Viola Davis is poised to have the best year of her career so far in 2017. She will be awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in January and is favorite to win the best supporting actress Oscar in February for new movie “Fences.”
Meanwhile her TV series “How To Get Away With Murder” – for which she won an Emmy this year – goes from strength to strength and will be screened in 150 countries next year, firmly establishing Davis as an international star.
After more than 30 years in showbusiness, it’s all coming together for the actress. But Davis, 51, isn’t letting success go to her head. She still loves the mundane things in life and has been known to shop in her favorite store, Target, almost every day.
Here are 5 other fascinating facts about the soaring star which you won’t find on Wikipedia.
Davis grew up in poverty and didn’t meet her sister, Diane, until she was five and Diane was nine because their parents could not afford to raise them together. Diane lived with their grandparents. The family was so poor that young Viola would often scavenge in the garbage for food. Today she supports Hunger Is, a charity dedicated to eradicating childhood hunger.
At the age of eight, Davis had a life changing experience watching Cicely Tyson in the TV movie “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman” and was so inspired by Tyson’s performance transforming from a young woman to a 110-year-old in the film that she decided there and then she wanted to be an actress like her. Viola worked hard at her acting and eventually won a scholarship to prestigious performing arts school Juilliard from where she launched her acting career. Davis got to return the favor to her childhood idol when she cast Tyson as her character’s mother on “How To Get Away With Murder.”
Viola returned to her home town of Central Falls, Rhode Island, back in October to run a full day health clinic for the community there, encouraging health and wellness by arranging flu shots, dental care, skin screenings, medical counsel and screenings for blood pressure and glucose levels.
This year for Halloween, Viola’s five-year-old adopted daughter Genesis didn’t want to dress up as Wonder Woman or a Disney princess. Instead she insisted she wanted to look like her own mother. So she went trick or treating in a costume of long white dress, curly wig, long eyelashes and carrying a gold award.
Viola is getting strong Oscar buzz for her new drama “Fences,” which is released on Christmas Day. It seems inevitable her name will be on the list when the Oscar nominations are announced on Jan. 24 and if it is she will become the first black woman in history to receive three Oscar nominations. She and Whoopi Goldberg are currently tied on two each with Viola’s previous nominations being for 2008’s “Doubt” and 2011’s “The Help.” When she became the first African American woman to win an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series last September, Davis used her speech to call out the need for more diversity in movies and TV. When her “Doubt” co-star Meryl Streep won a Screen Actors Guild Award for that film she used her speech to praise Davis as “gigantically gifted” and called on Hollywood, “Somebody give her a movie.” It seems Hollywood listened.
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