Ruth Elizabeth (Bette) Davis (Lowell5 april 1908 – Neuilly-sur-SeineOctober 6, 1989) was an American actress who was nominated for an Oscar ten times and this has won twice. Davis was known for playing unsympathetic characters in many different film genres, ranging from crime films to historical or period films. She played every now in then in comic movies, but is best known for her roles in romantic dramas.


[hide]*1 background and career

Background and career[Edit]Edit

Davis was born in Harlow Morrell Davis and Ruth ("Ruthie") Augusta Favor. Her sister Barbara "Bobby" was born on October 25, 1909 . The origin of the family was EnglishFrench and Welsh. [1Davis's parents separated In 1915 and in 1921 moved her mother with both daughters to New York City to work as a photographer. Davis decided to become an actress in the same year, after they had seen Rudolph Valentino inThe Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and Mary Pickford in Little Lord Fauntleroy. [2she was supported by her mother, who also wanted to be an actress. After seeing Honoré de Balzac's La Cousine BetteDavis[3]changed its name to Bette.

Cushing Academy in Ashburnham Davis visited the. Here she met her first husband, Harmon o. Nelson. In 1926 she saw Henrik Ibsen's The Wild Duck with Blanche Yurka and Peg Entwistle. Davis told later that she was after seeing that piece quite determined to become an actress. She told: before I saw the piece, I wanted to be an actress. After I saw the piece, I had to be an actress ... just like Peg Entwistle. [4Davis auditioned for admission to Eva legallienne's Manhattan Civic Repertory, but was rejected by LeGallienne, which Davis described as insincere and frivolous. [5She was admitted to the John Murray Anderson School of Theatre, where she studied dance with Martha Graham.

Davis auditioned for George Cukors theatre company. Cukor was not impressed, but gave Davis her first paid role. She was allowed a week long as chorus girl in the play Broadway appear. Later, she was chosen to play Hedwig. This was the role that Peg Entwistle played in The Wild Duck. After she acted in, among others, PhiladelphiaBostonand Washington, D.C. in 1929 , she made her Broadwaydebut in the play Broken Dishes, followed by a role in Solid South. Here she was discovered by a talent Hunter of Universal Studios, who invited her for a Hollywoodscreen test.

From theatre to film[Edit]Edit

A bad start[Edit]Edit

[1][2]Davis in hell's House (1932)

Accompanied by her mother Davis moved by train to Hollywood and arrived there on 13 december 1930. She told later that it surprised her that none of the studio was waiting for her here. However, the employee of the studio that came to retrieve her left, because there is no one who "on an actress appeared". Although they did not succeed for her first screen test, she got several other screen tests, including for A House Divided (1931). She arrived at the test in a costume with a far too low décolleté. Director William Wylershowed her therefore every now and gave his crew are clearly opinion: What thinking this kind of ladies, that they by their facade to show to get a job? [6Carl Laemmle, the head of the studio, even considered to dismiss Davis. However, cinematographer Karl Freund told him that Davis had beautiful eyes and would be suitable for the role of Laura Madison in The Bad Sister. Eventually, she made her film debut in this film. [7Her nervousness knew Carl Laemmle Jr. to overcome them after they, the head of the production, heard to say that they feel as much erotic as Slim Summerville, one of the other actors from the movie. [8the film was not a success and also her role in her next film, Seed (1931), was too small to draw the attention of the media or the public to pull.

Universal extended its contract with three months, making Davis had the time in Waterloo Bridge (1931) to play. Next, they lent to Columbia Pictures to appear in The Menace(1932). Also, she was loaned to Capital Films to play in hell's House (1932). After nine months and six unsuccessful films, Laemmle chose not to renew its contract there.

However, Davis was not long silent. George Arliss chose her for the lead role in The Man Who Played God (1932). Davis described the rest of her life Arliss as the man who helped her with her breakthrough in Hollywood. The Saturday Evening Post wrote of her performance: she is not only beautiful, they also about flows of charm. Also, she was after the release of the film compared to Constance Bennett and Olive Borden. [9Warner Brothers signed her for five years.

