Image of Bette Davis

Bette Davis

1908-04-05 Lowell, Massachusetts, USA

Image of Bette Davis


Ruth Elizabeth "Bette" Davis (April 5, 1908 – October 6, 1989) was an American actress of film, television and theater. Noted for her willingness to play unsympathetic characters, she was highly regarded for her performances in a range of film genres; from contemporary crime melodramas to historical and period films and occasional comedies, though her greatest successes were her roles in romantic dramas. After appearing in Broadway plays, Davis moved to Hollywood in 1930, but her early films for Universal Studios were unsuccessful. She joined Warner Bros. in 1932 and established her career with several critically acclaimed performances. In 1937, she attempted to free herself from her contract and although she lost a well-publicized legal case, it marked the beginning of the most successful period of her career. Until the late 1940s, she was one of American cinema's most celebrated leading ladies, known for her forceful and intense style. Davis gained a reputation as a perfectionist who could be highly combative, and confrontations with studio executives, film directors and costars were often reported. Her forthright manner, clipped vocal style and ubiquitous cigarette contributed to a public persona which has often been imitated and satirized. Davis was the co-founder of the Hollywood Canteen, and was the first female president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress twice, was the first person to accrue 10 Academy Award nominations for acting, and was the first woman to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute. Her career went through several periods of eclipse, and she admitted that her success had often been at the expense of her personal relationships. Married four times, she was once widowed and thrice divorced, and raised her children as a single parent. Her final years were marred by a long period of ill health, but she continued acting until shortly before her death from breast cancer, with more than 100 films, television and theater roles to her credit. In 1999, Davis was placed second, after Katharine Hepburn, on the American Film Institute's list of the greatest female stars of all time.


