Judy Davis Poster


Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (1)  | Trade Mark (3)  | Trivia (67)  | Personal Quotes (12)

Overview (3)

Born in Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Birth NameJudith Davis
Height 5' 5" (1.65 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Davis was educated at Loreto Convent and the Western Institute of Technology and graduated from the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) in 1977. She found international success with the role of Adela Quested in A Passage to India (1984). Her performance was nominated an Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role. She went on to receive another Academy Award nomination (this time for Best Actress in a Supporting Role) for her performance as Sally in Woody Allen's Husbands and Wives (1992). Davis and Allen would go on to be a longtime collaborators; Allen once described Davis as "one of the most exciting actresses in the world".

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anthony Ronald Vario

Spouse (1)

Colin Friels (30 October 1984 - present) ( 2 children)

Trade Mark (3)

Often portrays brittle, neurotic women.
Known for her pale, chalky complexion.
Often works with Woody Allen.

Trivia (67)

Has a son, Jack Friels (born 1987), and a daughter, Charlotte Friels (born 1997).
Attended drama school with Mel Gibson. They played Romeo and Juliet together.
Trained at NIDA (National Institute of Dramatic Arts). Her fellow students included Mel Gibson, Colin Friels and Dennis Olsen.
Attended a Catholic convent school in her hometown of Perth, Australia.
Served as a member of the jury of the Cannes Film Festival in 1993.
She was a part of the movement dubbed the "Australian New Wave" by the press. They were a group of filmmakers and performers who emerged from Down Under at about the same time in the early 1980's and found work in other parts of the world. Other members included actor Mel Gibson and directors George Miller and Gillian Armstrong.
Nominated for an Olivier Award for Insignificance (Actress of the Year in a New Play, 1982).
Her family can trace its ancestry back to the original 1831 British settlement in Perth.
Famously clashed with director David Lean on the set of A Passage to India (1984).
One of her most famous films is also one of her least favorite: My Brilliant Career (1979). Although it propelled her to major stardom, she was miserable during its filming and cannot stand to watch it today.
She was among the cast members of the George Sluizer film Dark Blood (2012) that was filmed in 1993 and was left unfinished by star River Phoenix's 1993 death.
Forbidden to see movies as a child.
Nominated for the Helpmann Award (Australia's equivalent of the Tony Award) for Victory (Best Actress in a Play, 2004).
Appeared with her husband Colin Friels in several films, including Hoodwink (1981), Kangaroo (1986), High Tide (1987), and The Man Who Sued God (2001). They have also frequently appeared together on stage.
Fellow Australian actresses Cate Blanchett, Nicole Kidman, Rose Byrne and Toni Collette have cited Davis as a major influence on their own careers.
She played Peter Weller's wife in both Naked Lunch (1991) and The New Age (1994).
Has protested Australia's involvement in the war with Iraq.
In 2002, took out an "apprehended violence order" against her husband, Colin Friels. She was reportedly cut during an argument about a newspaper article during which a table was broken. The order did not require the couple to be separated.
Once said that the one role she wanted but didn't get was Debra Winger's part in The Sheltering Sky (1990).
She began filming Celebrity (1998) less than two weeks after giving birth to her daughter Charlotte. During production on the film, her husband Colin Friels contracted pancreatic cancer and nearly died.
Shares a birthday (April 23) with playwright William Shakespeare, composer Sergei Prokofiev, "Lolita" author Vladimir Nabokov, and child actor Shirley Temple.
To prepare for her role as Judy Garland in Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows (2001), she pored over television footage, biographies and nearly all of Garland's 32 feature films. She also wore dark contact lenses for the role.
Intensely dislikes being interviewed, and does so only as a gesture of goodwill toward the directors of her films.
In 1986, both she and husband Colin Friels won Australian Film Institute Awards. She won Best Actress for Kangaroo (1986) while he won the Best Actor award for Malcolm (1986).
Lost her Catholic faith at age 14, when she read a book that suggested a metaphorical rather than a literal interpretation of the story of Jesus and the miracle of the loaves and fishes.
In a 1994 interview, she listed Robin Williams as the one actor she would like to work with but hadn't. In 1997, they both appeared in Deconstructing Harry (1997), but did not share any scenes.
Was once described as "the patron saint of modern emotions" by director/screenwriter Michael Tolkin.
Did her own piano playing in My Brilliant Career (1979). Throughout the film she plays Schumann's "Scenes from Childhood".
Agreed to do the film Absolute Power (1997) so she could work with Clint Eastwood.
Although most of her work is in American films, she has steadfastly refused to move to the United States, preferring to live in Sydney, Australia.
Has played writers in numerous films, including George Sand in Impromptu (1991), Lillian Hellman in Dash and Lilly (1999), and characters based on writers Jane Bowles (in Naked Lunch (1991)) and Miles Franklin (in My Brilliant Career (1979)).
Once described her character in High Tide (1987) as the one which is "closest to my own persona".
Both times she was Oscar-nominated, she competed with Vanessa Redgrave for the award. Neither actress won the award either time.
