CAROLE LOMBARD - My Favorite Actress

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Away for the weekend...

Me and my wife Stephanie are headed to West Virgina tomorrow to see her step-sister graduate from high school. And then we will visit family and friends. So I won't be posting anything until we get home on Monday night. Hope everyone has a great holiday weekend and I look forward to kicking off the month of June with some wonderful blogging. I leave you with a parting photo of my movie goddess for the month of May...Bette Davis and two of her best friends.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium (1969)

I recently ordered a movie on DVD from Amazon and it arrived yesterday. I immediately put it in to watch it, appropriately enough it's called If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium. It is a delightful comedy about a group of Americans on the ultimate European trip. Nine countries in 18 days as stated by Whirlwind Tours, the company that provides this hilarious and exhausting vacation package. Top billed Suzanne Pleshette leads the Americans as Samantha Perkins, a woman from Minnesota who goes on this trip to make sure she is ready to marry her beau. She immediately attracts the unwanted attention of the tour guide Charlie (an impossibly young looking Ian McShane). McShane would later on to great success as the title character in the hit 80's British show Lovejoy and recently as the ruthless saloon owner Al on the rough western series Deadwood. Anyway he is player but looks at Sam and thinks he's ready to settle down. Other cast members include Murray Hamilton (The Graduate, Jaws) as a disparate dad who is dragged on the trip by his wife. But the main he goes is to keep their teen-age daughter from having sex with her boyfriend. Norman Fell and Reva Rose are a married couple who get separated and she winds up on another tour bus with Japanese tourists. Michael Constantine is a WW2 soldier who is trying to find the girl he met during the war when he was stationed in Italy. Sandy Baron is a quite young man who gets roped into marrying an Italian woman before he escapes. Mildred Natwick is a older woman who just wants to have fun. Marty Ingels as a lothario wannabe who takes pictures of beautiful women so he can brag to his fellas back home. And Aubrey Morris is a strange man who never speaks but enjoys stealing items from the hotel rooms the group stays at. And there are tons of cameos including: singer Donovan,who provides the catchy theme song; Joan Collins, Robert Vaughn, John Cassavetes, Ben Gazzara, Senta Berger, Anita Ekberg, Virni Lisi and several beauty pagent winners of the time including Miss Belgium, Miss Germany, and Miss Holland.

This movie has a breezy and light-hearted tone. The entire cast is awesome. Pleshette, who is positively gorgeous gets a lot of sly lines and has great chemistry with McShane. Norman Fell has a standout dance scene at a club where he gets to go on stage surrounded by a bevy of young and beautiful dancers and he is loving every minute of it. That is until his wife unexpectedly shows up. Hamilton is also good as the frustrated dad who finally gets to have some fun. This movie has tons of laughs and at only 98 minutes long, a lot of ground and countries get covered fast. Which is impressive in itself. The look of the movie is also great as it perfectly captures the decade of long hair and groovy music. I loved this movie and it is one of the most underrated films I have ever seen. It will make you laugh pretty much the entire time you're watching it. I definitely will be watching it several more times and soon.

Pam Grier

Pam Grier has been a major African American actress from the early seventies. Her career started back in 1971 when Roger Corman of New World Pictures launched her into The Big Doll House (1971), about a woman's penitentiary and The Big Bird Cage (1972). Her strong role put her into a five year contract with Samuel Z. Arkoff of American International Pictures and from then Grier became a leading lady in action films such as two of the Jack Hill films: Coffy (1973) and Foxy Brown (1974), and the comic strip character Friday Foster (1975) and the William Girdler film 'Sheba, Baby' (1975). She continued work with American International where she portrayed William Marshall's vampire victim in the 'Blacula' sequel, Scream Blacula Scream (1973).
During the eighties she became a regular on "Miami Vice" (1984) and played a supporting role as an evil witch in Ray Bradbury's and Walt Disney Pictures Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983) and then returned to action as Steven Seagal's partner in Above the Law (1988). Her most famous role of the 90s was probably Jackie Brown (1997), directed by Quentin Tarantino, which was a homage to her earlier 70s action roles, but she occasionally did supporting roles as in Tim Burton's Mars Attacks! (1996), In Too Deep (1999) and her funny performance in Jawbreaker (1999). More recently, she appeared in John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars (2001) and co-starred with Snoop Dogg in Bones (2001). Her entire career of over thirty years has brought only success for this beautiful and talented actress.

