Talk:Bette Davis

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Former featured article Bette Davis is a former featured article. Please see the links under Article milestones below for its original nomination page (for older articles, check the nomination archive) and why it was removed.
Main Page trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on April 5, 2008.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
June 21, 2006 Peer review Reviewed
November 5, 2006 Featured article candidate Promoted
April 23, 2016 Featured article review Demoted
Current status: Former featured article

june bride before winter meeting?[edit]

I think that the order these two films are mentioned ought to be switched, as I seem to remember audiences loving a "new look bette davis" in june bride following her maternity leave in 1947.

Did she receive a Campione d'Italia?[edit]

Never heard such a prize, btw campione d'italia is a town and the link itself redirects to the page of that town... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:31, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

Fifth Warner Brother?[edit]

As no expert on Davis' career, I am loath to make a change without support that I am correct in thinking that she was known as the fifth, opposed to the fourth, warner brother. This is what is cited on the official Bette Davies website, as well as the IMDB. (talk) 17:22, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

Academy Awards[edit]

Is this the same Bette Davis mentioned in the Margaret Herrick article ? That article says Bette Davis is/was Academy President and takes/took credit for inventing the name Oscar to refer to the Academy Awards. There is no mention of either of these facts in this article. Jay 15:20, 20 Oct 2004 (UTC)

When she received the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1935, she commented that the naked man on the statue,had the same butt as her husband, Oscar. Therefore the name but some do credit Walt Disney for the name of Oscar. I prefer the story of Bette Davis and most people credit her also. (user.Don Areinoff, 11.53pm Dec. 22, 2005

This was covered in the documentary about her, "Stardust" - she did NOT come up with the name. It had actually been called that two years earlier in a newspaper article. NickBurns 03:10, 21 October 2006 (UTC)

She did not come up with the name SHE said she did! She did say it reminded her of her husbands behind, but his name was Ham(Harmen)and she thought it polite and discrete to reference this with his middle name Oscar. As he was known as Harmon O Nelson. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:22, 1 July 2011 (UTC)


I have replaced the filmography list with a link to Bette Davis chronology of film and television performances. The filmography list as it existed in this article, was very long and yet it was not complete. Considering Davis was such a major figure in film acting, I think it appropriate that her filmography be complete, and is also worthy of more information that just a list of titles. Therefore I expanded it to include the name of her character, her director and co-stars. This is more complete but it's quite large so to leave it the article would be inappropriate. This way anyone who wants to see the list, need only click on the link. And anyone that does not want to see it, won't need to scroll past it. Rossrs 13:17, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

  • Don't you think it would be good, in the filmography page, to add that her Hotel appearance was limited to the pilot, writing something like "Hotel (TV series pilot)? It is not cited anywhere that her role was limited to the pilot and would help newcomers not to go looking for the complete show for her appearance. The "Hotel" page itself is not clear on her role at least let's note it here? Also, the "filmography" link is in relegated to "See also"? It's kinda, like a minor link, why not calle if "Filmography" and list the link? Otherwise congrats on the really great and consistent article Dollvalley 14:25, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
I've rewritten the sentence in the article to indicate that she only completed the pilot episode - I think it was a good idea to mention it, but I don't think it should be mentioned on the filmography page, because that page doesn't have "notes" as such, and I think to add one, would invite others to be added and it could get untidy. I think it better to keep it in the article. I've also renamed the header to 'filmograpy'. Thanks for your comments and suggestions - I'm glad you like the article. Rossrs 22:48, 26 March 2007 (UTC)


I've done a fairly major rewrite of the article and I would like to just explain the main changes.

