Bette Davis

Biography

Ruth Elizabeth Davis was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, on April 5, 1908. Her parents divorced when she was 10. Her early interests were in dance. To Bette, dancers led a glamorous life, but then she discovered the stage. She gave up dancing for acting. To her, it presented much more of a challenge. She studied drama in New York City and made her debut on Broadway in 1929. In 1930, she moved to Hollywood where she hoped things would get better for her in the world of acting. They did indeed. She would become known as the actress that could play a variety of very strong and complex roles. She was first under contract to Universal Studios, where she made her first film, called Way Back Home (1931). After the unsuccessful film The Bad Sister (1931), made the same year, she was fired, which was wildly unpopular. She then moved on to Warner Brothers. Her first film with them was Seed (1931). More fairly successful movies followed, but it was the role of Mildred Rogers in Of Human Bondage (1934) that would give Bette major acclaim from the film critics. Warner Bros. felt their seven-year deal with Bette was more than justified. They had a genuine star on their hands. With this success under her belt, she began pushing for stronger and more meaningful roles. In 1935, she received her first Oscar for her role in Dangerous (1935) as Joyce Heath. In 1936, she was suspended without pay for turning down a role that she deemed unworthy of her talent. She went to England, where she had planned to make movies, but was stopped by Warner Bros. because she was still under contract to them. They did not want her to work anywhere. Although she sued to get out of her contract, she lost. Still, they began to take her more seriously after that. In 1938, Bette received a second Academy Award nomination for her work in Jezebel (1938) opposite the soon-to-be-legendary Henry Fonda. Bette would receive six more nominations, including one for her role as Margo Channing in All About Eve (1950). While she was a genuine star in the '30s and '40s, the '50s and early '60s saw her in the midst of films that all lost money. Then came What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962) in which she played a deranged former child star and a rather spooky one at that. This brought about a new round of super-stardom for generations of fans who were not familiar with her work. Two years later she starred in Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964). Bette was married four times. Her last marriage, to actor Gary Merrill, lasted ten years, longer than any of the previous three. In 1985, her daughter Barbara Davis ("B.D.") Hyman published a scandalous book about Bette called "My Mother's Keeper." Sadly, Bette Davis died on October 6, 1989, of metastasized breast cancer.

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Birth Name

Ruth Elizabeth Davis

Birth Place

Lowell, Massachusetts, États-Unis

Birth Date

4/5/1908

Death Date

10/6/1989
Known For
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All About Eve

Margo

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What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?

Baby Jane Hudson

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Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte

Charlotte

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The Watcher in the Woods

Mrs. Aylwood

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Death on the Nile

Mrs. Van Schuyler

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Dark Victory

Judith Traherne

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Now, Voyager

Charlotte Vale

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The Petrified Forest

Gabrielle Maple

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The Nanny

Nanny

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The Letter

Leslie Crosbie

Starring In
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This Is Joan Collins

Self (archive footage)

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Bette Davis: Größer als das Leben

(archive footage)

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The Fabulous Allan Carr

Self (archive footage)

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And the Oscar Goes To...

Herself (archive footage)

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1939: Hollywood's Greatest Year

(archive footage)

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P.S. I Love You

Joyce Heath / Julie Marsden / Charlotte Vale (archive footage) (uncredited)

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Die Bette Davis Story

Herself (archive footage)

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The Adventures of Errol Flynn

Queen Elizabeth (archive footage)

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Behind the Tunes: Looney Tunes Go Hollywood

Charlotte Vale (archive footage) (uncredited)

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Sex at 24 Frames Per Second

Self (archive footage)

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Joan Crawford: The Ultimate Movie Star

Self (archive footage) (uncredited)

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Warner Bros. 75th Anniversary: No Guts, No Glory

(archive footage) (uncredited)

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The first 100 Years of Cinema

Herself (archive footage)

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Mina Tannenbaum

Mildred Rogers (archive footage) (uncredited)

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Wicked Stepmother

Miranda Pierpoint

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The Whales of August

Libby Strong

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Murder with Mirrors

Carrie Louise Serrocold

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Terror in the Aisles

Baby Jane Hudson (in 'What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?') (archive footage) (uncredited)

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Right of Way

Mini Dwyer

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Hollywood Out-Takes and rare Footage

Herself (archive footage) (uncredited)

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Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid

(in "Deception") (archive footage)