Davis married In 1932 with "Ham" Nelson, who was viewed suspiciously by the press: his income was $ 100 a week, while Davis ' income consisted of $ 1000 per week. Davis told in an interview that the perfectly normal was that women with a private career in Hollywood make more money than their husbands. Nevertheless, Nelson there end up not against to be able. He bought a new House, not that Davis accepted before he could pay this with his own money. [10]

Result of Of Human Bondage[Edit]Edit

[3][4]Davis as Mildred in Of Human Bondage(1934)

After more than 20 film roles, she was for her portrayal of the villainous Mildred in Of Human Bondage (1934) praised by the critics for the first time. Many actresses had the role of Mildred all refused because they were afraid to play unsympathetic characters. Davis saw the role as a chance to show how limitless her acting skills were.Colleague Leslie Howard was at first dismissive about the actress during filming, but changed his attitude. Later he even spoke highly of her abilities. Director John Cromwell gave her the freedom to make decisions. He said: I let Bette her I trusted her instincts. Davis insisted that her death scene would be filmed realistically and said:The last stages of tuberculosis, poverty and neglect are not pleasant and I had the intention to be convincing. [11]

The film was a success, and Davis ' confrontational characterization got all the praise of the critics. Life Magazine wrote that this probably the best acting performance was ever recorded by an actress from the United States. [12Davis was expecting that her positive reviews Warner Brothers would give her more serious roles to encourage.She was disappointed that Jack Warner refused to lend her to Columbia Studios to play in It Happened One Night (1934). Instead, Davis appeared in the melodramaHousewife. [13when it became apparent that not Davis was nominated for an Academy Award for her portrayal of Mildred in Of Human BondageThe Hollywood Citizen News wanted that Norma Shearer, who was nominated, by the nomination list was extracted and that Davis there was put on. They even started a campaign. Howard Estabrook, the head of the Awards, allowed the public should vote on Davis, even though she was never put on the nomination list. This was the only exception in the history of the Oscars. [14Claudette Colbert won the Oscar for her role in It Happened One Night, but since then nominations yet by a wider group of members chosen. [15]

First Oscar[Edit]Edit

[5][6]Davis in the trailer for The Petrified Forest (1936)

A year later, in 1935, Davis played in Dangerous an actress with problems. Again she got positive reviews. E. Arnot Robertson wrote in Picture PostBette Davis would be two or three hundred years ago have lived as a witch and burned ones. She wears the feeling about of courage, fraught with suffering and strength. The New York Times described her as one of the most interesting film actresses. [16she won an Academy Award for best actress, but commented it was belated recognition as a price for her role in Of Human Bondage. Davis said she called theOscar price, the second name of her husband, because the picture in her eyes on him seemed. [17another version about the Oscar comes in the name of Margot Herrick, Librarian of the Academy. They would have already been in 1932 the name Oscar for the figurine have figured out, because the male and two drops of water on her uncle Oscar seemed. [18the denomination has been taken over by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

In her next film, The Petrified Forest (1936), Davis was next to Leslie Howard and Humphrey Bogart. Bogart, whose interpretation in this film was his first major role, got the most favorable reviews from critics. The films in the two following years with Davis were released, were not well received by the critics.


Davis took an offer in 1936 to English in two movies to play. She was convinced that her career was damaged by the studio, because these hair only in mediocre movies left play. She was aware that she broke her contract with Warner Brothers this and fled to Canada in order to evade injunctions. She was finally brought before a court in England and listened to the statement by lawyer Sir Patrick Hastings, the representative of Warner Brothers. Hastings told the Court that Davis was nothing more than a recalcitrant young lady who just wanted a higher salary. He mocked Davis ' statement in which she said that her contract to discloseslavery was, by that got paid Davis $ 1350 per week. The British press felt but little sympathy for Davis and wrote that she was overpaid and ungrateful. [19]

Davis explained her viewpoint to a journalist: I knew if I would continue playing in mediocre movies, I made no more chances to fight for my career. [20her lawyer summed up her complaints on. If they would refuse a role, she could be suspended without to be paid. They could also be called upon to play any role without there itself to stand behind. In addition, could the studio of its requirements to support a political party, without that they believed in themselves. Finally, certain the studio the image of Davis and the way in which this had to be handled. Jack Warner, who was called as a witness, confirmed that he indeed could force Davis to play each role against her will. [21]

Davis lost the case and returned to Hollywood to pursue her career, although at that time without income, but with debt. Olivia de Havilland started a similar case in 1943 and, in contrast to Davis, she won this one.

