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Geena Davis
Geena Davis 2013 (cropped).jpg
Davis at the World Maker Faire in New York on September 22, 2013
Virginia Elizabeth Davis

(1956-01-21) January 21, 1956 (age 62)
Alma materNew England College[1]
Boston University (B.A., Drama, 1979)[2]
OccupationActress, producer, writer, athlete, model
Years active1978–present
Height6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)[3]

Virginia Elizabeth "Geena" Davis (born January 21, 1956)[7] is an American actress, film producer, writer, former model, and former archer.[8] She is known for her roles in The Fly (1986), Beetlejuice (1988), The Accidental Tourist (1988), Thelma & Louise (1991), A League of Their Own (1992), The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996), and Stuart Little (1999). For her performance in The Accidental Tourist, she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, and for Thelma & Louise, she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress. In 2005, Davis won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama for her role in Commander in Chief. She has since portrayed the recurring role of Dr. Nicole Herman in Grey's Anatomy (2014–2015, 2018), and also starred as Regan MacNeil-Angela Rance in the first season of the horror television series The Exorcist (2017), on Fox.

Early life

Davis was born January 21, 1956, in Wareham, Massachusetts. Her mother, Lucille (née Cook; June 19, 1919 – November 15, 2001), was a teacher's assistant, and her father, William F. Davis (November 7, 1913 – April 2, 2009), was a civil engineer and church deacon; her parents were both from small towns in Vermont.[9] She has an older brother named Danforth ("Dan").[10][11]

At an early age, she became interested in music. She learned piano and flute and played organ well enough as a teenager to serve as an organist at her Congregationalist church in Wareham.[12][13]

Davis attended Wareham High School and was an exchange student in Sandviken, Sweden, becoming fluent in Swedish.[12] Enrolling at New England College, she graduated with a bachelor's degree in drama from Boston University in 1979.[2][12]

Following her education, Davis served as a window mannequin for Ann Taylor until signing with New York's Zoli modeling agency.[14]


Davis at the 61st Academy Awards in 1989
Davis at the 61st Academy Awards in 1989

Davis was working as a model when she was cast by director Sydney Pollack in his film Tootsie (1982) as a soap opera actress.[12] She followed the role with the part of Wendy Killian in the short-lived television series Buffalo Bill,[15] which aired from June 1983 to March 1984. She also wrote the Buffalo Bill episode titled "Miss WBFL."[15]

During the run of Buffalo Bill, in 1983, Davis also appeared as Grace Fallon in an episode of Knight Rider titled "K.I.T.T. the Cat". Her television credits from the mid-1980s also include one episode of Riptide, three episodes of Family Ties, and an episode of Remington Steele. This was followed by a series of her own, Sara, which lasted 13 episodes.

After roles in Fletch, The Fly, Beetlejuice, and several other movies Davis received an Oscar as Best Supporting Actress for her appearance in The Accidental Tourist (1988), and a Best Actress nomination for her role in Thelma & Louise (1991).[12] Davis replaced Debra Winger in the role of Dottie Hinson in A League of Their Own (1992), and received a Best Actress Golden Globe Award nomination for her performance.[16] She then co-starred in Hero alongside Dustin Hoffman and Andy Garcia.

Davis then teamed up with her husband at that time, director Renny Harlin, for the films Cutthroat Island (1995) and The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996). Harlin and she also produced those films. Davis was nominated for the Saturn Award for her performances as Samantha/Charlie in The Long Kiss Goodnight,[17] and as Eleanor Little in Stuart Little (1999), a role she reprised in 2002 and again in 2005.[18]

In 2000–2001, Davis starred in the short-lived sitcom The Geena Davis Show. In the beginning of 2004, she guest-starred as Grace Adler's sister, Janet, on the NBC sitcom Will & Grace. She went on to star in the ABC television series Commander in Chief, portraying the first female president of the United States.[19] This role garnered her a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Drama Series in 2006, and she also was nominated for an Emmy Award and a SAG Award for Outstanding Female Actor in a Drama Series. Also in 2006, she was awarded the Women in Film Lucy Award.[20]

She starred in the Australian-produced, American-set Accidents Happen, which was released in April 2010.

During the 11th season of Grey's Anatomy, Davis played a recurring role as Dr. Nicole Herman, who is an attending fetal surgeon who has a life-threatening brain tumor.