My personal favorites are:
Jackie Brown
Something Wicked This way Comes
Foxy Brown
Friday Foster

Happy Birthday John Wayne

The Duke Himself..

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Happy Birthday Jeanne Crain


Happy Birthday to Jeanne Crain

Jeanne Crain was born in Barstow, California, on May 25, 1925. The daughter of a high school English teacher and his wife, Jeanne was moved to Los Angeles not long after her birth after her father got another teaching position in that city. While in junior high school, Jeanne played the lead in a school production which set her on the path to acting. When she was in high school Jeanne was asked to take a screen test to appear in a film by Orson Welles. Unfortunately, she didn't get the part, but it did set her sights on being a movie actress.

After her high school career, Jeanne enrolled at UCLA to study drama. At the age of 18, Jeanne won a bit part in Fox Studio's film entitled The Gang's All Here (1943) and a small contract. Her next film saw Jeanne elevated to a more substantial part in Home in Indiana (1944) the following year, which was filmed in neighboring Kentucky. The movie was an unquestionable hit. On the strength of that box-office success, Jeanne was given a raise and star billing, as Maggie Preston, in the next film of 1944, In the Meantime, Darling (1944). Unfortunately, the critics not only roasted the film, but singled out Jeanne's performance in particular. She rebounded nicely in her last film of the year, Winged Victory (1944). The audiences loved it and the film was profitable.

In 1945, Jeanne was cast in State Fair (1945) as Margie Frake who travels to the fair and falls in love with a reporter played by Dana Andrews. Now, Jeanne got a bigger contract and more recognition. Later that year, Jeanne married Paul Brooks on New Year's Eve. Although her mother wasn't supportive of the marriage, the union has lasted to this day and produced seven children. Her 1947 was an off year for Jeanne as she took time off to bear the Brinkman's first child.

In 1949, Jeanne appeared in three films, A Letter to Three Wives (1949), The Fan (1949), and Pinky (1949). It was this latter film which garnered her an Oscar nomination as Best Actress for her role as Pinky Johnson, a nurse who sets up a clinic in the Deep South. She lost to Olivia de Havilland for The Heiress (1949). Jeanne left Fox after filming Vicki (1953) in 1953, with Jean Peters. She had made 23 films for the studio that started her career, but she needed a well-deserved change. As with any good artist, Jeanne wanted to expand her range instead of playing the girl-next-door types.

She went briefly to Warner Brothers for the filming of Duel in the Jungle (1954) in 1954. The film was lukewarm at best. Jeanne, then, signed a contract, that same year, with Universal Studios with promises of better, high profile roles. She went into production in the film Man Without a Star (1955) which was a hit with audiences and critics. After The Joker Is Wild (1957) in 1957, Jeanne took time off for her family and to appear in a few television programs. She returned, briefly, to film in Guns of the Timberland (1960) in 1960. The films were sporadic after that. In 1967, she appeared in a low-budget suspense yarn called Hot Rods to Hell (1967). Her final film was as Clara Shaw in 1972's Skyjacked (1972).

Jeanne died of a heart attack in Santa Barbara, California, on December 14, 2003. Her husband Paul Brooks had died two months earlier.

