Geena Davis


Actor
Geena Davis

About

Also Known As
Virginia Elizabeth Davis
Birth Place
Wareham, Massachusetts, USA
Born
January 21, 1956

Biography

Beginning in the early '80s, this statuesque (about 6') former fashion model carefully crafted a winning screen persona that made her one of Hollywood's most sought-after actors. While Davis' somewhat goofy charm was well deployed in quirky comedies (e.g., "Fletch" 1985; "Beetlejuice" 1988; "Quick Change" 1990), she also displayed a flair for drama, notably with an Oscar-winning turn in ...

Family & Companions

Richard Emmolo
Husband
Restaurant manager. Married c. 1981; divorced after 18 months in 1983.
Christopher MacDonald
Companion
Actor. Together three years before Davis wed Jeff Goldblum; featured with Davis in "Thelma & Louise" (1991).
Jeff Goldblum
Husband
Actor. Married on November 1, 1987; filed for divorce in October 1990; met while filming "Transylvania 6-5000" (1985).
Renny Harlin
Husband
Director. Married on September 18, 1993; separated amicably in April 1997; Davis filed for divorce in August 1997; finalized in 1998.

Biography

Beginning in the early '80s, this statuesque (about 6') former fashion model carefully crafted a winning screen persona that made her one of Hollywood's most sought-after actors. While Davis' somewhat goofy charm was well deployed in quirky comedies (e.g., "Fletch" 1985; "Beetlejuice" 1988; "Quick Change" 1990), she also displayed a flair for drama, notably with an Oscar-winning turn in Lawrence Kasdan's "The Accidental Tourist" (1988) and her career-defining role opposite Susan Sarandon in "Thelma and Louise" (1991). Strikingly attractive with just a touch of gawkiness, Davis projected an all but irresistible friendliness and vulnerability in her early appearances. More often than not, her best characterizations had her starting out as an untried and fairly ditsy naif who is forced to make decisions that allow her to grow over the course of the narrative. Her imposing physique also gave her rare credibility to play athletes and other unusually physical roles. After a career downturn that coincided with her marriage to critically-lambasted action director Renny Harlin, David rebounded with an impressive series of mature roles that kept her in the Hollywood spotlight, including a starring role as the president of the United States in "Commander in Chief" (ABC 2005-06), a stint on medical drama "Grey's Anatomy" (ABC 2005- ) and the lead in the first season of a television reboot of "The Exorcist" (Fox 2016-18).

Davis first registered on TV in 1982 in the briefly recurring role of the guileless maid Karen Nicholson hired by precocious young conservative Alex P Keaton (Michael J Fox) on the hit NBC sitcom "Family Ties". Davis' slightly daft domestic enchanted both her diminutive employer and a huge primetime audience. She next surfaced as Wendy Killian, an ingenuous research assistant, providing one of several foils to Dabney Coleman's titular detestable talk show host "Buffalo Bill" (NBC, 1983-84) in that short-lived but highly acclaimed sitcom. Davis graduated to sitcom lead as "Sara" (NBC, 1985), a young single attorney sharing a San Francisco storefront apartment with three other lawyers. This failed but inoffensive attempt to recreate "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" for the 80s boasted a sterling supporting cast that included Alfre Woodard, Bill Maher and Bronson Pinchot. But success and stardom for the actress would come in the movies.

Davis made her feature debut as a scantily clad soap-opera performer who innocently shares a dressing room with the cross-dressing Dustin Hoffman in "Tootsie" (1982). She graduated to leads with David Cronenberg's ickily transcendent remake of "The Fly" (1986), cast opposite Jeff Goldblum whom she married the following year. Rarely has film offered a more convincing depiction of two bright and interesting people falling in love. Offscreen, Goldblum and Davis made for a great celebrity couple: both were long, lean, a little loopy and seemingly very much in love and they gave memorably entertaining interviews. The pair seemed like a Nick and Nora Charles for postmodern times. (Their marriage, however, faltered and they filed for divorce in 1990.)

Davis surprised many by winning an Oscar for her portrayal of the kooky dog-trainer who wins the heart of a traumatized William Hurt in Lawrence Kasdan's comedy-drama "The Accidental Tourist". She made a much greater impact--and earned her first Best Actress nod from the Academy--as Thelma, an oppressed and none-too-brainy housewife who finds notoriety, liberation and herself on an outlaw road trip in Ridley Scott's seminal "Thelma & Louise" (1991). Filmed shortly after Davis' divorce from Goldblum, this female buddy movie became a cult favorite for many feminists and Davis and co-star Susan Sarandon assumed the status of a distaff Redford and Newman. She rose capably above the material in Penny Marshall's popular period baseball comedy-drama, "A League of Their Own" (1992). Impressively serious amid the sentimental shenanigans, Davis won kudos for her portrayal of Dottie Hinson, a softball player in rural Oregon awaiting the return of her husband from overseas in WWII. Additionally, she proved convincing as the catcher and star player of a pro women's ball team. Davis fared less well that same year as a career-driven reporter tracking down the "Hero" (Dustin Hoffman or Andy Garcia) who saved a plane full of crash survivors from death by smoke inhalation. The screenplay of this attempt at contemporary Capra-corn, though, received more criticism than the female lead.

In 1993, Davis married transplanted Finnish action flick helmer Renny Harlin and the pair formed Forge Productions the following year. "Angie" (1994) offered a bit of a stretch for the striking WASPish leading lady as she played a working-class Italian-American Brooklynite who gets pregnant out of wedlock yet refuses to do the conventional right thing. Davis garnered reasonable reviews for her deft handling of a role conceived for Madonna but audiences steered clear of the light comedy-drama. Nor did they cast their vote later that year for "Speechless", a romantic comedy set in the world of politics. Starring opposite "Beetlejuice" co-star Michael Keaton as competing speech writers who fall in love, Davis also made her co-producing debut (with Harlin) on this project. She moved up to executive producer on the made-for-cable courtroom thriller "Mistrial" (HBO, 1996).

Married as she was to an action specialist, Davis cannot be faulted for trying her hand at the genre. The potential boost in international box-office clout seemed a worthy prize as the producing duo joined forces for the lavish pirate adventure "Cutthroat Island" (1995). Helmed by Harlin, the film boasted elaborate stunts, vibrant lensing, meticulous production design and impressive battle sequences. On the other hand, the conventional derring-do and lame scripting all but neutralized Davis' quirky appeal. That flaw, along with poor pacing and an all but irrelevant male lead (Matthew Modine), helped sink this $100 million white elephant at the box office, which also took a movie studio--the already troubled Carolco--down with it to the ocean floor. In the plus column, Davis performed her action chores with considerable aplomb. She and Harlin sprang into action again with "The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996). Armed with a hot Shane Black script, ace supporting player Samuel L. Jackson and some $70 million, the film delivered the action goods and a breezy tone but disappointing box office. Still, Davis charmed many with her initially tongue-in-cheek portrait of a suburban housewife whose amnesia prevents her from remembering her past as a top-ranked government assassin. Her attempt to transition back into television with the ABC sitcom "The Geena Davis Show" (2000-2001) playing a materialistic woman whose whirlwind romance takes her from singlehood to being the married mother of two after only six dates also failed to score with audiences.

