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Bette Davis An American Icon

Updated on February 15, 2010

Ever since I can remember I have been a huge Bette Davis fan. I think it started when I was around 15 and I was flipping through the channels of the television and I came across a black and white movie. I always liked the black and white movies because they had such great story lines and great actors. Each actor had their own style and personality. Seems the actors of today just do not have that style that they had back then. I mean there are plenty of actors that I adore to watch, Meryl Streep being my favorite, but you couldn’t beat the ones from the 30’s and 40’s; the same with the male actors.

The one that stood out for me was Bette Davis, her eyes, her mouth the way she smirked after every sentence was just mesmerizing and she always was so passionate in all her movies. She was almost like a cat, kind of like if she loves you she’s not going to let you know it because she couldn’t be bothered with it.

She was amazing in her portrayal of Elizabeth the virgin queen, she didn’t care how she looked as long as she played the role, and she played it to perfection.

All about Eve was probably my favorite movie, she had so much class that it came across the screen perfectly, Jezebel was also one of my favorites.

I read her biography by a couple different writers but her personal life was not that much interest to me, it was her performances that made such an impression on me.

She did make some thrillers in her later years that were equally as exciting, and she was scary in them; but you could tell she was having a hard time getting older and looking older on screen.

I love that she was a strong woman that basically owned Hollywood back then and had a lot of power and demanded respect she wasn't one to be reckoned with that is for sure.

I think the eyes were also what attracted me to her most of all. I always thought how lucky that someone should be born with such a set of eyes. The eyes of a great actress, of a strong woman, with so much expression.

I have heard that she was known as the first lady of Hollywood and I believe that’s true.

 

Stuff you may not know about Ms. Davis

  • Being the not so humble person that she was she once said that she considered herself to be the female version of Marlon Brando,
  • Her nicknames around the Hollywood circle were "First Lady of the American Screen"The "Fifth Warner Brother" and "Queen of Hollywood"
  • Bette Davis was in over one hundred films
  • She won two oscars, one for Jezebel and Dangerous
  • Bette had two daughters, Barbara, and Margot
  • Bette was making $1000 a week at her studio in 1939 which is pretty great for that time.
  • Bette was nominated 10 times for an oscar
  • The epitaph on her tombstone reads "She did it the hard way."
  • In 1983, Bette suffered four strokes and a mastectomy

  • It was well known around Hollywood that her real love was director William Wilder who was married and wouldn't leave his wife for Bette.

  • Bette was the first woman to be president of the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences.

  • Bette's feud with Joan Crawford started while she was filming Dangerous and they were both sleeping with the same man, Franchot Tone.

  • When Bette Davis discovered that her sister had married an alchoholic she sent them a dozen cases of liquor.

  • Bette Davis's grandson was so thrilled that the song, "Bette Davis Eyes", was about his grandmother that Bette sent a thank you note to Kim Carnes the artist that recorded the song.

How she got the reputation as a bitch

Quotes by Bette Davis

  • "The best time I ever had with Joan Crawford was when I pushed her down the stairs in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane".

  • "If you've never been hated by your child, you've never been a parent".

  • "Getting old is not for sissies".

  • "I wouldn't piss on Joan Crawford if she were on fire".

  • "I'm the nicest goddamn dame that ever lived".

  • "Until you're known in my profession as a monster, you're not a star".

The final resting place of Bette Davis
The final resting place of Bette Davis

Comments

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  • Coolmon2009 profile image

    Coolmon2009 7 years ago from Texas, USA

    I love watching those old movies with Bette Davis, Joan Crawford and Loretta Young - Good Article

  • profile image

    Duchess OBlunt 7 years ago

    Always enjoyed her movies, and I loved the quote "Getting old is not for sissies". You shared some great facts that I found fascinating. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

  • ladyjane1 profile image
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    ladyjane1 7 years ago from Texas

    Coolmon nice to see you again and I agree with you these ladies had class aye. Thanks for visiting.