Monday, May 24, 2010

All Good Things in June

The month when summer kicks into high gear, kids are on school break, and it's just a great time to enjoy some classic movies. The classic movie goddess will be Donna Reed, a very talented woman who was a success on both the small and big screens. I first came across her while as a kid watching reruns of The Donna Reed Show. Then later on saw her in classic films like It's A Wonderful Life and From Here To Eternity. So she will be spotlighted all month long here on my blog. And my guest blogger for the month will be my good friend Dawn of Noir & Chick Flicks. Me and Dawn actually collaborate on several blogs including Saddles & Spurs, Doris Day, Esther Williams, Betty Grable, and Chick Flick Musicals. Can't wait to have her here next month so we can discuss movies, TV, and whatever else catch our fancy. See ya next month.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Dean Martin as Matt Helm in Murderers' Row (1966)

Just watched the guilty pleasure that is Murderers' Row, the second film in the Matt Helm 60's era spy series that starred the ever reliable Dean Martin. This series came about all due to that English gent across the water..James Bond. That franchise ignited the whole spy craze of the 60's and everything from Get Smart, I Spy, The Man From UNCLE, In Like Flint, and Helm all enjoyed success. Dean Martin's take as a super spy who always saved the world but he did it with a cavalier attitude. Always had time to drink and make merry for the women. And quick to drop a witty one liner. You ask how is that different from Bond. Well, where as Bond for the most part kept the humor and comedy to a minimal, that is until Roger Moore came along, Helm thrived on it. He seemed to be itching to crack a joke or take a drink even while the action is going on. And seemed to be having fun doing it.

In his second adventure, he travels to Monte Carlo to find out what happened to a Doctor Solaris, who has created this destructive helio beam that bad guy Julian Wall (a gung ho Karl Malden) wants to use to destroy Washington, DC. In Monte Carlo, Matt befriends Solaris daughter Suzie (Ann-Margret) and together they team up to find her missing dad. Matt also has to deal with a henchman who has a steel plate on his head (very Bondian) and a beguiling femme fatale named Coco (the fetching Camilla Sparv).

Murderers' Row is a lightweight caper, on par with the lesser Bond films. You could almost label it a comedy with some action scenes because there is an abundance of humor, mostly supplied by Martin, who is definitely the center of the movie. Ann-Margret gets several high energy dance scenes that you can tell the directors told her to go and just have fun. The age difference between Martin and Ann does make their relationship a tad creepy. Dean was 48 and Ann was 24. But they still make quite the team. It's strange seeing Malden as the villian but he is effective. His assistant Coco is a striking presence in the film. Every time she appears it seems the camera follows her around like a puppy in love. Sparv probably gives the best performance out of all the actors present here. And let me not forget Matt's assistant Lovey Kravezit (great name and played by Beverly Adams). She is like the 60's version of Iron Man's assistant Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow).

This film is not be taken seriously, a film to be seen to have some laughs with and view a good representation of the 60's. Dean croons the energetic I'm Not The Marrying Kind which plays out several times during the film. And I'm not the one to point out fashion in film, but Ann-Margret wears this killer black and white top with pants that is to die for.

Check out the pic to your right. You know your clothes are awesome when the villianess says "I must say the girl
has great taste in clothes". Classic.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pic of Naomi Watts as Marilyn Monroe

Here is the just released pic of Naomi Watts as Marilyn Monroe for the upcoming film BLONDE...
She looks awesome and bears a striking resemblance to MM...

Good Afternoon from Jane Russell...

Good afternoon from the gorgeous Jane Russell....

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Classic Movie Goddess Of The Month: Bette Davis Part 3

Here are what I believe to be Bette's best films and my favorites. Her essentials if you will.

ALL ABOUT EVE (1950) Without a doubt my favorite Davis film. She is marvelous as broadway diva Margo Channing, who is competing with the young ingenue Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter). Watch and let Bette show you how it's done...Acting 101. She was robbed of an Oscar that night, I tell ya.

DARK VICTORY (1939) One of the supreme tear-jerkers of all time. By the time the film ends, there won't be a dry eye left anywhere. Another of Bette's greatest performances.

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? (1962) Where to begin with this wrenching gothic fest. First you have the legendary pairing of long time rivals Bette and Joan Crawford. And the duo get to go at it like cats and dogs. And then you have what has to be one of Bette's most insane performances that is a sheer delight to watch. She is superb as Baby Jane Hudson, one time child star, who must now care for her invalid sister (Crawford). A truly memorable film chock full of great quotes like this one:

Blanche: You wouldn't be able to do these awful things to me if I weren't still in this chair.

