One more day! In the spirit of the award season, I am counting down to the Oscars by honoring some of the strongest women in Classic Film. On and off the screen they all showed beauty, grace, talent and undying resolve. Today I honor Bette Davis.
- Appeared in nearly 100 films in her lifetime.
- Well-known for Dark Victory (1939), All About Eve (1950), and What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)
- Won 2 Oscars, the Cecile B. DeMille award, an Emmy, an AFI Lifetime Achievement award, and a Laurel award.
- Often played strong-willed and unlikable women who challenged the status quo.
Did you know? While touring the talk show circuit to promote What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962), she told one interviewer that when she and Joan Crawford were first suggested for the leads, Warner studio head Jack L. Warner replied: “I wouldn’t give a plugged nickel for either of those two old broads.” Recalling the story, Davis laughed at her own expense. The following day, she reportedly received a telegram from Crawford: “In future, please do not refer to me as an old broad!”
Why I like her: Her strength. She played strong willed women because that is who she was. She wouldn’t conform to society’s expectations and modeled what future actresses could be in the future.
There are new words now that excuse everybody. Give me the good old days of heroes and villains, the people you can bravo or hiss. There was a truth to them that all the slick credulity of today cannot touch.
*Side Note: Watch Ryan Murphy’s Feud with Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange about the feud between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford on FX, Sunday, March 5th.
Want to read about the other women I feature in my countdown to the Oscars? Find them here: