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Judy Davis
Born 23 April 1955 (1955-04-23) (age 54)
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Occupation Actress
Years active 1977–present
Spouse(s) Colin Friels (1984–present)

Judy Davis (born 23 April 1955) is an Australian actress best known for her roles in Husbands and Wives, A Passage to India and in the TV mini series Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows.

Davis first came to attention for her role as the fiery Sybylla Melvyn in the 1979 film My Brilliant Career. She has won many acting awards, most notably a Golden Globe Award, two Emmy Awards, one BAFTA and five AFI Awards. She has also been nominated twice for an Academy Award.

Contents

Personal life

Davis was born in Perth and had a strict Catholic upbringing.[1] 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 Hightide with her) since 1984. They have two children, Jack and Charlotte. They currently reside in Sydney.

Career

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: 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 Hightide, 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 Hightide's brief American theatrical run. In 1990 she played a brief cameo in Woody Allen's Alice.

In 1991 she was featured in Joel Coen's Barton Fink, which won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival and in David Cronenberg's 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. Also, 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 both Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for best supporting actress.

Other roles have included the mysterious, schizophrenic mother of a teenager in boarding school in 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.

She played opposite actor Kevin Spacey; both playing a married couple whose relationship is on the rocks, in the cult ensemble comedy film The Ref (1994), with actor-comedian Denis Leary playing their ersatz marriage counselor.

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.

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 in 1986 the title role in Hedda Gabler.

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.

Offscreen, Davis protested against Prime Minister John Howard's decision to participate in the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Filmography

Film

Year Film Role Notes
1977 High Rolling Lynn
1979 My Brilliant Career Sybylla Melvyn BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
BAFTA Award for Best Newcomer
Nominated — Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
1981 Hoodwink Sarah Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Winter of Our Dreams Lou Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
Moscow International Film Festival Award for Best Actress
1982 Who Dares Wins Frankie Leith
1983 Heatwave Kate Dean
1984 A Passage to India Adela Quested Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actress
1986 Kangaroo Harriet Somers Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
1987 High Tide Lilli Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actress
1988 Georgia Nina Bailley/Georgia White Nominated — Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
1990 Alice Vicki
1991 Barton Fink Audrey Taylor London Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress also for Husbands and Wives and Naked Lunch
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress also for Naked Lunch
Impromptu George Sand Independent Spirit Award for Best Lead Female
Where Angels Fear to Tread Harriet Harriton
Naked Lunch Joan Lee/Joan Frost London Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress also for Husbands and Wives and Barton Fink
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress also for Barton Fink
1992 On My Own The Mother Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Nominated — Genie Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Husbands and Wives Sally Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress
Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress
London Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress also for Barton Fink and Naked Lunch
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actress
National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress
Southeastern Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
1993 Dark Blood Buffy (uncompleted)
1994 The Ref Caroline Chausser Chlotrudis Award for Best Actress also for The New Age
The New Age Katherine Witner Chlotrudis Award for Best Actress also for The Ref
1996 Children of the Revolution Joan Fraser Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
Film Critics Circle of Australia Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Chlotrudis Award for Best Actress
1997 Deconstructing Harry Lucy
Absolute Power Gloria Russell Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Best Supporting Actress
Blood and Wine Suzanne Gates
1998 Celebrity Robin Simon
2001 The Man Who Sued God Anna Redmond
Gaudi Afternoon Cassandra Reilly
2003 Swimming Upstream Dora Fingleton Film Critics Circle of Australia Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated — Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
Nominated — If Award for Best Actress
2006 The Break-Up Marilyn Dean
Marie Antoinette Comtesse de Noailles

Television

Year Title Role Notes
1980 Water Under the Bridge Carrie Mazzini
1982 A Woman Called Golda Golda Myerson/Meir Nominated — Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress – Miniseries or a Movie
1983 The Merry Wives of Windsor Mistress Ford
1986 Rocket to the Moon Cleo Singer
1991 One Against the Wind Mary Lindell Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated — Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress – Miniseries or a Movie
1995 Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story Dianne Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress – Miniseries or a Movie
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
1998 Echo of Thunder Gladwyn Ritchie Nominated — Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress – Miniseries or a Movie
1999 Dash and Lilly Lillian Hellman Nominated — Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress – Miniseries or a Movie
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film
A Cooler Climate Paula Tanner Nominated — Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress – Miniseries or a Movie
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
2001 Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows Judy Garland American Film Institute Award for Actor of the Year - Female - Movie or Mini-Series
Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress in a Picture Made for Television
Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress – Miniseries or a Movie
Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film
Satellite Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
2003 The Reagans Nancy Reagan Nominated — Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress – Miniseries or a Movie
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film
2004 Coast to Coast Maxine Pierce
2006 A Little Thing Called Murder Sante Kimes Satellite Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated — Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress – Miniseries or a Movie
2007 The Starter Wife Joan McAllister Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress – Miniseries or a Movie
Gracie Allen Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress
Nominated — Australian Film Institute Award for Best International Actress
Nominated — Prism Award for Performance in a TV Movie or Miniseries
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
Masters of Science Fiction: "A Clean Escape" Dr. Deanna Evans
2009 Diamonds Senator Joan Cameron

Other awards

  • 1994 Film Critics Circle of Australia Award Special Achievement Award ("* For her outstanding body of Australian and international work and for her considerable contribution to the profession of screen acting.")
Nominations

References

External links








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