Jane: But you *are*, Blanche! You *are* in that chair!

NOW, VOYAGER (1942) The ultimate woman's movie as Bette plays Charlotte Vale, a repressed woman who has a domineering mother and longs to be free to search for love. No one can forget that iconic scene where Paul Henreid lights two cigarettes at once. And this film was Bette's biggest hit of all time. Wow.

JEZEBEL (1938) Bette won her second Oscar for Best Actress in this film that is very comparable to Gone With The Wind. Bette is Julie Marsden, a Southern belle of the 1850's whose love for the wrong man (Henry Fonda) leads to much heartache and suffering. A good showcase for Bette's ample acting talent.

THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER (1942) While Bette takes a back seat to Monty Wooley and Ann Sheridan in this screwball farce, her restrained performance as secretary Maggie Cutler, showed that Bette could take it down a notch when she had to. One of the best comedies ever made.

OLD ACQUAINTANCE (1943) For some reason I love this melodramatic soap fest. Call it my guilty pleasure. Bette is Kit Marlowe, a famous writer who is best friends with Millie (the wonderfully over the top Miriam Hopkins). Friendship soon turns into a bitter rivalry. Famous scene has Kit shaking the crap out of Millie and then saying succinctly...Sorry. Classic.

THE WHALES OF AUGUST (1987) Is the last great film did by the wonderful Bette. She and Lillian Gish are magnificent as two elderly sisters living in their family cottage home on the coast of Maine. Bette is Libby, who is blind and maybe senile. Lillian is Sarah and she takes care of her. This is truly a beautiful and amazing film. It's great to watch veteran actors still make such moving films. In addition to Davis and Gish, this film also stars Ann Sothern, Vincent Price and Harry Carey, Jr.

So these are in my humble opinion, the films of Bette that you need to see if you don't see nothing else. Also worth viewing and showing Bette at her best are THE GREAT LIE, ALL THIS AND HEAVEN, TOO, and THE LITTLE FOXES.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Classic Movie Goddess Of The Month - Bette Davis Part 2

Facts and Trivia:

While she was the star pupil at John Murray Anderson's Dramatic School in New York, another of her classmates was sent home because she was "too shy". It was predicted that this girl would never make it as an actress. The girl was Lucille Ball.
Ranked #15 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list. [October 1997]
In 1952 she was asked to perform in a musical, "Two's Company". After several grueling months at rehearsals, her health deteriorated due to osteomyelitis of the jaw and she had to leave the show only several weeks after it opened. She was to repeat this process in 1974 when she rehearsed for the musical version of The Corn Is Green (1945), called "Miss Moffat", but bowed out early in the run of the show for dubious medical reasons.
On her tombstone is written "She did it the hard way".
She suffered a stroke and had a mastectomy in 1983.
Attended Northfield Mt. Hermon high school.
Interred at Forest Lawn (Hollywood Hills), Los Angeles, California, USA, just outside and to the left of the main entrance to the Court of Remembrance.
Mother of Barbara Merrill (aka B.D. Hyman) and grandmother of J. Ashley Hyman. Marion Sherry was B.D.'s nanny until William Grant Sherry left Davis for her.
Director Steven Spielberg won the Christie's auction of her 1938 Best Actress Oscar for Jezebel (1938) for $578,000. He then gave it to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. [19 July 2001]
When Bette learned that her new brother-in-law was a recovering alcoholic, she sent the couple a dozen cases of liquor for a wedding present.
She was elected as first female president of the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in October 1941. She resigned less then two months later, publicly declaring herself too busy to fulfill her duties as president while angrily protesting in private that the Academy had wanted her to serve as a mere figurehead.
She considered her debut screen test for Universal Pictures to be so bad that she ran screaming from the projection room.
Her third husband Arthur Farnsworth died after a fall on Hollywood Boulevard in which he took a blow to the head. He had shortly before banged his head on a train between LA and New England, followed by another fall down the stairway at their New Hampshire home.
It is said that one of her real true loves was director William Wyler but he was married and refused to leave his wife.
In Marked Woman (1937), Davis is forced to testify in court after being worked over by some Mafia hoods. Disgusted with the tiny bandage supplied by the makeup department, she left the set, had her own doctor bandage her face more realistically, and refused to shoot the scene any other way.
When she first came to Hollywood as a contract player, Universal Pictures wanted to change her name to Bettina Dawes. She informed the studio that she refused to go through life with a name that sounded like "Between the Drawers".
Nominated for an Academy Award 5 years in a row, in 1939, 1940, 1941, 1942 and 1943. She shares the record for most consecutive nominations with Greer Garson.
After the song "Bette Davis Eyes" became a hit single, she wrote letters to singer Kim Carnes and songwriters Donna Weiss and Jackie DeShannon, asking how they knew so much about her. One of the reasons Davis loved the song is that her granddaughter heard it and thought it "cool" that her grandmother had a hit song written about her.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