In October 2015, it was announced that Davis would be starring in the film adaptation of Marjorie Prime alongside Jon Hamm.[21]

In autumn 2016, Davis began her role in The Exorcist, based on the 1973 film of the same name. In the series, Davis stars as the grown-up Regan MacNeil, who has renamed herself Angela Rance to find peace and anonymity from her ordeal as a child. The same demon that tormented Regan as a child apparently did not die as it did in the film's portrayal, and now it has hold of one of Angela's daughters. The all-star cast includes Alan Ruck as Angela's husband and Mexican actor/singer Alfonso Herrera and British actor Ben Daniels as exorcism-performing priests, as well as Sharon Gless in a recurring role as Chris MacNeil (the Ellen Burstyn role in the feature film).


The handprints of Geena Davis in front of The Great Movie Ride at Walt Disney World's Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park.
The handprints of Geena Davis in front of The Great Movie Ride at Walt Disney World's Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park.

Davis is a supporter of the Women's Sports Foundation and an advocate for Title IX, an Act of Congress focusing on equality in sports opportunities, now expanded to prohibit gender discrimination in United States' educational institutions.[22][23]

In 2004, while watching children's television programs and videos with her daughter, Davis noticed an imbalance in the ratio of male to female characters. Davis went on to sponsor the largest research project ever undertaken on gender in children's entertainment (resulting in four discrete studies, including one on children's television) at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California.

The study, directed by Dr. Stacy Smith, showed that there were nearly three males to every one female character in the nearly 400 G, PG, PG-13, and R-Rated movies the undergraduate team of Annenberg students analyzed.[24]

Geena Davis in a speech at the Millennium Development Goals Countdown event in the Ford Foundation Building in New York, addressing gender roles and issues in film (24 September 2013)
Geena Davis in a speech at the Millennium Development Goals Countdown event in the Ford Foundation Building in New York, addressing gender roles and issues in film (24 September 2013)

In 2005, Davis teamed up with the non-profit group, Dads and Daughters, to launch a venture dedicated to balancing the number of male and female characters in children's television and movie programming.[25]

Davis launched the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media in 2007.[26] The Institute's first focus is an on-the-ground program that works collaboratively with the entertainment industry to dramatically increase the presence of female characters in media aimed at children and to reduce stereotyping of females by the male-dominated industry.[27] It seeks to address inequality in Hollywood. For her work in this field she received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from Bates College in May 2009.[28]

In 2011, Davis became one of a handful of celebrities attached to USAID and Ad Council's FWD campaign, an awareness initiative tied to that year's East Africa drought. She joined Uma Thurman, Chanel Iman and Josh Hartnett in television and internet ads to "forward the facts" about the crisis.[29]

In 2015, Davis launched an annual film festival to be held in Bentonville, Arkansas, to highlight diversity in film, accepting films that prominently feature minorities and women in the cast and crew. The Bentonville Film Festival took place from May 5–9, 2015, and began accepting submissions on January 15.[30]


In July 1999, Davis was one of 300 women who vied for a semifinals berth in the U.S. Olympic archery team, to participate in the Sydney 2000 Summer Olympics.[8][12] She placed 24th of 300 and did not qualify for the team, but participated as a wild-card entry in the Sydney International Golden Arrow competition.[31] In August 1999, Davis then stated that she was not an athlete growing up and that her introduction to archery was in 1997, two years before her tryouts.[32]

Personal life

Reza Jarrahy and Davis in 2009
Reza Jarrahy and Davis in 2009

Davis has been married four times.[33] Previously to Richard Emmolo (1982–83); actor Jeff Goldblum (1987–90), with whom she starred in three films, Transylvania 6-5000, The Fly, and Earth Girls Are Easy; and Renny Harlin (1993–98), who directed two films in which she starred, Cutthroat Island and The Long Kiss Goodnight.

On September 1, 2001, Davis married Dr. Reza Jarrahy (b. 1971). They have three children: a daughter, Alizeh (born April 2002), and fraternal twin sons, Kaiis and Kian (born May 2004).[34][35] On May 8, 2018, Jarrahy filed for divorce from Davis; listing their date of separation as November 15, 2017.[36] Davis responded by filing a petition in which she claimed that she and Jarrahy were never legally married.[37]



