“Attempt the impossible in order to improve your work.”
Bette Davis died on this day (October 6) in 1989, aged 81.
Some details behind Davis’ awesome, alchemic legend: star of over 100 film, television and stage roles, she was also the first female president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. She won the Best Actress Oscar twice, was the first person to score 10 Academy Award nominations for acting, and was the first woman to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute. She married four times, divorced three times and was widowed once; she raised her children as a single parent and at one point put a “looking for work” advertisement in trade paper Variety.
Her favourite pillow became the one embroidered with “OLD AGE IS NO PLACE FOR SISSIES” and though Davis knew absolutely nothing about being a sissy, she knew pretty much everything about the rigours of aging. Wracked with multiple cancers and attacked with stroke after stroke (after her mastectomy for breast cancer in 1983 she had four strokes), she then copped her miserable (adopted) daughter BD Hyman’s bitter memoir My Mother’s Keeper.
Davis disinherited Hyman, and published a memoir of her own, which stated:
I am still recovering from the fact that a child of mine would write about me behind my back, to say nothing about the kind of book it is. I will never recover as completely from B.D.’s book as I have from the stroke. Both were shattering experiences.
She continued to travel the world, appearing regularly on the Johnny Carson Show and at film festivals where she was honoured for her life and career. She collapsed at the American Cinema Awards in 1989 and later learned her cancer had returned. She recovered sufficiently to leave for engagements in Europe and died in Paris, too weak to make a return journey to the United States,
In memory of Ms Davis, you should find time to say this at least once today: