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Embeth Davidtz

Embeth Davidtz

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Also Known As: Embeth Jean Davidtz Died:
Born: August 11, 1965 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Lafayette, Indiana, USA Profession: actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Dark-haired American-born beauty Embeth Davidtz was raised and educated in South Africa where she performed classical and contemporary drama in both English and Afrikaans. She made her professional acting debut at age 21 playing Juliet in a National Theatre Company production of "Romeo and Juliet," which won her rave reviews. Having twice earned the South African equivalent of a Tony nomination for her theater work, Davidtz distinguished herself in the politically sensitive South African feature "A Private Life" (1989) as the daughter of an interracial couple, then earned a South African "Oscar" nomination playing a deaf-mute in the psychologically intense Afrikaner feature "Night of the Nineteenth."Born on January 1, 1966 in Indiana, Davidtz spent a brief portion of her childhood in Trenton, NJ before her father accepted a position to teach chemical engineering at the University of Potchesstroom near Johannesburg, South Africa. After her training at the National Theatre Company, Davidtz moved to Los Angeles in 1991 and promptly landed major roles in TV projects, including the movie "Til Death Us Do Part" (NBC, 1992) with Arliss Howard and Treat Williams, and the crime drama miniseries "Deadly...

Dark-haired American-born beauty Embeth Davidtz was raised and educated in South Africa where she performed classical and contemporary drama in both English and Afrikaans. She made her professional acting debut at age 21 playing Juliet in a National Theatre Company production of "Romeo and Juliet," which won her rave reviews. Having twice earned the South African equivalent of a Tony nomination for her theater work, Davidtz distinguished herself in the politically sensitive South African feature "A Private Life" (1989) as the daughter of an interracial couple, then earned a South African "Oscar" nomination playing a deaf-mute in the psychologically intense Afrikaner feature "Night of the Nineteenth."

Born on January 1, 1966 in Indiana, Davidtz spent a brief portion of her childhood in Trenton, NJ before her father accepted a position to teach chemical engineering at the University of Potchesstroom near Johannesburg, South Africa. After her training at the National Theatre Company, Davidtz moved to Los Angeles in 1991 and promptly landed major roles in TV projects, including the movie "Til Death Us Do Part" (NBC, 1992) with Arliss Howard and Treat Williams, and the crime drama miniseries "Deadly Matrimony" (NBC, 1992) with Williams and Brian Dennehy. Her first released American film was Sam Raimi's third "Evil Dead" movie, "Army of Darkness" (1993), in which she played the female lead as the lovely maiden Sheila and her demonic alter ego. Davidtz generated a lot of favorable press with her poignant portrayal of Helen Hirsch, the brutalized Jewish maid, in Steven Spielberg's "Schindler's List" (1993), winning the role after the director serendipitously caught her performance in a TV-movie.

Though she would later admit to being unhappy with the project, Davidtz had a high-profile leading role in the fact-based film "Murder in the First" (1995) but better displayed her versatility in the Merchant/Ivory production "Feast of July" (also 1995); she garnered glowing critical praise for her deft portrayal of a young woman who, in searching for the lover who abandoned her, ultimately brings tragedy to the family that offered her refuge.

He more redeeming character was in "Matilda" (1996), a feature based on Roald Dahl's children's fantasy-she essayed the role of the aptly-named Miss Honey, a sweet, warm-hearted teacher who brings out the best in the titular neglected girl genius. In 1998, Davidtz played a theologian helping Denzel Washington crack a supernatural wave of crimes in the mystery drama "Fallen" and played a femme fatale linked to Kenneth Branagh in Robert Altman's take on the John Grisham novel "The Gingerbread Man." The following year, Davidtz brought a witty charm to her portrayal a 19th-century woman of the world in Patricia Rozema's reworking of the Jane Austen comedy "Mansfield Park" and played a dual role in the futuristic fable "Bicentennial Man."

A supporting role in the film adaptation of "Bridget Jones's Diary" (2001) saw Davidtz play a haughty villain for a change, while she proved even greater adaptability that year as she began her run on the CBS drama "Citizen Baines," playing the daughter of a defeated United States Senate incumbent (James Cromwell) who is herself leaning towards a career in politics. Mixing up period dramas (1999's "Wayward Son" and the 2001-lensed "Secret Passage") with horror thrillers like 2001's "Thir13en Ghosts," Davidtz emerged as a skilled performer with varied and versatile strengths. In 2002, he was then cast in the Michael Hoffman drama, "The Emperor's Club," a movie which co-starred Kevin Kline as a professor and Emile Hirsch as a headstrong student.

