Essie Davis

Essie Davis
Born Esther Davis
(1970-11-30) 30 November 1970
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Nationality Australian
Occupation Actress, singer
Spouse(s) Justin Kurzel (m. 2002)
Children 2

Esther "Essie" Davis (born 30 November 1970 in Hobart, Tasmania) is an Australian actress and singer. She is best known for her roles as Phryne Fisher in Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries and Amelia Vanek in The Babadook.

Early life

Davis was brought up on the outskirts of Hobart, the daughter of local artist George Davis. She was educated at Clarence High School; Rosny College; the University of Tasmania, where she was a member of the Old Nick Company;[1] and the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) in Sydney, where she graduated in 1992.[2]


Her acting career began with the Bell Shakespeare company when, straight out of NIDA, she was cast as Juliet in its 1993 production of Romeo and Juliet.[3] She following this with performances for the company in Hamlet and Richard III in 1993, and Macbeth and The Taming of the Shrew in 1994.[4]

Davis' film career started with her role in the Australian 1995 film Dad and Dave: On Our Selection, which starred Geoffrey Rush, Leo McKern and Joan Sutherland. Film roles continued in The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, director Richard Flanagan's 1998 Tasmanian film The Sound of One Hand Clapping, and Girl with a Pearl Earring.[2]

After further stage performances in Australia including Gwendolen Fairfax in a national tour of The Importance of Being Earnest in 2000 and The School for Scandal for the Sydney Theatre Company in 2001, in 2003 she won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actress for her UK performance in the Tennessee Williams play A Streetcar Named Desire. In 2004 she starred in a Broadway production of Tom Stoppard's Jumpers, for which she earned a Tony Award nomination. In 2005 she appeared as Mrs. Nellie Lovett in the BBC production of Sweeney Todd with Ray Winstone.

In the 2008 film Hey, Hey, It's Esther Blueburger she plays Esther's controlling mother. Also in 2008, she appeared in the film Australia with Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, directed by Baz Luhrmann. The same year, Davis played Maggie in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof for the Melbourne Theatre Company.[5]

Davis returned to Tasmania to launch the Tasmanian Theatre Company in 2008 and help support local theatre while encouraging youth to continue participating in the arts.[6] In 2011, she received a Logie Award nomination for her role as Anouk in the Australian miniseries The Slap. In 2012, 2013 and 2015, Davis played Phryne Fisher, the central character in ABC Television's high-rating costume drama, Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries.[2]

Davis starred in Jennifer Kent's 2014 debut feature The Babadook. For her work in the film Davis was nominated for an AACTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, an AACTA International Award for Best Actress[7] and a Fangoria Chainsaw Award for Best Leading Actress.[8]

In 2016 she joined the HBO series Game of Thrones in Season 6 as Lady Crane.[9] In June 2016 she started filming The White Princess, where she will be playing Dowager Queen Elizabeth (Elizabeth Woodville).

Personal life

Davis married Justin Kurzel in 2002; the couple have two children,[10] twin daughters, Stella and Ruby.[1]