  1. I merged the "Stage career" content into the rest of the article. The rest of the article dealt with her film and television career chronologically, so I thought it best that the theatre work be dealt with in the same manner. I'm glad it was added by a previous editor - it had been sorely overlooked until then.
  2. I removed the "Romantic life" section and merged what was relevent. I think the important relationships of a subject's life should be discussed but I think that having it's own section gave it a kind of gossipy feel. More appropriate to mention the relationships as they occurred, especially as they impacted on her career. The dynamics between her career and her personal relationships (not just husbands and lovers, but also parents, sibling and children) are easier to demonstrate if placed into a chronological context. Rossrs 13:53, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Continuing your romantic edit: The following caption is wrong Bette was filming mr skeffington when her husband died she returned to the set either a week of fortnight after his death, she did not film the entire picture after his death; you may like to correct this. "Davis filmed Mr. Skeffington (1944) shortly after the death of her husband. The difficult production was marred by Davis's reported erratic behavior and was followed by some negative reviews of her performance."

Not sure what you mean by "romantic edit" but have reworded the caption as follows: "Davis completed Mr. Skeffington (1944) after the death of her husband. The difficult production was marred by Davis's reported erratic behavior and was followed by some negative reviews of her performance. Also, you may not be aware, but you can sign your posts by placing 4 tildes after your comment. A tilde is "~". Rossrs 00:36, 21 October 2007 (UTC)

Fourth Warner Brother[edit]

Davis was referred to as the fourth, and not the fifth. The term is used in the James Spada bio that is cited in references, and derives from a quote attributed to Davis herself. At the time of Davis's success there were 3 Warner Brothers - Sam Warner died in 1927 before Davis started acting. "Fifth" is numerically correct, but she was never called this. Hence the quotation marks. Rossrs 08:25, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

External link question[edit]

I'm kinda new to Wiki and wondering if the following link would be appropriate to the external links or not. [http :// Photos of Bette Davis]. Our site does sell a product but we have hundreds of original Bette Davis photos posted that are relevant to the article and would probably be of interest to researchers. I've seen similar type links but I'm looking for guidance as to what's considered appropriate. Thank you. --mmgMmgphotos 15:13, 15 May 2007 (UTC)

These people are jerks. They do not allow fansites to be posted. They allow people to edit their page, but not add useful links for people to view. I do not know why, it is pretty stupid if you ask me. And they ASK people to send them money for donations and they cant even allow them to post links up on their page?? Most of the time, things they put on here is not accurate. Try and change it and they remove it. These people running this thing are so stupid. I would not pay anything into this site, as it is not beneficial and they remove any ACCURATE sites and information you put on it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jj1973 (talkcontribs) 03:55, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

It's not like you didn't know this already. You made the same complaints using very similar rants a year ago about the Mandy Moore article. It's still a fansite and still not acceptable. Wildhartlivie (talk) 06:55, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

Warner Bros.[edit]

I changed "Warner Brothers" in the text to "Warner Bros." which is the studio's official spelling. "Warner Brothers," therefore, should only be used when talking about the brothers themselves. Jimknut 04:42, 9 July 2007 (UTC)

Lost Warner roles[edit]

I dont know ho removed the section i added yesterday but It was vital to understanding the downward spiral bette went through durting the last leg of her warner bros. career and then her massive comeback in all about eve - when everybody thought her career was over. The roles she missed out on illustarate the importance of all about eve and the mistakes she made and the restrictions jack warner enforced on her. E.g beyond the forest.

I shall reinstate this section as it is important and informative. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:08, 20 October 2007 (UTC)

