Geena Davis

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Geena Davis
Geena Davis 2013 (cropped).jpg
Davis at the 'World Maker Faire', September 2013.
BornVirginia Elizabeth Davis
(1956-01-21) January 21, 1956 (age 58)
Wareham, Massachusetts, U.S.
Alma materBoston University
OccupationActress, producer, writer, athlete, model
Years active1982–present
Jump to: navigation, search
Geena Davis
Geena Davis 2013 (cropped).jpg
Davis at the 'World Maker Faire', September 2013.
BornVirginia Elizabeth Davis
(1956-01-21) January 21, 1956 (age 58)
Wareham, Massachusetts, U.S.
Alma materBoston University
OccupationActress, producer, writer, athlete, model
Years active1982–present

Virginia Elizabeth "Geena" Davis (born January 21, 1956) is an American actress, film producer, writer, former fashion model, and a women's Olympics archery team semi-finalist.[1]

She is known for her roles in The Fly, Beetlejuice, Thelma & Louise, A League of Their Own, The Long Kiss Goodnight, Stuart Little and The Accidental Tourist, for which she won the 1988 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. In 2005, she won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama for her role in Commander in Chief.

Early life[edit]

Davis was born in Wareham, Massachusetts. Her mother, Lucille (née Cook), was a teacher's assistant, and her father, William F. Davis, was a civil engineer and church deacon; her parents were both from small towns in Vermont.[2] She has a brother named Danforth ("Dan").[3][4] 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.[5][6] Davis attended Wareham High School and was an exchange student in Sandviken, Sweden, becoming fluent in Swedish.[5] Enrolling at New England College, she graduated with a bachelor's degree in drama from Boston University in 1979.[5] Davis is a member of Mensa, a social organization whose members are in the top 2% of intelligence as measured by an IQ test entrance exam.[5][7] Following her education, Davis served as a window mannequin for Ann Taylor until signing with New York's Zoli modeling agency.[8]


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.[5] She followed the role with the part of Wendy Killain in the short-lived television series Buffalo Bill,[9] which aired from June 1983 to March 1984. She also wrote the Buffalo Bill episode entitled "Miss WBFL."[9] During the run of Buffalo Bill, in 1983, Davis also appeared as Grace Fallon in an episode of Knight Rider entitled "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 thirteen episodes. Among the movie roles she auditioned for was The Terminator's Sarah Connor, which went to Linda Hamilton.[10]

After roles in Fletch, The Fly, Angie, 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).[5] 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.[11] She then co-starred in Hero alongside Dustin Hoffman and Andy Garcia.

Davis then teamed up with then-husband, director Renny Harlin, for the films Cutthroat Island and The Long Kiss Goodnight (both 1996). She and Harlin co-produced the films. Davis was nominated for the Saturn Awards for her performances as Samantha/Charlie in The Long Kiss Goodnight,[12] and as Eleanor Little in Stuart Little (1999), a role she reprised in 2002 and again in 2005.[13]

In 2000–2001, Davis starred in the short-lived sitcom The Geena Davis Show. In early 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.[14] 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.[15]

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

Personal life[edit]

Reza Jarrahy and Davis in 2009

On September 1, 2001, Davis married Iranian-American plastic surgeon Reza Jarrahy (born 1971) . They have three children: daughter Alizeh Keshvar (born April 10, 2002) and fraternal twin sons Kian William Jarrahy and Kaiis Steven Jarrahy (born May 6, 2004).[16][17] The marriage is Davis' fourth.[18] She was previously married to Richard Emmolo (March 25, 1982 – February 26, 1983); actor Jeff Goldblum, with whom she starred in three films, Transylvania 6-5000, The Fly and Earth Girls Are Easy (1987–1990); and Renny Harlin, who directed her in Cutthroat Island and The Long Kiss Goodnight (1993–1998).


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 fronting the Women's Sports Foundation campaign Geena Takes Aim in support of Title IX, an Act of Congress focusing on equality in sports opportunities, now expanded to prohibit gender discrimination in United States' educational institutions.

In 2004, while watching children's television programs and videos with her daughter, Davis noticed what she thought was 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 4 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 3 males to every 1 female character in the nearly 400 G, PG, PG-13, and R-Rated movies the undergraduate team of Annenberg students analyzed.

Geena Davis speaking at Bates College on May 31, 2009.

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 TV and movie programming.[19]

Davis launched The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media in 2007.[20] 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.

For her work in this field she received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from Bates College in May 2009.[21]

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 TV and internet ads to "forward the facts" about the crisis.[22]


Davis has stated that she was not an athlete growing up,and that her introduction to archery was in 1997, two years prior to her tryouts.[23]

In July 1999, Davis was one of 300 women who vied for a semifinals berth in the US Olympic archery team to participate in the Sydney 2000 Summer Olympics.[1][5] 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.[24]



1982TootsieApril Page
1985Secret WeaponsTamara Reshevsky/BrendaTelevision movie
1985Transylvania 6-5000Odette
1986Fly, TheThe FlyVeronica Quaife
1988BeetlejuiceBarbara Maitland
1988Earth Girls Are EasyValerie Gail
1988Accidental Tourist, TheThe Accidental TouristMuriel Pritchett
1990Quick ChangePhyllis Potter
1991Thelma & LouiseThelma Yvonne Dickinson
1992League of Their Own, AA League of Their OwnDottie Hinson
1992HeroGale Gayley
1993Princess Scargo and the Birthday PumpkinNarrator (voice)short subject
1994AngieAngie Scacciapensieri
1994SpeechlessJulia Mann
1995Cutthroat IslandMorgan Adams
1996Long Kiss Goodnight, TheThe Long Kiss GoodnightSamantha Caine / Charly BaltimoreAlso producer
1999Stuart LittleMrs. Eleanor Little
2002Stuart Little 2Mrs. Eleanor Little
2006Stuart Little 3: Call of the WildMrs. Eleanor Littlevoice
2009Accidents HappenGloria Conway
2009Exit 19Gloria WoodsTelevision movie
2013In a World...Katherine Huling


