Happy 114th Birthday Bette Davis

Today is the 114th birthday of Bette Davis.  You have seen All About Eve, Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?, and maybe even Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte and The Nanny.  But have you seen Madame Sin, Return From Witch Mountain or her episode of To Catch a Thief?  You must.  The world is a better place because she was in it and still feels the loss that she has left.

“But you ARE, Blanche. You ARE in that chair.”

NAME: Bette Davis
OCCUPATION: Film Actress, Pin-up
BIRTH DATE: April 05, 1908
DEATH DATE: October 06, 1989
PLACE OF BIRTH: Lowell, Massachusetts
PLACE OF DEATH: Neuilly-sur-Seine, France
REMAINS: Buried, Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery, Hollywood Hills, CA
OSCAR FOR BEST ACTRESS: 1936 for Dangerous
OSCAR FOR BEST ACTRESS: 1939 for Jezebel
EMMY 1977: Strangers: The Story of a Mother and Daughter
AWARD: American Film Institute Life Achievement Award 1978
AWARD: Kennedy Center Honor 1987
HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME: 6233 Hollywood Blvd. (television)
HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME: 6225 Hollywood Blvd. (motion pictures)

BEST KNOWN FOR: Bette Davis is remembered as one of Hollywood’s legendary leading ladies, famous for her larger-than-life persona and for her nearly 100 film appearances.

Bette Davis was born Ruth Elizabeth Davis on April 5, 1908, in Lowell Massachusetts, to Ruth (Favor) and Harlow Morrell Davis. When she was 7 years old, her father divorced her mother, who was left to raise Bette and younger daughter Barbara on her own.

As a teen, Davis began acting in school productions at the Cushing Academy in Massachusetts. After a stint in summer stock theater in Rochester, New York, Davis moved to New York City, where she attended the John Murray Anderson/Robert Milton School of Theatre and Dance. Lucille Ball was one of her classmates.

Davis began to audition for theater parts in New York, and in 1929 she made her stage début at Greenwich Village’s Provincetown Playhouse in The Earth Between. Later that year, at the age of 21, she made her first Broadway appearance in the comedy Broken Dishes.

A screen test landed Davis a contract with Hollywood’s Universal Pictures, where she was assigned a small role in the film Bad Sister (1931), followed by similar minor parts in a few more movies. She moved to Warner Brothers in 1932, after gaining notice in that studio’s production of The Man Who Played God. Following this breakthrough, Davis would go on to make 14 films over the next three years.

In 1934, Warner Brothers loaned Davis to RKO Pictures for Of Human Bondage, a drama based on a novel by W. Somerset Maugham. Davis received her first Academy Award nomination for her performance as the vulgar, cold-hearted waitress Mildred. Throughout the rest of her career, she would portray many other strong-willed, even unlikable, women who defied society’s rules.

Davis won her first Academy Award in 1935, for her role as a troubled young actress in Dangerous. She then appeared in The Petrified Forest with male stars Leslie Howard and Humphrey Bogart in 1937. After a rocky period at Warner Brothers, during which time she was suspended for turning down roles, sued the studio and spent some time in England, she returned to Hollywood, and was offered a higher salary and better choice of roles.

Davis received her second Oscar for her performance as a rebellion Southern belle in 1938’s Jezebel. A number of critical and box-office successes followed: She played a heiress coming to terms with mortal illness in Dark Victory and Elizabeth I in The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (both released in 1939), and went on to deliver several well-received performances in films of the 1940s, including The Little Foxes; the comedy The Man Who Came to Dinner; the American drama Now, Voyager; and the drama The Corn is Green. By the time she severed ties with Warner Brothers in 1949, Davis was one of its largest talents.

In 1950, Davis gave one of her most indelible performances in the show-business drama All About Eve, starring as Margo Channing, a theater actress who fends off the insecurities of approaching middle age (and the scheming of a manipulative protégé) with sarcastic wit and more than a few cocktails. In one of her many memorable lines, she quipped, “Fasten your seatbelts: it’s going to be a bumpy night.”

Davis depicted Elizabeth I again in The Virgin Queen (1955) and appeared in Tennessee Williams’s The Night of the Iguana on Broadway in 1961. Some of her other work during this time was more lurid, however. In the horror movie (and camp classic) What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962), she co-starred with Joan Crawford as a former child star caring for her disabled sister. She was featured in another horror film in 1964, Hush…Hush Sweet Charlotte, and then played an eye-patch-wearing matriarch in the melodrama The Anniversary in 1968.

Despite health problems in her late years, including a fight against breast cancer, Davis continued acting. She appeared in the horror movie Burnt Offerings (1976) and was part of the all-star ensemble cast of the Agatha Christie mystery Death on the Nile (1979). One of her final film roles was that of a blind woman in The Whales of August (1987), appearing opposite Lillian Gish. She also appeared on television, winning an Emmy Award for 1979’s Strangers: The Story of a Mother and Daughter.

Davis received many awards later in life, including the American Film Institute Life Achievement Award in 1977 and the Kennedy Center Honors Award in 1987.