Despite these commercial and critical setbacks (not to mention personal--she and Harlin ultimately divorced in 1998), Davis found a hit with the popular children's film "Stuart Little" (1999), charming audiences as the winsome wife and mother Eleanor Little, who is perfectly nonplussed that her adopted son is a talking white mouse. She would also reprise the role for the 2002 sequel, "Stuart Little 2" and thr animated, direct-to-video "Stuart Little 3" (2006). The actress would then give television yet another go, taking the lead in producer Rod Lurie's political-minded series "Commander in Chief" (ABC, 2005-06) as Mackenzie Allen, a political independent who became vice president as a lure for women voters who, after the death of her running mate, takes to the Oval Office as president despite strong opposition from both her allies and her enemies. The series only lasted one season, after which Davis took a break from Hollywood for several years. The family comedy "Accidents Happen" (2009) was followed by a supporting role in the acclaimed indie comedy "In A World..." (2013), about the life of a trailer voiceover artist. In 2014, Davis joined the cast of Shonda Rhimes' medical drama "Grey's Anatomy" (ABC 2005- ) for two seasons as a visiting surgeon. Davis next co-starred in the comedy "Me Him Her" (2015) before starring in the first season of a TV reboot of "The Exorcist" (Fox 2016-18). Davis next starred in Michael Almereyda's science fiction drama "Marjorie Prime" (2017) opposite Jon Hamm and played a version of herself in the indie comedy "Don't Talk To Irene" (2017).

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

Eve (2019)
Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché (2018)
Herself
Marjorie Prime (2017)
Me Him Her (2015)
When Marnie Was There (2014)
Voice
Accidents Happen (2009)
Stuart Little 2 (2002)
Stuart Little (1999)
The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996)
Cutthroat Island (1995)
Speechless (1994)
Angie (1994)
A League of Their Own (1992)
Hero (1992)
Thelma & Louise (1991)
Quick Change (1990)
The Accidental Tourist (1988)
Earth Girls Are Easy (1988)
Beetlejuice (1988)
The Fly (1986)
Secret Weapons (1985)
Fletch (1985)
Transylvania 6-5000 (1985)
Tootsie (1982)

Producer (Feature Film)

Mistrial (1996)
Executive Producer
Speechless (1994)
Producer

Music (Feature Film)

Earth Girls Are Easy (1988)
Song Performer

Misc. Crew (Feature Film)

Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché (2018)
Other

Cast (Special)

The 75th Annual Academy Awards (2003)
The 52nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards (2000)
Presenter
American Film Institute Salute to Dustin Hoffman (1999)
Performer
Sunday at the Oscars (1999)
The AFI's 100 Years... 100 Stars (1999)
Hometown Heroes (1998)
Interviewee
The 70th Annual Academy Awards (1998)
Performer
75 Years of Laughter (1998)
Interviewee
Breaking Through: The First Superstars (1997)
Breaking Through: Women Behind the Wheel (1997)
Host
Breaking Through: Our Turn to Play (1997)
The 66th Annual Academy Awards Presentation (1994)
Presenter
The 65th Annual Academy Awards Presentation (1993)
Presenter
The 64th Annual Academy Awards Presentation (1992)
Presenter
Fox/MTV Guide to Summer '92 (1992)
The 63rd Annual Academy Awards Presentation (1991)
Presenter
Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake (1991)
Time Warner Presents the Earth Day Special (1990)
The 62nd Annual Academy Awards Presentation (1990)
Presenter
The Hit List (1989)
Daphne
The 61st Annual Academy Awards Presentation (1989)
Performer
Day-to-Day Affairs (1985)

Producer (Special)

The Great Lifetime Makeover (1998)
Executive Producer
The Great Lifetime Makeover (1998)
Executive Producer
The Great Lifetime Makeover (1998)
Executive Producer

Misc. Crew (Special)

The 68th Annual Academy Awards (1996)
Archival Footage
The 67th Annual Academy Awards (1995)
Archival Footage

Life Events

1979

After graduating from college, signed with the NYC-based Zoli modeling agency (date approximate)

1982

TV series debut, played a recurring role on the hit NBC sitcom "Family Ties"

1982

Made memorable screen acting debut in "Tootsie"

1983

Debut as a series regular, played Wendy Killian on NBC's acclaimed but short-lived sitcom "Buffalo Bill"; also credited as writer for one episode

1985

First screen collaboration with future husband Jeff Goldblum (whom she met during the shoot), "Transylvania 6-5000"

