Geena Davis

Geena Davis Headshot

Actress • Producer • Writer • Olympian

Birth Name: Virginia Elizabeth Davis

Birth Date: January 21, 1956

Age: 68 years old

Birth Place: Wareham, Massachusetts

Spouses: Jeff Goldblum

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 portrayal 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 the 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). Davis executive produced and appeared in the documentary "This Changes Everything" (2018), a condemnation of sexism in the TV and film industry.

In 2020 for her work promoting gender equality in Hollywood and the world, Geena Davis received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the 92nd Annual Academy Awards.

Credits

Blink Twice

Actor
Stacy
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2024

Sherri

Guest
Talk
2022

Emma Barnett Meets

Guest
Show
2022

A Night in the Academy Museum

Self
Special
2021

Ava

Actor
Bobbi
Movie
2020

Mission UnstoppableStream

Executive Producer
Reality
2019

Today 3rd Hour

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2018

Busy Tonight

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Talk
2018

Entertainment Weekly Cast Reunions

Guest
Show
2018

This Changes Everything

Executive Producer
Movie
2018

This Changes Everything

Self
Movie
2018

Access Live

Guest
Show
2017

Live with Kelly and Ryan

Guest
Talk
2017

Marjorie Prime

Actor
Tess
Movie
2017

Don't Talk to Irene

Self
Movie
2017

The ExorcistStream

Actor
Angela Rance
Series
2016
89%

Today's Take

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2016

Celebrity PageStream

Guest
News
2016

Vice Guide to Film

Actor
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2016

The Late Late Show With James Corden

Guest
Talk
2015

Me Him Her

Actor
Mrs. Ehrlick
Movie
2015

q

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2014

Good Morning Britain

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2014

Late Night With Seth MeyersStream

Guest
Talk
2014

When Marnie Was There

Voice
Yoriko Sasaki
Movie
2014

Hollywood Game Night

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Game Show
2013

Costas at the Movies

Guest
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2013

In a World...Stream

Actor
Katherine Huling
Movie
2013
92%

Coma

Actor
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2012

Doc McStuffinsStream

Guest Star
Princess Persephone
Series
2012

CBS This Morning

Guest
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2012

Women, War & Peace

Narrator
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2011

The TalkStream

Guest
Talk
2010

Access Hollywood Live

Guest
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2010

Alice Through the Looking Glass

Actor
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2010

The Project

Guest
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2009

Accidents Happen

Actor
Gloria Conway
Movie
2009

Studio Spotlight

Actor
Show
2008

The Graham Norton ShowStream

Guest
Talk
2007

Rachael Ray ShowStream

Guest
Talk
2006

Commander in ChiefStream

Actor
President Mackenzie Allen
Series
2005
82%

Grey's AnatomyStream

Guest Star
Series
2005
84%

Stuart Little 3: Call of the Wild

Voice
Mrs. Eleanor Little
Movie
2005

Tavis Smiley

Guest
Talk
2004

Jimmy Kimmel Live!Stream

Guest
Talk
2003

Stuart Little 2

Actor
Mrs. Little
Movie
2002

The Geena Davis Show

Actor
Teddie Cochran
Series
2000
11%

Stuart LittleStream

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Mrs. Little
Movie
1999
67%

Will & GraceStream

Guest Star
Janet Adler
Series
1998

The ViewStream

Guest
Talk
1997

Access Hollywood

Guest
News
1996

Mistrial

Executive Producer
Movie
1996

The Long Kiss GoodnightStream

Actor
Samantha Caine; Charly Baltimore
Movie
1996
68%

Cutthroat Island

Actor
Morgan
Movie
1995

Inside the Actors Studio

Guest
Talk
1994

Angie

Actor
Angie Scacciapensieri
Movie
1994

Speechless

Actor
Julia Mann
Movie
1994

Speechless

Producer
Movie
1994

A League of Their OwnStream

Actor
Dottie Hinson
Movie
1992
81%

Hero

Actor
Gale Gayley
Movie
1992

Thelma & LouiseStream

Actor
Thelma
Movie
1991
86%

The Earth Day Special

Actor
Show
1990

Quick Change

Actor
Phyllis Potter
Movie
1990

Earth Girls Are EasyStream

Actor
Valerie
Movie
1989
68%

BeetlejuiceStream

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Barbara Maitland
Movie
1988

The Accidental TouristStream

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Muriel Pritchett
Movie
1988
82%

