Viola Davis is an American actress who is 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 and 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). Some of her biggest films include Traffic, Antwone Fisher, and Solaris but her eight-minute-long performance in the film adaptation of John Patrick Shanley's Doubt 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. Davis credits in part her involvement in the arts at her Alma mater, Central Falls High School, for her love of stage acting. Davis majored in theatre at Rhode Island College, graduating in 1988; in 2002 she received an honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts from the college. She was involved in the federal TRIO Upward Bound and TRIO Student Support Services programs. While Davis was a teenager, her talent was recognized by Bernard Masterson when, as director of Young People's School for the Performing Arts in Rhode Island, he awarded Davis a scholarship into that program. She also attended the Juilliard School for four years, characterizing the experience as a "hot mess". In 2001, she was awarded the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play for her portrayal of Tonya in King Hedley II, a "35-year-old mother fighting eloquently for the right to abort a pregnancy." She has also received two Drama Desk Awards, for her work in King Hedley II and, in 2004, for her work in an off-Broadway production of Intimate Apparel by Lynn Nottage Davis appears in numerous films, including three films directed by Steven Soderbergh - Out of Sight, Solaris and Traffic, as well as Syriana, which Soderbergh produced. Viola is also the uncredited voice of the parole board interrogator who questions Danny Ocean (George Clooney) in the first scene in Ocean's Eleven. She also gave brief performances in the films Kate & Leopold and Antwone Fisher. Her television work includes a recurring role in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit; a starring role in the short-lived Traveler and a special guest appearance in "Badge", a Law & Order: Criminal Intent episode. In 2008, Davis played Mrs. Miller in the film adaption to the Broadway play, Doubt with Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Amy Adams. She was nominated for several awards for this performance, including a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
In this issue Kevin Hart talks about his new comedy special Laugh At My Pain!