Viola Davis (born August 11, 1965) is an American actress. Known primarily as a stage actress, Davis won a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play and a Drama Desk Award for her role in King Hedley II (2001). She won a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play for her role in the 2010 production of Fences. She won a second Drama Desk Award for Intimate Apparel (2004).
Her films include Traffic (2000), Antwone Fisher (2002), and Solaris (2002). Her eight-minute-long performance in the film adaptation of John Patrick Shanley's Doubt (2008) garnered several honors, including a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Davis was born on her grandmother's farm in St. Matthews, South Carolina, the second youngest of six children. Her mother, Mae Alice, was a maid, factory worker, and homemaker, and her father, Dan Davis, was a horse trainer. Her family moved to Central Falls, Rhode Island when she was two months old. Davis has described herself as having "lived in abject poverty and dysfunction" during her childhood.