I removed the section and if you look through the edit history you will see this. I removed it for several reasons. Any major change to the article should really only be made with consensus. You were right to add it (per WP:BOLD) but as at least one editor - me - has challenged it, it shouldn't be reinstated until there is agreement.
I have a number of concerns about it and will try to explain my viewpoint. The article is intended to be a comprehensive chronology of her life and career, that focuses on the most important aspects. Her achievements need to be discussed in some detail, and they are, but even some of the things that she did are not recorded, otherwise the article would be too long. The section of text that was added was inserted into the middle of the article without any 'lead in' or 'lead out'. It was written in a different tone to the rest of the article and went off onto a tangent, without clearly demonstrating its significance, and then at the end of the section, the article continued on as before - it was jarring. The significance of All About Eve and the damage done by Beyond the Forest are covered in considerable detail in the existing article, so as a reason for adding this new section, I don't really understand what it adds. Davis's career went downhill for a number of reasons - disagreements with Warner (nothing new, of course), changing tastes of movie audiences, a view expressed by some critics that Davis's performances had grown more mannered and idiosyncratic, her desire to focus on her personal life, specifically her marriage and her new baby, and the simple fact that she had aged and was no longer in demand. Davis had already outlasted many of her female contemporaries, and to attempt to explain her waning career with a list of missed opportunities, fails to acknowledge that at some point, some degree of career decline was inevitable. This lacklustre period in her career is covered in the article, and a list of "the roles she missed out on" does not illustrate anything with any greater authority, than is already illustrated by the points made in the existing text.
The films she didn't make, with the exception of The African Queen, are not iconic or particularly significant and would not necessarily have saved her from a career spiral. Also, there is no significance in discussing Ethan Frome, Mary Todd Lincoln or Time to Sing - those films were not made, so she didn't exactly "miss out" on them. If another actress had played those roles and had been successful that would be another story and would be notable for inclusion in the article. Examples: It's appropriate to mention that Davis missed out on two huge roles in Gone with the Wind and It Happened One Night, especially in view of the fact that both Vivien Leigh and Claudette Colbert won Oscars for their performances. In Claudette Colbert's article, it's appropriate to mention that she missed out on All About Eve, and in George Raft's article it's appropriate to note that he turned down Casablanca because they are all important films, important roles, and have had lasting significance. There are other examples, of course, but the same can not be said about this handful of films that Davis did not make. To suggest they might have had any impact on Davis's career is no more than speculation, and not appropriate for here. Therefore they should not go into an article about Davis, which should be focussed very closely on her.
The section also contains a certain amount of opinion such as describing her films of this era as "each worse than the last" - says who? Also, two images were added that are not of Davis, and don't relate to Davis. (Possessed and The African Queen)
The article is a Featured Article which indicates that a number of editors have looked at this article over a period of time and have considered that it is complete, comprehensive and well-written. To add a large section, written in an informal tone, that discusses issues that are only vaguely related to Davis's specific career accomplishments, would undo that. My opinion is that the section is not particularly important - in an article such as this, discussion of what someone did is usually more important than what they did not do. There are plenty of things Davis did not do during her career, but to discuss them all would not improve the article. I strongly feel that this should not be added back into the article, and I hope that you will take this into account. In any event, I am more than happy to discuss this further with you. Rossrs 14:14, 20 October 2007 (UTC)

I agree with several of your points, such as a 'lead in' or 'lead out', also It should have the same tone as the rest of the article and perhaps the pictures are unnecessary. However, I do think that it is important in the context of her career at this time, to mention roles she missed out on and the films which she instead made. When I personally found out about theses parts which could have continued her success into the late 1940s I wanted to find out more- thats why i placed them in the article - to inform. Yes, we cant mention everything she 'did' but we cant gloss over the four pictures that were failures during the end of her warner bros. career. This section may be more trivia, but it is still important, as if these films had been made combining in some cases both Crawford's and Davis' appeal they would have been extremely successful. Hence maintaining Davis position. I also feel that the period of her life from 1938-1944 should be divided in this article from that of 1945-49 as this marked her decline; until her comeback. Perhaps an altered Lost warner roles acould be amalgamated with a 1945-49 section outlining the films she made then and the decline of her appeal as well as the films she didnt make or 'missed out on'. I think that this article should be based on fact and inform those who are unaware of Bette Davis, but i do think that this should also be for fans to find out something more about Bette that they didnt know before. Not just to inform in a basic and simple manner to those who were oblivious to her before reading this article. I have also commented on a mistake about the filming of mr.skeffington in the 'Edit' section of discussion.