  • ladyjane1 profile image
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    ladyjane1 7 years ago from Texas

    Thank you Duchess she had so many different quotes and my favorite is the one that is posted on my profile lol. I appreciate your visiting and I am glad it sparked a memory.

  • profile image

    TattoGuy 7 years ago

    Bette Davis was my fav actress and James Dean my fav actor and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane was her best Movie for me, two true Legends, I might do a hub about James Dean after reading this brilliant tribute to the great lady !

  • ladyjane1 profile image
    Author

    ladyjane1 7 years ago from Texas

    Thanks tattoguy those happen to be my favs as well. Bette Davis in her later movies like Babyjane and the Nanny was scary as hell. She was such a loon in babyjane but you still felt sorry for her in the movie but she was great. I have read James Dean's Biography not too long ago and there was some things about him that kinda shocked me but he was great and gone too soon. Thanks for reading.

  • Ann Nonymous profile image

    Ann Nonymous 7 years ago from Virginia

    Oh la la! Not sure if I ever watched anything in its entirety with Bette Davis...now I am reconsidering, ladyjane!

  • ladyjane1 profile image
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    ladyjane1 7 years ago from Texas

    Thanks Ann youd love them she is my favorite bitch to date lol

  • drbj profile image

    drbj and sherry 7 years ago from south Florida

    You've just found a new fan - me! Bette Davis was one of my favorite actresses, too. I liked her "Old Age Ain't for Sissies" quote so much I titled a hub with it.

    I enjoy your hubs - keep writing.

  • ladyjane1 profile image
    Author

    ladyjane1 7 years ago from Texas

    Thank you drbj I appreciate it and you are welcome.

  • AEvans profile image

    Julianna 7 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

    Bette Davis was a wonderful actress!! My favorite was Audrey Hepburn I love and adore her , I believe I was born a little to late.:)

    What a wonderful hub! :)

  • ladyjane1 profile image
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    ladyjane1 7 years ago from Texas

    Thanks AEvans I appreciate your reading my hub. I love Audrey Hepburn as well she had a lot of class.

  • MFB III profile image

    MFB III 7 years ago from United States

    She was such a flexible actressa, who could be stuningly lovely one moment and totally psychotic in another. i do envy the men who had the right and priveledge of gazing deep into her eyes and sharing her soul in a passionate kiss. Excellent tribute~~~~MFB III

  • ladyjane1 profile image
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    ladyjane1 7 years ago from Texas

    Thanks MFB III I always appreciate your visits and thanks for the compliment.

  • profile image

    Rosemary 7 years ago

    I love Betty she was so strong and hard headed as well.

    I like women that are strong and don't bow down to anyone.

    she really came to life when she was on the screen.

    Some times being a bitch is all a women has to hold on to.

    Love the hub Ladyjane1. keep on writing your going to be a star some day , I belive in you.

    SIS

  • profile image

    LEWJ 6 years ago

    Thanks for this informative hub on a unique artist.

  • ladyjane1 profile image
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    ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas

    LEWJ thanks for visiting and for your nice comment I agree with you that she definitely was unique! Cheers.

  • outdoorsguy profile image

    outdoorsguy 6 years ago from Tenn

    She was a great one. but I think that Myrna Loyd was as good, and often overlooked. just my two cents LOL

  • ladyjane1 profile image
    Author

    ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas

    outdoorsguy thanks for visting. I appreciate that you liked Myrna Loyd and I agree that she was probably overlooked. I think Bette Davis had an onscreen presence like no other and thats why she was so popular. I have seen Myrna Loyd in a couple things and I thought that she was good as well. Perhaps you can do a hub about her and tell us what you like about her. I will be looking for it. Cheers.

  • trish1048 profile image

    trish1048 6 years ago

    Ah, Bette Davis. My mom's all time favorite, and then mine as well. A favorite thing we did was map out the tv guide (yes, I'm dating myself) and circle all the Bette Davis movies that were to be shown for the week. We'd then make a night of it. We'd fix our favorite snacks, then sit back on the couch and enjoy. Bette was a phenomenal actress. We also liked Joan Crawford, but Bette took the number one spot :)

    Now that I'm a grandmother myself, I still watch her movies every chance I get.

