A to Z, and I am loving all the themes this year. To visit more of my amazing fellow challengers, please click on the top right of my side bar.
I'm going back old school today with Miss Bette Davis. We are all very familiar with her filmography, and I know I'm spotlighting women who are lesser known, but I could not resist Ms. D. She was one wicked smart, badass lady. She knew the score with the studios, how actors were signed to these stifling contracts and loaned out to various projects whether they wanted to do the film or not. She tried unsuccessfully in 1936 to free herself from her contract, but her fight inspired other stars to try the same. Bette also continued to stand up for herself, going toe to toe with studio execs whenever they crossed the line with her. No one dared tread on Ms. Bette.
During the war years, she co-founded The Hollywood Canteen with Jules Stein and John Garfield. It was a place where servicemen could relax and enjoy good food, drinks and entertainment free of charge. She devoted a lot of time there and served as its president. She was an equal opportunity entertainer and performed as the only white member of an entertainment troupe formed by Hattie McDaniel and Lena Horne to entertain African American servicemen. For efforts on behalf of the troops, she was given the Distinguished Civilian Service Medal, the highest civilian honor from the Department of Defense.
She served as the first female president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the first woman to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute. She was also the first to receive ten Academy Award nominations. Between film, television and Broadway, Bette had more than 100 roles to her credit, always finding a way to succeed just when it appeared her career was at a standstill. And she did the bulk of this as a single parent of three children.
I've always admired Bette and indeed my favorite performances by her come from Of Human Bondage All About Eve, What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? and Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte. She always stood up for herself and was not afraid to be seen as a bitch. In an era when women were expected to conduct themselves in grace and silence, she roared like a lion.