My Top Ten Favorite Modern Film Actors

Was thinking about who my favorite current film actors were the other day and decided to make a top ten list. So here we go and I plan to do the same for actresses as well.

10. Ryan Reynolds
Favorite Films: Just Friends, The Proposal

9. Tom Hanks
Favorite Films: Saving Private Ryan, Apollo 13, A League Of Their Own

8. Harrison Ford
Favorite Films: Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Blade Runner, Witness

7. Tom Cruise
Favorite Films: A Few Good Men, The Last Samurai, Jerry Maguire

6. Kurt Russell
Favorite Films: The Thing, Escape From NY, Big Trouble In Little China

5. Will Smith
Favorite Films: Bad Boys, Independence Day, The Pursuit of Happyness, I Am Legend

4. Morgan Freeman
Favorite Films: The Shawshank Redemption, Unforgiven, Kiss The Girls, Driving Miss Daisy

3. Robert Downey Jr.
Favorite Films: Iron Man, Soap dish, Tropic Thunder, Less Than Zero

2. Leonardo Di Caprio
Favorite Films: Blood Diamond, Titanic, The Aviator, Gangs Of New York

1. Denzel Washington
Favorite Films: Remember The Titans, Man on Fire, Crimson Tide, Courage Under Fire

Blog Spotlight on Blonde Episodes

Blonde Episodes was one of the first blogs I started following. It is wonderfully done by my good friend Kori. I'm spotlighting her blog now because she is my guest this month on All Good Things. And to let everyone that don't know already to check out her awesome blog. I believe Marilyn Monroe is her favorite actress because she has pics of her all over her blog. And she always seems to find the best Marilyn pics you would want to see. So head over to her blog and check it out, tell her Monty sent you.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Rest In Peace Lena Horne

Lena Horne has passed away at age 92.

Horne was born in June 1917 in Brooklyn. By her teens she began singing in nightclubs, including the famed Cotton Club as a chorus girl.

Although her Hollywood career spanned six decades, she never really achieved any huge success in that arena often because of her African American heritage was seen by studios as a deterrent when casting for lead roles or roles that might necessitate an interracial relationship on screen.

She was best known in the entertainment world for her singing and showcased that in more nightclubs, on Broadway and on TV variety shows, including "The Ed Sullivan Show" and "The Judy Garland Show." Later in her career she appeared on "The Cosby Show" and "The Muppet Show."

She won several Grammy awards over her career and received a best actress Tony nomination for the musical "Jamaica." Later, she received a special Tony for her one-woman show, "Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music."

Her contributions to the Civil Rights movement include working alongside Paul Robeson and Medgar Evers, participating on the March on Washington and collaborating to end desegregation and lynching.

Horne is survived by her daughter, Gail Lumet Buckley, and granddaughter Jenny Lumet, screenwriter of "Rachel Getting Married."

