Ruth Elizabeth Davis, later to become known worldwide as acclaimed actress Bette Davis, was born in Massachusetts on 5 th April 1908. Ruth was brought up by her mother, as her parent divorced when she was very young. Interested in acting from a young age, she graduated from Cushing Academy and tried to join Eva LeGallienne's Manhattan Civic Repertory. However, she was refused because it was thought that she was insincere.
Instead, Davis went on to join John Murray Anderson's Dramatic School, and soon become the top performer there. Her first acting role was in the off-Broadway production of the 1923 ‘The Earth Between’. She then went on to Broadway in 1920 with performances in ‘Broken Dishes’ and ‘Solid South’.
Davis managed to secure a contract with Universal in 1930, and was asked to come to Hollywood where a movie representative would meet her at the train station. However, the rep couldn’t see anyone that looked like a star at the station, so he left without her. Universal went on to make rude remarks about Davis’ lack of sex appeal, and they were not impressed with her performances. Davis went on to sign a contract with Warner Brothers.
Davis then went on to make a string of successful movies, and became known as the First Lady of Film, as well as the Fifth Warner Brother. Her successes included: ‘Dangerous’, ‘Jezebel’, ‘All About Eve’, and ‘Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?’. One role she was reported to have wanted, and didn’t get, was the role that Vivienne Leigh managed to scoop – Scarlet O’Hara in ‘Gone with the Wind’.
Bette Davis passed way on 6 th October 1989 from breast cancer.
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