Year Title Role Notes
1982 Tootsie April Page
1985 Fletch Larry
Transylvania 6-5000 Odette
1986 The Fly Veronica "Ronnie" Quaife
1988 Beetlejuice Barbara Maitland
Earth Girls Are Easy Valerie Gail
The Accidental Tourist Muriel Pritchett
1990 Quick Change Phyllis Potter
1991 Thelma & Louise Thelma Dickinson
1992 A League of Their Own Dottie Hanson
Hero Gale Gayley
1994 Angie Angie Scacciapensieri
Speechless Julia Mann producer
1995 Cutthroat Island Morgan Adams
1996 The Long Kiss Goodnight Samantha Caine / Charlene "Charly" Baltimore
1999 Stuart Little Mrs. Eleanor Little
2002 Stuart Little 2
2005 Stuart Little 3: Call of the Wild Voice: direct-to-video
2009 Accidents Happen Gloria Conway
2013 In a World... Katherine Huling
2014 When Marnie Was There Yoriko Sasaki (voice) English version
2016 Me Him Her Mrs. Ehrlick
2017 Marjorie Prime Tess
Don't Talk to Irene Herself
TBA Eve Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1983 Knight Rider Grace Fallon Episode: "K.I.T.T. the Cat"
1983–1984 Buffalo Bill Wendy Killian 26 episodes
1984 Fantasy Island Patricia Grayson Episode: "Don Juan's Lost Affair"
Riptide Dr. Melba Bozinsky Episode: "Raiders of the Lost Sub"
1984–1986 Family Ties Karen Nicholson 3 episodes
1985 Secret Weapons Tamara Reshevsky / Brenda Television movie
Remington Steele Sandy Dalrymple Episode: "Steele in the Chips"
Sara Sara McKenna 13 episodes
1989 Trying Times Daphne Episode: "The Hit List"
1990 The Earth Day Special Kim Television special
2000–2001 The Geena Davis Show Teddie Cochran 22 episodes
2004 Will & Grace Janet Adler Episode: "The Accidental Tsuris"
2005–2006 Commander in Chief President Mackenzie Allen 18 episodes
2009 Exit 19 Gloria Woods Television movie
2012 Coma Dr. Agnetta Lindquist 2-episode miniseries
2013 Untitled Bounty Hunter Project Mackenzie Ryan Unsold TV pilot
Doc McStuffins Princess Persephone (voice) Episode: "Sir Kirby and the Plucky Princess"
2014–2015, 2018 Grey's Anatomy Dr. Nicole Herman 13 episodes
2015 Annedroids Student Episode: "Undercover Pigeon"
2016 The Exorcist Regan MacNeil / Angela Rance 10 episodes

Music videos

Year Song Artist Notes
1986 "Help Me" Bryan Ferry Footage from The Fly
1991 "Part of Me, Part of You" Glenn Frey Footage from Thelma & Louise
1992 "This Used to Be My Playground" Madonna Footage from A League of Their Own
1992 "Now and Forever" Carole King Footage from A League of Their Own
1996 "F.N.T." Semisonic Footage from The Long Kiss Goodnight
1999 "You're Where I Belong" Trisha Yearwood Footage from Stuart Little
1999 "I Need to Know" R Angels Footage from Stuart Little
2002 "I'm Alive" Celine Dion Footage from Stuart Little 2

Awards and nominations

Year Association Category Nominated work Result
1987 Saturn Awards Best Actress The Fly Nominated
1989 Academy Awards Best Supporting Actress The Accidental Tourist Won
1991 Boston Society of Film Critics Awards Best Actress Thelma & Louise Won
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards Best Actress Nominated
National Board of Review Best Actress (with Susan Sarandon)' Won
New York Film Critics Circle Awards Best Actress (with Susan Sarandon) Nominated
1992 Academy Awards Best Actress Nominated
BAFTA Awards Best Actress in a Leading Role Nominated
Chicago Film Critics Association Awards Best Actress Nominated
Golden Globe Awards Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama Nominated
MTV Movie Awards Best Female Performance Nominated
MTV Movie Awards Best On-Screen Duo (with Susan Sarandon) Nominated
People's Choice Awards Favorite Dramatic Motion Picture Actress Herself Nominated
1993 Golden Globe Awards Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy A League of Their Own Nominated
MTV Movie Awards Best Female Performance A League of Their Own Nominated
1995 Golden Globe Awards Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy Speechless Nominated
1997 Saturn Awards Best Actress The Long Kiss Goodnight Nominated
2000 Saturn Awards Best Supporting Actress Stuart Little Nominated
2005 Satellite Awards Best Actress – Television Series Drama Commander in Chief Nominated
2006 Golden Globe Awards Best Actress – Television Series Drama Commander in Chief Won
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Commander in Chief Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series Commander in Chief Nominated
2017 Fangoria Chainsaw Awards Best TV Actress The Exorcist Nominated


