Bette Davis


Actor
Bette Davis

About

Also Known As
Ruth Elizabeth Davis
Birth Place
Lowell, Massachusetts, USA
Born
April 05, 1908
Died
October 06, 1989
Cause of Death
Breast Cancer

Biography

A strong-willed, independent woman with heavy-cast eyes, clipped New England diction, and distinctive mannerisms, Bette Davis left an indelible - and often parodied - mark on cinema history as being one of Hollywood's most important and decorated actresses. Over the course of her storied career, Davis made some 100 films, for which she received 10 Academy Award nominations, and twice wo...

Photos & Videos

Mr. Skeffington - Lobby Cards
Now, Voyager - Behind-the-Scenes Photo
Jezebel - Scene Stills

Family & Companions

Harmon Oscar Nelson Jr
Husband
Musician. Married August 18, 1932, divorced 1936.
William Wyler
Companion
Director.
Arthur Farnsworth
Husband
Aircraft engineer. Married December 1940 until his death August 25, 1943.
William Grant Sherry
Husband
Married November 30, 1945; one child, Barbara Davis.

Bibliography

"Bette Davis Speaks"
Boze Hadleigh, Barricade Books (1996)
"Me and Jezebel"
Elizabeth Fuller (1992)
"Fasten Your Seat Belts: The Passionate Life of Bette Davis"
Lawrence J Quirk, William Morrow (1990)
"The Lonely Life"
Bette Davis and Kathy Sermak, Berkley Books (1990)

