B. D. Hyman
|B. D. Hyman|
|Born||Barbara Davis Sherry
May 1, 1947
Santa Ana, California, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Jeremy Hyman (December 31, 1963-present); 2 sons|
|Parent(s)||William Grant Sherry (1914-2003)
Bette Davis (1908-1989)
She was born Barbara Davis Sherry in Santa Ana, California, the daughter of film star Bette Davis and artist William Grant Sherry, and was adopted in 1950 by Davis's fourth husband Gary Merrill. She took back her own last name, Sherry, upon turning 16 years old, claiming she wished to distance herself from Merrill. She appeared briefly as an infant in her mother's film Payment on Demand (1951). Under the stage name B.D. Merrill, she played a minor role as the next door neighbor's daughter in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962), in which her mother co-starred with Joan Crawford.
B.D. met Jeremy Hyman, the British nephew of Seven Arts owner Elliott Hyman on a blind date for the film's showing at the Cannes Film Festival, and the couple wed when B.D. was sixteen and Jeremy was 29. Her mother Bette Davis gave her consent and publicly supported this "underage" marriage. The couple remain wed and have two sons, Ashley and Justin.
Hyman wrote two books highly critical of her mother, My Mother's Keeper (1985) and Narrow Is the Way (1987). My Mother's Keeper brought Hyman considerable condemnation for the timing of its publication since Davis was in ill health after suffering a stroke during the book's publication process. My Mother's Keeper chronicled a difficult mother-daughter relationship and depicted scenes of her mother as an overbearing alcoholic. Several of Davis's friends commented that the depictions of events were inaccurate; one said, "so much of the book is out of context". In her 1987 memoirs "This 'n That", Davis wrote a "letter" to her daughter in which she describes some of the inaccuracies in Hyman's book.
Mike Wallace rebroadcast a 60 Minutes interview he had filmed with Hyman a few years earlier in which she commended Davis on her skills as a mother, and said that she had adopted many of Davis's principles in raising her own children. Critics of Hyman noted that Davis had financially supported the Hyman family for several years and had recently saved them from losing their home. My Mother's Keeper was a best-seller; the second book, however, did not generate the same level of interest. Despite the acrimony of their divorce years earlier, Davis' former husband, Gary Merrill, defended Davis and claimed in an interview with CNN that B.D. was motivated by “cruelty and greed”. B.D.’s half-brother, Michael Merrill, ended contact with B.D., and refused to speak to her again. Bette Davis disinherited B.D and her grandchildren, her estate was divided between her adopted son Michael Merrill and her assistant Kathy Sermak.
A born-again Christian, Hyman is the head of her own ministry and pastor of her church in Charlottesville, Virginia. She has written three books which were published by her ministry: Oppressive Parents: How to Leave Them and Love Them (1992), The Church is Not the Bride (2000), The Rapture, the Tribulation, and Beyond (2002).
- B. D. Hyman at the Internet Movie Database
- The B.D. Hyman Ministry website
- "She's got Bette Davis Eyes: B.D. Hyman goes from Mommie Dearest to Jesus Dearest" article from The Hook