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Viola Davis is the first Black actress to achieve the feat of winning a Tony, Emmy and Oscar Award, better known as the “Triple Crown of Acting.” Davis also won the Harvard Foundation’s Artist Of The Year Award, joining the likes of Quincy Jones and Salma Hayek, among other stars.

Davis was born August 11, 1965 in St. Matthews, S.C. but her family moved to Rhode Island when she was a baby. Davis has shared in past interviews that her family grew up in vermin-infested dwellings and were extremely poor. To escape her surroundings, Davis took a liking to movies and pursued the craft of acting at Rhode Island College.

Graduating from the school with a degree in Theater, Davis continued her studies at the Julliard School. In 1996, Davis got her first big break on Broadway, starring in the late playwright August Wilson’s Seven Guitars. From there, Davis took the New York theater scene by storm and won her first Tony Award in 2001 for her role in Wilson’s King Hedley II.

For some years, Davis took bit roles in television shows such as New York Undercover and Law & Order.  Davis’ star turn as Professor Annalise Keating on ABC’s hit drama “How To Get Away From Murder” from creator Shonda Rhimes has given her the highest profile of her career. In that role, Davis became the first Black woman to win a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.

Davis’ Best Supporting Actress win as Rose Maxon in the film adaptation of Wilson’s Fences alongside co-star Denzel Washington. Davis also won a Tony Award for the role in 2010.

In 2003, Davis married actor Julius Tennon. Together, they adopted a daughter, Genesis, as a newborn in 2011. Tennon has two children from a previous relationship.

PHOTO: PR Photos

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Little Known Black History Fact: Viola Davis  was originally published on