Biography

A strong-willed, independent woman with heavy-cast eyes, clipped New England diction, and distinctive mannerisms, Bette Davis left an indelible - and often parodied - mark on cinema history as being one of Hollywood's most important and decorated actresses. Over the course of her storied career, Davis made some 100 films, for which she received 10 Academy Award nominations, and twice won the Best Actress trophy. But her sometimes over-the-top affectations - which no doubt made her a gay subculture icon - hindered her career despite the enormity of her talents. Not a glamorous star, Davis went through a string of forgettable pictures before tackling the rather unsympathetic Mildred in "Of Human Bondage" (1934), which turned her into a star and earned the actress her first Oscar nomination. She won the Academy Award the following year for "Dangerous" (1935) and later earned her second statue for one of her most famous performances in "Jezebel" (1938). By this time, Davis was a big star and went on to a series of box office hits like "Dark Victory" (1939) and "Now, Voyager" (1942). But after the personal tragedy of losing her husband, Arthur Farnsworth, Davis went into serious professional decline, only to resurrect herself with a delectably over-the-top performance in "All About Eve" (1950). Her resurgence was brief, however, as Davis once again was forced to accept a number of mediocre films while going through a number of personal travails. After emerging one last time with her Oscar-nominated turn in "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" (1962), Davis settled into a succession of film and television roles that culminated with her last acclaimed performance in "The Whales of August" (1987). Passing just two years later, Davis was remembered as one of Hollywood's greatest actresses, a legacy forged by an iron will to go her own way.Born on April 5, 1908 in Lowell, MA, Davis was raised by her father, Harlow, a patent attorney, and her mother, Ruth; her parents later separated in 1915. Going to live with her mother, Davis was later encouraged to try her hand at acting after the family moved to New York City. After attending the Cushing Academy, a private boarding school in Massachusetts, she trained at the Mariarden School of Dancing and John Murray Anderson's Drama School in New York. Rejected for Eva Le Gallienne's acting classes, Davis instead joined a stock company in Rochester, NY that was run by George Cukor. Initially unimpressed with the actress, Cukor gave her a chance nonetheless, though he wound up dismissing Davis after only a few months. Meanwhile, she made her New York acting debut in 1928 at the Provincetown Playhouse in Virgil Geddes's "The Earth Between," which received excellent reviews and led to parts in other successes, including her first Broadway hit, "Broken Dishes" (1929), at the age of 21. Davis went on to star in "Solid South," where a talent scout for Universal Studios saw her performance and invited her to Hollywood for a screen test.In 1930, Universal Pictures signed Davis to a contract and she made her film debut in "Bad Sister" (1931), which also featured Humphrey Bogart. Appearances in five more lackluster films discouraged the young actress until actor George Arliss, who went on to remain her mentor, persuaded Warner Bros. to hire Davis to play opposite him in "The Man Who Played God" (1932). The prestigious drama proved to be her breakthrough film and led to Warner Bros. signing the actress to a long-term contract, thus beginning her stormy relationship with a studio more accustomed to promoting its tough male stars. Over the next three years, Davis made 14 films for Warner Bros., some of them forgettable. But her career took a dramatic turn when she was lent to RKO to play the slatternly Mildred opposite Leslie Howard in "Of Human Bondage" (1934), an unsympathetic role that several other actresses had turned down. The role gave Davis an opportunity to cut loose, with her riveting performance garnering her first substantial critical acclaim. With Warner Bros. now taking notice of her, Davis began to get better parts, including "Dangerous" (1935), for which she won her first Oscar.The following year, Davis reunited with Howard and Bogart for "The Petrified Forest" (1936), a crime drama in which she played a small town waitress with dreams of living abroad, only to find her hopes dashed by a desperate gangster. That same year, Davis' long-standing resentment against the strictures of the studio contract system - not to mention the string of mediocre roles - came to a head when she defied Warner Bros. and went to London to make two pictures with a British company. Warner Bros. sued her for breach of contract, while Davis fled to Canada to avoid being served. But she soon brought her case to the British courts, where she was portrayed in the media as being spoiled and overpaid. Despite her repeated attempts to state that she was fighting for better roles, Davis ultimately lost her case and returned to Hollywood, where she was surprisingly treated with newfound respect; Warner Bros. signed her to a new contract and offered her even better roles. In fact, Davis embarked on the peak period of her career with a series of memorable roles, starting started with her fiery turn as a Southern belle in "Jezebel" (1938), for which she won her second Oscar. She also entered into a relationship with director William Wyler, whom Davis once described as the love of her life.From there, Davis went on to enormous success with Warner Bros. and had one of her biggest box office hits with "Dark Victory" (1939), which she cited as her favorite performance. Her box office success continued with "The Old Maid" (1939), "Juarez" (1939) and "The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex" (1939), starring Errol Flynn. As she perfected her acting techniques and developed her famous mannerisms - a clipped manner of speaking with cigarette always in hand - Davis achieved a new level of artistic maturity. Filmgoers, especially women, loved her portrayals of fiercely independent characters who suffered nobly. In the early 1940s, Davis' popularity continued to grow with such films as "All This and Heaven Too" (1940), "The Letter" (1940), and "The Little Foxes" (1941), plus her roles as a timid spinster who blossoms into a vital woman of the world in the melodramatic "Now, Voyager" (1942). With World War II raging across the globe, Davis began choosing roles that reflected the times, including "Watch on the Rhine" (1943) and the war bond fundraiser "Thank Your Lucky Stars" (1943).In August 1943, Davis suffered a personal tragedy when husband, Arthur Farnsworth, suddenly collapsed while walking on the