Year Title Role Notes
1993 Custodian, TheThe Custodian Jilly
1995 Dad and Dave: On Our Selection Kate Rudd
1996 Lilian's Story Zara
1996 River Street Wendy Davis
1997 Blackrock Det. Gilhooley
1997 Two-Wheeled Time Machine, TheThe Two-Wheeled Time Machine Young Alice Short film
1998 Sound of One Hand Clapping, TheThe Sound of One Hand Clapping Jean
2003 Matrix Reloaded, TheThe Matrix Reloaded Maggie
2003 Pact, TheThe Pact Helene Davis
2003 Girl with a Pearl Earring Catharina
2003 Code 46 Doctor
2003 Matrix Revolutions, TheThe Matrix Revolutions Maggie
2005 Isolation Orla
2006 Charlotte's Web Mrs. Arable
2008 Hey, Hey, It's Esther Blueburger Grace Blueburger
2008 Australia Catherine "Cath" Carney Fletcher
2010 South Solitary Alma Stanley
2010 Wedding Party, TheThe Wedding Party Jane
2010 Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole Marella (voice)
2011 Last Time I Saw Michael Gregg, TheThe Last Time I Saw Michael Gregg Lottie Video
2011 Burning Man Karen
2014 Babadook, TheThe Babadook Amelia Vanek
TBA Mindhorn Patricia Deville Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1997 Water Rats Senior Det. Nicola Bourke "Blood Trail"
"Dead or Alive"
1997 Ripper, TheThe Ripper Evelyn Bookman TV film
1998 Kings in Grass Castles Mary Costello TV miniseries
1998 Murder Call Judy St. John "Deadfall"
2000 Halifax f.p. Alison Blount "The Spider and the Fly"
2001 Corridors of Power Sophie "1.4"
2002 Young Lions Julie Morgan "1.2", "Mardi Gras"
2003 Enter the Matrix Maggie (voice) Video game
2003 After the Deluge Beth TV film
2003 Temptation Julie TV film
2006 Sweeney Todd Mrs. Lovett TV film
2006 Silence, TheThe Silence Juliet Moore TV film
2011 Cloudstreet Dolly Pickles TV miniseries
2011 Slap, TheThe Slap Anouk Main role
2012-15 Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries Phryne Fisher Lead role
2014 Poet in New York, AA Poet in New York Caitlin Thomas TV film
2014 Funny or Die Amelia "The Babadooks of Hazzard"
2016 Game of Thrones Lady Crane "The Door"
"Blood of My Blood"
"No One"

Awards and nominations

Film and television

Year Ceremony Category Title Work
1995 Australian Film Institute Awards Best Actress in a Supporting Role Dad and Dave: On Our Selection Nominated
2000 Best Actress in a Telefeature or Mini-Series Halifax f.p.: The Spider and The Fly Nominated
2003 Best Actress in a Supporting or Guest Role in a Television Drama or Comedy After The Deluge Won
2006 Screamfest Horror Film Festival Festival Trophy Isolation Won
2011 Film Critics Circle of Australia Best Supporting Actor- Female South Solitary Won
2012 AACTA Awards Best Lead Actress in a Television Drama Cloudstreet Nominated
ASTRA Awards Most Outstanding Performance by an Actor – Female Nominated
Logie Awards Most Outstanding Actress The Slap Nominated
Film Critics Circle of Australia Best Actress – Supporting Role Burning Man Nominated
2013 AACTA Awards Best Supporting Actress Nominated
Best Lead Actress in a Television Drama Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries Nominated
2014 Logie Awards Most Popular Actress Nominated
Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival Best Actress The Babadook Won
Sitges Film Festival Best Actress Won
Toronto After Dark Film Festival Best Actress Won
AACTA Awards Best Lead Actress Nominated
Detroit Film Critics Society Best Actress Nominated
Houston Film Critics Society Best Actress Nominated
Online Film Critics Society Best Actress Nominated
San Francisco Film Critics Circle Best Actress Nominated
Alliance of Women Film Journalists Best Breakthrough Performance Nominated
Village Voice Film Poll Best Actress 3rd place
2015 Saturn Awards Best Actress Nominated
Empire Awards Best Newcomer- Female Nominated
Fangoria Chainsaw Awards Best Leading Actress Won
AACTA International Awards Best Actress Nominated
Dorian Awards Film Performance of The Year- Female Nominated
2016 Logie Awards Gold Logie Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries Nominated
Best Actress Nominated
Most Outstanding Actress Nominated


Year Ceremony Category Title Work
2002 Helpmann Awards Best Female Actor in a Play The School for Scandal Nominated
2003 Olivier Awards Best Performance in a Supporting Role A Streetcar Named Desire Won
2004 Tony Awards Best Featured Actress in a Play Jumpers Nominated


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