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Bette is wickedly good in All About Eve (1950)

All About Eve is my favorite Bette Davis film. She owns the screen as Margo Channing, a legendary Broadway star whose career is winding down who takes on actress Eve Harrington (a super Anne Baxter) as her understudy. But Eve has ulterior motives and she wants to be the star and will do anything to achieve that goal. The supporting cast includes Celeste Holm as Karen Richards, Margo's best friend; Thelma Ritter as Birdie, Margo's right hand woman; Gary Merrill as Bill, Margo's lover; Hugh Marlowe as Llyod, the playwright; and George Sanders as Addison DeWitt, the columnist who learns of Eve's true intentions and decides to play along. Also look for a young Marilyn Monroe in a small part as Addison's date.

The performances are all great, especially Davis and Baxter. Davis prowls the screen like a leopard looking for a kill. She attacks her dialogue with reverence and gives one of her best performances ever. She manages to fire off lines like she is firing a machine gun. Baxter by contrast is more subdued, especially in the earlier scenes, but once her devious plans come out, she lets out a beast of a performance that has her holding her own against Bette. Sanders is pretty good too as Addison, as every word he says just drips with sarcasm and venom. Thelma Ritter, the legendary scene stealer does it again with a marvelous performance as Birdie.

All About Eve is one of my all time favorite films and ranks high on my list. It's a must see. And it's one of those classics that they don't make them like they used to.

Birdie: What a story! Everything but the bloodhounds snappin' at her rear end.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happy Birthday Anne Baxter

I didn't realize that Anne's birthday was yesterday. My apologies to Anne and all her fans, but Happy Birthday to another one of my favorite actresses. (7 May 1923 - 12 Dec 1985). My favorite Anne films include All About Eve, Sunday Dinner for a Soldier, The Fighting Sullivans, A Ticket to Tomahawk, The Ten Commandments and her guest appearances as the villaness Olga, Queen of the Cossacks on the 1960's Batman TV series

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Bette shines in Dark Victory (1939)

Flixster - Share Movies
Dark Victory was one of the first Bette Davis films I ever saw. I believe I was around 14 or 15 and it just blew me away. Easily one of Bette's most engaging performances and one of the best films from Hollywood's golden year of 1939. Bette plays Judith Traherne, a wealthy Long Island society girl who is having a ball with her lifestyle. Well fun and games come to an abrupt end when she finds out she has a brain tumor. Her secretary and friend Ann (played by Geraldine Fitzgerald in an understated but moving performance) and other friend Alex (Ronald Reagan) convince Judith to see a brain specialist, Dr. Frederick Steele (George Brent) who informs Judith that the tumor will cause her to die within the year. Through the course of the year Judith falls in love with Frederick and accepts his marriage proposal but can't go through with it because she thinks the doctor is being sympathetic to her illness. Humphrey Bogart is on hand as an Irish horse trainer who tries to make Judith fall in love with him. When he realizes that will never happen, he convinces Judith to be with the doctor. Dark Victory is one serious melodrama with an excellent performance by Bette. This is easily one of her top 5 film performances ever. She handles all her scenes with such ease and perfection. She goes from happy go lucky society girl to a woman on the brink of death. A lesser actress would have botched this role and could have went over the top with it, but Bette is terrific. She dominates this film and just overshadows everyone else. Not that the other actors involved aren't good, it's just that Bette is on another level. This film is definitely a tear jerker in every sense of the word and don't expect a happy ending. There are a couple scenes of light humor, especially in the beginning that won't make this film too hard to watch. And it is one of the best films Hollywood ever made. Oh and stay away from the colorized version, watch this in the original black and white version. The way it was meant to be seen.

Judith: Moving to Vermont are you? What do you do there in between yawns?

Guest For The Month: Kori of Blonde Episodes

This month kicks off my new feature called Be My Guest. It's where a friend and co-blogger will join me in discussion about classic films and stars. I've asked Kori of Blonde Episodes to be the first. I've sent her some questions and when she responds I will post them here on my blog. Hope to discuss other things as the month goes on which will depend on Kori having the time to do it. I've already got other friends scheduled through October so far. Anyone else who would like to do it, just email me at Hope it turns into an ongoing thing.