AFI Life Achievement Award: 50th Anniversary Special Self (archive footage) 2023-12-30
Madonna: Madame X Self (archive footage) (uncredited) 2021-09-23
Mike Wallace Is Here (archive footage) 2019-07-26
Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood Self (archive footage) 2018-07-27
Always at The Carlyle Self (archive footage) 2018-05-11
Bette Davis - Größer als das Leben (archive footage) 2017-12-18
Bette and Joan Self (archive footage) 2017-01-01
Listen to Me Marlon Self (archive footage) 2015-07-29
Marlon Brando, un acteur nommé désir Self - Actress (archive footage) 2014-09-20
And the Oscar Goes To... Self (archive footage) 2014-02-01
Footsteps on the Ceiling Margo Channing (archive footage) 2013-01-01
Classic Movie Bloopers: Uncensored Self (archive footage) 2013-01-29
1939: Hollywood's Greatest Year Self (archive footage) 2009-07-02
田中絹代の旅立ち~占領下の日米親善芸術使節~ Self (archive footage) 2009-10-17
Queer Icon: The Cult of Bette Davis Self (archive footage) 2009-09-11
Why Be Good?: Sexuality & Censorship in Early Cinema Self (archive footage) 2007-05-23
Jezebel: Legend of the South Self (archive footage) 2006-05-30
Stardust: The Bette Davis Story Self (archive footage) 2006-05-03
Bette and Joan: Blind Ambition Self (archive footage) 2006-01-01
The Adventures of Errol Flynn Queen Elizabeth (archive footage) 2005-04-05
The Petrified Forest: Menace in the Desert Self (archive footage) 2005-06-18
Complicated Women Self (archive footage) 2003-05-06
Smothered: The Censorship Struggles of the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour Self (archive footage) 2002-12-04
Goldwyn: The Man and His Movies Self (archive footage) 2001-10-07
Backstory: 'All About Eve' Self (archive footage) 2000-09-09
Frank Capra's American Dream Self (archive footage) 1997-01-01
The Silver Screen: Color Me Lavender Self (archive footage) 1997-11-01
Intimate Portrait: Bette Davis Self (archive footage) 1996-09-26
Joan Crawford: Always the Star Self (archive footage) 1996-09-30
Biography: Bette Davis — If Looks Could Kill Self (archive footage) 1994-09-13
All About Bette Self 1994-07-17
Wicked Stepmother Miranda Pierpoint 1989-02-03
Hairway to the Stars Self [Archive Footage] 1989-01-01
The Making of a Legend: Gone with the Wind Self (archive footage) 1988-10-01
Hammer: The Studio That Dripped Blood (archive footage) 1987-06-26
The Whales of August Libby Strong 1987-10-14
Marilyn Monroe: Beyond the Legend Self (from All About Eve [1950]) (archive footage) 1986-04-19
Bette Davis à la Cinémathèque française Herself 1986-01-01
Directed by William Wyler Self 1986-05-01
As Summers Die Hannah Loftin 1986-05-18
Murder with Mirrors Carrie Louise Serrocold 1985-02-20
Hollywood's Funniest All-Star Bloopers Self (archive footage) 1985-01-01
Going Hollywood: The '30s (archive footage) 1984-01-01
Terror in the Aisles Baby Jane Hudson (Archive Footage) 1984-10-26
Bette Davis: The Benevolent Volcano Self 1983-11-02
Hollywood Out-takes and Rare Footage Self (archive footage) (uncredited) 1983-02-25
Right of Way Miniature Dwyer 1983-11-21
Oops, Those Hollywood Bloopers! Self (archive footage) 1982-01-01
A Piano for Mrs. Cimino Esther McDonald Cimino 1982-02-03
Showbiz Goes to War (archive footage) 1982-12-31
Night of 100 Stars Self 1982-03-08
Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (in "Deception") (archive footage) 1982-05-21
Family Reunion Elizabeth Winfield 1981-10-11
White Mama Estelle Malone 1980-03-05
Skyward Billie Dupree 1980-11-20
The Watcher in the Woods Mrs. Aylwood 1980-04-17
Strangers: The Story of a Mother and Daughter Lucy Mason 1979-05-13
The Horror Show (archive footage) 1979-02-06
Death on the Nile: Making of Featurette Marie Van Schuyler (archive footage) 1978-01-01
Death on the Nile Marie Van Schuyler 1978-09-29
Return from Witch Mountain Letha Wedge 1978-03-10
The Disappearance of Aimee Minnie Kennedy 1976-11-17
Burnt Offerings Aunt Elizabeth 1976-10-18
Hello Mother, Goodbye! 1974-05-15
Scream, Pretty Peggy Mrs. Elliott 1973-11-24
The Judge and Jake Wyler Judge Meredith 1972-12-02
Madame Sin Madame Sin 1972-01-15
Lo scopone scientifico 'A vecchia 1972-08-28
Bunny O'Hare Bunny O'Hare 1971-10-18
Connecting Rooms Wanda Fleming 1970-05-01
The Anniversary Mrs. Taggart 1968-02-07
The Decorator Liz 1965-06-09
The Love Goddesses (archive footage) 1965-03-03
The Nanny Nanny 1965-10-07
Dead Ringer Margaret DeLorca / Edith Phillips 1964-02-19
Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte Charlotte Hollis 1964-12-15
Where Love Has Gone Mrs. Gerald Hayden 1964-11-02
Hollywood and the Stars (archive footage) 1964-05-04
La noia Dino's Mother 1963-12-04
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? Baby Jane Hudson 1962-10-12
The Andy Williams Christmas Show 1962-12-20
Pocketful of Miracles Apple Annie 1961-12-18
The Scapegoat Countess 1959-08-06
John Paul Jones Empress Catherine the Great 1959-06-16
Stranded Mrs. Beatrice Enter 1957-05-09
Storm Center Alicia Hull 1956-07-31
The Catered Affair Mrs. Agnes Hurley 1956-06-14
The Virgin Queen Queen Elizabeth I 1955-07-22
Phone Call from a Stranger Marie Hoke 1952-02-01
The Star Margaret Elliot 1952-12-11
Another Man's Poison Janet Frobisher 1951-11-20
Payment on Demand Joyce Ramsey (nee Jackson) 1951-02-03
All About Eve Margo Channing 1950-11-09
Beyond the Forest Rosa Moline 1949-10-21
Breakdowns of 1949 Self 1949-12-31
June Bride Linda Gilman 1948-10-29
Winter Meeting Susan Grieve 1948-04-07
Deception Christine Radcliffe 1946-10-26
A Stolen Life Kate Bosworth / Patricia Bosworth 1946-05-01
The Corn Is Green Miss Lilly Christabel Moffat 1945-03-29
Breakdowns of 1944 Self 1944-12-31
Mr. Skeffington Fanny Trellis 1944-05-25
Hollywood Canteen Self 1944-12-15
The Voice That Thrilled the World Self (segment 'Dangerous') (archive footage) 1943-10-16
Stars on Horseback 1943-04-23
A Present with a Future Mother 1943-12-01
Show-Business at War Self 1943-05-21
Thank Your Lucky Stars Self 1943-09-25
Watch on the Rhine Sara Müller 1943-08-27
Old Acquaintance Kit Marlowe 1943-11-27
Now, Voyager Charlotte Vale 1942-10-22
Breakdowns of 1942 Self 1942-12-31
In This Our Life Stanley Timberlake Kingsmill 1942-05-08
The Great Lie Maggie Patterson Van Allen 1941-04-05
The Man Who Came to Dinner Maggie Cutler 1941-12-24
Breakdowns of 1941 Self (archive footage) (uncredited) 1941-11-14
The Bride Came C.O.D. Joan Winfield 1941-07-12
Shining Victory 1941-05-30
The Little Foxes Regina Hubbard Giddens 1941-08-29
If I Forget You Bette Davis 1940-05-01
The Letter Leslie Crosbie 1940-11-21
All This, and Heaven Too Henriette Deluzy-Desportes 1940-07-05
Cavalcade of the Academy Awards Self 1940-07-31
Dark Victory Judith Traherne 1939-04-20
Breakdowns of 1939 Self 1939-12-31
The Old Maid Charlotte Lovell 1939-08-16
The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex Queen Elizabeth 1939-11-11
Juarez Empress Carlotta von Hapsburg 1939-06-10
Breakdowns of 1938 Self (archive footage) 1938-12-31
Jezebel Julie Marsden 1938-03-26
The Sisters Louise Elliott Medlin 1938-10-14
Kid Galahad Louise 'Fluff' Phillips 1937-05-29
A Day at Santa Anita 1937-05-22
That Certain Woman Mary Donnell/Mme Al Haines 1937-08-30
It's Love I'm After Joyce Arden 1937-10-08
Marked Woman Mary Dwight Strauber 1937-04-10
Breakdowns of 1937 Self 1937-12-31
The Golden Arrow Daisy Appleby 1936-05-23
Satan Met a Lady Valerie Purvis 1936-07-22
Breakdowns of 1936 Self 1936-12-30
Screen Snapshots (Series 16, No. 1) Self 1936-09-11
The Petrified Forest Gabrielle "Gabby" Maple 1936-02-08
Dangerous Joyce Heath 1935-12-25
The Girl from 10th Avenue Miriam A. Brady 1935-06-01
Front Page Woman Ellen Garfield 1935-07-11
Bordertown Mrs. Marie Roark 1935-01-23
A Dream Comes True 1935-12-31
Special Agent Julie Gardner 1935-09-14
Jimmy the Gent Joan Martin 1934-03-09
Housewife Patricia Berkeley 1934-08-11
The Big Shakedown Norma Nelson 1934-01-06
Fashions of 1934 Lynn Mason 1934-02-14
Fog Over Frisco Arlene Bradford 1934-06-02
Of Human Bondage Mildred Rogers 1934-07-20
Parachute Jumper Patricia 'Alabama' Brent 1933-01-28
The 42nd Street Special Self (uncredited) 1933-02-20
The Working Man Jenny Hartland alias Jane Grey 1933-04-20
Bureau of Missing Persons Norma Roberts 1933-09-16
Just Around the Corner Ginger 1933-01-17
Ex-Lady Helen Bauer 1933-05-15
Three on a Match Ruth Westcott 1932-10-29
20,000 Years in Sing Sing Fay Wilson 1932-12-24
The Cabin in the Cotton Madge Norwood 1932-09-26
So Big! Miss Dallas O'Mara 1932-04-30
The Menace Peggy Lowell 1932-01-29
Hell's House Peggy Gardner 1932-01-30
The Man Who Played God Grace Blair 1932-02-09
The Rich Are Always with Us Malbro 1932-05-19
The Dark Horse Kay Russell 1932-06-16
Way Back Home Mary Lucy Duffy 1931-11-13
Waterloo Bridge Janet Cronin 1931-09-01
The Bad Sister Laura Madison 1931-03-29
Seed Margaret Carter 1931-05-14