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Sunday, April 5, 2015

101 Groovy Things about Bette Davis

Today is the birthday of actress Bette Davis, who left us in 1989 at age 81. So to celebrate the life and career of this talented lady, here are a "few" groovy things about her:

1. Ruth Elizabeth Davis was born on April 5, 1908, in Lowell, Massachusetts. "Betty" later changed the spelling of her name to "Bette" after La Cousine Bette, an 1846 novel by French author Honoré de Balzac.

2. In March 1929, she made her stage debut off-Broadway at Greenwich Village's Provincetown Playhouse in the play, The Earth Between.

3. She made her Broadway debut in the comedy, Broken Dishes, which opened in November 1929 and ran for 178 performances.

4. She appeared in the Broadway production of Solid South, a comedy that opened in October 1930 and ran for 31 performances. This led to a screen test in Hollywood, where she arrived on December 13, 1930.

5. She made her film debut in the 1931 drama, The Bad Sister, which also featured Humphrey Bogart in a supporting role.

6. Actor George Arliss chose her for the lead female role in his 1932 drama, The Man Who Played God, and she credited him with helping her achieve her "break" in Hollywood.

7. She appeared in the 1932 drama, So Big!, starring Barbara Stanwyck.

8. She played the vampish Madge Norwood in the 1932 drama, The Cabin in the Cotton, and uttered her all-time favorite movie line: "I'd like to kiss you, but I just washed my hair."

9. She starred in the 1932 film, Three on a Match, with Joan Blondell and Humphrey Bogart.

10. She starred opposite James Cagney in the 1934 film, Jimmy the Gent.

11. Her performance as vicious waitress Mildred Rogers in the 1934 drama, Of Human Bondage, made her a star, and when she did not receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress, many voters wrote in her name on their ballots (Claudette Colbert won for It Happened One Night).

12. She received her first Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance as a troubled actress in the 1935 drama, Dangerous.

13. She starred opposite Leslie Howard and Humphrey Bogart in the 1936 film, The Petrified Forest.

14. She starred in the 1936 film, Satan Met a Lady.

15. She starred opposite Humphrey Bogart in the 1937 film, Marked Woman.

16. She starred in the 1937 comedy, It's Love I'm After, with Leslie Howard and Olivia de Havilland.

17. She received a second Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance as a tempestuous Southern belle in the 1938 romantic drama, Jezebel.

18. She starred opposite Errol Flynn in the 1938 drama, The Sisters.

19. She received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for her performance in the 1939 drama, Dark Victory.

20. She and Miriam Hopkins co-starred in the 1939 drama, The Old Maid.

21. She played Queen Elizabeth I in the 1939 historical drama, The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, which co-starred Errol Flynn.

22. She starred opposite Charles Boyer in the 1940 drama, All This, and Heaven Too.

23. She received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for her performance in the 1940 film, The Letter.

24. In January 1941, she became the first female president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, but she resigned after two months when her brash manner and radical proposals were met with disapproval and resistance by the committee members.

25. She made an uncredited cameo appearance as a nurse in the 1941 film, Shining Victory, to give her friend, first-time director Irving Rapper, a career boost (he was the dialogue director on five of her previous films).

26. She starred opposite James Cagney in the 1941 romantic comedy, The Bride Came C.O.D.

27. She received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for her performance as Regina Giddens in the 1941 drama, The Little Foxes.

28. She starred in the 1942 comedy, The Man Who Came to Dinner, with Ann Sheridan and Monty Woolley.

29. She and Olivia de Havilland played sisters in the 1942 drama, In This Our Life.

30. During World War II, she performed for black regiments as the only white member of an acting troupe formed by Hattie McDaniel, which included Lena Horne and Ethel Waters.

31. She and actor John Garfield transformed an old nightclub into the Hollywood Canteen, which opened on October 3, 1942, to entertain servicemen (in 1980, she was awarded the Distinguished Civilian Service Medal, the United States Department of Defense's highest civilian award, for her work with the Hollywood Canteen).

32. She received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for her performance in the 1942 drama, Now, Voyager.

33. She performed the song, "They're Either Too Young or Too Old" - as well as a brief jitterbug - during her cameo appearance in the 1943 musical comedy, Thank Your Lucky Stars.

34. She starred opposite Miriam Hopkins in the 1943 film, Old Acquaintance.

35. She received an Academy Award nomination for her performance in the 1944 drama, Mr. Skeffington.

36. She appeared as herself in the 1944 film, Hollywood Canteen, which used the canteen as the setting for a fictional story.

37. She refused the title role in 1945's Mildred Pierce and instead played a schoolteacher in the 1945 drama, The Corn Is Green.

38. She played twin sisters in the 1946 drama, A Stolen Life.

39. She uttered the line, "What a dump!," as neglected wife Rosa Moline in the 1949 film noir, Beyond the Forest.

40. She received an Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe nomination as Best Actress for her performance as aging theatrical actress Margo Channing in the 1950 drama, All About Eve. She also began a lifelong friendship with her co-star, Anne Baxter, and a romance with her leading man, Gary Merrill, who soon became her fourth husband.

41. She and her husband Gary Merrill starred in the 1951 British drama, Another Man's Poison.

42. She played a supporting role in the 1952 drama, Phone Call from a Stranger, which starred Shelley Winters and Gary Merrill.

43. She received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for her performance in the 1952 film, The Star.

44. She starred in the Broadway musical revue, Two's Company, which opened on December 15, 1952, and ran for 90 performances.

45. She played Queen Elizabeth I for a second time in the 1955 historical drama, The Virgin Queen, which also starred Joan Collins.