Success as "the fourth Warner Brother"[Edit]Edit

Resumption of her career[Edit]Edit

[7][8]Davis in Jezebel (1938)

In her next movie Davis Marked Woman played a prostitute in a gangster drama that was inspired by the case of Lucky Luciano. Both the film as Davis ' acting performance with excellent reviews were received. This was emphasized, which class Davis had as lead actress. While recording her next film, Jezebel (1938), Davis got a relationship with DirectorWilliam Wyler. They described him later as the love of her life and described the filming of Jezebel as the time of my life. [22the film was a success, and Davis ' portrayal of a young woman from spoiled southern Belle earned her a second Academy Award, which led to speculation in the press that Davis also the similar character should go play Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind. Davis made no secret of the fact that they wanted this role. While David o. Selznick still was looking for an actress for the role, made a radio program the results of an opinion poll named Davis at the public favorite was for the role of O'Hara. Selznick shared the view of the public and not Davis refused the role. Even the help of Warner to help Davis to the role, was in vain. [23]

Influence of Nelson[Edit]Edit

By the following years Davis was included in the "Quigley Poll of the Top Ten Money Making Stars". This survey was compiled by movie exhibitors from the United States that in the previous year had generated the biggest turnover in their theatres. [24In contrast to Davis, which got ever larger popularity over the years, she managed her husband Ham Nelson not to make a career, making their relationship fell apart. In 1938 , he discovered that Davis would have a sexual relationship with Howard Hughes. He asked a separation based on Davis ' cruel and inhuman way of doing it. [25]

[9][10]Errol Flynn with Davis in The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1938)

Davis was at the filming of her next film, Dark Victory, very emotional. They even wanted to stop filming, but producer Hal Wallis to convince her to use her despair on acting in the movie. The film was a great success and good for one of the highest income of that year. For her portrayal of Judith Traherne Davis got an Academy Award nomination. Years later Davis regarded this role as her most favorite role ever. [26]

She appeared in three other financial successes in 1939, including The Old Maid with Miriam HopkinsJuarez with Paul Muni and The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex with Errol Flynn. This latter film was the first and only color film that she made. In order to play Elizabeth I of England , Davis shaved her hairline and eyebrows. During filming she was visited by actor Charles Laughton. Davis trusted him that she was nervous, because they had to play a sixty year old woman, in which Laughton replied, don't you dare to doubt yourself. This is the best and perhaps only way to grow as an actress. You must constantly trying things that you think they are above your possibilities. Otherwise playing roles a rut. A few years later told Davis that Laughton hair with this had helped her career. [27]

Height of her career[Edit]Edit

[11][12]Davis ' striking eyes were used to dramatic effect in The Letter (1940)

During this time, Davis was Warner Brothers most profitable star and therefore, she was often described as the fourth Warner Brother'(The Fourth Warner Brother). She got the main female lead roles and maintain its image was with much more care. Even though she went through with playing character roles, regularly there were closeups of her made to emphasize her striking eyes. All This, and Heaven Too(1940), Davis ' next film, was her most successful film, from a financial point of view. However, The Letter, Davis ' next movie that came out in the same year, was by Hollywood Reporter named the most successful film of that year. They got a lot for her portrayal of an adulterous killer. [28also in this year Davis got a relationship with her former CoStar George Brent, that a marriage proposal did. Davis refused, because they had was for the charms of a hotel owner in New England, Arthur Farnsworth. They married in december 1940.

[13][14]Davis played now unsympathetic characters; so also in The Little Foxes (1941)

Davis In January 1941 became the first female president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. With her bold action and its radical proposals chased them her Committee members soon upset. So Davis advocated, because of the war in Europe, to the location for the ceremony of the Academy Awards move to smaller theatres. In addition, she wanted to raise money for the British War Relief. They also wanted extras the ability to vote on the nominees for the Academy Awards. Because the Commission members rejected its proposals, joined Davis and was replaced by Jean Hersholt.

