Bette Davis, an American actress with over 100 acting credits, lived from April 5, 1908, until October 6, 1989. Although her most famous roles were in romance dramas, she also occasionally appeared in historical dramas, suspense horror movies, and comedies. She became the first actor to win two Academy Awards thanks to her ten nominations.
1930, Davis relocated to Hollywood after performing on stage in New York. Her role as a rude waitress in Of Human Bondage (1934) earned her critical acclaim; nonetheless, she was surprisingly not one of the three Best Actress nominees that year. Davis received her first nomination for Best Actress with the movie Dangerous (1935) the following year. Marked Woman was one of her first major motion pictures. She was nominate for Best Actress five times in a row for the films The Little Foxes (1941), Dark Victory (1939), and Now, Voyager (1942). She earned a second Academy Award for Best Actress for portraying a strong-willed southern belle in Jezebel (1938).
Davis was renowned for her ferocious acting. She might be aggressive with studio executives, directors, and fellow actors. Her public profile was influenced by her direct demeanor, eccentric speech, and frequent use of cigarettes.
She portrayed a Broadway star in All About Eve (1950), for which she received the Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actress. What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? received a nomination for her. In 1962, Joan Crawford also had a lead role. Her two most popular movies were The Whales of August (1987) and Death on the Nile (1978). Her acting career continued despite being unwell until her breast cancer death in 1989. She frequently sacrificed relationships to succeed. She had four marriages, three divorces, and one widowhood.
Bette Davis Career:
At 22, Davis relocated to Hollywood in 1930 to do a film test for Universal Pictures. Little Lord Fauntleroy by Mary Pickford served as her acting mentor. Davis took the train with her mother. Later, she remembered being shocked that no one from the studio was present. A studio worker waited for her but eventually left when he failed to spot anyone who resembled an actress. She was employe in multiple other screen tests after failing her initial one. They all had to lie on top of me and give me an ardent kiss, as she put it in 1971: “I was the most Yankee-est, modest virgin on Earth.” When Davis appeared in A House Divided wearing a low-necked outfit, director William Wyler rejected her, yelling, “What do you think of these dames?” Davis was put to the test once more.
Carl Laemmle was about to let Davis go until cinematographer Karl Freund suggested she might be a good fit for the film Bad Sister (1931), where she would subsequently make her acting debut. She had a minor role in the 1931 film Waterloo Bridge before lending her voice to Columbia Pictures for The Menace and Capital Films for Hell’s House (both 1932 films). After a year and six dud movies, Laemmle decided not to extend.
Davis acknowledges Arliss’ assistance in helping her break into Hollywood in The Man Who Played God (1932). She is described as “beautiful and charming” The Saturday Evening Post, who also compared her to Constance Bennett and Olive Borden. She committed to a five-year deal but stayed with Warner Bros. for 18 years.
Bette Davis’s Early Life:
On April 5, 1908, Ruth Elizabeth Davis was born in Lowell, Massachusetts. She was the daughter of Ruth Augusta (née Favor; 1885–1961) and Harlow Morrell Davis (1885–1938), a law student from Augusta, Maine. Davis’ younger sister was Barbara Harriet Davis. Davis and her sister Barbara attended Crestalban Boarding School in Lanesborough, Massachusetts, following their parents’ divorce in 1915. Ruth Davis relocated to New York City in 1921 to attend the Clarence White School of Photography to further her interest in photography. She afterward started her career as a portrait photographer.
In honor of Bette Fischer from Honoré de Balzac’s La Cousine Bette, Bette Davis eventually changed the spelling of her first name to Bette. While they were living in New York, Davis joined the Girl Scouts and rose to the position of patrol leader. Her patrol triumphed in a competitive dress parade honoring Lou Hoover at Madison Square Garden.
When she was a student at Cushing Academy in Ashburnham, Massachusetts, Davis met her future husband, Harmon O. Nelson, also known as Ham. In 1926, Davis, then age 18, attended a performance of The Wild Duck by Henrik Ibsen starring Blanche Yurka and Peg Entwistle. Due to an actress named Peg Entwistle, Bette Davis attended a student interview at Eva Le Gallienne’s 14th Street theater. Eva Le Gallienne called Davis’ attitude “frivolous” and “insincere.”
Despite not being overly impress, George Cukor granted Davis her first paid acting job, a one-week engagement as a chorus girl on Broadway. The Earth Between by Virgil Geddes was performe by the Provincetown Players in 1929, but it was delay by a year. After Blanche Yurka saw Entwistle do the part in The Wild Duck, Davis assumed the role of Hedwig. Her Broadway debut was in Broken Dishes in 1929, followed by Solid South in 1930.
Bette Davis’s Net Worth:
At the time of her passing in 1989, American actress Bette Davis had a $1 million net worth. Today’s prices amount to about $2.5 million after inflation. She gave most of her estate to a close friend and her adoptive son. Her daughters and grandchildren did not receive any money from her.
The Golden Age of Hollywood actress Bette Davis had a career that lasted more than 50 years. After making a splash in the critics’ eyes with “Of Human Bondage” in 1934, she continued acting. She received 10 Academy Award nominations for roles in movies including “Dangerous,” “Jezebel,” “Dark Victory,” The Letter. “Now, Voyager,” and “All About Eve,” among many more. Additionally, Davis led the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ first female committee and co-founded the Hollywood Canteen for service members during World War II.