The "personal and professional setback" section covers the period 1943-1949, and it links the death of her husband with her period of decline. I think this is a better timeframe than 1945-1949 simply because the death of her husband seems to have been the beginning of a very unhappy period in her life, which also extended to unhappiness and decline in her career. From several books I've read, Davis alienated a number of people around the time of Mr. Skeffington, such as Vincent Sherman, and this is mentioned in the article. Because her personal and professional lives were so closely entwined, I think it's best to keep this together in one section. Perhaps more could be said about the films she made during this period, but I still think it is conjecture, and therefore unsuitable to make too much of the films she didn't make. They may have been failures too, in fact, they may have been even worse than the films she made. We can't speculate on that. The African Queen is worth mentioning, I think, because it is an iconic film. Also Ethan Frome, mainly because Davis was still expressing regrets over not making it, near the end of her life. Obviously, it was important to her. Possessed, maybe, because it was a big success for Crawford. The others I really do not think should be mentioned. It's also important to note that although this was her "period of decline", she received critical acclaim for some of her performances, and A Stolen Life (as described in the article) was the most financially successful film of her career until that point, so it is not all doom and gloom during those years. I'll give it some more thought. Have also replied in the "Edit" section above. Rossrs 00:50, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
Hi again. I've been thinking that you have made some excellent suggestions, and I have edited the section to include discussion of Ethan Frome, Mary Todd Lincoln, Winter Meeting and June Bride. I was surprised to learn during my research that she negotiated a contract in 1949 that made her the highest paid woman in the USA - despite the fact that her recent films had not been particularly successful. Very interesting, and somewhat contradictory, so I have included that. I've also expanded just a little bit on how she knew from the beginning that Beyond the Forest was wrong for her.
I have gone through several Davis biographies - I have about 5 by different authors, and no mention of The African Queen. If she had been offered the part, it would be good to include it, but a source is needed. I could find no mention of Possessed in regards to her being cast. The only mention I can find is that she was looking for a strong part, such as Crawford had played in Mildred Pierce and Possessed. In a Crawford biography, Joan Crawford: The Last Word by Fred Lawrence Guiles it says that Possessed was written specifically for Crawford. I did find, however, that Davis had turned down Mildred Pierce before it was offered to Crawford. Could that be what you were thinking of? I realise what I've done is not perfect, but it's a start maybe? Is this the kind of information you wanted to include? Rossrs 07:51, 21 October 2007 (UTC)

Yes its definitly a start. I would agree that Time to sing is the least important to include as it was never made and if it had been i doubt that a musical with joan crawford and bette davis would have been very good. But possessed and the african queen should be mentioned for the reasons you outlined above. I have a source for the african queen, and for possessed being written for davis. Caged could also be mentioned - a if it had been a joint vehicle for crawford and davis it would have been likly to be a success following on from joans appeal in Humeresque / possessed and davis' in a stolen life. I dont think the period 1943-1949 was all missery, there have been suggestions that davis wanted farnsworth dead anyway - and she was having an affair with vincent sherman at the time he died. Also her third marriage and birth of her daughter were high popints in her life until they became estranged in the late forties. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:23, 21 October 2007 (UTC) Hi, i have edited the article I think it both reads well and has increased the amount of informative material on Davis without overloading the reader. Let me know what you think Rossrs. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:32, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

I think you've done well. I've made some changes and reworded some of the sentences, but I've tried very hard to not change the meaning of what you have said. With the following exceptions : I've removed the section that says pairing Davis and Crawford would have likely been successful. Maybe it would have been, but without attributing it to someone, it reads as an opinion, and therefore it should not be there. (refer WP:NPOV). I've also removed the Beyond the Forest image. It is an unfree image and should only be used in exceptional circumstances. There are sufficient free images of Davis - if a free image of Beyond the Forest could be found, it would be great, but not an unfree one. (refer WP:FU. There now seems to be different reasons given for Warner refusing to make the Lincoln film, in two seperate places in the paragraph. Personally, I don't think Warner's comment about not wishing to denigrate Lincoln has anything at all to do with Davis. I think the economical consideration is more significant, and odd too. Considering he was paying Davis a huge sum of money, it's odd that he wasn't willing to extend his finances into building vehicles for her as he had in the past. I've also read in another biography that Warner simply didn't like biographies. Unless his reason for refusing to film the story relates to Davis, I don't think it should be discussed in such detail. Ethan Frome is different because it was refused mainly because of her age. The reasons are not that important in my opinion. Also it's not necessary to have a sentence that mentions each of the films she made, when each film is discussed in some detail in the paragraphs that follow. I very much like the way you included the information about The African Queen, Possessed and Caged - I've only reworded that section, but not changed or removed too much. Rossrs 09:50, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

Im glad you like the edits. It would be good to get a beyond the forest image to contrast the image of margo channing. I think that the two main reasons for the mary todd lincoln pictures cancelation are that Warner simply didn't like biographies and that he thought it was unpartriotic. I doubt that he would not have made it becaused of financial concern, I dont think any biography ive read states that; what one is it? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:01, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

More Than a Woman by James Spada, page 248. Goes into a long explanation about how movie tastes had been changed by World War II, and that "women's pictures" in general were less popular than they had been before the war. It says that Warner Bros. suffered several losses from 1946 to 1949 and that this period was "the poorest in overall movie quality in the studio's history". It then says: "Financially, Warner pulled in the reins, lowered budgets, and nixed any project that was likely to cost too much. This was his main reason for rejecting Mrs Lincoln : its costumes, its Civil War battles, the kind of director he would need to keep all this together, would have meant the kind of budget Warner was no longer willing to approve."
On page 259, Davis is quoted as arguing with King Vidor during the making of Beyond the Forest. He tells her he thinks it's a fine role for her, she replies "don't give me that .... Warner just thinks this will be less expensive than Frome or Lincoln. He wants something trashy and cheap that he thinks will sell to lowbrows".
This is interesting, but should not go in the article:
According to Mother Goddam by Whitney Stine and Bette Davis, Warner Bros announced in 1948 that Ethan Frome would be Davis's next picture after June Bride. David Farrar and Mildred Natwick were also cast, and then it was "shelved". No explanation given in the book, but Davis (writing in 1974) says she would still love to make the film with James Stewart in the lead, Liv Ullman in the part she would have played in 1948 and herself in the role that had been set for Mildred Natwick. Interesting that she never lost interest in the work.
A free picture of Beyond the Forest would be good. I'll try to find one, but I don't hold out much hope. Rossrs 13:32, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

Yes i remember reading that the project was shelved. I really do find these 'lost roles' so interesting. Had Davis starred in a stark prison drama along side crawford -that tension from what ever happened to baby jane but in a warner bros 1940s film noir, melodrama when they where at the height of their fame and power- or possessed playing a schizophrenic, or insane mary todd lincoln or in the tragic ethan frome where she attempts suicide, then they could have been some of the best films she would have ever made. Have you seen that there is a new biography coming out soon called 'Dark Victory: The Life of Bette Davis by Ed Sikov'. Also there is a joan crawford biography coming out in february written by charlotte chandler called 'Not the Girl Next Door: Joan Crawford, a Personal Biography'. It will make an interesting comparison to her Davis biography 'the girl who walked home alone.' —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:11, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

Merger proposal[edit]

I hereby propose that Harmon Nelson be merged into this article. Essentially, Harmon is much less notable than Bette; any news article involving him revolves around her, which means he lacks the independent third-party mentions required to establish notability on his own. A recent AfD on a similar article ended with this result, and I'd like to resolve the issue without taking it that far. --jonny-mt(t)(c)Tell me what you think! 16:57, 17 November 2007 (UTC)

I'd rather see the Ham Nelson article deleted but I guess a redirect would be OK. He's not notable at all and in fact he's so non-notable that we don't even know when he was born or when he died. The only notable thing he did was marry Davis. The Nelson article contains nothing of substance that is not already in the Davis article, so there is nothing that can be merged. Rossrs (talk) 17:29, 17 November 2007 (UTC)

I would rather the ham nelson article was not merged - as he is a different person after all. Besides the Davis article is so long already lets not add anything unecessary or pariferal.