In the same year William Wyler Davis selected in his new film The Little Foxes (1941), but they clashed over the interpretation of the character, Regina Giddens. In the theater was the role played by Tallulah Bankhead. Davis wanted to imitate, even though Bankhead not found Wyler Bankheads performance in some scenes better. Davis refused to compromise and, even though she got an Academy Award nomination, she never worked together with Wyler.

Contribution in the war & Hollywood Canteen[Edit]Edit

Contribution in the war[Edit]Edit

As a result of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was Davis the first few months of 1942, traveling through the United States, engaged in selling war bonds. Jack Warner criticized the way in which Davis with flatter tried to sell its products to the public. Davis reminded him that the public reacted strongly as usual because of her performance as bitch. Because they win $ 2,000,000 in two days and even $ 250,000 for a photo of herself in Jezebel received, had they themselves feel they did well. They also performed, as only white in an acting troupe, on for the black troops. Other members were Hattie McDaniel, Lena Horne and Ethel Waters. [29]

When John Garfield had plans to open a club for soldiers in Hollywood, Davis was immediately excited for. With the aid of Warner, Cary Grant and Jule Styne, they transformed an old nightclub into the Hollywood Canteen, which opened on 13 October 1942. The most important and most famous actors and actresses enjoyed volunteered before they were sent into the war. Davis made sure every night at least a few well-known names would be present. She asked often at the last minute to help with friends, to make sure that the soldiers would be fully entertained. [30They also played himself in the film Hollywood Canteen (1944), which used the club as a location. Davis later said about this period: there are a few things in my life where I am proud of. The founding of the Hollywood Canteen is one of them. In 1980 Davis received the Distinguished Civilian Service Medal, the highest award that the US Department of Defense grants to citizens for its work around the Hollywood Canteen. [31]

Influence of the war in her career[Edit]Edit

[15][16]Davis with Paul Henreid in Now, Voyager (1942)

Through her work in Hollywood Canteen Davis had little point in filming Now, Voyager (1942) until Hal Wallis convinced her that the female audience was correct to romantic dramas to distract from the reality. The film eventually became one of her most famous female movies. She was in the movie to look like a Dowdy, downtrodden lover, Charlotte Vale, which to her mother's dominant requirements had to meet. By psychotherapy and a physical makeover turns them into an attractive and confident woman. Davis got many compliments for her performance and a good criticism, although the story itself was quite weak. The National Board of Review wrote that Davis "showed a dignity, which was not fully supported by the script". [32]

At the beginning of the 1940s, Davis ' movie choices were heavily influenced by the war. In Watch on the Rhine (1943), Davis had a relatively quiet role as the wife of the underground leader of the resistance against the Nazis. Thank Your Lucky Stars (1943) was a light-hearted musical, with only household names. Davis sang the song for the film "they're Either Too Young or Too Old" in. After the film was released, this was a hit.

Her next film, Old Acquaintance (1943), meant a reunion with Miriam Hopkins. In the film they play girlfriends between which tension comes, if one of them is a well-known novelist. Davis found that Hopkins tried to surpass her. Director Vincent Sherman and fellow Gig Young , both later confirmed that there is an intense rivalry and animosity arose between the two actresses. Davis gave smiling that she has not retained in a scene in which they had to make a negative comment to Hopkins. [33]

Personal and professional setbacks[Edit]Edit

Death of Farnsworth[Edit]Edit

Davis ' husband, Arthur Farnsworth, slumped in August 1943 in each other, when he ran down the street in Hollywood . He died two days later. The autopsy revealed that he was slumped because of a skull fracture he suffered two weeks earlier. Davis testified during an inquest that they had known nothing of this skull fracture. Eventually it was determined that his death was an accident. An excited Davis tried to withdraw from her next film, Mr. Skeffington (1944), but Warner, who the production stopped for a short time after the death of Farnsworth, knew to persuade Davis to continue filming.

