Wareham’s Geena Davis Is the SouthCoast’s Original Movie Star
The SouthCoast has been abuzz in recent weeks with the cast of Finestkind filming in Fairhaven and New Bedford, with sightings of Tommy Lee Jones, Ben Foster and some of the other stars reported almost on a daily basis.
This comes on the heels of Paul Giamatti coming to Fairhaven a short time ago to film The Holdovers, and numerous other productions that have hit the SouthCoast in recent years, such as Jungleland and Don’t Look Up. There’s no doubt that the region is becoming a go-to for filming in Massachusetts.
Lost in all of the talk of Hollywood coming to the SouthCoast is the person the SouthCoast sent to Hollywood: Wareham’s own Oscar winner, Geena Davis.
Davis hasn’t been overly active in recent years; she starred in the first season of the television series The Exorcist in 2016 – portraying (spoiler alert, even though it was six years ago now) a grown-up Regan MacNeil – and had a run on both Grey’s Anatomy and GLOW.
However, there was a time from the mid-’80s until the mid-’90s in which Davis was highly prolific, making films such The Fly, Beetlejuice, A League of Their Own, Cutthroat Island and The Long Kiss Goodnight. She won an Oscar for The Accidental Tourist and was nominated again for Thelma & Louise.
Davis was born Virginia Davis in Wareham on January 21, 1956 to parents Lucille and Bill. The elder Davises remained in Wareham even after their daughter became a big star, and she would frequently return to town to visit, popping into Mill Pond Diner for tea and toast where she could blend in among the regular townsfolk she’d known her whole life.
Davis was, by all accounts, a shy and awkward child growing up, reaching six feet tall while still in high school. She played piano, organ and flute but dreamed of being an actress. After a brief modeling career, her Hollywood stardom began in 1982 after she was cast in the Dustin Hoffman film Tootsie.
As her career took off, Davis became just as well-known for her love life – she’s been married and divorced three times, including to actor Jeff Goldblum and director Renny Harlin – as she was for her acting.
These days, she focuses quite a bit on issues such as women’s sports and she also founded the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media to help fight for equality for all genders in Hollywood, ensuring someday that another tall, shy girl from a small town like Wareham will have a chance to make it to the big time and be treated with respect.