The Accidental Tourist
"I would describe myself as a take-it-as-it-comes kind of person. I love acting, but it's not driving my life by any means and hasn't really for a long time." Geena Davis.
First noticed while playing April Page, the scantily clad soap-opera actress, in her debut film Tootsie (1982), Geena Davis won Oscar’s Best Supporting Actress for portraying the quirky Muriel Pritchett in The Accidental Tourist (1988) and was nominated Oscar’s Best Actress for costarring with Susan Sarandon’s Louise in the hit female buddy movie Thelma and Louise (1991). Davis had starred in such films as The Fly (1986), Beetlejuice (1989), A League of Their Own (1992), Angie (1994), The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996), Stuart Little films (1999 and 2002; as the mother), and is currently starring as President Mackenzie Allen on ABC drama pilot "Commander in Chief."
A former model, Geena Davis stands at 6' tall and has 34-25-35 (on her Zoli modeling card; ideal for her start as an underwear model). She was one of Empire magazine’s “The 100 Sexiest Stars in Film History” (1995) and Empire (UK) magazine's “The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time” (October 1997). The leggy, square-jawed and athletic actress who was semifinalist in 1999 Olympic Archery team and a member of MENSA with an IQ of 140, has been married four times and has three children. Her private life was related to actor Christopher MacDonald (together three years before Davis wed Jeff Goldblum; featured with Davis in Thelma & Louise (1991)).
Olympic Archery Semi-Finalist
Childhood and Family:
In Wareham, Massachusetts, Virginia Elizabeth Davis was born on January 21, 1956 to parents William Davis (civil engineer; retired) and Lucille Davis (teacher's aide; retired). She has one brother, Dan Davis, a geotechnical engineer. She graduated from Wareham High School, Wareham, Massachusetts, (Class of 1974), where he was voted "Most Talented." Davis, who also speaks Swedish, once attended school in Sweden as an exchange student. She studied Drama at New England College, Henniker, New Hampshire before transferring a year later at School of Fine Arts, Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts (graduated in 1979; B.F.A.). Davis once studied with the Professional Actors' Program. A member of MENSA with an IQ of 140, Davis also placed 24th out of 28 semi-finalists for Olympic Archery team (August 1999).
On March 25, 1982, Davis married restaurant manager Richard Emmolo only to divorce the following year, on February 26, 1983. Seven years later, on November 1, 1987, she tied the knot with actor Jeff Goldblum, but they divorced on October 17, 1990. Davis then married Renny Harlin on September 18, 1993, but the marriage also ended in divorce on June 21, 1998. In 1999, Davis met surgeon Reza Jarrahy (Iranian, his last name means “surgery” in Persian) and they exchanged wedding vows on September 1, 2001. With Jarrahy, Davis has three children: daughter Alizeh Keshvar Davis Jarrahy (born on April 10, 2002) and twin sons Kian William and Kaiis Steven (born on May 6, 2004).
A League of Their Own
"I want to play characters who are in charge of their own destiny, who are self-determining, for good or bad, who make mistakes or not, but make their own choices and decisions. That way, I avoid playing victims and things like that. I don't feel that I need to contribute to that particular thing." Geena Davis.
Dreaming of becoming an actress, young Geena Davis moved to the Big Apple and found jobs as sales clerk and waitress. As a struggling model, Davis worked at Ann Taylor and became Saturday window mannequin. At age 23, 6 feet tall Davis was signed by the New York City-based Zoli modeling Agency and appeared as a model in the Victoria Secret's Catalogue. Davis’ figure in the catalogue caught the eye of film director Sydney Pollack who later cast Davis to play the supporting part of April Page, a lingerie-clad soap star, in the romantic comedy Tootsie (1982, starring Dustin Hoffman).
Following her film-acting debut, Davis debuted in TV series, with a recurring role as Karen Nicholson, a slightly daft maid hired by Alex (played by Michael J. Fox, on the hit NBC sitcom "Family Ties" (starring Meredith Baxter and Michael Gross). After moving to Los Angeles, Davis landed a series regular as Wendy Killian on NBC's acclaimed but short-lived sitcom "Buffalo Bill" (1983-1984; alongside Dabney Coleman; Davis also credited as writer for one episode). She also tried an audition for a regular cast member spot on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live" (1975) show in 1984.
In 1985, Davis debuted as a series star, playing the title role of San Francisco legal aid lawyer “Sara” on NBC’s brief-lived sitcom with the same name. During that time, Davis was seen in the TV movie Secret Weapons (1985, along with Linda Hamilton), Michael Ritchie's adaptation of Gregory McDonald's novel, the dark comedy Fletch (1985, starring Chevy Chase) and writer-director Rudy De Luca's horror comedy Transylvania 6-5000 (1985, first collaboration with Jeff Goldblum; also starring Joseph Bologna). Davis also made her first feature-starring role, as investigative journalist Veronica Quaife, opposite Jeff Goldblum in David Cronenberg's update of the original horror classic, The Fly (1986).
Two years later, along with Alec Baldwin, Davis costarred as ghost couple Adam and Barbara in Tim Burton's surreal, wonderfully cartoon-like comedy Beetlejuice, and made her last screen collaboration with Jeff Goldblum in Julien Temple's musical comedy Earth Girls Are Easy (both in 1988). Also in that year, Davis won Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actress, thanks to the portrayal of the quirky Muriel Pritchett in Lawrence Kasdan's romantic drama film, inspired by Anne Tyler's book, The Accidental Tourist (with William Hurt and Kathleen Turner). Off screen, Davis founded production company Genial Pictures, along with partner Fanny Levy.
With an Oscar under her belt, Davis delivered more acclaimed performances. She costarred as three fed-up New Yorkers who decide to rob a bank, with Bill Murray and Randy Quaid, in Howard Franklin and Bill Murray's screen version of Jay Cronley's book, Quick Change (1990) and nabbed Academy Award nomination for Best Actress after costarring with Susan Sarandon in Ridley Scott's female buddy hit Thelma & Louise (1991, Davis played housewife Thelma). She also earned Best Actress Golden Globe nomination for portraying Lori Petty's sister, two siblings who join the first female professional baseball league, in Penny Marshall's story of the formation of the first professional female baseball league during World War II, A League of Their Own (1992, also with Tom Hanks and Madonna).
"It wasn't until A League of Their Own that I realized I had a natural, but un-tapped athletic talent inside me. That realization is why I'm dedicated to making sure that every girl has the opportunity and encouragement to get in touch with her sports spirit." Geena Davis.
Davis costarred with Dustin Hoffman and Andy Garcia, playing ace reporter Gale Gayley in Stephen Frears' Hero (1992) before she narrated Princess Scargo and the Birthday Pumpkin (1993) and portrayed the title role in Martha Coolidge's take on Avra Wing's novel, Angie (1994). In 1994, Davis formed Forge Productions with Renny Harlin as well as starring (as Michael Keaton's love interest) and co-producing Ron Underwood's romantic comedy Speechless (Davis received Golden Globe’s Best Actress nomination). She became a female pirate in Renny Harlin's Cutthroat Island (1995) and played a recovered amnesia victim in then-husband director Renny Harlin's The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996, opposite Samuel L. Jackson).
The rest of 1990s saw Davis co-produced HBO movie Mistrial (1996) with then-husband Renny Harlin, and hosted the Academy Awards telecast pre-show on ABC (march of 1999). She played the mother in director Rob Minkoff's screen version of E.B. White's book, Stuart Little (1999), and reprised her role in its 2002 sequel, Stuart Little 2. In the late of 1990s, she was cast as Queen Beryl in a never-produced American live-action movie adaptation of Sailor Moon.
Entering the new century, Davis returned to television, starring as Teddie Cochran, a single girl-turned-mother of two in six dates flat, in the fall ABC sitcom "The Geena Davis Show" (2000-2001; with Mimi Rogers). Currently, Davis is starring as MacKenzie Allen, the first woman American president who ascends to the job following the death of the president, in Rod Lurie's ABC drama pilot "Commander in Chief" (alongside with Donald Sutherland). The role earned Davis a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Drama Series.
- San Francisco International Film Festival: Piper-Heidsieck Award, 1992
- National Board of Review: Best Actress, Thelma & Louise, 1991
- Boston Society of Film Critics: Best Actress, Thelma & Louise, 1991
- Academy Awards: Best Actress in a Supporting Role, The Accidental Tourist, 1988