Although Davis already had the reputation that they are sincere and somewhat confrontational was during the making of her previous films, was her behaviour during making Mr. Skeffington very very fickle and unacceptable. They got the Director Vincent Sherman against itself, because they refused to play some scenes. She has out that some sets had to be renewed. They also improvised in some dialogues, which caused confusion at her colleagues. Julius Epstein, the writer of the film, was furious on Davis, because they even demanded that some scenes would be rewritten. Her later statement was that they did this, because she was angry at that time rather than sad. Because of her attitude Davis also got bad criticisms for the film. James Agee wrote that "Davis gave a demonstration of horrible, matchless egocentrism". [34despite this, Davis got her next Academy Award nomination for her role.

Davis married In 1945 with the artist William Grant Sherry. She fell for him, because he had never heard of her and he was one of the few men who felt intimidated by it. But the big difference in their professional success and income also led eventually to many tensions and quarrels in this marriage. [35]

Popularity Decline[Edit]Edit

[17][18]Davis in Beyond the Forest(1949)

In her next film, The Corn is Green (1945), was to see Davis as a Dowdy English teacher who saves the life of a miner from Wales in the coal mines, by giving him a training offer.Davis again got positive reviews, but not to the general public knew tresses. Her next film, A Stolen Life (1946), also got bad criticisms, though it was one of Davis ' biggest successes. The film was succeeded by Deception (1946), Davis ' first film that cost more money than brought up. [36]

In 1947 , her daughter B.D. Hyman is born. Davis later wrote that they completely went up in motherhood and that she seriously considered her career end. But due to the worsening of her relationship with Sherry, she put her career still on. Her public popularity, however, decreased clearly. [37after filming Beyond the Forest (1949), Jack Warner, at the request of Davis, terminated her contract. She left Warner Brothers and, as it also seemed, Hollywood, yielded mixed feelings on.

Starting a freelance career[Edit]Edit

All About Eve[Edit]Edit

[19][20]Davis with George Sanders in All About Eve (1950)

In 1949 Davis and Sherry were estranged from each other become very. According to columnists from Hollywood was also an end to the career of Davis. After the filming ofPayment on Demand, which was released only in 1951 , Davis received no other offers. Claudette Colbert was forced to retire because of back problems as Margo Channing inAll About Eve (1950). Darryl f. Zanuck, the film producer, Davis called to ask if she wanted the role. After Davis had read the script, she described it as the best script I've ever read and accepted the role. Within days, she began as an actor in San Francisco with the filming. During filming she closed a lifelong friendship with Anne Baxter. She also had a romance with opponent Gary Merrill, which later that year resulted in a marriage. Director Joseph l. Mankiewicz told later: Bette Davis was perfect. She was the Director's dream: a well prepared actress. [38]

Critics reacted positively to Davis ' performance and some quotes from her in the film were famous one-liners, including Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night.She was again nominated for an Academy Award and well-known critics, including Gene Ringgold, told that her performance was the best performance ever . [39Pauline Kael wrote that Mankiewicz's vision of the theatre ', but that the film was saved by Davis, who was instinctively and confident. [40]

Davis won the award for best actress at the Cannes Film festival and also the New York Film Critics Circle Award. In addition she won the San Francisco Film Critics Circle Award for best actress. Incidentally, she was in 1949 at the same award ceremony named worst actress for her role in Beyond the Forest. She was invited to leave her handprints on the square in front of the Grauman's Chinese Theatre.


On 3 July 1950, her divorce with William Sherry officially and on July 28, married Gary Davis with Merrill. With the permission of Sherry Davis and Merrill adopted B.D. and Merrill in 1950 adopted a daughter, who they named Margot. The family traveled to England, where Davis and Merrill were going to play together in a mystery film, Another man's Poison (1951). The film received moderate reviews and was not a box office success. Columnists wrote that the comeback of Davis was not positive. Also an Academy Award nomination for The Star (1952) could not save her declining popularity.

In 1952 Davis with Merrill adopted a baby, Michael. The were difficult years for Davis. She played on Broadway in two's Company. However, this action was difficult. She had never been in a musical and her shallow theater experience was again 20 years old. In addition, she was seriously ill and she had to be operated on for osteomyelitis to a to her jaw. In this period was also determined that Margot just after or during its birth had suffered brain damage. Eventually had to be placed in an establishment Margot. Davis and Merrill got by the many setbacks repeatedly arguing. B.D. later could remember that there was a lot of alcohol abuse and domestic violence. [41]

A few of Davis ' films from the 1950s were successful, but most gave especially negative criticisms on Davis ' career deteriorated again. and in 1960 she asked a separation. Her mother died a year later.