Kori's very cool and entertaining blog

Saturday, May 1, 2010

New Poll Started

For the month of May, the poll asks the question what time period of Bette Davis career do you enjoy the most. The selections are the 30's, the 40's, the 50's and the 60's. The poll will be open all month long.

Classic Movie Goddess Of The Month - Bette Davis Part 1

My classic movie goddess for the month of  May is none other than the legendary Bette Davis. And I will enjoy blogging about her all month long as she is in my Top ten favorite actresses of all time. So I will start with her bio and some lovely pics. Enjoy.
Bette Davis
Bette Davis PhotosRuth Elizabeth Davis was born April 5, 1908, in Lowell, Massachusetts. Her parents divorced when she was 10. She and her sister were raised by their mother, Ruthie. Bette demanded attention from birth, which led to her pursuing a career in acting. After graduation from Cushing Academy she was refused admittance to Eva Le Gallienne's Manhattan Civic Repertory because she was considered insincere and frivolous. She enrolled in John Murray Anderson's Dramatic School and was the star pupil. She was in the off-Broadway play "The Earth Between" (1923), and her Broadway debut in 1929 was in "Broken Dishes". She also appeared in "Solid South". Late in 1930, she was hired by Universal. When she arrived in Hollywood, the studio representative who went to meet her train left without her because he could find no one who looked like a movie star. An official at Universal complained she had "as much sex appeal as Slim Summerville" and her performance in The Bad Sister (1931) didn't impress. In 1932 she signed a seven-year deal with Warner Brothers Pictures. She became a star after her appearance in The Man Who Played God (1932). Warners loaned her to RKO in 1934 for Of Human Bondage (1934), in which she was a smash. She had a significant number of write-in votes for the Best Actress Oscar, but didn't win. She finally DID win for Dangerous (1935) and Jezebel (1938)). She constantly fought with Warners and tried to get out of her contract because she felt she wasn't receiving the top roles an Oscar-winning actress deserved, and eventually sued the studio. Returning after losing her lawsuit, her roles improved dramatically. The only role she didn't get that she wanted was Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind (1939). Warners wouldn't loan her to David O. Selznick unless he hired Errol Flynn to play Rhett Butler, which both Selznick and Davis thought was a terrible choice. It was rumored she had numerous affairs, among them George Brent and William Wyler, and she was married four times, three of which ended in divorce. She admitted her career always came first. She made many successful films in the 1940s, but each picture was weaker than the last and by the time her Warner Brothers contract had ended in 1949, she had been reduced to appearing in such films as the unintentionally hilarious Beyond the Forest (1949). She made a huge comeback in 1950 when she replaced an ill Claudette Colbert in, and received an Oscar nomination for, All About Eve (1950). She worked in films through the 1950s, but her career eventually came to a standstill, and in 1961 she placed a now famous Job Wanted ad in the trade papers.

Bette Davis
Bette Davis PhotosShe received an Oscar nomination for her role as a demented former child star in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962), which brought her a new degree of stardom in both movies and television through the 1960s and 1970s. In 1977 she received the AFI's Lifetime Achievement Award and in 1979 she won a Best Actress Emmy for Strangers: The Story of a Mother and Daughter (1979) (TV). In 1977-78 she moved from Connecticut to Los Angeles and filmed a pilot for the series "Hotel" (1983), which she called Brothel. She refused to do the TV series and suffered a stroke during this time. Her daughter Barbara Merrill wrote a 1985 "Mommie Dearest"-type book, "My Mother's Keeper". She worked in the later 1980s in films and TV, even though a stroke had impaired her appearance and mobility. She wrote a book "This 'N That" during her recovery from the stroke. Her last book was "Bette Davis, The Lonely Life", issued in paperback in 1990. It included an update from 1962 to 1989. She wrote the last chapter in San Sebastian, Spain. When she passed away of cancer on October 6, 1989, in France, many of her fans refused to believe she was gone.


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