street. An autopsy later revealed that he had a skull fracture that occurred two weeks prior, though Davis knew of nothing that might have caused the injury. Distraught, she tried to withdraw from her next picture, but nonetheless was convinced by Warner Bros. studio head Jack Warner to continue on with playing her role as a vain society woman in "Mr. Skeffington" (1944). Her erratic behavior onset may have been due to her losing Farnsworth, and ultimately led to a precipitous career slide. She turned down the lead in "Mildred Pierce" (1945) to accept the role of a schoolteacher determined to educate a Welsh mining town in "The Corn is Green" (1945). The film was well-received and a box office hit, though her soon-to-be nemesis Joan Crawford's electrifying turn in "Mildred Pierce" won her the Best Actress Oscar. Meanwhile, Davis followed with the lackluster drama, "A Stolen Life" (1946), while the film noir "Deception" (1946), was her first picture during this period to lose money.Though set to star in "Possessed" (1947), Davis took time off to have daughter, Barbara Davis Sherry, and briefly flirted with the idea of leaving show business to focus on being a mother. She went on to star in the confusing adaptation of Ethel Vance's novel, "Winter Meeting" (1948), before clashing with co-star Robert Montgomery on "June Bride" (1948). Despite hating the script for "Beyond the Forest" (1949), Davis was forced by Jack Warner to play the neglected wife of a small town doctor who engages in adultery and extortion. Critics were scathing in their reviews and Davis succeeded in getting Warner to release her from her contract. Though sagging under the weight of weak pictures, Davis soon bounced back with a stunning performance as Margo Channing, a tempestuous, gin-swilling Broadway star - reportedly based on Tallulah Bankhead - in Joseph Mankiewicz's "All About Eve" (1950). The film's wittily savage view of theater people offered Davis the role of a lifetime. With her almost self-parodying grand gestures and now-famous line, "Fasten your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy night," Davis' performance earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress and went on to become one of her most iconic roles.Regardless of this brief encounter with critical and box office success, Davis' career began to seriously falter in the 1950s with failures like "Another Man's Poison" (1951). Her Oscar-nominated turn in "The Star" (1952) failed to put the brakes on her downward slide, which accelerated with an uncomfortable Broadway performance in the musical "Two's Company" (1952). Meanwhile, her personal life deteriorated alongside her career after divorcing William Sherry and marrying Gary Merrill, with whom she had an abusive relationship fueled by alcohol. Davis hit a career low with "The Virgin Queen" (1955), "Storm Center" (1956) and "The Catered Affair" (1956), while also eventually divorcing Merrill in 1960. Following a poorly reviewed Broadway production of "The Night of the Iguana" (1961) and the rather mediocre Frank Capra comedy "Pocketful of Miracles' (1961), Davis came roaring back again with a tour-de-force performance in "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" (1962) in which she and Joan Crawford squared off as a pair of nutty sisters, both showbiz has-beens living in a decaying Hollywood mansion. Both Davis and Crawford famously despised each other during filming, but waited for the shooting to end to engage in a public war of words. Meanwhile, Davis earned another Academy Award nomination for Best Actress - the last of her career.With "Baby Jane," new life was breathed into Davis' career and she enjoyed a decade-long revival with acclaimed turns in the crime drama "Dead Ringer" (1964), the romantic drama "Where Love Has Gone" (1964) and "Hush Hush, Sweet Charlotte" (1964), which went on to become a considerable box office success. She closed out the decade with a trio of British-made films, "The Nanny" (1965), "The Anniversary" (1968) and "Connecting Rooms" (1970). Davis next starred opposite Ernest Borgnine as a senior citizen couple who disguise themselves as hippies and embark on a series of crimes in "Bunny O'Hare" (1971). Finding further life on the small screen, she starred in "The Judge and Jake Wyler" (NBC, 1972) and "Madame Sin" (1972), while accepting roles in the horror movie "Burnt Offerings" (1976) and the Disney sequel "Return to Witch Mountain" (1978). In between those two pictures, Davis became the first woman to receive the American Film Institute Life Achievement Award, an honor bestowed upon her in 1977. She was part of a large ensemble cast that included Peter Ustinov, Maggie Smith, David Niven and Mia Farrow in "Death on the Nile" (1978), based on the Agatha Christie novel, while appearing in small screen miniseries and movies like "The Dark Secret of Harvest Home" (NBC, 1978), "Strangers: The Story of a Mother and Daughter" (CBS, 1979), with Gena Rowlands, and "White Moma" (CBS, 1980), opposite Jackie Cooper and Anne Ramsey.A survivor of four unhappy marriages and estrangement from her daughter, Davis found her greatest satisfaction in working and continued to do so until the end. She co-starred in the British horror movie, "The Watcher in the Woods" (1980), while making more frequent appearances on TV with "Family Reunion" (NBC, 1981), "A Piano for Mrs. Cimino" (CBS, 1982) and "Little Gloria Happy at Last" (NBC, 1982). Davis starred opposite James Stewart in the small screen drama "Right of Way" (NBC, 1983) before turning back to Agatha Christie for "Murder with Mirrors" (CBS, 1985). With her health in serious decline since being diagnosed with breast cancer and receiving a mastectomy in 1983, Davis nonetheless continued to perform. She had a series of strokes that left her with slurred speech and partial paralysis, though her daughter's betrayal in writing about their troubled relationship in her memoir, My Mother's Keeper (1985), proved far more debilitating to Davis, who was forced to endure her own Mommie Dearest expose, unlike her late nemesis, Joan Crawford, who was thankfully deceased at the time her daughter Christian penned her own poison pen memoir. Davis went onto to make her final significant film appearance in "The Whales of August" (1987) opposite Lillian Gish. Despite strong performances from both, neither received the awards recognition many expected. Meanwhile, her cancer returned during a period where she was receiving a number of lifetime awards. She managed to travel to Europe, but became too weak and was hospitalized in France, where she died on Oct. 6, 1989. She was 81 and left behind a legacy as one of Hollywood's greatest and most ferociously independent actresses.

