Geena Davis

Geena Davis

(Courtesy photo)

SUN VALLEY • Actress Geena Davis will toast the 20th anniversary of her hit film "A League of Their Own" by introducing a free showing of the film at 8:45 p.m. July 26 at the Sun Valley Pavilion.

The film — about two sisters who struggle to help the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League succeed — will call attention to Davis' efforts to bolster the number of girls and women in Hollywood, said Nicola McIntosh, public relations officer for Zions Idaho. The film also starred Sun Valley homeowner Tom Hanks, along with Lori Petty, Madonna and Rosie O'Donnell.

Davis said she was struck by the dearth of female characters on screen while watching children's TV and videos with her young daughter several years ago. In response, she created the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and its programming arm, See Jane, to increase the percentages of female characters in media.

A study by the Annenberg School for Communication of 400 G-, PG-, PG-13- and R-rated movies demonstrated that there are nearly three males for every one female character, Davis said.

"Research done between 1990 and 2010 showed that there has been no increase in female characters at all," she added. "I don't think it's part of a plot to keep women off the screen. If I've learned anything it's that it's completely unconscious. They just don’t realize."

Zions Bank invited Davis to introduce the film and her effort. The bank, which has branches in the Magic and Wood River valleys, had the actress speak at a conference for women earlier.

Davis will also appear at events in Salt Lake City and Idaho Falls, where she will throw out the ball for an Idaho Falls ball club.

"I don't think I will dazzle anyone with my first pitch, but I do hope I throw it well enough that they don’t think that whole movie was a fake," she said.

Davis, 56, has embraced many roles, such as serving as a fashion model and window mannequin and placing 24th among 300 women vying for a semifinals berth on the Olympic archery team for the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia.

She is best known for her iconic roles in "Thelma and Louise," for which she received an Oscar nomination as Best Actress, and "A League of their Own," for which she received a Best Actress Golden Globe nomination. Davis, who received an Oscar as Best Actress for her role in "The Accidental Tourist," also is quick to point out she portrayed a pirate captain in "Cutthroat Island."

She portrayed the first female president of the U.S. in the ABC series "Commander in Chief," earning a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Drama Series in 2006, along with an Emmy nomination.

"I was thrilled to do the show. We didn't do it with the idea of changing the world. But because media images are so powerful, it did have an effect. People who were familiar with the show were 68 percent more likely to vote for a female presidential candidate than those who had not seen it," said Davis, who also fronted the Women's Sports Foundation campaign Geena Takes Aim in support of Title IX, which focused on inequality in sports.

Zions Bank is thrilled to have Davis in Sun Valley to celebrate her story of pioneering women athletes, said Zions Bank regional president Bryan Furlong. "This event is an extension of our commitment to empowering women to achieve financial independence."

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