In "Junebug" (2005), an entrancing and beautifully acted drama, Davidtz played an outsider art dealer from Chicago brought to North Carolina by her husband (Alessandro Nivola) to meet his family for the first time. His eccentric family-which boasts of his knotty mother (Celia Weston), laconic father (Scott Wilson), cranky brother (Benjamin McKenzie) and awe-struck sister-in-law (Amy Adams)-becomes easily fractured from his wife's presence, exposing long-dormant frustrations and anxieties. In the satisfying courtroom thriller "Fracture" (2007), Davidtz was the wife of a wealthy aeronautical engineer (Anthony Hopkins) who was shot and killed by her husband for having an affair with a police hostage negotiator (Billy Burke). Despite her husband confessing to the crime, the prosecution starts falling apart on an ambitious Deputy D.A. (Ryan Gosling), who struggles when evidence that at first appeared to be a lock starts to suddenly erode his case.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

3.
 Europa Report (2013)
4.
 Paranoia (2013)
7.
 3 Backyards (2010)
8.
 Fragments (2008)
9.
 Fracture (2007)
10.
 Junebug (2005) Cast
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Born in Indiana, where her father taught chemical engineering at Purdue University
1975:
At age nine, moved with family to South Africa where her father taught at the University of Potchesstroom
:
Won a contract with South African National Theatre; spent three years performing with the group
1988:
Professional acting debut as Juliet in the National Theatre Company production of "Romeo and Juliet"
1989:
American feature debut, "Mutator/Time of the Beast" (released straight-to-video)
1989:
Played a major supporting role in the progressive South African-produced film, "A Private Life"
1991:
Moved to Los Angeles from South Africa
1992:
American TV debut, "Till Death Us Do Part" (NBC)
1993:
First released American feature, Sam Raimi's "Army of Darkness"
1993:
Had a memorable role in "Schindler's List" as the Jewish maid
1995:
Was the female lead in the fact-based drama "Murder in the First"
1995:
Starred in the period drama "Feast of July"
1996:
Portrayed a heroic schoolteacher in the feature adaptation of Roald Dahl's children's fantasy "Matilda"
1998:
Played a theology prpfessor embroiled in a murder invesitation in the supernatural mystery "Fallen"
1998:
Essayed the part of a femme fatale in Robert Altman's adaptation of John Grisham's "The Gingerbread Man"
1999:
Co-starred in Patricia Rozema's reworking of Jane Austen's "Mansfield Park"
1999:
Played a dual role in the futuristic drama "Bicentennial Man"
2001:
Had a supporting role in the film adaptation of "Bridget Jones's Diary"
2001:
Co-starred in the CBS drama series "Citizen Baines"
2001:
Featured in the haunted house thriller "13 Ghosts"
2002:
Reteamed with Kenneth Branagh in the historical miniseries "Shackelford" (A&E)
2002:
Cast in the drama feature "The Emperor's Club"
2005:
Starred with Alessandro Nivola in the southern drama "Junebug"; premiered at Sundance
2006:
Guest-starred on the ABC drama, "Grey's Anatomy" as Dr. Derek Shepherd's (Patrick Dempsey) sister
2007:
Co-starred in the dramatic thriller, "Fracture" opposite Anthony Hopkins and Ryan Gosling
2008:
Cast as a wife seeking couples therapy with her husband in the HBO drama series "In Treatment"
2009:
Will join the third season of "Californication" (Showtime) as the wife of Peter Gallagher
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Education

Rhodes University: -
Rhodes University: -
Rhodes University: -
The Glen High School: - 1983

Notes

Davidtz is bilingual. She has performed in both English and Afrikaans.

"I'm a muted creature. I see myself as a blank canvas. It's great when someone gets a hold of me, does the work and makes the changes. Then I think, It's so nice to look like that for the day, you know?" --Davidtz quoted in Us, December 1993.

"I don't mean to sound grandiose, but there's something universal that you tap into with films like "Feast of July" and "Schindler's List." You know they aren't make-believe. They illustrate something about life. This is my major concern whenever I select a film." -- Davidtz in Drama-Logue interview, October 5-11, 1995.

"I'm not going to be doing something just because I should be working. I think Hollywood makes compromises, in terms of not all the writers here are Shakespeare and Chekhov, and not all of the directors are Spielberg. You have to navigate your way through very difficult waters because of that." --Davidtz on what she learned about choosing parts from her disappointment with "Murder in the First", quoted in Movieline, December 1995.

"It's batty. You show one bit of nipple and it's all over. What's so bad about a woman's body?" --Davidtz on the uptight attitude American's have toward nudity, quoted in Movieline, April 1998.

Embeth Davidtz on "Feast of July": "I've never seen, since even then, a woman's part that had that much potential. I don't think the film worked in the end; no one wants to see bleak films. But every time I've followed the idea of making the best choice, in terms of what can I do that's interesting and varied and that doesn't make for a commercial career." --quoted in Empire, August 1998.

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Harvey Keitel. Actor. No longer together.
companion:
Ben Chaplin. Actor. Met on the set of "Feast of July" (1995).

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