Legends of Hollywood Series
Issue Date: September 18, 2008
City: Boston, MA
Well known for her ability to play a wide range of roles, Bette Davis was one of Hollywood’s brightest stars.
Born Ruth Elizabeth Davis (1908-1989) in Lowell, Massachusetts, Bette studied acting at the John Murray Anderson Dramatic School in New York City. She began her career on Broadway in 1929, but was hired by Universal Studios and moved to Hollywood the following year. Davis appeared in over 100 films, and was the first actress to receive ten Academy Award nominations. She won Oscars for Best Actress in 1935 for Dangerous, and for Jezebel in 1938. Other honors include being elected the first female president of the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. She was also the first female to receive the American Film Institute’s highest honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Bette once described herself as “uncompromising, peppery, infractible, monomaniacal, tactless, volatile and ofttimes disagreeable. I suppose I’m larger than life.” This toughness helped her build a successful career that lasted well into her late 70s. Her final role was in The Whales of August in 1987.
In 2008, the U.S. Postal Service honored Bette Davis with a 42¢ commemorative stamp, the 14th stamp in the Legends of Hollywood series.