Renewed success[Edit]Edit

[21][22]Davis (left) received her final Academy Award nomination for her appearance inWhat Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962), opposite Joan Crawford (right) was on display

Davis played In 1962 in the Broadwayproduction The Night of The Iguana. The film received moderate reviews, making Davis left after just a few months the piece.According to Davis ' own statement this was because of a chronic disease. They joined with Glenn FordHope Lange and Ann-Margret the Frank Capra film A Pocketful of Miracles (1961) completed. After they had read the script for What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, Davis was convinced that this film could lure, the same audience thatAlfred Hitchcock 's Psycho (1960) a success had made. She accepted the role. They signed an agreement, whereby they would get 10% of all income. The film eventually became one of the greatest successes of that year. [42]

Davis and Joan Crawford played two aging sisters and former actresses, who were due to the circumstances forced a dilapidated mansion in Hollywood to share with each other. Director Robert Aldrich explained that Davis and Crawford both were aware of the importance of this film for their career and told: it was clear that they loathed each other, but they behaved absolutely perfectly. [43after filming there on sat, resume the actresses their lifelong feud. When Davis was nominated for an Academy Award, Crawford began a campaign against her. Davis also received a BAFTA Award nomination for her performance.

B.D. played a small role in the film and when Davis went to the Cannes Film Festival to promote the movie, B.D. met Jeremy Hyman, the Director of Seven Arts Productions. After a short courtship, with the permission of B.D. Davis married, at the age of 16, with Hyman.

The following few years Davis was successful with different roles in popular movies. Dead Ringer (1964) is a crime drama in which she played a twin sister and Where Love Has Gone (1964) is a romantic drama based on a novel by Harold Robbins. Davis portrayed the mother of Susan Hayward. Filming was delayed by the quarrel between the two actresses. [44not much later was the sequel to What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?Hush ... Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964), released. The planning was that Davis and Crawford to see side by side again, but Crawford pulled back just after the start of filming because of an illness. She was replaced by Olivia de Havilland. The film was a success and most actors whose fame was now faded, Davis and again received attention, including next to de Havilland also Joseph CottenMary Astor and Agnes Moorehead.

At the end of this decade, Davis was still in some successful movies, such as in the memorable British films The Nanny (1965) and The Anniversary (1968). However, her popularity dropped below again.

Late phase of her career[Edit]Edit

[23][24]Davis (left) and Elizabeth Taylor during a show in 1981

At the beginning of 1970s, Davis was invited to act in the theatre presentation Great Ladies of the American Cinema in New York. Five nights in a row different actresses in discussion about her career and she answered questions from the audience. Other participants were Myrna LoyRosalind RussellLana Turner and Joan Crawford. Davis was well received by the public. This resulted in an invitation for a tour of Australia for the Bette Davis in Person and on Film. Her success gave her also the possibility of this production to move to the United Kingdom. [45]

Davis appeared in the theatre production In the United States Miss Moffat, a musical rendition of The Corn is Green. The production was by critics of Philadelphia razed to the ground. Davis withdrew with back problems. Not much later the show was also discontinued. Then she got supporting roles in Burnt Offerings (1976) and The Disappearance of Aimee (1976), where she got hassle with colleagues Karen Black and Faye Dunaway. Davis found that they were treating her respectfully and that they behaved unprofessional on the set. [46]

Davis In 1977 was the first woman who got a Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Film Institute. The ceremony was televised. Many former colleagues of Davis gave acte de présence, including William Wyler, who joked that they would get the chance as Davis, a scene from The Letter would record again. Jane FondaHenry FondaNatalie Wood and Olivia de Havilland also contributed their tribute to Davis. So said de Havilland that "Davis got the roles I always wanted." [47]

After the television they accepted roles in the miniseries The Dark Secret of Harvest Home (1978) and the film Death on the Nile (1978). For the rest of her career was Davis to see especially in television films. She won an Emmy Award for her role in Strangers: The Story of a Mother and Daughter (1979), in which she was shown next toGena Rowlands . Also, she was nominated for her performances in White Mama (1980) and Little Gloria ... Happy at Last (1982). Davis was also featured in the Disney movies Return from Witch Mountain (1979) and The Watcher in the Woods (1980).