Has played several real-life women, including Lillian Hellman, Judy Garland, Golda Meir, Nancy Reagan, Hedda Hopper, Anne d'Arpajon, George Sand, and WWII heroine Mary Lindell.
Was the runner-up for the 1993 New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Husbands and Wives (1992). The winner was Miranda Richardson for her work in The Crying Game (1992), Damage (1992), and Enchanted April (1991).
In her diverse career, Davis has played a woman addicted to bug spray, a former First Lady, a German housewife living in Australia, a Southern ghostwriter, a serial killer, an unbalanced White House Chief of Staff and a fervent Australian Stalinist.
According to director Sydney Pollack, he met with both Davis and Julie Christie before casting Meryl Streep in the role of Karen Blixen in Out of Africa (1985).
In 2000, was reportedly in talks to appear in "Cloudstreet," an adaptation of an Australian best-seller which would have been directed by Peter Duncan and also starred Geoffrey Rush, Anna Paquin, and Heath Ledger. For whatever reason, the project never made it off the ground.
Erroneously described as having dropped out of convent school at age 17 so she could travel around the world. Davis has said she most certainly graduated high school before touring with a band throughout Asia.
Sang in a band with an Italian band leader in both Taiwan and Japan.
On June 2, 2008, won a libel case against Australia's Daily Telegraph. The suit claimed Davis had been defamed in articles about her appearance at a council meeting at which objections were raised against plans to install floodlighting at a sports field near her Sydney home. The articles suggested she was unconcerned about the potential danger to children due to the poor lighting at the park, and also suggested she had angrily stormed out of the meeting. The jury ruled with Davis, stating she had been defamed by the newspaper. She received the equivalent of $133,000 in damages.
Was cast in her star-making role as Sybylla Melvyn in My Brilliant Career (1979) only after producers decided to replace actress Jan Hamilton, who was originally cast in the role.
She turned down the Rachel Ward role in the Australian miniseries The Thorn Birds (1983).
Auditioned for the female lead roles in Scarface (1983), The Terminator (1984) Out of Africa (1985), Top Gun (1986), Adventures in Babysitting (1987), Fatal Attraction (1987), Broadcast News (1987) and The Accused (1988).
Was presented the Don Dunston Award for her contribution to the film industry at the 2011 BigPond Adelaide Film Festival.
Nominated for the 2011 Sydney Theatre Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role of a Mainstage Production for her performance in "The Seagull". The other nominees are Cate Blanchett, Kate Mulvany, Robyn Nevin and Susie Porter. Blanchett ultimately won the award, for her work in "Gross und Klein.".
She has appeared in five films directed by Woody Allen: Alice (1990), Husbands and Wives (1992), Deconstructing Harry (1997), Celebrity (1998) and To Rome with Love (2012).
She played Joe Mantegna's wife in two films written and directed by Woody Allen: Alice (1990) and Celebrity (1998).
Was originally cast as Margot Al-Harazi in 24: Live Another Day (2014), but had to drop out for personal reasons. She was replaced by Michelle Fairley.
She was awarded the 1989 Drama-Logue Award for her performance in the play, "Hapgood" in Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre production in association with Michael Codron Ltd. at the James A. Doolittle Theatre (University of California) in Los Angeles, California.
Has worked with both Kate Winslet in The Dressmaker (2015) and Leonardo DiCaprio in Celebrity (1998) who both played Jack and Rose in Titanic (1997).
Has worked three times with Geoffrey Rush: Hoodwink (1981), Children of the Revolution (1996) and The Eye of the Storm (2011).
Of her six Golden Globe nominations (as of 2019), five of them were for television projects and in all of those she played a real life character.
Was one of the original choices to portray Violet Weston in August: Osage County (2013) that ended up going to Meryl Streep.
Has worked two times with Sam Neill in My Brilliant Career (1979) and One Against the Wind (1991).
Has been one of the choices to portray two parts that Meryl Streep ended up playing. These were Karen Blixen in Out of Africa (1985) and Violet Weston in August: Osage County (2013).
She was one of the choices to play Alex Forrest in Fatal Attraction (1987) that ended up going to Glenn Close. The two would work together a few years later in Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story (1995).
Has appeared in three films with Wendy Hughes these include High Rolling in a Hot Corvette (1977), My Brilliant Career (1979) and Hoodwink (1981).
Kate Winslet said the best thing about being a part of The Dressmaker (2015) was working with Davis.
Quentin Tarantino says that her breakout role in My Brilliant Career (1979) is one of his favourite Australian films.
Has appeared in two television series written and directed by Ryan Murphy these are Feud: Bette and Joan (2017) and Ratched (2020).
Despite My Brilliant Career (1979) being thought of as her debut Davis' first feature film was in High Rolling in a Hot Corvette (1977).
When she was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Actress category for A Passage to India (1984) she was up against Sally Field who won for Places in the Heart (1984). They would work together in A Cooler Climate (1999).
River Phoenix who she appeared with in Dark Blood (2012) cited her performance in High Tide (1987) as one of his favourite films.
Her most and least favourite film have both been directed by Gillian Armstrong and these are My Brilliant Career (1979) as her least and High Tide (1987) as her favourite.
Was due to appear in Woody Allen's film Café Society (2016). But was not used in the end. This would have marked her sixth collaboration with Allen.

