Fans of Steven Spielberg's acclaimed Schindler's List (1993) will recognize actress Embeth Davidtz for playing the abused Jewish maid Helen Hirsch, while those who love Sam Raimi's Evil Dead series may remember her for playing the two-faced Sheila in the third Evil Dead installment, Army of Darkness (1992). Still others will recognize the actress for her strong work in such period dramas as Feast of July (1995) and Mansfield Park (1998).
Born in Indiana but raised in South Africa, Davidtz is fluent in English and Afrikaans, having studied classical and contemporary drama in both languages. A graduate of Rhodes University, she made an auspicious theatrical debut with the country's National Theater Company, as Juliet in a production of Shakespeare's classic romantic tragedy, and she subsequently garnered considerable accolades for her theatrical work. Davidtz entered films playing the daughter of an interracial couple in the South African television movie A Private Life (1988) and went on to win the country's equivalent of an Oscar in the Afrikaaner psychological drama Night of the Nineteenth. As her early work might indicate, Davidtz has shown a preference for appearing in political dramas from her first days in film.