Viola Davis Headshot
Report a problem with this profile
[email protected]

Viola Davis          

First Black Actor to Receive an Emmy, Tony & Academy Award; Equal Rights for Women & Women of Color Advocate

Viola Davis is an American actress and producer. Having won an Academy Award, an Emmy Award, and a Tony Award, she is the first black actor to achieve the Triple Crown of Acting. Time magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2012 and 2017.

A classically trained, award-winning actor, Davis has conquered every medium from stage to television to film. From her Tony Award-winning performances in “King Hedley II” and “Fences” to her Academy Award-nominated performances in “The Help” and “Doubt,” Davis has burst through every barrier to become one of the most accomplished and celebrated actors today.

Other notable films include “Beautiful Creatures,” “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” “Knight and Day” with Tom Cruise, and “Eat Pray Love” starring opposite Julia Roberts and “Get on Up” the story of James Brown’s rise from poverty to fame. Davis also played Amanda Waller in 2016's "Suicide Squad."

For her portrayal of lawyer Annalise Keating in Shonda Rhimes-produced series, “How to Get Away with Murder” on ABC, Davis won two SAG Awards in 2015 and 2016 and became the first black woman to win the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 2015.

Rising out of "the absolute epitome of poverty," Davis fell in love with theater early in high school as a form of escape. Her passion and growing abilities for acting would pay off with a full scholarship to the Young Peoples School of the Performing Arts before attending the prestigious Julliard School for four years. In 1996, Davis hit the acting trifecta by earning roles on Broadway (“Seven Guitars”), TV (“NYPD Blue”), and film (“The Substance of Fire”).

Davis is also widely recognized for her advocacy and support of human rights and equal rights for women. Equally passionate is her dedication to ensure that women of color are part of the narrative, on all artistic platforms. On raising the profiles and stories of young women of color, Davis says, "I want to do what Cicely Tyson did to me... she allowed me to have the visual of what it means to dream." It's this type of ideology and commitment that TIME saw when they named Davis as "one of the most influential people of 2012 and 2017.

Speech Topics

The Journey of a Hero

An inspirational voice who discusses her career and how overcoming adversities and preconceived restrictions have contributed to becoming a stronger woman.


Viola Davis: “My Entire Life Has Been a Protest” — Vanity Fair

The Oscar and Emmy winner overcame long odds to make it in Hollywood. Then the real work began.

Related Speakers View all

More like Viola