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Viola Davis has won a Grammy for the audiobook of her memoir, “Finding Me,” earning her the coveted EGOT status — meaning she has won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award in her career.
She discovered a love of acting early in high school. Later at Rhode Island College, Davis earned her degree in theater in 1988.
As a graduate from the prestigious Juilliard School of Performing Arts, Davis is just the 18th person to have won all four major entertainment awards.
“I wrote this book to honor 6-year-old Viola,” Davis said Sunday during her acceptance speech. “To honor her life. Her joy. Her trauma, everything. And it has been such a journey. I just EGOT!”
The 57-year-old actress is the third Black woman after Jennifer Hudson and Whoopi Goldberg to achieve the rare honor, according to Entertainment Tonight.
Other famous EGOT winners include John Legend, Tim Rice, and Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Viola Davis said her Grammy win left her feeling “emotional” and that it would have made the younger version of herself very proud.
“My life has really come full circle,” she said in an interview on the red carpet following the win. “I wrote this book because I was trying to reconcile my life, I was trying to honor the young Viola. I wanted her to be excited at the 57-year-old she gets to become and this is just the icing on the cake.”
Viola Davis’ book, “Finding Me: A Memoir,” explores her early years in Rhode Island, her rise to fame in New York City, and everything behind-the-scenes which molded the highly touted actress.
Her memoir digs into how she’s dealt with poverty, bullies, race, sexism and the impossible beauty standard that plagues Hollywood.
Dedicated to telling new stories and reshaping expectations of Black women, Davis once said, “It is a time when Black women now have no choice but to take matters in their own hands and create images for ourselves … It’s up to us to look for the material, it’s up to us to produce it ourselves, it’s up to us to choose the stories.”
“The Woman King” star’s journey to EGOT status began in 2001 when she won best featured actress in a play at the 55th Tony Awards for her performance as Tonya in Broadway’s King Hedley II.
In 2010, she won best leading actress in a play for her role of Rose Maxson in “Fences,” which also earned her first Academy Award in 2017 for Best Supporting Actress in the play’s feature adaptation.
According to People, she was also nominated for Best Supporting Actress in 2009 for “Doubt,” as well as Best Actress in 2012 for “The Help” and 2021 for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”
Viola Davis won her first Emmy Award in 2015 for outstanding lead actress in a drama series (the first Black actress to win the category), thanks to her starring performance as Annalise Keating in ABC’s “How to Get Away with Murder.”
“You can’t shine if you have two lines in the background as a bus driver. You can only shine if you’re included in the narrative, and narratives start when you put pen to paper and you use your imagination,” told Essence. “You just tell a story. That’s all you do. You tell a story. You don’t put any boundaries on it. It’s infinite and that’s the only way we can do what we do is that people use their imaginations so that we can be included in it.”