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

Wicked Stepmother (1989)
Going Hollywood: The War Years (1988)
Herself
The Whales of August (1987)
As Summers Die (1986)
Agatha Christie's Murder With Mirrors (1985)
Bette Davis: The Benevolent Volcano (1984)
Hotel (1983)
Right of Way (1983)
Piano For Mrs. Cimino (1982)
The Watcher in the Woods (1980)
Mrs Aylwood
White Mama (1980)
Skyward (1980)
Strangers: The Story of a Mother and Daughter (1979)
Lucy Mason
Return From Witch Mountain (1978)
Death on the Nile (1978)
Mrs Van Schuyler
Burnt Offerings (1976)
The Disappearance of Aimee (1976)
Minnie Kennedy
Scream, Pretty Peggy (1973)
Lo Scopone Scientifico (1972)
The Judge and Jake Wyler (1972)
Madame Sin (1972)
Bunny O'Hare (1971)
Bunny O'Hare
Connecting Rooms (1969)
The Anniversary (1968)
Mrs. Taggart
The Nanny (1965)
Nanny
Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964)
Charlotte Hollis
The Empty Canvas (1964)
Dino's mother
Where Love Has Gone (1964)
Mrs. Gerald Hayden
Dead Ringer (1964)
Margaret de Lorca/Edith Philips
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)
Jane Hudson
Pocketful of Miracles (1961)
Apple Annie, also known as Mrs. E. Worthington Manville
The Scapegoat (1959)
Countess [De Gué]
John Paul Jones (1959)
Catherine the Great
Storm Center (1956)
Alicia Hull
The Catered Affair (1956)
Mrs. Tom [Aggie] Hurley
The Virgin Queen (1955)
Queen Elizabeth
Another Man's Poison (1952)
Janet Frobisher [Preston]
The Star (1952)
Margaret Elliott
Phone Call from a Stranger (1952)
Marie Hoke
Payment on Demand (1951)
Joyce Ramsey
All About Eve (1950)
Margo [Channing]
Beyond the Forest (1949)
Rosa Moline
Winter Meeting (1948)
Susan Grieve
June Bride (1948)
Linda Gilman
A Stolen Life (1946)
Kate/Pat Bosworth
Deception (1946)
Christine Radcliffe
The Corn Is Green (1945)
Lily Cristobel Moffat
Mr. Skeffington (1944)
Fanny Trellis Skeffington
Hollywood Canteen (1944)
Thank Your Lucky Stars (1943)
Herself
Old Acquaintance (1943)
Kit Marlowe
Watch on the Rhine (1943)
Sara Muller
The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942)
Maggie Cutler
Now, Voyager (1942)
Charlotte Vale
In This Our Life (1942)
Stanley Timberlake
The Little Foxes (1941)
Regina [Hubbard] Giddens
The Great Lie (1941)
Maggie [Patterson]
The Bride Came C.O.D. (1941)
Joan Winfield
All This, and Heaven Too (1940)
Henriette Deluzy-Desportes
The Letter (1940)
Leslie Crosbie
Dark Victory (1939)
Judith Traherne
The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939)
Queen Elizabeth
Juarez (1939)
Carlota
The Old Maid (1939)
Charlotte Lovell
Jezebel (1938)
Julie [Marsden]
The Sisters (1938)
Louise Elliott
Marked Woman (1937)
Mary [Dwight Strauber]
That Certain Woman (1937)
Mary Donnell
Kid Galahad (1937)
Fluff [Louise Phillips]
It's Love I'm After (1937)
Joyce [Arden]
Satan Met a Lady (1936)
Valerie Purvis
The Golden Arrow (1936)
Daisy Appleby
The Golden Arrow (1936)
Daisy Appleby
The Petrified Forest (1936)
Gabrielle Maple
Front Page Woman (1935)
Ellen Garfield
Dangerous (1935)
Joyce Heath
Special Agent (1935)
Julie Gardner
The Girl from 10th Avenue (1935)
Miriam Brady
Bordertown (1935)
Marie Roark
Fog over Frisco (1934)
Arlene [Bradford]
Housewife (1934)
Patricia Berkeley
Fashions of 1934 (1934)
Lynn [Mason]
The Big Shakedown (1934)
Norma [Nelson]
Jimmy the Gent (1934)
Joan [Martin]
Of Human Bondage (1934)
Mildred Rogers
Bureau of Missing Persons (1933)
Norma [Roberts] Phillips
Ex-Lady (1933)
Helen [Bauer]
The Working Man (1933)
Jenny [Hartland]
Parachute Jumper (1933)
Alabama [Patrica Kent]
The Menace (1932)
Peggy Lowell
So Big (1932)
Dallas O'Mara
The Rich Are Always with Us (1932)
Malbro
Cabin in the Cotton (1932)
Madge [Norwood]
The Man Who Played God (1932)
Grace Blair
Hell's House (1932)
Peggy Gardner
The Dark Horse (1932)
Kay Russell
20,000 Years in Sing Sing (1932)
Fay Wilson
Three on a Match (1932)
Ruth Westcott
Seed (1931)
Margaret Carter, ten years later
Way Back Home (1931)
Mary Lucy [Duffy]
Bad Sister (1931)
Laura Madison
Waterloo Bridge (1931)
Janet Cronin