Personal Quotes (12)

[on working with David Lean] There was a touch of the bully about him - he'd take it out on the people who were the weakest and most dependent.
When I first started acting, and we would all sit down and talk about Shakespeare and how great it was, I thought well, I suppose it is. It is if you get to play Macbeth or Hamlet. But who wants to play bloody Lady Macbeth or Ophelia? And it struck me that most women seem to be required to pit themselves against men in dramatic situations, and the men got to pit themselves against ideas or God.
I was always terribly shy, so a great thing that acting has done for me has forced me out of myself and made me more generous.
I've never worked for the sake of working. There's probably enough crap out there for me not to add to it.
"It's like you're getting ready to go to Cinderella's ball. And then, when you lose, it's like you wake up and realize you're not Cinderella." (on being an Oscar nominee)
A lot of really good directors have a killer in them, as if they'd do anything to get that image. But that comes with the terrain and I don't mind it.
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 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.
[on working with David Lean in A Passage to India (1984)] He was a frightening, Lear-like figure. He came with this enormous reputation but he wasn't at the height of his physical powers, and I think he carried a lot of tension because of that. I perhaps didn't appreciate that fully at the time, probably because I was overly aware of my own inadequacies. So when David tensed up, I tensed up. I've never been very good at being snapped at. I went into self-defence mode. It was endlessly fascinating watching Lean and the turmoil he was in. How he tried to dig himself out of it. Entire days' filming would be cancelled because he'd decide the set needed to be re-dressed. Obviously he simply didn't feel ready to shoot that day. It was all very...interesting.
[2013, on Dark Blood (2012)] I can't imagine what he (George Sluizer) could have cobbled together. What would be the interest in an unfinished film, other than a rather questionable curiosity in River (Phoenix)? I don't care personally. Makes no difference to me.
[on Husbands and Wives (1992)] I think it's a great film. Except for the bits I'm in. I was slightly over the top. There's that golden rule that you don't want to see the acting. And I thought I could. The director just let me go. We can't blame Woody Allen for that one.
I never wanted celebrity. It's not a game I've ever been interested in. My life leads my work, and I wouldn't want it to be the reverse.

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