Davis ' name was also known to a younger audience when Kim Carnes Bette Davis Eyes ' song a worldwide hit was. Davis ' grandson there was under the impression that Davis's the center of attention was in the number-one hit. Davis saw this as a great compliment and thanked Carnes and the songwriters. She accepted the gold and platinum records from Carnes and hung it on her wall. [48]

Davis went on to acting in television projects and appeared in Family Reunion (1981), A Piano for Mrs. Cimino (1982), opposite James Stewart in Right of Way (1983).

Disease, betrayal and death[Edit]Edit

Alienation of her daughter[Edit]Edit

[25][26]Davis in 1987

In 1983, after filming the pilot episode of Hotel out sat, breast cancer was detected at Davis and she underwent a breast surgery. Davis got four strokeswithin two weeks, which isparalysis on the right side of her face and in her left arm caused. They started a long period of physical therapy and, with the aid of her personal assistant Kathryn Sermak back a large part of her paralysis.

Meanwhile worsened the relationship with her daughter, B.D. Hyman, who became a Christian. While Hyman tried to persuade Davis to follow its process, Davis traveled to England to Agatha Christies Murder with Mirrors (1985) to film. When she returned, she discovered that Hyman a book of childhood memories about her mother brought out, that they had My mother's Keeper mentioned. In her book she describes a bad mother-daughter-relationship and she portrays Davis as a drunken woman.

Many friends of Davis commented on the way in which Hyman Davis sat down. So said there is one that 'sthe book. Mike Wallace rebroadcast a 60 Minutesinterview with Hyman, in which Hyman said she had learned much of Davis and her way of educating itself also used when raising her own children. Also, it was announced that the Hyman family for years financially assisted Davis and Davis that ensured that Hyman won't lose her house hit. And despite her divorce from Gary Merrill, who for years took place earlier, Merrill defended her too. In an interview with CNN told Merrill that Hyman "was caught by cruelty and greed". Davis ' adopted son, Michael Merrill, ended his contract with Hyman and refused to talk to her ever again. Davis did the same and disinherited her. [49]

In her second book This 'n That (1987) Davis wrote that she was still recovering from the fact that "a child of mine wrote a book behind my back, without to keep me informed about the contents of the book." Davis spent another chapter In her book to her daughter, in which she described writing the book as a "lack of loyalty to the privileged life that has been given you." In addition, told Davis that the book is clearly written for the money and that it never would have been a success if it's not about her, Davis, would have gone. [50]

End of a career[Edit]Edit

Davis appeared in the television film As Summers Die (1986) and next to Lillian Gish in The Whales of August (1987), in which she plays her blind sister. The film was well received by the critics and Davis got good reviews for the first time in years. Davis ' last film was Wicked Stepmother (1989). Her health deteriorated, was already such that they often left the set during the filming without permission, whereby it is no longer could count on its presence and she was offered no new film roles more.

Though she was a guest on the talk shows of Johnny CarsonJoan RiversLarry King and David Letterman. In it, she talked about her career, but she refused to let go of a word about her daughter. Lindsay Anderson noted that Davis only too happy to the public as a bitch wanted to see. He told that he hated this, because in this way the public encouraged Davis to continue with this behavior. [51]

In 1988 and 1989 Davis received several awards for her work. So she received the Kennedy Center Honor, the Légion d'honneur of France, the Campione d'Italia from Italy and the Film Society of Lincoln Center Lifetime Achievement Award. They collapsed during the American Cinema Awards in 1989 and later discovered that her cancer had returned. Davis recovered sufficiently to travel to Spain , where she was honored at the Donostia-San Sebastián International Film Festival, but during her visit her health deteriorated again. She was too weak to travel back to the United States and traveled to France where she died on 6 October1989 in an American Hospital in Neuilly-sur-Seine.