Misc. Crew (Feature Film)

Going Hollywood: The War Years (1988)
Other

Cast (Special)

What Is This Thing Called Love? (1993)
The 59th Annual Academy Awards Presentation (1987)
Performer
The Kennedy Center Honors: A Celebration of the Performing Arts (1987)
Directed By William Wyler (1986)
Herself
The American Film Institute Salute to Frank Capra (1982)
Performer
Johnny Carson Presents the Sun City Scandals '72 (1972)
The Elisabeth McQueeney Story (1959)
Elisabeth Mcqueeney
The Star Maker (1958)
The Agent

Misc. Crew (Special)

Directed By William Wyler (1986)
Other

Cast (Short)

World News - 1954 (1954)
Herself
PRESENT WITH A FUTURE: BETTE DAVIS CHRISTMAS WAR BONDS TRAILER (1943)
Herself
Cavalcade of the Academy Awards (1940)
Herself
Breakdowns of 1938 (1938)
Herself
Breakdowns of 1937 (1937)
Herself
A Day at Santa Anita (1937)
Herself
1936 Academy Awards - Raw News Footage (1936)
Herself
A Dream Comes True The Making of an Unusual Motion Picture (1935)
Herself
The 42nd. Street Special (1933)
Herself

Misc. Crew (Short)

The Voice That Thrilled the World (1943)
Archival Footage
Stars on Horseback (1943)
Archival Footage
Breakdowns of 1941 (1941)
Archival Footage

Cast (TV Mini-Series)

Little Gloria, Happy At Last (1982)
Family Reunion (1981)
Elizabeth Winfield
The Dark Secret of Harvest Home (1978)
Widow Fortune

Life Events

1928

Stage debut with Provincetown Players

1929

Broadway debut in "Broken Dishes"

1931

Film acting debut in "The Bad Sister"

1934

Lobbied for home studio Warner Brothers to lend her to RKO for the breakthrough role of Mildred in "Of Human Bondage", an adaptation of the Somerset Maugham novel

1936

Became involved in court case with Warner Brothers because she protested the poor roles she had been given and traveled to England, making a preliminary commitment to act in a British film; eventually lost the case

1949

Career fading; obtained released from her contract at Warner Brothers

1950

Notable career comeback as Margo Channing in "All About Eve"

1962

Career again revived with starring role opposite Joan Crawford in the horror film, "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?"