46. She played Debbie Reynolds' mother in the 1956 drama, The Catered Affair.

47. She played a small town librarian in the 1956 drama, Storm Center.

48. On September 21, 1956, she and Gary Merrill were interviewed by Person to Person's Edward R. Murrow from their home in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.

49. She starred in the 1961 Broadway production of Tennessee Williams' The Night of the Iguana, but she left the production after four months due to "chronic illness" and was replaced by Shelley Winters.

50. She received a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy for her performance in Frank Capra's 1961 film, Pocketful of Miracles.

51. She received her last Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for her performance as Baby Jane Hudson in the 1962 film, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

52. She was a guest on The Andy Williams Show on December 20, 1962.

53. While Raymond Burr was recovering from surgery in early 1963, she guest starred as a lawyer in episode of his CBS series, Perry Mason.

54. She was the Mystery Guest on What's My Line? on March 29, 1964.

55. She played twin sisters for a second time in the 1964 film, Dead Ringer.

56. She played Susan Hayward's mother in the 1964 drama, Where Love Has Gone.

57. On March 1, 1965, she and her friend and co-star Olivia de Havilland appeared together on I've Got a Secret to promote their film, Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte, which opened in New York City on March 3.

58. She starred in the 1965 pilot episode of the unsold TV sitcom, The Decorator, which was produced by Aaron Spelling.

59. She played the title role in the 1965 British film, The Nanny.

60. She and two impostors - Kaye Ballard and Patricia Bright - were the celebrity guests on a 1966 episode of To Tell the Truth.

61. She starred in the 1968 British film, The Anniversary.

62. She appeared on the ABC series, It Takes a Thief, on January 26, 1970.

63. She was a guest on The Dick Cavett Show on February 24, 1971.

64. She was the honoree on This Is Your Life on March 14, 1971.

65. She and Ernest Borgnine starred in the 1971 comedy, Bunny O'Hare.

66. On January 15, 1972, she and Robert Wagner starred in the ABC movie, Madame Sin, which was intended as a series pilot (it was released overseas as a feature film).

67. She was the first female celebrity to be roasted on The Dean Martin Show on October 19, 1973.

68. She starred in the ABC Movie of the Week, Scream, Pretty Peggy, on November 24, 1973.

69. In October 1974, she starred in Miss Moffat, a Broadway-bound musical adaptation of her 1945 film, The Corn Is Green, but after it was panned by the Philadelphia critics during its pre-Broadway run, she left - due to a back injury - and the show closed.

70. She was interviewed on the British talk show, Parkinson, on October 18, 1975.

71. She appeared in the 1976 film, Burnt Offerings, with Karen Black and Oliver Reed.

72. She starred opposite Faye Dunaway in the 1976 TV movie, The Disappearance of Aimee.

73. In 1977, she became the first woman to receive the American Film Institute's Lifetime Achievement Award.

74. She appeared with series regular Robin Williams on NBC's Laugh-In on September 5, 1977.

75. She appeared in the 1978 TV miniseries, The Dark Secret of Harvest Home.

76. She appeared in the 1978 Disney film, Return from Witch Mountain.

77. She played a rich kleptomaniac in the 1978 British film, Death on the Nile, which also starred Maggie Smith and Angela Lansbury.

78. She received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie for her performance as Gena Rowlands' mother in the 1979 TV movie, Strangers: The Story of a Mother and Daughter.

79. She appeared on 60 Minutes on January 20, 1980.

80. She received an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie for the 1980 TV movie, White Mama.

81. She appeared in the 1980 Disney film, The Watcher in the Woods, with Carroll Baker and Lynn-Holly Johnson.

82. She played a flight instructor in the 1980 TV movie, Skyward, which was directed by Ron Howard.

83. She was interviewed by David Hartman on Good Morning America on April 7, 1981.

84. She was thrilled "to become a part of the rock generation" when Kim Carnes' song, "Bette Davis Eyes", became the best-selling record of 1981 in the U.S. - and she and Carnes became friends.

85. She starred in the 1982 CBS movie, A Piano for Mrs. Cimino.

86. She received an Emmy Award nomination as Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie for her performance as Gloria Vanderbilt's grandmother in the 1982 NBC miniseries, Little Gloria... Happy at Last.

87. She was a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson on February 9, 1983, to promote the re-release of her 1976 album, Miss Bette Davis. She also did an album signing for her fans at Tower Records in Westwood, California.

88. She was interviewed in the 1983 BBC documentary, Bette Davis: A Basically Benevolent Volcano.

89. She played hotel owner Laura Trent in the 1983 pilot episode of the ABC drama, Hotel, but ill health forced her to leave the series - and she was replaced by Anne Baxter as Laura's sister-in-law.

90. She and James Stewart played a long-married couple in the 1983 TV movie, Right of Way.

91. She played Helen Hayes' friend in the 1985 TV movie, Murder with Mirrors.

92. She starred in the 1986 HBO film, As Summers Die, with Scott Glenn and Jamie Lee Curtis.

93. She played Lillian Gish's blind sister in the 1987 film, The Whales of August.

94. She was a guest on The Late Show with Joan Rivers in 1987.

95. She was a guest on Late Night with David Letterman on May 26, 1987.

96. She was a guest on the British talk show, Wogan, in 1987.

97. She was a Kennedy Center Honoree in December 1987.

98. She was a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson on January 7, 1988.

99. She was interviewed on The Barbara Walters Special on April 11, 1988.

100. In her final performance, she played a witch in the 1989 comedy, Wicked Stepmother.

101. She was a guest on Late Night with David Letterman on April 20, 1989.

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