1985

Made debut as a series star with short-lived NBC sitcom "Sara"

1986

First feature starring role, David Cronenberg's "The Fly" opposite Goldblum

1988

"Sara" rerun on NBC in the summer

1988

Co-starred with William Hurt in Lawrence Kasdan's "The Accidental Tourist"; won Oscar for Best Supporting Actress

1988

Starred in Tim Burton's "Beetlejuice"

1989

Final screen collaboration with Goldblum before their 1990 divorce, Julien Temple's "Earth Girls Are Easy"

1990

Founded production company Genial Pictures with partner Fanny Levy; made deal with Fox to develop own scripts and stories (date approximate)

1991

Co-starred with Susan Sarandon in Ridley Scott's crime drama "Thelma & Louise"; garnered second Oscar nomination

1992

Cast alongside Tom Hanks and Madonna in the women's baseball feature "A League of Their Own"

1993

Married transplanted Finnish action film director Renny Harlin

1994

Formed Forge Productions with Renny Harlin

1994

Starred in and co-produced feature film "Speechless"

1996

Co-produced (with Renny Harlin) TV-movie "Mistrial" (HBO)

1996

Directed by husband Harlin in the action-drama "The Long Kiss Goodnight"

1997

Split from Harlin and terminated her participation in Forge Productions

1999

Hosted the Academy Awards telecast pre-show on ABC (March 21)

1999

Played the mother in the feature adaptation of "Stuart Little"

2000

Returned to the small screen as star of ABC sitcom "The Geena Davis Show"

2002

Reprised role as Mrs. Little in "Stuart Little 2"

2005

Cast as the first female U.S. President on Rod Lurie's ABC drama "Commander in Chief"; earned a SAG (2006) nomination for Best Actress

2006

Earned an Emmy nomination for Best Actress in a Drama Series for "Commander in Chief"

2009

Starred in the dysfunctional family comedy-drama "Accidents Happen"

2012

Played a cutthroat head of psychiatry in A&E miniseries "Coma," based on 1978 film

2013

Landed a supporting role in the comedy "In a World..."

2014

Played the recurring character Dr. Nicole Herman on ABC's "Grey's Anatomy"

2016

Joined the cast of the horror series "The Exorcist"

2017

Appeared in the sci-fi stage-to-film drama "Marjorie Prime"

2017

Co-starred in comedy drama "Don't Talk to Irene"

2018

Returned to "Grey's Anatomy" after three years away

Photo Collections

Thelma & Louise - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for Thelma & Louise (1991), starring Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
Earth Girls Are Easy - Scene Stills
Here are several scene stills from Earth Girls Are Easy (1989), starring Geena Davis, Jeff Goldblum, and Jim Carrey.