1989

Last film, "Wicked Stepmother"

1989

Honored by the Film Society of Lincoln Center

Photo Collections

Mr. Skeffington - Lobby Cards
Here are several Lobby Cards from Mr. Skeffington (1944), starring Bette Davis and Claude Rains. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
Now, Voyager - Behind-the-Scenes Photo
Here is a photo taken during production of Now, Voyager (1942), starring Bette Davis and Paul Henreid.
Jezebel - Scene Stills
Here are several scene stills from Warner Bros' Jezebel (1938), starring Bette Davis and Henry Fonda.
The Letter - Movie Posters
Here are a few original-release American movie posters for The Letter(1940), starring Bette Davis.
The Bride Came C.O.D. - Publicity Stills
Here are a few stills taken to help publicize Warner Bros' The Bride Came C.O.D. (1941), starring James Cagney and Bette Davis. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
The Catered Affair - Advertising Art
Here are a few pieces of advertising art prepared by MGM to publicize The Catered Affair (1956), starring Bette Davis, Ernest Borgnine, and Debbie Reynolds.
The Great Lie - Movie Poster
The Great Lie - Movie Poster
Watch on the Rhine - Movie Poster
Watch on the Rhine - Movie Poster
The Little Foxes - Movie Poster
The Little Foxes - Movie Poster
Of Human Bondage (1934) - Movie Posters
Of Human Bondage (1934) - Movie Posters
Dead Ringer - Movie Poster
Dead Ringer - Movie Poster
In This Our Life - Scene Stills
Here are a number of scene stills from Warner Bros' In This Our Life (1942), starring Bette Davis, Olivia De Havilland, and Dennis Morgan.
Dark Victory - Bette Davis Publicity Stills
Here are a few stills of Bette Davis taken to help publicize Warner Bros' Dark Victory (1939).
Deception - Bette Davis Publicity Still
Here is a photo of Bette Davis taken to publicize Warner Bros's Deception (1946). Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
Now, Voyager - Publicity Stills
Here are a few photos taken to publicize Warner Bros' Now, Voyager (1942), starring Bette Davis and Paul Henreid. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
The Petrified Forest - Movie Posters
Here is a group of American movie Posters from The Petrified Forest (1936).
The Man Who Came to Dinner - Scene Stills
Here are a few scene stills from The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942), starring Bette Davis and Monty Woolley.
Three on a Match - Scene Stills
Here are some scene stills from Warner Bros' Three on a Match (1932), starring Joan Blondell, Bette Davis, and Ann Dvorak.
Now, Voyager - Movie Poster
Here is the American 1-Sheet movie poster of Now, Voyager (1942), starring Bette Davis and Paul Henreid. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
The Bride Came C.O.D. - Behind-the-Scenes Photo
Here's a photo of Bette Davis taken behind-the-scenes during production of The Bride Came C.O.D. (1941).
Marked Woman - Lobby Card
Here is a lobby card from Warner Bros's Marked Woman (1937), starring Bette Davis and Humphrey Bogart. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
Old Acquaintance - Scene Stills
Here are a number of scene stills from Warner Bros' Old Acquaintance (1943), starring Bette Davis, Miriam Hopkins, and Gig Young.
Return from Witch Mountain - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for Disney's Return from Witch Mountain (1978). One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
A Stolen Life - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for A Stolen Life (1946). One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
The Bride Came C.O.D. - Movie Poster
Here is the American One-Sheet Movie Poster for Warner Bros' The Bride Came C.O.D. (1941). One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
Jezebel - Theater Herald
Here is the herald for Warner Bros' Jezebel (1938). Heralds were advertising handouts that studios provided to theaters for distribution around their town.
Beyond the Forest - Scene Still
This is Bette Davis and David Brian in a scene still from Beyond the Forest (1949).
That Certain Woman - Bette Davis Publicity Still
Here is a publicity still of Bette Davis, taken for Warner Bros' That Certain Woman (1937). Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.

