American actress, born 5 April 1908 in Lowell, Massachusetts, USA, died 6 October 1989 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France. She was married to Gary Merrill from 1950 to 1960 (divorced).
Ruth Elizabeth "Bette" Davis (; April 5, 1908 – October 6, 1989) was an American actress with a career spanning more than 50 years and 100 acting credits. She was noted for playing unsympathetic, sardonic characters, and was famous for her performances in a range of film genres, from contemporary crime melodramas to historical films, suspense horror, and occasional comedies, although her greater successes were in romantic dramas. A recipient of two Academy Awards, she was the first thespian to accrue ten nominations. After appearing on stage in New York for a short period, Davis moved to Hollywood in 1930. After some unsuccessful films, she had her critical breakthrough playing a vulgar waitress in Of Human Bondage (1934), although, contentiously, she was not among the three nominees for the Academy Award for Best Actress that year. The next year, Davis received her first Best Actress nomination, and she won for her performance in Dangerous (1935). In 1937, she starred in Marked Woman, a film regarded as one of the most important in her early career. Davis's portrayal of a strong-willed 1850s southern belle in Jezebel (1938) won her a second Academy Award for Best Actress, and was the first of five consecutive years in which she received a Best Actress nomination; the others were for Dark Victory (1939), The Letter (1940), The Little Foxes (1941), and Now, Voyager (1942). Davis was known for her forceful and intense style of acting. She could be combative and confrontational with studio executives and film directors, as well as with her co-stars. Her forthright manner, idiosyncratic speech, and ubiquitous cigarette contributed to a public persona that has been often imitated.Davis played a Broadway star in All About Eve (1950), which earned her another Oscar nomination and won her the Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actress. Her last Oscar nomination was for What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962), which also starred Joan Crawford. In the latter stage of her career, her most successful films were Death on the Nile (1978) and The Whales of August (1987). Her career went through several periods of eclipse, but despite a long period of ill health, she continued acting in film and on television until shortly before her death from breast cancer in 1989. She admitted that her success had often been at the expense of her personal relationships. She married four times, divorcing three and widowed once when her second husband died unexpectedly. She raised her children largely as a single parent. Her daughter, B. D. Hyman, wrote a controversial memoir about her childhood, 1985's My Mother's Keeper.