Bette Davis earned 10 Academy Award nominations. Won the Oscar for Best Actress twice. Her distinctive style made such an impact on pop culture that she inspired a hit song (“Bette Davis Eyes”) more than four decades after her first appearance on celluloid.
Born in 1908 in Lowell, Massachusetts, Bette’s parents divorced when she was seven years old. Bette’s mother moved them to New York when Bette was 20.
A year later, Bette had her first Broadway hit in a play called “Broken Dishes”. But her success in Hollywood came slower — and at a steep cost. Always strong-willed, her battles with studio moguls are the stuff of Hollywood legend.
Her personal life was bumpy — she married and divorced four husbands. But Bette was forthright about it. As she once said in an interview with Gregory Speck for his book Hollywood Royalty,
“A career like mine requires total concentration and commitment, so you really cannot have everything that you may think life holds for you. It is absolutely necessary to make a choice between professional life and personal life.”
In the end, Bette’s career spanned 100 films, including the classic All About Eve.
There weren’t any actresses like Bette in Hollywood then. And there aren’t any now.
She was a true original.