Name at birth: Ruth Elizabeth Davis
Tart-tongued and independent, Bette Davis was one of America's biggest movies stars in the years surrounding World War II. After several supporting roles in the early 1930s, she began getting more notice and bigger roles in such films as Of Human Bondage (1934) and Dangerous (1935, for which she won an Oscar). In 1938 she won another Oscar for William Wyler's Jezebel (with Henry Fonda), and throughout the 1940s and '50s appeared in mostly dramas and costumers (including a memorable 1955 turn as Elizabeth I in The Virgin Queen). Not a typical screen beauty, Davis made up for it with spunk and flamboyance, and off-screen she earned a reputation as a "difficult" star. During the 1960s her career was revived somewhat by a string of horror movies, including What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?, in which she played opposite fellow screen legend Joan Crawford. Late in her career she made television movies, winning three Emmy awards between 1979 and 1983.
Davis is buried next to her mother and sister; beneath her name on the tombstone are the words, “She did it the hard way”… In All About Eve (1950) she utters the famous line, “Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night!”
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