BETTE DAVIS Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: Ruth Elizabeth Davis                                                         
Born: 5 April 1908 Lowell, Massachusetts, USA                                     
Died: 6 October 1989 Neuilly-sur-Seine, France                                     
Ruth Elizabeth "Bette" Davis (April 5, 1908 – October 6, 1989) was a two-time   
Academy Award-winning American actress of film, television and theatre. 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 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 actresses, known for her forceful and intense style.       
Davis gained a reputation as a perfectionist who could be highly combative, and   
her 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 was the first   
actor to receive ten Academy Award nominations and the first woman to receive a   
Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute. Her career went       
through several periods of decline, 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, however she           
continued acting until shortly before her death from breast cancer, with more     
than one hundred film, television and theater roles to her credit.                 
In 1999, Davis was placed second, behind Katharine Hepburn, on the American Film   
Institute's list of the greatest female stars of all time.