D.O.B.: April 15, 1908 (Lowell, MA)
D.O.D.: October 6, 1989 (Paris, France)
Cause of Death: Breast Cancer
Location: Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills; Courts of Remembrance
Bette demanded attention practically from birth which led to her pursuing a career in acting. After graduation from Cushing Academy she was refused admittance to Eva LeGallienne's Manhattan Civic Repertory because she was considered insincere and frivolous. She enrolled in John Murray Anderson's Dramatic School and was the star pupil.
Late in 1930 she was hired by Universal. When she arrived in Hollywood, the studio representative who went to meet her train left without her because he could find no one who looked like a movie star. An official at Universal complained she had "as much sex appeal as Slim Summerville" and her performance in the movie "Bad Sister" didn't impress.
In 1932 she signed a seven year deal with Warner Brothers. She became a star after her appearance in "The Man Who Played God." Warners loaned her to RKO in 1934 for "Of Human Bondage" in which she was a smash. She had a significant number of write-in votes for the Best Actress Oscar. She won the Best Actress Academy for "Dangerous" and "Jezebel" and fought unsuccessfully with Warner Brothers to break her contract because she felt she wasn't receiving the top roles an Oscar winning actress deserved. When she came back after the lawsuit, her roles improved dramatically.
It was rumored she had numerous affairs, among them George Brent and William Wyler and four unhappy marriages. She admitted her career always came first. She made many successful 40's films, but each picture was weaker than the last and by the time her Warner Brothers contract had ended in 1949 the movies were disappointing.
She replaced an ill Claudette Colbert in 1951 and received an Oscar nomination for her role in "All About Eve." She received an Oscar nomination for her role as a demented former child star in 1962's "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" which brought a new phase of stardom in both movies and television through the 60's and 70's. Joan Crawford and Davis had feuded for years & during the making of "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" Bette had a Coca-Cola machine installed on the set due to Joan Crawford's affiliation with Pepsi. Joan got her revenge by putting weights in her pockets when Davis had to drag Crawford across the floor during certain scenes.
On her sarcophagus is written "She did it the hard way."
"Whatever Happened to Baby Jane" (1962) Movie
"All About Eve" (1950) Movie
"Jezebel" (1938) Movie
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