There's nothing of consequence in the Nelson article, so what is there to merge? Since the only notable thing about him is that he was married to Davis, a fact mentioned in her own article, I think the Nelson article should be deleted. MovieMadness (talk) 17:12, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

WP:WikiProject Actors and Filmmakers priority assessment[edit]

Per debate and discussion re: assessment of the approximate 100 top priority articles of the project, this article has been included as a top priority article. Wildhartlivie (talk) 10:57, 29 February 2008 (UTC)


The article refers to a cavalcade but I think the intended meaning is cabaret. --Una Smith (talk) 04:05, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

Glossing over cause of death[edit]

I never actually wrote that Bette's cigarette smoking, which was pretty much every moment she was awake, caused her death. What I did write, and stand by, was that while the jury was out about smoking during Davis's heyday, we now know the correlation between cigarettes and breast cancer. How, I ask, can you have a section called "Illness and Death" and overlook, so to speak, the two-ton elephant in the room? Now, if you remove the very neutral edit I put in about Davis's breast cancer and tobacco, if you have real ingegrity, then you will go right to the article about Steve McQueen and remove the reference to exposure to asbestos; then you will go right over to the article about Johnny Carson and remove the reference to chain-smoking. I could go on... User:Professor Von Pie 10:30, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

There is are fundamental differences between the two articles you bring up and Davis'. McQueen died of mesothelioma, which is almost 100% caused by exposure to asbestos, and Carson, who died of emphysema, said that cigarettes were killing him. Beyond that, he didn't die of cancer. The other difference is that the Davis article is a featured article, which has higher standards for inclusion of material in order to hold its featured article status. Be that as it may, your webmd reference states "the association with breast cancer [and smoking] is still somewhat controversial" and says that the correlation had not previously been seen, and reports higher correlation with smoking and use of female hormones. The Mayo Clinic reference cites a higher correlation with "women with three or more relatives who have had breast or ovarian cancer". The Science Daily article says "Women who smoke and have a specific genetic makeup are at significant risk for the development of breast cancer." These are not sources for the statements you are making in this article about Davis and breast cancer. The material you are trying to include in this article doesn't directly mention Davis at all, and in your edit summary, stated that cigarette smoking was a mitigating factor in the death of a woman who was 81 years old. Bring a source that makes this direct connection - between specifically Bette Davis and that her smoking was a mitigating factor in her death. Otherwise, you are synthesizing factors in a cause of death, which is not in compliance with WP standards for inclusion of material, or for a featured article. It also reeks of POV and agenda pushing. It's totally inappropriate for you to challenge someone's integrity if they are focusing their concern on maintaining a featured article at its status, rather than going through thousands of articles in order to check for any mention of cancer-related deaths and how it is referenced. Wildhartlivie (talk) 16:31, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

I am willing to concede that the Mayo and Science Daily articles did put the emphasis on women with specific genes markers and/or hormone replacement therapies. Okay. But here's one that is completely free from that:

The WebMD article does employ the word "controversial," but that, I feel, does not merit its disqualification, because everything- and I mean EVERYTHING - is open to "controversy," as defined in any standard dictionary. Just in yesterday's paper, it was reported that a mother and father, instead of taking their young child in for medical treatment for Type 1 diabetes (which is treatable and should never be fatal), they prayed for the child. Naturally, the child died and the matter is now in the courts. But I assure everyone, the matter is controversial. Of course, you will find people who would argue that prayer is as good, if not better, than standard medicine, and praying to God is more effacacious than relying upon doctors. Another controversial issue, raised by Ronald Reagan: trees cause more pollution than cars. Yes, he said it, and some would argue on both sides. My point is that an issue merely being controversial, in itself, doesn't mean both sides of the controversy are equal or should be viewed by reasonable people as equal.

I never said Johnny Carson died of cancer. He died of respiratory failure due to emphysema. He did say that cigarettes were "killing" him, but here I ask: Why not remove that from his article? Where's the proof? Of course, I say this facetiously, but here's the difference between Carson and Davis regarding their cigarettes: Carson knew they were killing him, and his quote is included in his article; Davis DIDN'T know they were killing her, so it's not to be mentioned?

