Biography of Bette Davis (1908-1989)

Bette Davis.

American actress born in Lowell (Massachusetts) on 5 April 1908 and died in Neuilly-sur-Seine (Paris) on October 6, 1989. His real name was Ruth Elisabeth Davis.

He studied dramatic art with John Murray, and, likewise, took courses in ballet. After several summer tours, began to have a certain popularity how a promising actress. He/She made his debut on Broadway, where it caught the attention of the Universal executives, who offered a contract.

His beginnings in the cinema were difficult. His physical, holder of an enigmatic beauty, did not fit the tastes of the time and, after her debut with Bad sister (1931), Carl Laemmle was not very satisfied with the work of the beginner. Warner decided to hire her, but the films that took part were mediocre, and only your job is what has left of them with the passage of time. However, its persistence served for the public and criticism they were fixing it and appreciating its qualities.

Davis, in principle, was not a star in the traditional sense of the word. He/She had a great dramatic ability and a talent for interpretation, qualities that supported his walk through the complicated world of Hollywood. The Decade of the thirties and forties was getting a great popularity and working on important works that became a prominent personality, without leaving this to be an excellent actress. 20,000 years in Sing-Sing (1932), by Michael Curtiz; Captive of desire (1934), John Cromwell; The petrified forest (1936), of Archie L. Mayo; and, especially, dangerous (1935), of Alfred E. Green, for which he/she received his first Oscar, are works that offered splendid opportunities to showcase their talent. Even, at some point, considering the possibility that he/she was the protagonist of what the wind, which in reality was a hoax so that, as a prerequisite, you worked in a loose film.

Tired of his relationship with Warner, he/she decided to go to work to England, but after a trial in a lawsuit filed by the producer, it was forced to return. He/She took part in a series of films which had great importance for the kind of conflicts that present, in which personalities of strong women is portrayed, in environments or situations of tension social or personal. This is how a series of successes such as Jezebel (1938), front of William Wyler, which earned him his second Oscar; Bitter victory (1939), Edmund Goulding, and the private lives of Elizabeth Essex (1939), by Michael Curtiz.

During the 1940s he/she continued forging his image of tough woman, bitter life, which assumes the role of evil in all kinds of melodramas. They are years of interesting roles, as in the letter (1940) and the she-Wolf (1941), both by William Wyler. In this period, he/she founded his own production company, which did not obtain the expected results. In 1946, his popularity began to descend; It found no roles suitable for her. However, speaking at Eva naked (1950), by Joseph l. Mankiewicz, an excellent movie showing the ins and outs of the theatrical scene in the United States, with great talent locked up one of their most brilliant performances and that is remembered over time. However, and in isolation, being already a woman more than mature, he/she returned to a foreground when interpreting the tattered seller of apples in a gangster for a miracle (1961), Frank Capra, the evil sister in what happened to Baby Jane? (1962) and the macabre character of Lullaby for a corpse (1964), both Robert Aldrich, which turned out to be big hits around the world. He/She would also agree to similar roles with other directors in much less quality ribbons, but years later intervened in a good movie, the whales of August (1986), Lindsay Anderson, who did not have the popularity which deserved and that was his last notable work before his disappearance.

Since the early years of the Decade of the fifties he/she intervened frequently in episodes of series and plays on television, such as "General Electric Theater", "The Ford Televisión Theatre", "Alfred Hitchcock presents", "Wagon Train", "The Virginian" and "Perry Mason", among others.

Bette Davis was one of strongest and most controversial female personalities that gave American classic film; He/She herself was defined by saying: "I love that my name precedes the title of the film". Although some said that his way of being permeates too much the characters who played (euphemism to say that it was almost always the overtravel limit), nevertheless was left to recognize that it has been one of the most important actresses in the history of cinema. In any case, the Davis is one of the benchmarks of world cinema, a symbol of how much that has meant and means the cinema in the art of the 20th century.

Bette Davis


1931: Bad Sister; Seed; Waterloo Bridge; Way Back Home. 1932: The avenging statue; House corrections; Hidden Providence; So Big; The Rich Are Always With Us; The Dark Horse; Slaves of the Earth; Three lives of women. 1933: 20,000 years in Sing-Sing; The gangsters of the air; You need a rival; The disappeared; Ex-Lady. 1934: The altar of fashion; The Big Shakedown; Jimmy the Gents; Fog Over Frisco; Captive of desire; A woman from his home. 1935: Impassable barriers; The Girl From Tenth Avenue; Which bet his love; Special Agent; Dangerous. 1936: The petrified forest; The Golden Arrow; Satan Met a Lady. 1937: The marked woman; Kid Gallahad; That Certain Woman; It´s Love I´m After. 1938: Jezebel; The sisters. 1937: Bitter victory. 1939: Juarez; The old maid; The private lives of Elizabeth and Essex. 1940: The sky and you; The letter. 1941: The big lie; Shining Victory; The Bride came C. O. D.; The she-Wolf; The man who came to dinner. 1942: As her own; The passing strange. 1943: Watch On The Rhine; Thank Your Lucky Stars; Old Acquaintance. 1944: Mr. Skeffington; Hollywood Canteen. 1945: The wheat is green. 1946: A stolen life; Deception. 1948: Winter Meeting; June Bride. 1949: Apart from the forest. 1950: Eva naked; The selfish. 1951: The selfish; Another Man´s Poison. 1952: Called a stranger. 1953: The star. 1955: The followers of the Queen. 1956: Storm Center; Wedding Banquet. 1959: Captain Jones; Where the circle ends. 1961: A gangster for a miracle. 1962: what's of Baby Jane? 1963: La noia. 1964: His own victim; Where was the love; Song of cradle for a corpse. 1965: At the mercy of hatred. 1967: The Anniversary. 1969: Connecting Rooms. 1971: Bunny O´Hara. 1972: Sowing illusions. 1976: Diabolic nightmare. 1978: Return From Witch Mountain; Death on the Nile. 1979: The Watcher in the Woods. 1987: The whales of August. 1989: Wicked Stepmother.

Works for television:

1972: The strange world of madame without; The Judge and Jake Wyler. 1973: Scream Pretty Peggy. 1976: The Disappearance of Aimee. 1977: A Salute to Bette Davis. 1978: Dark Secret of Harvest Home (series); A Salute to Henry Fonda. 1979: Strangers: The Story of a Mother and Daughter. 1980: White breast; Skyward. 1981: Family reunion. 1982: Piano ofr Mrs. Cimino; To Slute to Frank Capra; Little Gloria... Happy at Last; Hotel (series). 1983: Bette Davis: A Basically Benevolent Volcano; Right of Way. 1985: Murder with Mirrors. 1986: a Summers Die.


DAVIS, B.: The Lonely Life. New am's, 1962.

SPADA, j.: More than a woman, an intimate biography of Bette Davis. Barcelona: You D'alertes, 1994.