Bette Davis

Bette Davis


4/5/1908, Lowell, Massachusetts



Birth Name

Ruth Elizabeth Davis


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Bette Davis, film legend and iconic super star, reached success in Hollywood's Golden Era. Born on April 5, 1908 in Lowell, Massachusetts, she presented power, class and femininity to audiences around the world. Her career began in 1926 as a chorus girl in stock theater. She later won…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • Bette once stated that she felt she was the Marlon Brando of her generation.

    • Bette's only biological child was with her third husband, William Grant Sherry, B.D. Hyman (born Barbara Davis Sherry).

    • On July 19, 2001, Steven Spielberg purchased Bette's Oscar for Jezebel at a Christie's auction and returned it to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

    • Bette had several nicknames in Hollywood including: "Queen of Hollywood", the "First Lady of the American Screen", and "the Fifth Warner Brother".

    • Bette Davis once lived at 1847 Camino Palmero, in Hollywood, California.

    • In the 1950's, Bette suffered from osteomyelitis of the jaw and had to have part of her jaw removed.

    • Bette Davis wrote two books called This N That and Bette Davis, The Lonely Life.

    • Bette Davis has appeared in over one hundred films such as Three on a Match, Cabin in the Cotton, The Rich Are Always with Us, So Big, The Man Who Played God, Hell's House, The Menace, The Dark Horse, Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte, Where Love Has Gone, The Empty Canvas, Dead Ringer, 1962 Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, and Pocketful of Miracles.

    • Bette Davis won two Oscars for Best Actress Oscar for the movies Dangerous and Jezebel.

    • In 1980, Bette Davis was awarded the Distinguished Civilian Service Medal, the Defense Department's highest civilian award, for founding and running the Hollywood Canteen during World War II.

    • Bette Davis was an actress, author, and producer.

    • Bette's last film was Wicked Stepmother in 1989. She walked off the set of the film, but the scenes she had already shot were used in the movie anyway.

    • In 1984, Bette disinherited her daughter Barbara David Hyman after she wrote a tell all book about her.

    • Bette's daughter Barbara wrote a book about her relationship with her mom called My Mother's Keeper.

    • Bette had two daughters named Barbara and Margot.

    • In 1942, Bette traveled around the United States to sell war bonds.

    • In 1932, Bette was making $1,000 a week by the studio.

    • Bette helped co-found the Hollywood Canteen.

    • Entertainment Weekly named Bette Davis the 10th Greatest Movie Star of all time.

    • Bette Davis was named #2 on "The Greatest Screen Legends" actress list by the American Film Institute.

    • When Bette Davis first came to Hollywood as a contract player, Universal Pictures wanted to change her name to Bettina Dawes.

    • In 1941, Bette Davis elected as first female president of the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

    • When Bette Davis found out that her new brother-in-law was a recovering alcoholic, she sent the couple a dozen cases of liquor for a wedding present.

    • In October 1997, Bette Davis was ranked number fifteen on Empire Magazine's list of "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time."

    • Bette Davis was married to Harmon Nelson from 1932 until 1938. Then she was married to Arthur Farnsworth 1940 until his death in 1943. Then she was married to William Grant Sherry from 1945 until 1950. Finally she was married to Gary Merrill from 1950 until 1960.

    • In 1929, Bette Davis made her Broadway debut the production of the "Broken Dishes."

    • Bette was 5'3" tall.

    • After the song "Bette Davis Eyes" became a hit single (9 weeks at #1), Ms. Davis wrote a thank you letter to singer Kim Carnes. The reason she loved the song so much is because her grandson thought it made her "cool" to have a song written about her.

    • Bette had three children, one of whom was severely retarded.

    • In 1987, Bette was the recipient of a Kennedy Center Honor.

    • Bette's legendary feud with Joan Crawford began when Bette was making the movie Dangerous with Franchot Tone. They were both having an affair with him and the other didn't know.

    • Bette was married 4 times. Three of the marriages ended in divorce, one by death.

    • In 1977, the American Film Institute gave Bette its Lifetime Achievement Award.

    • Bette was nominated for the Best Actress Oscar ten separate times.

    • Bette claimed to have given the Academy Award the nickname 'Oscar' after her first husband, Harmon "Oscar" Nelson.

    • Bette was voted the 10th Greatest Movie Star of all time by Entertainment Weekly.

    • Bette once posed nude for an artist, who carved a statue of her that was placed in a public spot in Boston, MA.

    • Bette said the biggest mistake of her career was turning down the role of Blanche in the original stage production of A Streetcar Named Desire.

    • Bette took her name from Balzac's novel Cousin Bette.

    • Bette said that her real true love was director William Wyler but he was married and refused to leave his wife.

    • Bette was of Welsh and Scottish descent.

    • As a child, Bette attended Cushing Academy which is a prep school in Ashburnham, Massachusetts.

    • Bette is one of only two people to be nominated for an Academy Award five years in a row (1938, 1939, 1940, 1941 and 1942). She shares the record for most consectutive nominations with Greer Garson.

    • Bette was the first woman to be president of the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences.

    • Bette has 2 stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. One is for television, while the other is for motion pictures.

    • The epitaph on her tombstone reads "She did it the hard way."

    • In 1983, Bette suffered four strokes and a mastectomy.

  • Quotes

    • Bette (on working with her nemesis Joan Crawford): The best time I ever had with Joan Crawford was when I pushed her down the stairs in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?.

    • Bette (after her daughter wrote a tell all book about her): If you've never been hated by your child, you've never been a parent.

    • Bette: I'm the nicest goddamn dame that ever lived.

    • Bette: I was never very interested in boys - and there were plenty of them - vying with one another to see how many famous women they would get into the hay.

    • Bette: I don't take the movies seriously, and anyone who does is in for a headache.

    • Bette: I wouldn't piss on Joan Crawford if she were on fire.

    • Bette: At 50, I thought proudly, 'Here we are, half century!' Being 60 was fairly frightening. You want to know how I spent my 70th birthday? I put on a completely black face, a fuzzy black afro wig, wore black clothes, and hung a black wreath on my door.

    • Bette: Until you're known in my profession as a monster, you're not a star.

    • Bette: Getting old is not for sissies.

    • Bette: Acting should be bigger than life. Scripts should be bigger than life. It should ALL be bigger than life.