“I will never be below the title” – Bette Davis for SUTS on TCM

“That’s me: an old kazoo with some sparklers”

Ever fascinating are the sights and sounds of Bette Davis, a force on screen and in life.

Here’s a pictorial tribute dedicated to the unforgettable Davis, who is the tribute star on Turner Classic Movies’ (TCM) grand festival, Summer Under the Stars on August 14th, 2013.  This pictorial is specific to the films featured on TCM’s Davis Day (plus a few extras) when all eyes will be on Bette. 

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Bette Davis day schedule:

6:00AM Parachute Jumper (1933)

7:30AM The Girl From 10th Avenue (1935)

9:00AM Dangerous (1935)

10:30AM Stardust: The Bette Davis Story

12:00PM Jezebel (1938)

2:00PM The Letter (1940)

3:45PM Now, Voyager (1942)

5:45PM Watch on the Rhine (1943)

8:00PM Ex-Lady (1933)

9:15PM Dark Victory (1939)

11:15PM The Man Who Came To Dinner (1942)

1:15AM The Dick Cavett Show: Bette Davis (1971)

2:30AM Payment on Demand (1951)

4:15AM The Nanny (1965)

Quotable Davis:

Bette Davis remains one of the most quotable Hollywood figures in history.  At least by my estimation.  And with good reason as you’ll see.  I can’t resist her and offer some of my favorite Davis quotes about life, the film industry, Hollywood players, acting and Bette Davis.

I’d marry again if I found a man who had fifteen million dollars, would sign over half to me, and guarantee that he’d be dead within a year.

Old age is no place for sissies.

Everybody has a heart. Except some people.

I was a person who couldn’t make divorce work. For me, there’s nothing lonelier than a turned-down toilet seat.

I’m the nicest goddamn dame that ever lived.

With the newspaper strike on, I wouldn’t consider dying.

I am just too much.

From the moment I was six I felt sexy. And let me tell you it was hell, sheer hell, waiting to do something about it.

[referring to her parents’ divorce when she was 7] Of course I replaced my father. I became my own father and everyone else’s.

[on Greta Garbo] Oh, Garbo was divine. Soooo beautiful. I worshipped her. When I became a star, I used to have my chauffeur follow her in my car. I always wanted to meet her.

Acting should be bigger than life. Scripts should be bigger than life. It should all be bigger than life.

I never did pal around with actresses. Their talk usually bored me to tears.

There was more good acting at Hollywood parties than ever appeared on the screen.

Hollywood always wanted me to be pretty, but I fought for realism.

In this business, until you’re known as a monster you’re not a star.

Today everyone is a star – they’re all billed as ‘starring’ or ‘also starring’. In my day, we earned that recognition.

[about Katharine Hepburn‘s tie for the 1968 Oscar with Barbra Streisand] I wanted to be the first to win three Oscars, but Miss Hepburn has done it. Actually it hasn’t been done. Miss Hepburn only won half an Oscar. If they’d given me half an Oscar I would have thrown it back in their faces. You see, I’m an Aries. I never lose.

My favorite person to work with was Claude Rains.

[on John Wayne] I certainly would have given anything to have worked with John Wayne. He’s the most attractive man who ever walked the earth, I think.

[on Errol Flynn] He was just beautiful . . . Errol. He himself openly said, “I don’t know really anything about acting,” and I admire his honesty because he’s absolutely right.

Davis’ most memorable quotes pertained to Joan Crawford with whom she shared a legendary rivalry.

[on working with Joan Crawford in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)] We were polite to each other – all the social amenities, ‘Good morning, Joan’ and ‘Good Morning, Bette’ crap – and thank God we weren’t playing roles where we had to like each other. But people forget that our big scenes were alone – just the camera was on me or her. No actresses on earth are as different as we are, all the way down the line. Yet what we do works. It’s so strange, this acting business. It comes from inside. She was always so damn proper. She sent thank you notes for thank you notes. I screamed when I found out she signed autographs: ‘Bless you, Joan Crawford.’

[After hearing that Joan Crawford cried copiously over “Dark Victory”] Joan always cries a lot. Her tear ducts must be very close to her bladder.

[Of her longtime rival] We must hand it to her. Where she came from and all that–she accomplished *much*. She became a movie star, and I became the great actress. There is of course a need for both in this business, but you have to know *when* to put a stop to the nonsense that goes with the job. Stars are people *too*. They have to eat, sleep, and go to the bathroom too, without applause or a standing ovation. But I don’t *think* Joan Crawford ever sleeps. She never *quits* being Joan Crawford. I find that tedious and quite insane.

I was not Miss Crawford’s biggest fan, but, wisecracks to the contrary, I did and still do respect her talent. What she did not deserve was that detestable book written by her daughter. I’ve forgotten her name. Horrible. I looked at that book, but I did not need to read it. I wouldn’t read trash like that, and I think it was a terrible, terrible thing for a daughter to do. An abomination! To do something like that to someone who saved you from the orphanage, foster homes, who knows what. If she didn’t like the person who chose to be her mother, she was grown up and could choose her own life. I felt very sorry for Joan Crawford, but I knew she wouldn’t appreciate my pity, because that’s the last thing she would have wanted, anyone being sorry for her, especially me.

[when told by director Robert Aldrich that the studios wanted Joan Crawford as her co-star for Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964)] I wouldn’t piss on Joan Crawford if she were on fire.

[on rival Joan Crawford] She has slept with every male star at MGM except Lassie.

Why am I so good at playing bitches? I think it’s because I’m not a bitch. Maybe that’s why [Joan Crawford] always plays ladies.

[commenting on the death of long-time nemesis Joan Crawford] You should never say bad things about the dead, you should only say good . . . Joan Crawford is dead. Good.

[Joan Crawford] and I have never been warm friends. We are not simpatico. I admire her, and yet I feel uncomfortable with her. To me, she is the personification of the Movie Star. I have always felt her greatest performance is Crawford being Crawford.

The best time I ever had with Joan Crawford was when I pushed her down the stairs in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?

“I have been uncompromising, peppery, intractable, monomaniacal, tactless, volatile, and oftentimes disagreeable. I suppose I am larger than life.”


I am submitting this tribute as part of the Summer Under the Stars Blogathon (2013), hosted by Jill of Sittin’ On a Backyard Fence and Michael of Scribehard on Film.  This blogathon coincides with TCM’s SUTS event.  Be sure to visit either host site to enjoy entries honoring some of the greatest stars to appear on the silver screen all month long.  Also, be sure to tune in to TCM every single day in August or set your DVRs.  For classic film fans this is as grand as it gets.


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10 thoughts

  1. As I was looking at these images of the marvelous Bette, I was trying to decide which of her roles is my fave. But it’s too hard! She really left us an impressive body of work,didn’t she? Even her less-stellar movies are worth it because she never did anything halfway.

    Lovely tribute to an actress I admire no end.

    1. Yeah, so great and memorable in so much. I agree that even her lesser films are worth watching just for her. She never skimped on a performance.


  2. This is so good Aurora. I’ve never watched too many of her movies, I’m not sure why, but I love this. She had quite a personality! The photos you’ve chosen are wonnnnnnderful.

  3. This is marvelous! Bette is one of my favorites. I love the photos you selected for the pictorial and the quotes. Oh my, that woman.

    Thanks again for a great contribution. So sorry it has taken me a while to get over here.

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