The FlyStream

Actor
Veronica Quaife
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1986
93%

Sara

Actor
Sara McKenna
Series
1985

Secrets of the Red Bedroom

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Tamara Reshevsky/Brenda
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1985

Secret Weapons

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Tamara Reshevsky/Brenda
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1985

FletchStream

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Larry
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1985
77%

Transylvania 6-5000

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Odette
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1985

Riptide

Actor
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1984

Buffalo Bill

Actor
Wendy Killian
Series
1983
84%

Knight RiderStream

Guest Star
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1982

Family TiesStream

Guest Star
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1982

TootsieStream

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April Page
Movie
1982
91%

Entertainment Tonight

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1981

CBS News Sunday Morning

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1979

Fantasy Island

Guest Star
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1978

Good Morning America

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1975

Saturday Night LiveStream

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1975

News aboutGeena Davis

The stars of 'Succession,' 'The Bear,' and former costars and former real-life spouses Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis behind the scenes at the 2024 SAG Awards

SAG Awards 2024: Best Behind-the-Scenes Moments (PHOTOS)

7 Spooky Families to Watch This Halloween, From ‘The Addams Family’ to ‘Ghosts’

Marcia Gay Harden

Marcia Gay Harden May Replace Geena Davis in CBS’ Mother-Son Legal Drama Pilot

Rita Moreno

10 Amazing ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Guest Stars, From Phylicia Rashad (Who’s Coming Back!) to Rita Moreno

GLOW_301_Unit_00174R

The Ladies of ‘GLOW’ Take on Vegas & Geena Davis in Season 3 Trailer (PHOTOS)

Glow - Gena Davis

Geena Davis Joins ‘GLOW’ Season 3 — Get Your First Look at Sandy Devereaux St. Clair (PHOTO)

Jessica Capshaw as Dr. Arizona Robbins and Geena Davis as Dr. Nicole Herman

Geena Davis’ Return to ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Says a Lot About Arizona’s Fate

Terry Crews attends the 3rd Annual Bentonville Film Festival

Out & About at the 2017 Bentonville Film Festival (PHOTOS)

Stephanie Beatriz, Geena Davis, Meg Ryan, and Melissa Fumero attend the 3rd Annual Bentonville Film Festival

Bentonville Film Festival Day 3: Girls Rule, and Geena Davis & Friends Remake Male Cinema

Geena Davis on Today

Geena Davis’s Bentonville Film Festival Is Back for a Third Year

Exorcist Season 1 109

‘The Exorcist’: 5 Teases For The Killer Season Finale

Geena Davis and Hannah Kasulka in The Exorcist

‘The Exorcist’ Has One Hell of a Finale (VIDEO)

Hannah Kasulka in the

Heads Are Turning On ‘The Exorcist’ Tonight!

The Exorcist - Ben Daniels and Alfonso Herrera in the 'Father of Lies' episode

‘The Exorcist’s Ben Daniels Opens Up About Marcus’ Past and What the Devil is Next for Casey (VIDEO)

Geena Davis

‘The Exorcist’s Geena Davis on the Show’s Game-Changing Reveal and What’s Next

Jeffrey Tambor as Maura Pfefferman in Transparent

Roush Review: ‘Transparent’ Returns, and Remakes of ‘The Exorcist’, ‘MacGyver’

Hannah Kasulka, Brianne Howey, Alan Ruck, Geena Davis, Alfonso Herrera and Ben Daniels in THE EXORCIST

‘The Exorcist’ Series Tells a New Story, But Is Just as Chilling as the Classic Film

The Exorcist Season 1

Will ‘The Exorcist’ Scare the Devil Out of You?

Geena Davis

Fox’s Pilot for ‘The Exorcist’ Adds Oscar Winner Geena Davis