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Un Piano pour Madame Cimino

Esther McDonald Cimino

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The Watcher in the Woods

Mrs. Aylwood

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White Mama

Adele Malone

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Windows

Charlotte Vale (archive footage)

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Death on the Nile

Mrs. Van Schuyler

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Return from Witch Mountain

Letha

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Burnt Offerings

Aunt Elizabeth

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Scream, Pretty Peggy

Mrs. Elliott

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L'Argent de la vieille

The Millionairess

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Madame Sin

Madame Sin

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Connecting Rooms

Wanda Fleming

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The Anniversary

Mrs. Taggart

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The Nanny

Nanny

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The Love Goddesses

Herself (archive footage)

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Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte

Charlotte

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Where Love Has Gone

Mrs. Gerald Hayden

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Dead Ringer

Margaret DeLorca/Edith Phillips

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The Empty Canvas

Dino's mother

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What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?

Baby Jane Hudson

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Pocketful of Miracles

Apple Annie

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The Scapegoat

Countess

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John Paul Jones

Empress Catherine the Great

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The Catered Affair

Mrs. Agnes Hurley

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Storm Center

Alicia Hull

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The Virgin Queen

Queen Elizabeth I

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The Star

Margaret Elliot

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Phone Call from a Stranger

Marie Hoke

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Payment on Demand

Joyce Ramsey

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All About Eve

Margo

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Beyond The Forest

Rosa Moline

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June Bride

Linda Gilman

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Winter Meeting

Susan Grieve

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Deception

Christine Radcliffe

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A Stolen Life

Kate Bosworth / Patricia Bosworth

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The Corn Is Green

Miss Lilly Moffat

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Breakdowns of 1944

Self (uncredited)

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Mr. Skeffington

Fanny Trellis

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Hollywood Canteen

Bette Davis

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Watch on the Rhine

Sara Muller

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In Freundschaft verbunden

Kit Marlowe

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Thank Your Lucky Stars

Herself

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Now, Voyager

Charlotte Vale

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In This Our Life

Stanley Timberlake

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The Man Who Came to Dinner

Maggie Cutler

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Breakdowns of 1942

Self (uncredited)

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The Little Foxes

Regina Giddens

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The Bride Came C.O.D.

Joan Winfield

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The Great Lie

Maggie Patterson Van Allen

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Breakdowns of 1941

Self (archive footage) (uncredited)

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The Letter

Leslie Crosbie

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All This, and Heaven Too

Henriette Deluzy-Desportes

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Breakdowns of 1939

(archive footage)

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The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex

Queen Elizabeth I

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The Old Maid

Charlotte Lovell

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Dark Victory

Judith Traherne

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Juarez

Carlota of Mexico

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Jezebel

Julie

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Breakdowns of 1938

Mary Donnell / Julie Marsden (That Certain Woman / Jezebel outtakes) (uncredited)

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The Sisters

Louise Elliott Medlin

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Kid Galahad

Louise 'Fluff' Phillips

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Marked Woman

Mary

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That Certain Woman

Mary Donnell

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Breakdowns of 1937

Self

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A Day at Santa Anita

Bette Davis (uncredited)

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It's Love I'm After

Joyce Arden

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Satan Met a Lady

Valerie Purvis

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The Petrified Forest

Gabrielle Maple

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Breakdowns of 1936

Self (archive footage)

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Dangerous

Joyce Heath

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A Dream Comes True

Self (uncredited)

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Front Page Woman

Ellen Garfield

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Special Agent

Julie Gardner

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The Girl from 10th Avenue

Miriam Brady

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Bordertown

Marie Roark

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Of Human Bondage

Mildred Rogers

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Fashions of 1934

Lynn Mason

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The Big Shakedown

Norma Nelson

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Nebel über Frisco

Arlene Bradford

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Jimmy the Gent

Joan Martin

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Housewife

Patricia Berkeley

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Bureau of Missing Persons

Norma Roberts

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Ex-Lady

Helen Bauer

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The Rich Are Always with Us

Malbro

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Three on a Match

Ruth Wescott

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20,000 Years in Sing Sing

Fay Wilson

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The Dark Horse

Kay Russell

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So Big!

Miss Dallas O'Mara

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Hell's House

Peggy Gardner

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The Man Who Played God

Grace Blair

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The Christmas Party

Self (uncredited)

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Waterloo Bridge

Janet Cronin

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The Bad Sister

Laura Madison

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