theater world for her critically acclaimed performances in "King Hedley II" and "Intimate Apparel."

The actress's résumé also includes a string of television and film roles, including supporting parts in Traffic, Antwone Fisher and Nights in Rodanthe. But it was her emotional portrayal of a conflicted mother in Doubt (2008) that brought Davis her first Oscar, Golden Globe and SAG nominations and Hollywood clout.

Viola Davis in Fences

Fences

2016 PG-13

Working as a trash collector in 1950s Pittsburgh, Troy Maxson struggles to raise his family while trying to transcend the bitter experience of being a talented baseball player denied the opportunity to play in the majors because of his race.

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