1983–1984Buffalo BillWendy Killian26 episodes
1983Knight RiderGrace FallonEpisode: "K.I.T.T. The Cat"
1984Family TiesKaren Nicholson3 episodes
1984RiptideDr. Melba BozinskyEpisode: "Raiders of the Lost Sub"
1985SaraSara McKenna13 episodes
1985Remington SteeleSandy DalrympleEpisode: "Steele in the Chips"
1990The Earth Day SpecialKim
2000–2001Geena Davis Show, TheThe Geena Davis ShowTeddie Cochran22 episodes
2003Will & GraceJanet AdlerEpisode: "The Accidental Tsuris"
2005–2006Commander in ChiefPresident Mackenzie Allen19 episodes
2012ComaDr. Agnetta Lindquist2 episodes

Awards and nominations[edit]

YearAssociationCategoryNominated workResult
1987Saturn AwardsBest ActressThe FlyNominated
1989Academy AwardsBest Supporting ActressThe Accidental TouristWon
1991Boston Society of Film Critics AwardsBest ActressThelma & LouiseWon
1991Los Angeles Film Critics Association AwardsBest ActressThelma & LouiseNominated
1991National Board of ReviewBest Actress (with Susan Sarandon)Thelma & LouiseWon
1991New York Film Critics Circle AwardsBest Actress (with Susan Sarandon)Thelma & LouiseNominated
1992Academy AwardsBest ActressThelma & LouiseNominated
1992BAFTA AwardsBest Actress in a Leading RoleThelma & LouiseNominated
1992Chicago Film Critics Association AwardsBest ActressThelma & LouiseNominated
1992Golden Globe AwardsBest Actress – Motion Picture DramaThelma & LouiseNominated
1992MTV Movie AwardsBest Female PerformanceThelma & LouiseNominated
1992MTV Movie AwardsBest On-Screen Duo (with Susan Sarandon)Thelma & LouiseNominated
1992People's Choice AwardsFavorite Dramatic Motion Picture ActressHerselfNominated
1993Golden Globe AwardsBest Actress – Motion Picture Musical or ComedyA League of Their OwnNominated
1993MTV Movie AwardsBest Female PerformanceA League of Their OwnNominated
1995Golden Globe AwardsBest Actress – Motion Picture Musical or ComedySpeechlessNominated
1997Saturn AwardsBest ActressThe Long Kiss GoodnightNominated
2000Saturn AwardsBest Supporting ActressStuart LittleNominated
2005Satellite AwardsBest Actress – Television Series DramaCommander in ChiefNominated
2006Golden Globe AwardsBest Actress – Television Series DramaCommander in ChiefWon
2006Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Lead Actress in a Drama SeriesCommander in ChiefNominated
2006Screen Actors Guild AwardsOutstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama SeriesCommander in ChiefNominated


  1. ^ a b "OLYMPICS; Geena Davis Zeros In With Bow and Arrows". NY Times. 6 August 1999. Retrieved 28 July 2013. 
  2. ^ "Editor's notes: Fish out of water" April 8, 2009, South Coast Today
  3. ^ Geena Davis biography. Film
  4. ^ "Editor's notes: Fish out of water". 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Stated on Inside the Actors Studio, 2000
  6. ^ "Trends in Photography". Los Angeles Times. July 14, 1989. 
  7. ^ "Mensa USA web site". 2011-03-31. Retrieved May 18, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Davis bio at Yahoo Movies". Retrieved August 21, 2011. 
  9. ^ a b Buffalo Bill at the Internet Movie Database
  10. ^ "Davis at Athlete Promotions". Retrieved August 21, 2011. 
  11. ^ "‘A League of Their Own’ (PG)". The Washington Post. July 3, 1992. Retrieved May 3, 2010. 
  12. ^ Awards for Geena Davis at the Internet Movie Database
  13. ^ Awards for Stuart Little at the Internet Movie Database
  14. ^ "Geena Davis Would Love to Be Part of a 'Beetlejuice' Sequel". BloodyDisgusting. 
  15. ^ Lucy Award, past recipients WIF web site
  16. ^ "Mothers Over the Age of 40: PEOPLE". People magazine. April 19, 2002. Retrieved August 21, 2011. 
  17. ^ Blash, Margi (May 31, 2004). "Hollywood Baby Boom". Retrieved August 21, 2011. 
  18. ^ Silverman, Stephen M. (September 5, 2001). "Geena Davis a Bride for Fourth Time". Retrieved August 21, 2011. 
  19. ^ Burch, Ariel Z (March 15, 2008). "Geena Davis: In a league of her own". Retrieved June 12, 2012. 
  20. ^ "Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media". Retrieved August 21, 2011. 
  21. ^ "List of 2009 Bates honorands at Bates College web site". April 9, 2009. Retrieved August 21, 2011. 
  22. ^ "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.
  23. ^ Litsky, Frank (August 6, 1999). "OLYMPICS; Geena Davis Zeros in With Bow and Arrows". The New York Times. Retrieved May 3, 2010. 
  24. ^ "Geena Davis still causing commotion in archery". CNN. September 21, 1999. Retrieved May 3, 2010. 

External links[edit]