A Centennial Tribute to Bette Davis
Her epitaph reads, “She did it the hard way.” Hard way or not, Bette Davis did ither way. And while she had her detractors over the years — and for some people her films are an acquired taste — there’s no doubt that she was one of the best.
Bette Davis was nominated 11 times for Best Actress Oscars (counting her famous write-in votes for Of Human Bondage), and won twice. Only Katharine Hepburn exceeds those totals (12 and four).
Ruth Elizabeth Davis was born April 5, 1908 in Lowell, Massachusetts. After studying dance and then drama as a youth, and debuting on Broadway in 1929 inBroken Dishes, she went to Hollywood in 1930. According to a biography written by Meredith Leonard, “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.”
But she persevered, and The Man Who Played God (1932) finally put her in the public eye. After her role in Of Human Bondage (1934), she was finally a star. She won Best Actress Oscars for Dangerous (1935) and Jezebel (1938). She began to get the kind of roles she wanted after an unsuccessful lawsuit against Warner Brothers, but after the 40s, her career waned, only to be reborn in the 60s with the horror films What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962) and Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964), as well as parts in made-for-TV films.
But it is for her roles in films like Dark Victory (1939), The Letter (1940), andNow, Voyager (1942) that she is best remembered by her fans, who have created a number of great Web sites which you’ll find listed in alphabetical order on Part II of this four-part tribute, last updated in 2008 in honor of what would have been Ms. Davis’ 100th birthday.
Part I: Introduction
Part II: Bette Davis Tributes and Other Pages
Part III: Movie Reviews & Where to Find Her Movies