    Thanks for the memories!

  • ladyjane1 profile image
    Author

    ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas

    trish hello you are definitely a lady after my own heart.I lurves me some Bette Davis and catch her movies every chance I get. I do like Joan Crawford as well althogh not as much as Ms. Bette. I caught Mildred Pierce the other night on TMC...was a great movie. Bette is in a class all by herself I think. And your movie night sounds like something I would do so Im coming to your house. LOL cheers.

  • trish1048 profile image

    trish1048 6 years ago

    Hi ladyjane,

    My mom and I had many special tv nights. We used to watch the old horror movies, Frankenstein, Dracula, The Mummy, and all sorts of scary movies. One night, it was just her and I watching this movie (I don't recall which one), and we were sitting there engrossed in the movie, when we heard a noise. It was a thumping noise, and we looked at each other and said who's there? Well, she got the broom, opened our cellar door, and she called out who's there? Nobody answered. Then, as I'm hiding behind her peeking at the stairs, we heard it. A mewling sound. She turned the light on, and there at the foot of the stairs was our cat. He simply fell down the stairs and died. It was very sad.

    My door is open, I'd love to share some popcorn and we could watch all the oldies :)

  • ladyjane1 profile image
    Author

    ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas

    hey trish good to see you again thats too bad that happened to your cat especially during a scary movie. Its ironic because the other night my sister and I were at home watching a movie and we heard this loud bang that sounded like it came from the basement and there we were walking slowly around looking for the cause of the noise and she went to get her boyfriends rifle and we started laughing through our fear because it was a red rider bb gun and there we were like Lucy and Ethal looking for the noise. Well we didn't find anything except we finally found a porcelain fixture in one of the bathrooms that had actually come loose and fallen into the tub and thats why it was so loud. I will never forget that night. Well thanks for sharing your story and thanks for the invitation. Cheers.

  • Dolores Monet profile image

    Dolores Monet 6 years ago from East Coast, United States

    Great! I love Bette Davis and All About Eve was a great one, due for a rewatch soon! I enjoyed Martin Short who used to do a marvelous Kathryn Hepburn.

  • ladyjane1 profile image
    Author

    ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas

    Dolores thanks for reading and I agree with you that Bette was fab, All about Eve was great and Martin Short is always funny. Cheers.

  • N.E. Wright profile image

    N.E. Wright 5 years ago from Bronx, NY

    Hey LadyJane1,

    I am with you about Betty Davis. She was great.

    I had just asked a question ... and I mentioned she was a tie -- to me -- with Meryl Streep as the greatest actresses.

    Oh, and she was correct. She was the female Marlon Brando. Who was the greatest actor who had ever lived in my opinion.

    Bette Davis in The Little Foxes was excellent. She had no problem with playing a bitch. LOL. With a got damn smile. LOL.

    I could go on and on about her ..., because I just loved everything about her ....

    Thanks for sharing this informative article.

    Take Care,

    N.E.

  • ladyjane1 profile image
    Author

    ladyjane1 5 years ago from Texas

    N.E. Wright thanks so much for your nice comment and I do agree with you about Bette Davis. She was definitely great and I also love Meryl Streep and ironically Meryl Streep is known to emulate Bette Davis because she was actually Meryl's favorite actress as well and she said that Bette Davis inspires her roles and she does a great job in conjouring up the spirit of Bette Davis in all her performances. Thanks for reading, you are a lady after my own heart. Cheers to you.

  • N.E. Wright profile image

    N.E. Wright 5 years ago from Bronx, NY

    Thank you Ladyjane1,

    Will be reading more soon.

    N.E.

  • collegatariat profile image

    collegatariat 5 years ago

    Very fun hub! My favorite Bette Davis film has to be June Bride, a rather obscure and rare old comedy, but she's phenomenal in her dramatic roles also. It's quite likely that she deserved the title of the female counterpart of Marlon Brando, even if she was the one to say it. Voted up!

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