Videos

Movie Clip

Ex-Lady (1933) - That's What He Said Now at a chic Manhattan show hosted by painter Nick (Monroe Owsley), Bette Davis, as in-demand magazine illustrator Helen, parries his advances, with provocative chat about his nudes, until they’re joined by her less-prominent but loyal beau Don (Gene Raymond), who reaffirms their plan to not marry, in the edgy pre-Code Warner Bros.’ sex comedy Ex-Lady, 1933.
Kid Galahad (1937) - He Used To Be A Farmer Harry Carey as trainer Silver has been sent by the girlfriend of his promoter boss (Bette Davis and Edward G. Robinson, not seen here) to hide novice prize-fighter Ward (Wayne Morris, title character) with Edward G’s mom (Soledad Jimenez) and, not previously mentioned, kid sister Marie (Jane Bryan), Michael Curtiz directing, in Warner Bros.’ Kid Galahad, 1937.
Kid Galahad (1937) - Sugar Is Going For Gooseberry Crooked fight manager Morgan (Humphrey Bogart) arrives at the party thrown by rival Nick (Edward G. Robinson), whom he’s just-about ruined, girlfriend Bette Davis smoothing things over, all the gals swooning over the just-introduced title character bellhop Guisenberry (Wayne Morris), in Kid Galahad, 1937.
Thank Your Lucky Stars (1943) - They're Either Too Young Or Too Old Bette Davis (like all the Warner Bros. stars, donating her salary to the Hollywood Canteen she co-founded), delivers an original by Arthur Schwartz and Frank Loesser which earned an Academy Award nomination and became a widely recorded hit, in the variety propaganda effort Thank Your Lucky Stars, 1943, Conrad Wiedell her dance partner.
All This, And Heaven Too (1940) - The Name Of A French Prison Presented by her new employer Miss Haines (Janet Beecher) at a New York girls' school, Henriette (Bette Davis) has trouble with pupils, Emily (Ann Gillis) the ringleader, opening All This, And Heaven Too, from the fact-based novel by Rachel Field.
All This, And Heaven Too (1940) - A Most Attractive Governess Young Raynard (Richard Nichols) and governess Henriette (Bette Davis) are surprised when their father and employer the Duc (Charles Boyer) and daughter Louise (Virginia Wiedler) arrive in Paris from the summer home, proceeding to the opera, in Warner Bros. All This, And Heaven Too, 1940.
Whales Of August, The (1987) - You Didn't Answer Me Continuing their leisurely day on the Maine coastal islands (shot on Cliff Island) ca. 1954, older sister Sarah (Lillian Gish) and blind younger sister Libby (Bette Davis) share memories and ideas, in director Lindsay Anderson’s The Whales Of August, 1987.
Scapegoat, The (1959) - An Emptiness In The Heart Opening the MGM-British production, with affecting narration by Alec Guinness, from Gore Vidal’s screenplay based on Daphne Du Maurier’s novel, as English teacher Barratt, arriving on the ferry at Port Boulogne, Calais, then reaching Le Mans (though the city is never named) and it’s famous cathedral, briefly meeting Peter Bull, in The Scapegoat, 1959, co-starring Bette Davis.
Scapegoat, The (1959) - Lie To Me Later Alec Guinness, who really is Barrat, an English teacher just in from Paris, meets daffy French countess Du Gue (Bette Davis) who believes he's her look-alike nephew, who has disappeared, leaving his troubles to his twin, in The Scapegoat, 1959, from a Daphne Du Maurier novel.
June Bride (1948) - When I Didn't Hear From You For Three Years... Their personal history roughly sketched in, legit journalist Carey (Robert Montgomery) informs ex-flame Linda (Bette Davis) that he’s just been reassigned by their magazine-group editor to the profitable bridal publication she now runs, her first scene, in June Bride, 1948.
June Bride (1948) - I Think I'd Grab Him New York bridal magazine editor Linda (Bette Davis) now in Indiana with her June feature subject Jeanne (Barbara Bates), discussing the coverage of her upcoming ceremony, then joined by younger “Boo” (Betty Lynn), who may be the cleverer sister, in June Bride, 1948, also starring Robert Montgomery.
Corn Is Green, The (1945) - So This Is My House Miss Moffat (Bette Davis), with Watty (Rosalind Ivan), arrives at her inherited Welsh home, the squire (Nigel Bruce), Miss Ronberry (Mildred Dunnock) and Jones (Rhys Williams) surprised to discover she's a female, early in The Corn Is Green, 1945.

