JUDY DAVIS Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: Judy Davis                                                                           
Born: 23 April 1955 Perth, Western Australia, Australia                                     
Judy Davis (born 23 April 1955) is an Academy Award-nominated and three-time               
Emmy Award-winning Australian actress.                                                     
Davis was born in Perth and had a Catholic upbringing. She was educated at                 
Loreto Convent and graduated from the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA)             
in 1977. She has been married to actor and fellow NIDA graduate Colin Friels (who           
was also in the film High Tide with her) since 1984. They have two children,               
Jack and Charlotte.                                                                         
First coming to prominence for her role as Sybylla Melvyn in the coming-of-age             
saga My Brilliant Career (1979), for which she won BAFTA Awards for Best Actress           
and Best Newcomer, she also played the lead in such Australian New Wave classics           
as Winter of Our Dreams (1981) (as the waif-like heroin addict) and Heatwave (1982)         
(as the radical tenant organizer). Her first foray into international film came             
in 1981 when she played the younger version of Ingrid Bergman's Golda Meir in               
the television docudrama A Woman Called Golda. In 1984 she was cast as Adela               
Quested in David Lean's final film A Passage to India, an adaptation of E.M.               
Forster's novel of the same name. Although she and Lean reportedly butted heads             
during the film's production, she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best               
Actress for her performance. She returned to Australian cinema for her next two             
films, Kangaroo, in which she displayed a fine affinity for accents as a German-born       
writer's wife, and High Tide, in which she gave what some critics believe is her           
finest performance as a foot-loose mother who attempts to reunite with her                 
teenage daughter who is being raised by the paternal grandmother. She earned               
Australian Film Institute Awards for both roles, and a National Society of Film             
Critics award for High Tide's brief American theatrical run. In 1990 she played             
a brief cameo in Woody Allen's Alice. A busy 1991 featured acclaimed supporting             
roles as an ill-fated Southern ghostwriter in Joel Coen's Barton Fink, which won           
the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival and in David Cronenberg's well-received         
adaptation of the hallucinogenic novel Naked Lunch. She won an Independent                 
Spirit Award for her lively work as mannish authoress George Sand in Impromptu             
and returned to E.M. Forster territory in Where Angels Fear to Tread. Finally,             
she earned additional awards and recognition for her performance as real-life               
World War II heroine Mary Lindell in the CBS Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation             
One Against the Wind. In 1992 she played a major role in Woody Allen's Husbands             
and Wives as one half of a divorcing couple. For this performance she earned an             
array of critics' awards as well as an Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for               
best supporting actress.                                                                   
Later memorable Davis roles include the mysterious, schizophrenic mother of a               
teenager in boarding school in the well-made but little-seen On My Own (1993),             
the lifelong Australian Communist Party member reacting to the downfall of the             
Soviet Union in Children of the Revolution (1996), two more Allen films,                   
Deconstructing Harry (1997) and Celebrity (1998), a high-strung White House                 
Chief of Staff in Absolute Power (1997), a touching performance as a supportive             
mother in Swimming Upstream (2003) and colorful supporting roles in two 2006               
films, The Break-Up and Marie-Antoinette.                                                   
Much of her recent work has been on television, where she has scooped up an                 
impressive collection of Emmy Award nominations. She won her first Emmy for                 
portraying the woman who gently coaxes rigid militarywoman Glenn Close out of               
the closet in Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story and she                 
picked up subsequent nominations for her repressed Australian outback mother in             
The Echo of Thunder (1998), her portrayal of Lillian Hellman in Dash and Lilly (1999),     
her frigid society matron in A Cooler Climate (1999) and her interpretation of             
Nancy Reagan in the controversial biopic The Reagans (2003). She earned a second           
Emmy, among many other awards, for her portrayal of Judy Garland in the 2001               
television biopic Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows. In July 2006, she             
received her ninth Emmy nomination for her performance in the TV film A Little             
Thing Called Murder. Her tenth nomination came in 2007 for The Starter Wife,               
Davis went on to win the Emmy, but was not present. In August 2007 she appeared             
opposite Sam Waterston in an episode of ABC's anthology series Masters of                   
Science Fiction, directed by Mark Rydell. It has also been announced that Davis             
is to appear in the 2008 mini-series "Diamonds", green lighted by Alchemy                   
Television Group.                                                                           
Her stage work has been limited, and mostly confined to Australia. In the                   
earliest stages of her career she played Juliet opposite Mel Gibson's Romeo, she           
also played both Cordelia and the Fool in a 1984 staging of King Lear and her               
1986 assumption of the title role in Hedda Gabler was widely admired in                     
Australia. In 2004 she starred in and co-directed Victory, as a Puritan woman               
determined her locate her husband's dismembered corpse. Internationally, she               
created the role of The Actress in Terry Johnson's Insignificance at the Royal             
Court in London and appeared in a brief Los Angeles production of Tom Stoppard's           
Hapgood in 1989.