Bette was not very good socially. She had a small coterie of friends and she could “let her hair down” a bit, you know. And she did swear a bit, like we all do. But she certainly wasn’t good at parties for a lot of people she didn’t know.
Vik Greenfield (personal assistant)
Bette Davis in Ex-Lady, 1933.
Now, Voyager was an important turning point in Bette Davis’ career. Her great effectiveness was her reserve. Unlike other actresses in melodrama her lip didn’t quiver, she didn’t cry. She held back with this incredible reserve and let you cry, and let you go through all of the catharsis of the character. Most actresses chew the scenery. Whenever they can they cry, and they rant, and they rave… And Bette Davis didn’t. When you thought she was gonna chew the scenery she was very reserved, and then when she had a scene that could be bland when it was done by other people, that’s when the fire exploded from her.
Susan Granger (film critic)
“If Bette Davis were here today, I don’t think she would make any effort to correct anybody’s image about her. When you’re an actress, and a great actress, and your world is your public, and your public is out there in the dark, and you’re up there, huge on the screen… You become an icon to yourself as well. And that is like a candle that keeps glowing in the dark, and that’s what Bette Davis was. A candle, that will always glow in the dark.” — Dr. Howard Gotlieb
Ruth Elizabeth Davis
April 5, 1908 – October 6, 1989
Forever Favorite Films → Now, Voyager (1942)
Shall we just have a cigarette on it?
Bette Davis in A Stolen Life, 1946
Bette Davis in her Academy Award winning role in Jezebel, 1938
Bette despised dolls; she flatly refused to play with any such childish object, even though she went through a performance of cuddling one for a baby picture. (…) She had the habit of bringing worms, beetles, snails, and other disagreeable creatures into the house. On one occasion, Ruthie was giving an elaborate party with tea and cakes. Someone was heard at the door. Bette, aged six, marched in with great ceremony, carried something up to the table, and placed it on the lace cloth. The women screamed. It was a dead field mouse.
War broke out in Europe in 1914 when Bette was six. She dressed up in a converted bedsheet her mother had turned into a nurse’s uniform, and acted out scenes of being in the Red Cross on the western front, with Bobby as her assistant or patient. This was her first show of theatrical skill. At an alarmingly early age, she could recite the first verse of “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere”. All attempts to discourage her proved futile. One day, when the other children in the neighborhood were playing, Ruthie found Bette sitting on the steps in the drifting flakes of an early snow, reading favourite passages of verse by Longfellow to an audience of starving sparrows.