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Judy Davis

Judy Davis

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Also Known As: Judith Davis Died:
Born: April 23, 1955 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Australia Profession: actor, band singer, orange juice truck driver

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Judy Davis found her passion for acting as she grew up in Australia and attended the National Institute of Dramatic Art. Graduating the Sydney school in 1977, she started to work in Australian cinema, earning plaudits for her role in "My Brilliant Career" (1979), which netted her a BAFTA Award. Heralded as a promising young actress in her home country, Davis began her international march to stardom with her Emmy-nominated turn in "A Woman Named Golda" (1982). Shortly after, she garnered even more international prestige as her performance in David Lean's "A Passage to India" (1984) was nominated for Best Actress at the Academy Awards. For the rest of 1980s, she mostly worked in Australia before working with auteurs in the early '90s. She drew critical acclaim for her work in the Coen Brothers' "Barton Fink" (1991), David Cronenberg's "Naked Lunch" (1991), and Woody Allen's "Husbands and Wives" (1992), including another Oscar nomination for her work in the latter. Outside of film, Davis was also prolific on television, drawing Golden Globe and Emmy attention for her work in a variety of made-for-TV movies and mini-series, including "Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story" (1995), "Dash...

Judy Davis found her passion for acting as she grew up in Australia and attended the National Institute of Dramatic Art. Graduating the Sydney school in 1977, she started to work in Australian cinema, earning plaudits for her role in "My Brilliant Career" (1979), which netted her a BAFTA Award. Heralded as a promising young actress in her home country, Davis began her international march to stardom with her Emmy-nominated turn in "A Woman Named Golda" (1982). Shortly after, she garnered even more international prestige as her performance in David Lean's "A Passage to India" (1984) was nominated for Best Actress at the Academy Awards. For the rest of 1980s, she mostly worked in Australia before working with auteurs in the early '90s. She drew critical acclaim for her work in the Coen Brothers' "Barton Fink" (1991), David Cronenberg's "Naked Lunch" (1991), and Woody Allen's "Husbands and Wives" (1992), including another Oscar nomination for her work in the latter. Outside of film, Davis was also prolific on television, drawing Golden Globe and Emmy attention for her work in a variety of made-for-TV movies and mini-series, including "Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story" (1995), "Dash and Lilly" (1999), and perhaps most famously, "Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows" (2001), in which she played the legendary actress. By the early 2000s, Davis' pace slowed down, but she still appeared in TV mini-series such as "The Reagans" (Showtime 2003) and even popped up in films such as "The Break-Up" (2006) and "Marie Antoinette" (2006). She netted Emmy notoriety for "The Starter Wife" (USA 2007) and "Feud: Bette and Joan" (FX 2017).

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Dressmaker, The (2016)
3.
4.
 Surrealist, The (2012)
5.
 Dark Blood (2012)
6.
 Man Who Sued God, The (2007) Anna Redmond
7.
 Marie Antoinette (2006)
9.
 Break-Up, The (2006)
10.
 Swimming Upstream (2005) Dora Fingleton
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Appeared on stage with theater companies in Adelaide and Sydney, Australia and with the Royal Court Theatre in London
2007:
Played Molly's (Debra Messing) oldest friend Joan in the USA Network miniseries "The Starter Wife"
:
Dropped out of convent school to sing in a rock band
1998:
Cast in featured role as a teacher whose marriage crumbles in Allen's "Celebrity"
1997:
Landed featured role as the ex-wife of Jack Nicholson in "Blood & Wine"
1991:
Played George Sand in the period drama "Impromptu"
1994:
Teamed with Denis Leary and Kevin Spacey for the quirky comedy "The Ref"
1986:
First feature pairing with husband Colin Friels, "Kangaroo"
2005:
Portrayed Dora Fingleton, the long-suffering mother of champion swimmer Tony Fingleton in the true story "Swimming Upstream"
2001:
Starred in the Australian box office hit "The Man Who Sued God"
2003:
Cast as an American translator who agrees to help a friend locate her missing husband in "Gaudi Afternoon"
1982:
First non-Australian screen credit, the British thriller "Who Dares Wins/The Final Conflict"
2006:
Portrayed The Comtesse de Noailles in Sofia Coppola's "Marie Antoinette"
1987:
Reteamed with Gillian Armstrong for "High Tide"; film co-starred Friels
1996:
Returned to Australian films as star of "Children of the Revolution"; reteamed onscreen with Sam Neill
1997:
Third teaming with Woody Allen. "Deconstructing Harry"
1993:
Cast to co-star with Jonathan Pryce and River Phoenix in "Dark Blood"; project terminated after Phoenix's death
2011:
Cast in BBC drama "Page Eight"
2012:
Again directed by Woody Allen in the romantic comedy "To Rome with Love"; played the wife of Allen's character
2006:
Earned an Emmy nomination for Best Actress in a Miniseries or Movie for "A Little Thing Called Murder" (Lifetime)
1990:
Began association with Woody Allen in "Alice"
1999:
Cast as Lillian Hellman opposite Sam Shepard as Dashiell Hammett in the A&E biopic "Dash & Lilly," directed by Kathy Bates; picked up another Emmy nomination as Best Actress
1995:
Played the lesbian lover of a U.S. Army nurse in "Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story" (NBC); received Emmy Award as Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie
2003:
Portrayed Nancy Reagan in the controversal television movie "The Reagans" (Showtime); earned a Golden Globe and an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Actress in a Miniseries or Movie (2004)
1979:
Landed breakthrough role I "My Brilliant Career"
1984:
Received an Oscar nomination as Best Actress for her widely seen performance as Adela Quested in David Lean's "A Passage to India"
1992:
Received Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her memorable performance as a woman undergoing a divorce who finds a new love in Woody Allen's "Husbands and Wives"
1998:
Received Emmy nomination playing a struggling farmer in Australia's Outback faced with raising her husband's daughter from his first marriage in "Echo of Thunder" (CBS)
1977:
Screen acting debut, "High Rolling"; delivered one line
1999:
Starred opposite Sally Field in "A Cooler Climate" (Showtime); received sixth Emmy nomination
1991:
Earned first Emmy nomination as a British woman involved with the French Underground during WWII in "One Against the Wind" (CBS); again paired with Sam Neill; earned Emmy nomination
2001:
Portrayed Judy Garland in the ABC miniseries "Life With Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows," adapted from Lorna Luft's memoir; won second Emmy
1982:
Landed first international role in "A Woman Called Golda"
1999:
Made stage directorial debut with the Australian premiere of the one-man show "Barrymore"
1989:
Made U.S. stage debut in Los Angeles production of Tom Stoppard's play "Hapgood"
:
Co-starred in Ryan Murphy's "Feud: Bette and Joan"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Western Australia Institute of Technology: -
National Institute of Dramatic Art: - 1977