Wicked Stepmother (3-Feb-1989)
The Whales of August (16-Oct-1987) as Libby Strong
As Summers Die (18-May-1986)
Murder with Mirrors (20-Feb-1985)
Right of Way (21-Nov-1983)
Little Gloria: Happy at Last (24-Oct-1982)
A Piano for Mrs. Cimino (3-Feb-1982)
Family Reunion (11-Oct-1981)
Skyward (20-Nov-1980)
The Watcher in the Woods (17-Apr-1980)
White Mama (5-Mar-1980)
Strangers: The Story of a Mother and Daughter (13-May-1979)
Death on the Nile (30-Oct-1978) as Marie Van Schuyler
Return From Witch Mountain (10-Mar-1978)
The Dark Secret of Harvest Home (23-Jan-1978)
The Disappearance of Aimee (17-Nov-1976)
Burnt Offerings (25-Aug-1976) as Aunt Elizabeth
Scream, Pretty Peggy (24-Nov-1973) as Mrs. Elliott
The Judge and Jake Wyler (2-Dec-1972)
The Scientific Cardplayer (16-Oct-1972)
Madame Sin (15-Jan-1972)
Bunny O’Hare (18-Oct-1971) as Bunny O’Hare
Connecting Rooms (1970)
The Anniversary (7-Feb-1968)
The Nanny (27-Oct-1965) as The Nanny
Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte (15-Dec-1964) as Charlotte
Where Love Has Gone (2-Nov-1964) as Mrs. Gerald Hayden
Dead Ringer (19-Feb-1964) as Margaret and Edith Phillips
The Empty Canvas (4-Dec-1963)
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (26-Oct-1962) as Jane Hudson
Pocketful of Miracles (19-Dec-1961) as Apple Annie
The Scapegoat (6-Aug-1959) as The Countess
John Paul Jones (16-Jun-1959) as Catherine the Great
Storm Center (31-Jul-1956)
The Catered Affair (14-Jun-1956) as Mrs. Tom Hurley
The Virgin Queen (22-Jul-1955) as Queen Elizabeth I
The Star (11-Dec-1952) as Margaret Elliot
Phone Call from a Stranger (1-Feb-1952)
Another Man’s Poison (6-Jan-1952) as Janet Frobisher
Payment on Demand (15-Feb-1951) as Joyce Ramsey
All About Eve (13-Oct-1950) as Margo
Beyond the Forest (21-Oct-1949) as Rosa Moline
June Bride (29-Oct-1948) as Linda Gilman
Winter Meeting (7-Apr-1948) as Susan Grieve
Deception (18-Oct-1946) as Christine Radcliffe
A Stolen Life (6-Jul-1946) as Kate Bosworth
The Corn is Green (29-Mar-1945) as Miss Lilly Moffat
Hollywood Canteen (15-Dec-1944) as Herself
Mr. Skeffington (25-May-1944) as Fanny Trellis
Old Acquaintance (2-Nov-1943) as Kitty
Thank Your Lucky Stars (1-Oct-1943) as Herself
Watch on the Rhine (27-Aug-1943) as Sara Muller
Now, Voyager (22-Oct-1942) as Charlotte Vale
In This Our Life (8-May-1942) as Stanley Timberlake
The Man Who Came to Dinner (1-Jan-1942) as Maggie Cutler
The Little Foxes (21-Aug-1941) as Regina Giddens
The Bride Came C.O.D. (12-Jul-1941)
The Great Lie (5-Apr-1941) as Maggie
The Letter (22-Nov-1940) as Leslie Crosbie
All This, and Heaven Too (4-Jul-1940) as Henriette Deluzy-Desportes
The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (27-Sep-1939) as Queen Elizabeth
The Old Maid (16-Aug-1939) as Charlotte Lovell
Juarez (24-Apr-1939) as Carlotta
Dark Victory (20-Apr-1939) as Judith Traherne
The Sisters (14-Oct-1938) as Louise Elliott
Jezebel (10-Mar-1938) as Julie
It’s Love I’m After (8-Oct-1937)
That Certain Woman (15-Sep-1937) as Mary Donnell
Kid Galahad (26-May-1937) as Fluff
Marked Woman (10-Apr-1937) as Mary
Satan Met a Lady (22-Jul-1936) as Valerie Purvis
The Golden Arrow (23-May-1936) as Daisy Appleby
The Petrified Forest (6-Feb-1936) as Gabrielle Maple
Dangerous (25-Dec-1935)
Special Agent (14-Sep-1935)
Front Page Woman (11-Jul-1935) as Ellen Garfield
The Girl from 10th Avenue (26-May-1935)
Bordertown (23-Jan-1935)
Housewife (9-Aug-1934) as Patricia Berkeley
Of Human Bondage (28-Jun-1934) as Mildred
Fog Over Frisco (2-Jun-1934) as Arlene
Jimmy the Gent (17-Mar-1934)
Fashions of 1934 (14-Feb-1934) as Lynn
The Big Shakedown (6-Jan-1934)
Bureau of Missing Persons (8-Sep-1933)
Ex-Lady (14-May-1933)
The Working Man (20-Apr-1933)
Parachute Jumper (25-Jan-1933) as Patricia Brent
20,000 Years in Sing Sing (24-Dec-1932) as Fay Wilson
Three on a Match (28-Oct-1932) as Ruth Wescott
The Cabin in the Cotton (15-Oct-1932) as Madge
The Dark Horse (8-Jun-1932)
The Rich Are Always with Us (15-May-1932) as Malbro
So Big! (29-Apr-1932) as Dallas O’Mara
The Man Who Played God (10-Feb-1932)
Hell’s House (30-Jan-1932) as Peggy Gardner
The Menace (29-Jan-1932)
Way Back Home (15-Jan-1932) as Mary Lucy
Waterloo Bridge (1-Sep-1931) as Janet Cronin
Seed (14-May-1931)
The Bad Sister (29-Mar-1931) as Laura Madison


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