Friday, March 25, 2011

Part 6 of 6: Bette Davis.

While filming, The Story of a Divorce (1951), the producer Darryl F. Zanuck offered her the role of Margo Channing, in the film, one of the best classics ever, All About Eve (1950).

The film, All about Eve, Claudette Colbert, for who the part had been written for, had a back injury and she was unable to do the part. Davis read the script, said it was the best she had ever read and accepted the role. During filming, she began a life-long friendship with her costar, Anne Baxter and a romantic relationship with her leading man, Gary Merrill, who she later married. She was again nominated for an Academy Award. All About Eve, is a drama written and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, based on the 1946 short story "The Wisdom of Eve", by Mary Orr. Cast: Bette Davis as Margo Channing, a famous, but aging Broadway star. Anne Baxter plays Eve Harrington, a fan who works her way into Channing's life, threatening Channing's career and her relationships. George Sanders, Celeste Holm, Hugh Marlowe, Barbara Bates, Gary Merrill and Thelma Ritter, also appear and the film is one of Marilyn Monroe's, first performances. All About Eve, was nominated for 14 Academy Awards and won six, including Best Picture. So far, All About Eve is still the only film in Oscar history to receive four female acting nominations, Davis and Baxter, as Best Actress, Holm and Ritter, as Best Supporting Actress. Soon after, she was invited to leave her hand prints on the sidewalk of Grauman's Chinese Theatre.

On July 28, she married Gary Merrill and they traveled to England, where Davis and Merrill, starred in a murder-mystery film, Another Man's Poison (1951).

The story begins, after mystery writer Janet Frobisher, who was separated from her husband, moves into the country. Her estranged husband, with a criminal past, shows up out of no where. Janet poisons him with horse medication given to her by her neighbor Dr. Henderson. One of her husbands friends comes looking for him arrives just as she's preparing to dispose of the body in the lake. When Frobisher's secretary and Larry arrive at the house, the man, who helped her get rid of the body, pretends to be her husband, who she also plans for...

Her next film performance was, The Star (1952). Directed by Stuart Heisler. The plot tells the story of a washed up actress who tries anything to revive her career, even at the risk of alienating her husband and daughter. Bette Davis, received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress.

The story begins when, Oscar Award winning star Margaret Elliot, who is a bankrupt. Additions for her last good role, gets drunk and is arrested for DUI and spends a night in jail. She is bailed out by Jim Johannsen, a young actor who she helped in the past. Jim and Margaret’s daughter Gretchen, tries to make Margaret, accept that her big screen days are over. She manages to land role in the film, thinking that if she plays the character as a sexy young woman, she might be able to get the best part, but.. it does not work out that way. She is offered another role in a new film, about a falling star who can’t face the fact that it’s all over. This script changes Margaret’s life.

Her career went through many ups and downs and she admitted that her success had hurt her personal relationships. Married four times, she was once widowed and three times divorced. She raised her children as a single parent. Her final years she was not well, but she continued acting until just before her death. Bette Davis, performed in more than 100 films, television and theater roles.

List of Academy Awards:

In 1962 Bette Davis became the first person to receive ten Academy Award nominations for acting.

1935: Won for Dangerous
1938: Won for Jezebel
1939: Nominated for Dark Victory
1940: Nominated for The Letter
1941: Nominated for The Little Foxes
1942: Nominated for Now, Voyager
1944: Nominated for Mr. Skeffington
1950: Nominated for All About Eve
1952: Nominated for The Star
1962: Nominated for What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

In 1981, Carnes recorded the song "Bette Davis Eyes". The song earned both the Record of the Year and Song of the Year awards at the 1982 Grammys.

"Bette Davis Eyes" was written by Jackie DeShannon and Donna Weiss, in 1974. Carnes and her band rehearsed the song in the studio for three days.

Bette Davis, wrote to Carnes after the song was released saying she loved the song. "It was a thrill to become a part of the rock generation", she said in her memoir 'This 'N That'. Carnes and Davis, began a special friendship, with Kim Carnes, visiting her at her home several times until her 1989 death. In what she considers a career highlight, Carnes performed the song live for Davis at a tribute to the legendary actress held just before her death.


  1. Great post, Dawn. There was only one Bette. And then there was the rest.

  2. FlickChick, Thank you. I agree.. I really enjoyed putting this bio of Betty Davis together.

  3. Awesome series that you have done Dawn. It was very well done and was one of your best pieces that you have done I think. I enjoyed reading it because Bette is definitely one of my favorites. Great job!


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