  1. ^ "New England College to Receive $3 Million Gift", New England College news office
  2. ^ a b Sandberg, Bryn Elise, "BOSTON U: HOLLYWOOD’S SECRET FEMALE TRAINING GROUND: Dozens of top execs and talents call BU their alma mater, as alumnae from Geena Davis and her college roommate Nina Tassler to Nancy Dubuc gather to honor the college that puts the ‘B’ in showbiz", The Hollywood Reporter, December 2014. (reproduced on Boston University College of Arts and Sciences website)
  3. ^ Winfrey, Oprah (December 2006). "Oprah Interviews Geena Davis". O. Hearst Corporation. Retrieved October 5, 2015.
  4. ^ Andrews, Robert (October 30, 2003). "The New Penguin Dictionary of Modern Quotations". Penguin UK. Retrieved March 15, 2017 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ Publications, Europa (January 1, 2003). "The International Who's Who 2004". Psychology Press. Retrieved March 15, 2017 – via Google Books.
  6. ^ "Geena Davis biography and filmography - Geena Davis movies". Retrieved March 15, 2017.
  7. ^ Though some sources list her birth year as 1957[4][5][6] Davis seemed to acknowledge being 48 in 2004 as People magazine had asserted in previous issues. See: Mailbag
  8. ^ a b "OLYMPICS; Geena Davis Zeros In With Bow and Arrows". NY Times. 6 August 1999. Archived from the original on June 12, 2015. Retrieved December 24, 2015.
  9. ^ "Editor's notes: Fish out of water" April 8, 2009, South Coast Today
  10. ^ Geena Davis biography. Film
  11. ^ "Editor's notes: Fish out of water". Archived from the original on July 16, 2012.
  12. ^ a b c d e f Stated on Inside the Actors Studio, 2000
  13. ^ "Trends in Photography". Los Angeles Times. July 14, 1989.
  14. ^ "Davis bio at Yahoo Movies". Archived from the original on June 4, 2011. Retrieved August 21, 2011.
  15. ^ a b Buffalo Bill on IMDb
  16. ^ Joe Brown (July 3, 1992). "'A League of Their Own' (PG)". Washington Post. Retrieved December 24, 2015.
  17. ^ Awards for Geena Davis on IMDb
  18. ^ Awards for Stuart Little on IMDb
  19. ^ "Geena Davis Would Love to Be Part of a 'Beetlejuice' Sequel". BloodyDisgusting.
  20. ^ Lucy Award, past recipients Archived August 20, 2011, at WebCite WIF web site
  21. ^ "Geena Davis on Playing Opposite Jon Hamm in MARJORIE PRIME, 'I'm Excited!'". Broadway World. October 11, 2015. Retrieved December 24, 2015.
  22. ^ "Actor Geena Davis targets women-s sports". Team USA. Retrieved 2017-12-01.
  23. ^ "Women's Sports Foundation: Celebrity Supporters". Look to the Stars. Retrieved 2017-12-01.
  24. ^ Smith, Stacy L.; Choueiti, Marc; Pieper, Katherine; Gillig, Traci; Lee, Carmen; DeLuca, Dylan. "Inequality in 700 Popular Films: Examining Portrayals of Gender, Race,  & LGBT Status from 2007 to 2014".
  25. ^ Burch, Ariel Z (March 15, 2008). "Geena Davis: In a league of her own". Archived from the original on January 17, 2013. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  26. ^ "Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media". Retrieved August 21, 2011.
  27. ^ "The aftermath of the Weinstein scandal". The Economist.
  28. ^ "List of 2009 Bates honorands at Bates College web site". April 9, 2009. Retrieved August 21, 2011.
  29. ^ "Dr. Jill Biden Joins USAID and Ad Council to Debut FWD Campaign for the Crisis in the Horn of Africa". PR Newswire. October 26, 2011.
  30. ^ "Geena Davis Launching Bentonville Film Festival to Push for Diversity in Film". Variety. Retrieved January 6, 2015.
  31. ^ "Geena Davis still causing commotion in archery". CNN. September 21, 1999. Retrieved May 3, 2010.
  32. ^ Litsky, Frank (August 6, 1999). "OLYMPICS; Geena Davis Zeros in With Bow and Arrows". The New York Times. Retrieved May 3, 2010.
  33. ^ Silverman, Stephen M. (September 5, 2001). "Geena Davis a Bride for Fourth Time". Retrieved August 21, 2011.
  34. ^ "Mothers Over the Age of 40: PEOPLE". People magazine. April 19, 2002. Retrieved August 21, 2011.
  35. ^ Blash, Margi (May 31, 2004). "Hollywood Baby Boom". Retrieved August 21, 2011.
  36. ^ "Geena Davis' Husband Files For Divorce". May 8, 2018. Retrieved August 26, 2018.
  37. ^ Zauzmer, Emily (September 5, 2018). "Geena Davis Says She Was Never Legally Married". Retrieved September 6, 2018.

External links

This page was last edited on 8 January 2019, at 15:56
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