Filmography

1931      

Bad Sister

Seed

Waterloo Bridge

Way Back Home

 

1932 

The Menace

Hell’s House

The Man Who Played God

So Big!

The Rich Are Always with Us

The Dark Horse

The Cabin in the Cotton

Three on a Match

20,000 Years in Sing Sing

 

1933      

Just Around the Corner (promotional short for G.E.)

Parachute Jumper

The Working Man

Bureau of Missing Persons

Ex-Lady

 

1934 

The Big Shakedown

Fashions of 1934

Jimmy the Gent

Fog Over Frisco

Of Human Bondage

Housewife

 

1935      

Bordertown

The Girl from 10th Avenue

Front Page Woman

Special Agent

Dangerous

 

1936      

The Petrified Forest

The Golden Arrow

Satan Met a Lady

 

1937      

Marked Woman

Kid Galahad

That Certain Woman

It’s Love I’m After

 

1938      

Jezebel

The Sisters

 

1939      

Dark Victory

Juarez

The Old Maid

The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex

 

1940      

All This, and Heaven Too

The Letter

 

1941      

The Great Lie

Shining Victory (uncredited cameo role)

The Bride Came C.O.D.

The Little Foxes

 

1942      

The Man Who Came to Dinner

In This Our Life

Now, Voyager

 

1943      

Watch on the Rhine

Thank Your Lucky Stars

 Old Acquaintance

 

1944      

Mr. Skeffington

Hollywood Canteen

 

1945      

The Corn Is Green

 

1946      

A Stolen Life

Deception

 

1948      

Winter Meeting

June Bride

 

1949      

Beyond the Forest

 

1950      

All About Eve

 

1951      

Payment on Demand

Another Man’s Poison

 

1952      

Phone Call from a Stranger

The Star

 

1955      

The Virgin Queen

 

1956      

The Catered Affair

Storm Center

 

1959      

John Paul Jones

The Scapegoat

 

1961      

Pocketful of Miracles

 

1962      

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

 

1963      

The Empty Canvas

 

1964      

Dead Ringer

Where Love Has Gone

Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte

 

1965      

The Nanny

 

1968      

The Anniversary

 

1970      

Connecting Rooms

 

1971      

Bunny O’Hare

 

1972      

The Scientific Cardplayer

 

1976      

Burnt Offerings

 

1978      

Return from Witch Mountain

Death on the Nile

 

1980      

The Watcher in the Woods

 

1987      

The Whales of August

 

1989      

Wicked Stepmother

Awards

She was nominated for 12 Best Actress Academy Awards and won only two.

1934Of Human Bondage – write in, not official
1935Dangerous – won
1938Jezebel – won
1939Dark Victory
1940The Letter
1941The Little Foxes
1942Now, Voyager
1944Mr. Skeffington
1950All About Eve
1952The Star
1962What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
I often think that a slightly exposed shoulder emerging from a long satin nightgown packs more sex than two naked bodies in bed. ~ Bette Davis  

Bette Davis: Learn more about her, review her filmography and more

Actress, Biographies

Ruth 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. Her early interest was dance. To Bette, dancers led a glamorous life, but then she discovered the stage, and gave up dancing for acting. To her, it presented much more of a challenge.

After a stint in summer stock theater in Rochester, New York, Davis moved to New York City, where she attended the John Murray Anderson/Robert Milton School of Theatre and Dance.

Davis began to audition for theater parts in New York, and in 1929 she made her stage début at Greenwich Village’s Provincetown Playhouse in The Earth Between. Later that year, at the age of 21, she made her first Broadway appearance in the comedy Broken Dishes.

A screen test landed Davis a contract with Universal Pictures, where she was assigned a small role in the film Bad Sister (1931), followed by similar minor parts in a few more movies. She moved to Warner Brothers in 1932, after gaining notice in that studio’s production of The Man Who Played God. Following this breakthrough, Davis would go on to make 14 films over the next three years.

In 1934, Warner Brothers loaned Davis to RKO Pictures for Of Human Bondage, a drama based on a novel by W. Somerset Maugham. Davis received her first Academy Award nomination for her performance as the cold-hearted waitress Mildred. Throughout the rest of her career, she would portray many other strong-willed, even unlikable, women who defied society’s rules.

Davis won her first Academy Award in 1935, for her role as a troubled young actress in Dangerous. She then appeared in The Petrified Forest with male stars Leslie Howard and Humphrey Bogart in 1936.

Davis received her second Oscar for her performance as a rebellion Southern belle in 1938’s Jezebel. A number of critical and box-office successes followed: She played a heiress coming to terms with mortal illness in Dark Victory and Elizabeth I in The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, both released in 1939, and went on to deliver several well-received performances in films of the 1940s, including The Little Foxes; the comedy The Man Who Came to Dinner; the drama Now, Voyager; and the drama The Corn is Green. By the time she severed ties with Warner Brothers in 1949, Davis was one of its largest talents.

In 1950, Davis gave one of her most indelible performances in the show-business drama All About Eve, starring as Margo Channing, a theater actress who fends off the insecurities of approaching middle age and the scheming of a manipulative protégé with sarcastic wit and more than a few cocktails.

Davis played Elizabeth I again in The Virgin Queen (1955) and appeared in Tennessee Williams’s The Night of the Iguana on Broadway in 1961. Some of her other work during this time was more lurid, however. In the horror movie and camp classic What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962), she co-starred with Joan Crawford as a former child star caring for her disabled sister. She was featured in another horror film in 1964, Hush…Hush Sweet Charlotte, and then played an eye-patch-wearing matriarch in the melodrama The Anniversary in 1968.

Despite health problems in her late years, including a fight against breast cancer, Davis continued acting. She appeared in the horror movie Burnt Offerings (1976) and was part of the all-star cast of the Agatha Christie mystery Death on the Nile (1979). One of her final film roles was that of a blind woman in The Whales of August (1987), appearing opposite Lillian Gish. She also appeared on television, winning an Emmy Award for 1979’s Strangers: The Story of a Mother and Daughter.

Davis received many awards later in life, including the American Film Institute Life Achievement Award in 1977 and the Kennedy Center Honors Award in 1987.

Bette Davis died on October 6, 1989, in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, at the age of 81. At the time of her death, she was on her way home from a film festival in Spain, where she had just been honored for her work in film.

Davis published two autobiographies during her lifetime: The Lonely Life (1962) and This ‘n’ That (1987).

 

In Our Bookstore

 

Lonely Life: An Autobiography, The
Miss D and Me: Life with the Invincible Bette Davis
This ‘n That