Judy Davis

From Academic Kids

Judy Davis (born April 23, 1955) is an Australian actress.

Career

Born in Perth, she was educated at Loreto Convent and graduated from the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) in 1977. She has been nominated for Academy Awards twice; first, for best actress in A Passage to India (1984) and second, for best supporting actress in Husbands and Wives (1992). She has won an extraordinary range of other American and Australian awards, year after year.

Best known for her role as Sybylla Melvyn in My Brilliant Career (1979), she also played the lead in such Australian New Wave classics as Heatwave (1982) (Davis is the radical tenant organizer) and The Winter of Our Dreams (1981) (she's the waif-like heroin addict). Some critics believe her finest performance was in High Tide (1987), the story of an alcoholic mother who attempts to reunite with her teenage daughter who is being raised by the paternal grandmother. A later memorable Davis role was the lifelong Australian Communist Party member reacting to the downfall of the Soviet Union in Children of the Revolution (1996).

Davis' unwillingness to move to Hollywood has probably limited her career in some respects, but she is known in the industry as an "actor's actor." Like Patty Duke, she has developed a second career in made-for-TV movies, where she displays an uncanny ability to turn a sow's ear into a silk purse by subverting schlocky scripts (as for instance in her portrayals of Judy Garland and Lillian Hellman). Even in her early acting years, Davis rarely appeared in conventional action films—she works best with sophisticated scripts aimed at grown-up audiences, playing against intelligent leading men such as Peter Weller, Sam Neill or Richard Dreyfuss.

She has been married to actor and fellow NIDA graduate Colin Friels since 1984. They have two children.

Films

Television


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