Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Women We Love: Bette Davis

Object of our affection: Bette Davis, actress.

- Quite possibly the greatest actress ever to grace the silver screen, this past Sunday was the 101st anniversary of the birth of Miss Ruth Elizabeth "Bette" Davis.

- Her 60 year career on film, television and the stage netted her many awards, including two Academy Awards (for Dangerous and Jezebel) out of ten nominations (Dark Victory, The Letter, The Little Foxes, Now, Voyager, Mr. Skeffington, All About Eve, The Star and What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?), plus an unofficial eleventh nod for Of Human Bondage (a write-in vote back when such things were possible). She was the first person to receive ten Oscar nominations for acting. Her most famous role, Eve's Margo Channing, also netted her prizes from the Cannes Film Festival and the New York Film Critics Circle.

- Among her other many classic performances are such films as Waterloo Bridge, The Cabin in the Cotton, The Petrified Forest, Juarez, The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, All This, and Heaven Too, The Great Lie, The Man Who Came to Dinner, Watch on the Rhine, The Corn is Green, A Stolen Life, Beyond the Forest, Phone Call from a Stranger, The Virgin Queen, The Catered Affair, Pocketful of Miracles, Dead Ringer, Hush ...Hush, Sweet Charlotte, Burnt Offerings, Death on the Nile, The Watcher in the Woods and The Whales of August.

- For television, she was nominated for an Emmy four times, winning for Strangers: The Story of a Mother and Daughter. On Broadway, she starred in several productions, including the infamous musical Two's Company.

- Off-screen, she co-founded the Hollywood Canteen and was the first female president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In addition to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's Cecil B. DeMille Award in 1974, she was honored with the American Film Institute's Life Achievement Award in 1977, followed by the Kennedy Center Honors a decade later. In the AFI's 1999 ranking of female screen legends, she placed second to Katharine Hepburn.

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