I loved the 1930′s and 40′s movies. The actors were the creme de la creme of talent, style and images bigger than life itself. I could list actors longer than my arm and still continue with all those that I loved; but there was only one that I put above everyone else – Bette Davis!
Born Ruth Elizabeth “Bette” Davis April 5, 1908 and died October 6, 1989.
Her career spanned from 1929 to 1989 with over 100 films, television and theater roles to her credit. In 1999, (under the category of 50 Legends) she was placed second, after Katharine Hepburn on the American Film’s Institute’s list of the greatest female stars of all time.
“Davis was the co-founder of the Hollywood Canteen, and was the first female president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress twice, was the first person to accrue 10 Academy Award nominations for acting, and was the first woman to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute.”
She was outspoken, fought with Hollywood moguls for her piece of the pie. If she wanted a part, she would go after it with the power of a cougar!
She could be intimidating to some and considered a wonderful friend by others. She was married 4 times, 1 deceased, 3 divorces.
She had the most amazing eyes that hid many secrets and a stare that said she would never back down.
She always stepped out on a limb when it came to the characters that she portrayed. She was never afraid to take on the unlikable, the unattractive or the outrageous. In my opinion she was the greatest actress that ever appeared on film. Her great range showed her huge talent. She could make you cry in a heartbeat with one look or one word. She could make your blood boil with one cold shoulder or black hearted stare. But one thing Bette Davis never, ever did was disappoint her audience!
One of her films that seems overlooked by many is The Letter. She plays a woman who kills her lover and spends the rest of the film trying to hide the murder in cloaks of self defense.
Every time I have seen this film I find some small gesture, look or statement that is ever so subtle that I missed before. When she realizes that her story is falling apart, watch her crocheting! Watch the tension build in each stitch until she just can’t continue.
I have never been that enthralled with “Romance” movies, but Now Voyager is one of my very favorite movies. I can watch that movie over and over and each time, I wish it wasn’t ending.
If you would like to read more about this amazing woman/actress, please visit:
One of the better books written on Bette Davis is “The Girl Who Walked Home Alone” by Charlotte Chandler: