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Ruth Elizabeth "Bette" Davis (April 5, 1908 October 6, 1989) was an American actress of film, television and theater. Noted for her willingness to play unsympathetic, sardonic characters, she was highly regarded for her performances in a range of film genres, from contemporary crime melodramas to historical and period films and occasional comedies, although her greatest successes were her roles in romantic dramas.
As early as 1936, playwright and literary critic Graham Greene summed Davis up: "Even the most inconsiderable film ... seemed temporarily better than they were because of that precise, nervy voice, the pale ash-blond hair, the popping, neurotic eyes, a kind of corrupt and phosphorescent prettiness .... I would rather watch Miss Davis than any number of competent pictures."
In 1964, Jack Warner spoke of the "magic quality that transformed this sometimes bland and not beautiful little girl into a great artist," and in a 1988 interview, Davis remarked that, unlike many of her contemporaries, she had forged a career without the benefit of beauty. She admitted she was terrified during the making of her earliest films and that she became tough by necessity. "Until you're known in my profession as a monster, you are not a star," she said, "[but] I've never fought for anything in a treacherous way. I've never fought for anything but the good of the film."
February 24th, 2014
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