Davis was buried in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood Hills, next to her mother Ruthie and her sister Bobby. On her tombstone was "She did it the hard way", an epitaph with a reference to This 'n That.Joseph l. Mankiewicz suggested this text, just after the filming of All About Eve, to her.

In 1997 , the directors of her estate, her son Michael Merrill and Kathryn Sermak, her former Assistant, the The Bette Davis Foundation on. This provides a scholarship to promising actors and actresses for universities.

Comments and criticism[Edit]Edit

In 1964 Jack Warner spoke about the magic quality that transformed this sometimes bland and not beautiful by a girl in a true artist[52and in 1988 told Davis in an interview that, "Unlike other contemporaries, had forged a career without the benefit of success to make her appearance". [53Davis admitted that she in the first years of her career had been uncertain and terrified. For that reason she had built a shield around herself and came so hard about. "As long as you are in my profession is not depicted as a monster, you are not a star", she said, "but I never fought in a negative way. I fought for somewhere, unless it was favourable for never the quality of the movie. " [54during the making of All About Eve Director Joseph l. Mankiewicz told her that "she was difficult in the eyes of Hollywood". Davis explained "that audiences saw her performance in the film, but that this was not the result of the work behind the scenes". That is to say the fiction on the screen was not the Davis, they in reality it was. [55]

On one side were her performance hailed, on the other hand, it was also the spot with Davis and her films driven. Pauline Kael described Now, Voyager as a "shock classic"[56and its historic performance in the 1940s were often subject of caricature. Edwin Schallert, who wrote for the Los Angeles Times, praised her presentation in Mr. Skeffington. Despite the fact that many films were received, Davis got himself badly with Davis for her role in these films mostly good reviews.

A large part of Davis ' fans consisted of homosexuals. Also, she was often imitated by transvestites, including Charles Pierce. [57]

Davis ' movie choices were mostly unconventional: manipulative characters or even a role as murderess, at a time when actresses usually compassionate were. She chose authenticity over glamour and was prepared to adjust its own prevent, if this was positive for her karakterrol. Claudette Colbert told Davis that "the first ever actress was who played someone who was older than that she really was. For that reason, it was also easier for Davis to make the transition to character roles when she got older. " [54]

Bette Davis vs. Joan Crawford[Edit]Edit

Davis is in the press probably best known for her feuds with actress Joan Crawford. So Davis ever said about Crawford: "I wouldn't piss on her if she was on fire" and "she has slept with every male star at MGM except Lassiewith". [58Davis has ever admitted that she particularly appreciates Crawford as an actress. Crawford adopted her as an actress has a image according to for the media, in order to escape her past.Davis told that "they never really had harangued with Crawford, but that all this was blown up by the media". Also the crew of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? has stated that they were both extremely professional. It was Crawford who recognized that "she could clearly feel the rivalry of Davis". Davis left after filming only loose that "the hair on the set had managed to get to know Crawford". [59]

In the press was also spoken several times about the fact that both actresses were extremely jealous of each other, because they both had what the other had not. Crawford had its charm, attraction and glamor and Davis stood her ground. Davis was the biggest star of Warner Brothers and Crawford was best known in the studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, in which she was in a lot of movies to see. However, Davis never let on that she was jealous of the personality that Crawford had. Though she wrote in her autobiography that "they like to get to know her better". Crawford also did not show much admiration for the actress Davis. On Hollywood-Crawford Davis avoided events regularly. Joseph l. Mankiewicz, the Director of All About Eve was with Davis agree on the jacket that Crawford visited once the cameras filmed. He told ever: "Monroe was exactly as Crawford. They have an affinity for the camera, just like so many actresses today. It's actually no actresses, but creations of the camera ". [59]

Academy Awards[Edit]Edit

Bette Davis was the first actress who was nominated for ten Oscars for best actress. She was over the years only by Katharine Hepburn and Meryl Streep surpassed.





Claudette Colbert voor It Happened One Night

Academy Award voor Beste Actrice

1935 voor Dangerous


Luise Rainer voor The Great Ziegfeld


Luise Rainer voor The Good Earth

Academy Award voor Beste Actrice

1938 voor Jezebel


Vivien Leigh voor Gone with the Wind


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