Videos

Movie Clip

Hero (1992) -- (Movie Clip) Excuse The Vulgarity Jungle Advised to visit with his son (James Madio) before his sentencing for fencing stolen goods, small-time crook Bernie (Dustin Hoffman) continues his confabulating when they find a promising wallet in a rest room, early in Hero, 1992, with Geena Davis and Andy Garcia.
Hero (1992) -- (Movie Clip) Like The Suicide? Edward Hermann’s cameo introduces Geena Davis as reporter Gale and Kevin J. O’Connor as cameraman Chucky, then we meet Chevy Chase as news director Deke, Stephen Tobolowsky as exec Wallace, and Christian Clemenson as a rival newsman, in Hero, 1992, also starring Dustin Hoffman and Andy Garcia.
Hero (1992) -- (Movie Clip) I Don't Give No Interviews No introduction for Andy Garcia as John Bubber, just a guy giving Bernie (Dustin Hoffman) a ride back into town after his car quit after the plane crash, where he acted the reluctant hero, but doesn’t want anybody to know, because he stole from the wreckage, in Hero, 1992, also starring Geena Davis.
League Of Their Own, A (1992) -- (Movie Clip) Don't Swing At That Pitch Joining director Penny Marhsall’s opening, the mature Dottie Hinson, at a reunion, after documentary footage, recalls herself (Geena Davis) and sister Kit (Lori Petty) playing softball in Willamette, Oregon, observed at some distance by Jon Lovitz, a professional scout, in A League Of Their Own, 1992.
League Of Their Own, A (1992) -- (Movie Clip) She's Got An Eye Like DiMaggio Capadino (Jon Lovitz), scouting for the wartime Girls Professional Baseball League, is nonplussed when sisters Dottie (Geena Davis) and Kit (Lori Petty) catch up with his train, before they visit Colorado, meeting Marla (Megan Cavanagh) and her dad (Eddie Jones), in A League Of Their Own, 1992.
League Of Their Own, A (1992) -- (Movie Clip) Great To Meet You Before the first game for the Rockford Peaches, their manager, washed-up major league power hitter Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks) makes a crude entrance, Madonna, Rosie O’Donnell, Geena Davis, Lori Petty, among the players, in director Penny Marshall’s A League Of Their Own, 1992.
League Of Their Own, A (1992) -- (Movie Clip) Somebody's Gotta Run The Team After Mae (Madonna) hits a triple, de facto manager Dottie (Geena Davis) gives a signal to the next batter, power hitter Marla (Megan Cavanagh), before their drunken manager Jimmy (Tom Hanks) finally shows some interest, in director Penny Marshall’s A League Of Their Own, 1992.
Tootsie (1982) -- (Movie Clip) Don't Play Hard To Get Having won the soap opera part, by posing as actress "Dorothy Michaels," Michael (Dustin Hoffman) in a famous make-up sequence, with roommate Jeff (Bill Murray), then with disrobed colleague April (Geena Davis) in the dressing room, in Sydney Pollack's Tootsie, 1982.
Thelma & Louise -- (Movie Clip) Are You Up To This? Now fugitives, Louise (Susan Sarandon) explains her plans to Thelma (Geena Davis) then phones boyfriend Jimmy (Michael Madsen), in Ridley Scott's Thelma & Louise, 1991.
Thelma & Louise -- (Movie Clip) Let's Dance! Thelma (Geena Davis) has persuaded Louise (Susan Sarandon) to stop by the "Silver Dollar," where they meet Harlan (Timothy Carhart), en route to their weekend in the mountains, in Ridley Scott's Thelma & Louise, 1991.
Thelma & Louise -- (Movie Clip) Don't Holler Like That! Introductory scenes, as waitress Thelma (Susan Sarandon) rings pal Louise (Geena Davis), dealing with her un-charming husband Darryl (Christopher McDonald), opening Ridley Scott's Thelma & Louise, 1991.

Trailer

Family

William Davis
Father
Civil engineer (retired).
Lucille Davis
Mother
Teacher's aide (retired).
Dan Davis
Brother
Geotechnical engineer.
Alizeh Keshvar Jarrahy
Daughter
Born April 2002.
Kaiis Steven Jarrahy
Son
Born May 6, 2004; twin of Kian William; father is Reza Jarrahy.
Kian William Jarrahy
Son
Born May 6, 2004; twin of Kaiis Steven; father is Reza Jarrahy.

Companions

Richard Emmolo
Husband
Restaurant manager. Married c. 1981; divorced after 18 months in 1983.
Christopher MacDonald
Companion
Actor. Together three years before Davis wed Jeff Goldblum; featured with Davis in "Thelma & Louise" (1991).
Jeff Goldblum
Husband
Actor. Married on November 1, 1987; filed for divorce in October 1990; met while filming "Transylvania 6-5000" (1985).
Renny Harlin
Husband
Director. Married on September 18, 1993; separated amicably in April 1997; Davis filed for divorce in August 1997; finalized in 1998.
Reza Jarrahy
Husband
Surgeon. Born c. 1971; began dating in 1999; on married September 1, 2001.

Bibliography