Interviews


Geena Davis


Occupation: Actress
Date of Birth: January 21, 1957
Place of Birth: Wareham, Mass., USA
Sign: Sun in Aquarius, Moon in Libra
Relations: Ex-husbands: Richard Emmolo, Jeff Goldblum(actor), Renny Harlin (director)
Education: Boston University

 

AFTER graduating from Boston University with a bachelor's degree in fine arts, Geena Davis signed with the Zoli modelling agency in New York, with an agenda to expand her repertoire to include acting. She made the obligatory turn as a waitress, then landed a memorable role as a soap-opera actress dressed only in her skivvies, in Tootsie. This auspicious start led to quirkier, more substantial television assignments, most notably on Family Ties and on the cult hit Buffalo Bill. Davis's stunning good looks and Mensa-level I.Q. made her a rare commodity in Hollywood: her unique ability to portray both goofy awkwardness and high-octane sexiness led to castings in a wide variety of roles.

Davis's success in television was short-lived. At six feet tall, Davis is larger than life in life, and seemed custom-made for the more expansive panorama of a movie screen. She landed a small role in the Chevy Chase vehicle Fletch, but it was her dramatic turn in David Cronenberg's remake of The Fly that set her on the road to stardom. The film provided her with the opportunity to cut her acting teeth, and it led to a short marriage to the fly himself, Jeff Goldblum. With 1988's Beetlejuice, Davis proved that she could dart effortlessly between drama and comedy. That same year, she grabbed the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance as a dog trainer in The Accidental Tourist, a part for which she had lobbied strenuously. Just like that, Davis had landed on the Hollywood A-list.

But Davis wasn't content to settle for the comfortable love-interest niche the film industry reserves for its top female stars. She earned acclaim for her Thelma in the controversial female-liberation flick Thelma and Louise, an assignment that made Davis the envy of women everywhere when her character bedded a startlingly sexy (and unknown at the time) actor named Brad Pitt. Leads in Penny Marshall's A League of Their Own and Angie followed.

Davis's1993 marriage to action-blockbuster director Renny Harlin (Die Hard II, Cliffhanger) marked the beginning of a romantic-professional collaboration many thought was destined to end after their Cutthroat Island tanked at the box office in 1995. Davis reinvented herself as a female action star for Harlin's 1996 offering, The Long Kiss Goodnight, which garnered markedly better press and box-office receipts. Even action maestro Sylvester Stallone was impressed, commenting that Davis "pulled it off with a royal flush." Still, Davis didn't dare the big screen again until 1999, which marked the release of the holiday family heartwarmer Stuart Little, a live-action adaptation of the classic E.B. White children's tale. She and Harlin split amicably in 1997, expressing intentions to remain friends and business partners. And what will Davis's next incarnation be? Executive producer, of course. The actress has several movie and television projects in development, including The Politician's Wife, The Decision, Mistrial, and Bigmalion.

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