Notes

Davis was a co-star of "Dark Blood" (lensed 1993), a psychological thriller left unfinished by the death of co-star River Phoenix.

On her parents, Davis told Los Angeles Times Magazine (September 13, 1992): "[They were] people that didn't want any social trouble at all, who wanted to behave in the way that was expected. Their great misfortune as having me for a daughter because it's never been part of my nature, that. My tendency when I see a set of rules being made, my instinct is to break them--social rules, I mean. I'm not talking about robbing banks."

"I didn't know Mel intimately. We did 'Romeo and Juliet' together. He was very good, too. Very romantic. He's very sweet. He's always had an incredible effect on audiences--male and female. He did, of course, a lot of plays at drama school, and every time without fail that he walked onstage, a ripple would run through the audience. This is when he was a kid of 18. It was quite odd. I always wanted to know how he did it: How does he do that ripple thing?" --Davis on fellow drama student Mel Gibson, quoted in Los Angeles Times Magazine, September 12, 1992.

"Judy has been a hero to me. She's the patron saint of modern emotions. One of the great things about her is that unlike most American actors she's not interested in playing characters that are likable. I have very uncomplicated feelings about her. She's the real thing; she's an artist. She pops. Judy Davis is a genius." --screenwriter-director Michael Tolkin to Premiere, October 1994.

"How tough was she? There is not a single thing that she has ever fought for that wasn't about character and nine times out of ten wasn't right about. She is a formidable, extraordinarily talented and incredibly intelligent woman. Because she is very forceful about it, she gets this reputation that I think is an incredibly bum rap. She is probably one of the greatest actresses alive. I am so tired of this notion that she is perceived as some kind of problem. I just find it unfair." --Davis' "The Ref" co-star Kevin Spacey to The Sydney Morning Herald, August 22, 1997.

On working with Woody Allen, Davis told Carol Allen of the London Times (June 17, 1999): Every time I've worked with him, I've learnt something monumental about comedy and how to pitch it. For example, there's a scene where Joe Mantegna takes me to a film preview and I see my former husband, freak out and try to hide. Woody kept wanting me to pitch it higher; I kept thinking, 'I can't play it any higher, I'm reaching the edge'. But if I go with him and trust him, he pushes me into dangerous and challenging territory, which is very exciting."

On her natural pale coloring, Davis was quoted by You Magazine (May 25, 1997): "I wish I tanned. It would make everybody happy and get them off my back. But this is the look I was born with, and I'm stuck with it."

"I live in my community, mix with my friends, read scripts to find something worth doing. That takes a while. I've never worked for the sake of working. There's probably enough crap out there for me not to add to it." --Davis on what she does when she's not acting, to You Magazine, May 25, 1997.

"Of course, I'm not a celebrity. Never wanted to be one. Never promoted myself as one. I'm an actress. I think there's a difference. To be a celebrity, one really has to go after it, and want it.

"I don't think I have the personality to cope with that. My ambition when I started was to be in the sort of films I liked to watch, which sadly meant Bergman; so I was a self-defined failure right from the beginning. My ambition was never to be in huge Hollywood films and go to the openings and wear all the fancy dresses. Thank God." --Judy Davis quoted in The Observer, June 6, 1999.

"I think she has been frustrated by some directors, and i think she has been frustrated by other actors, too, who don't work with that amount of dedication. A lot of her reputation for being tough is simply because she has extremely high artistic standards and the dedication to her art form is a full commitment. I think that passion in everybody would make her happy." --former NIDA teacher Aubrey Mellor, quoted in The Sydney Morning Herald, July 17, 1999.

Director Baz Luhrmann on Davis (with whom he co-starred in "Winter of Our Dreams") quoted to Nick Nunziata of www.CHUD.com, June 1, 2001: "As a kid I actually lived with her for a while. It was my first job acting. She's such a funny creature and she's an amazing singer."

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Colin Friels. Actor. Married in 1984; co-starred in "Kangaroo" (1986) and "High Tide" (1987); on October 30, 2002, Davis obtained a six-month court order against Friels which said that the Friels may not assault or threaten Davis. This came after Friels allegedly threw Davis to the ground and broke a glass table during an argument at their home. Davis will continue to live with her husband.

Family close complete family listing

son:
Jack Friels. Born c. 1987.
daughter:
Charlotte Friels. Born in 1997.

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