Trailer

Jezebel - (Re-issue Trailer) Bette Davis received her second Academy Award portraying a fiery Southern belle in Jezebel (1938).
Pocketful Of Miracles (1961) -- (Original Trailer) Bette Davis plays Apple Annie in Frank Capra's last movie, Pocketful Of Miracles (1961).
Hollywood Canteen -- (Original Trailer) Half of Hollywood pitches in to help a serviceman and a starlet find love at the Hollywood Canteen (1944)
That Certain Woman - (Original Trailer) A gangster's widow (Bette Davis) fights for love despite society's disapproval in That Certain Woman (1937) co-starring Henry Fonda.
Kid Galahad (1937) - (Original Trailer) A mob-connected trainer (Edward G. Robinson) grooms a bellhop for the boxing ring. Co-starring Bette Davis and Humphrey Bogart.
Payment on Demand - (Original Trailer) A bitter divorcee (Bette Davis) thinks back on the mistakes that destroyed her marriage in Payment on Demand (1951).
Burnt Offerings - (Original Trailer) A family moves into a haunted house that seems to be stealing their lives in Burnt Offerings (1976) starring Oliver Reed, Karen Black and Bette Davis.
Parachute Jumper - (Original Trailer) A drug smuggler victimizes three friends (Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Bette Davis, Frank McHugh) trying to get jobs during the Great Depression.
Golden Arrow, The (1936) - (Original Trailer) A waitress posing as an heiress (Bette Davis) enters a "marriage of convenience" with a writer (George Brent) in The Golden Arrow (1938).
Girl From Tenth Avenue, The - (Original Trailer) A working girl (Bette Davis) reforms an alcoholic lawyer (Ian Hunter) who was recently dumped. Now on track, his ex wants him back in The Girl From Tenth Avenue (1935).
Ex-Lady - (Original Trailer) A female artist (Bette Davis) is torn between her belief in free love and the constraints of romance in the pre-Code drama, Ex-Lady (1933).
Three on a Match - (Original Trailer) A woman's childhood friends try to rescue her from gangsters in Three on a Match (1932) starring Bette Davis and Joan Blondell.

Promo

Family

Ruth Davis
Mother
Harlow Morell Davis
Father
Margot Merrill
Daughter
Adopted; retarded; adoptive father Gary Merrill.
Michael Merrill
Son
Adopted; adoptive father Gary Merrill.
B D Hyman
Daughter
Author. Father William Grant Sherry; wrote biography "My Mother's Keeper".

Companions

Harmon Oscar Nelson Jr
Husband
Musician. Married August 18, 1932, divorced 1936.
William Wyler
Companion
Director.
Arthur Farnsworth
Husband
Aircraft engineer. Married December 1940 until his death August 25, 1943.
William Grant Sherry
Husband
Married November 30, 1945; one child, Barbara Davis.
Gary Merrill
Husband
Married 1950-60; adopted children, Margot and Michael.

Bibliography

"Bette Davis Speaks"
Boze Hadleigh, Barricade Books (1996)
"Me and Jezebel"
Elizabeth Fuller (1992)
"Fasten Your Seat Belts: The Passionate Life of Bette Davis"
Lawrence J Quirk, William Morrow (1990)
"The Lonely Life"
Bette Davis and Kathy Sermak, Berkley Books (1990)
"This 'N That"
Bette Davis (1987)
"Mother Goddamn: The Story of the Career of Bette Davis"
Bette Davis and Whitney Stine (1974)
"The Lonely Life"
Bette Davis and Michael Herskowitz (1962)