I don't understand why nothing less than an article that states, "Bette Davis died from cigarettes" will suffice, when no article will ever state, "Steve McQueen died from asbestos exposure," and no article will ever state, "Johnny Carson died from chain-smoking," but both wiki articles mention exposure to asbestos and cigarettes (killing Carson, in his own opinion), respectively. I never claimed this reference existed: "Bette Davis's Breast Cancer Due to Decades of Chain-Smoking." All I stated, and attempted to reference, is the current knowledge based on scientific research, that cigarette smoking greatly increases a woman's risk of breast cancer, genetic predisposition or not. I see no compelling reason to overlook that. User:Professor Von Pie 03:04 28 March 2008 (UTC)

The compelling reason to not put that in this article is that there is no proof that smoking had a relationship to her death. On the other hand, there is no proof that it didn't. In either case, it can't be reliably sourced as it relates to Bette Davis. By bringing this into the article, it implies a connection, which has to be sourced. You can bring in a source that says Davis smoked, and you can bring an article which says there is a correlation between smoking and cancer, but you cannot bring in a source which says Bette Davis smoked and therefore developed breast cancer. You cannot source and cite this without employing synthesis, which is not acceptable under the Wikipedia policy governing no original research, which is what this would be. It also doesn't follow the laws of logic. You can say that A+B can equal C, but you can't say A+B always equals C. Correlation does not equal causation, and what you are trying to put forth with this is the implication that Davis died of breast cancer because she smoked. If you want to address this, then it needs to be done in an article that covers causes of cancer.
I am not going to confound the present discussion with McQueen or Carson or anyone else's article, although those articles do contain speculation. As I said, the burden of verifiability is greater in a featured article, and the one I am concerned with keeping as a featured article in this instance is the one on Bette Davis. To add this material in this context is also speculation that cannot be reliably sourced to support that Davis' smoking led to her death from breast cancer. Maybe it did, or maybe it was one of a great many other factors, including age, dietary factors, alcohol consumption, hormonal factors and HRT, environmental estrogenic mimics, or just plain bad luck. It can't be causally concluded. Wildhartlivie (talk) 20:54, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

Well, I'm not going to make a career out of this article, so I'll get off the train here. But first I'll say that although Davis died at age 81, above the statistical table for white American females, she was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 73. It is a specious argument to say that since Davis died at 83, we should therefore rule out non-natural causes, ie tobacco, alcohol use. I'll go even a step further: the world's oldest-living woman, Jeanne Calment, smoked almost to the end of her life, and only stopped because she became blind, couldn't light her own cigarettes, and was embarrased to ask for assistance. We are not talking about moderate or even heavy smoking as most reasonable people who define it where Davis is concerned. We are talking about ingestion of tobacco to an extraordinary limit for a remarkably long length of time. If there is no way to broach the topic as adults, "featured" article or not, and say, "here are the facts vis-a-vis Davis's trademark habit," then I suppose there's no way. User:Professor Von Pie 05:32, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

I actually appreciate what you're wanting to do with this article, and why, and I am sympathetic to it. It's just that within the guidelines and policies under which articles are written on WP, it just can't be done and retain a supported and valid, objective, non-biased article. I do appreciate the way you approached this though, it doesn't always happen that people accept an argument against a position without becoming emotionally invested in their position. Like I said, maybe her smoking is the cause of the breast cancer, but to even target one non-natural cause over another is a case that just can't validly proven. I read one report that also mentioned heavy use of cosmetics as a possible cause. Anyway, thanks for broaching it. Wildhartlivie (talk) 21:58, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

Cosmetics? Then Joan Collins would have been dead by the third season of "Dynasty." ;-) User:Professor Von Pie 10:31, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

In response to Profferor Von Pie "If there is no way to broach the topic as adults, "featured" article or not, and say, "here are the facts vis-a-vis Davis's trademark habit," then I suppose there's no way," the issue is not addressing the topic as "adults" the issue is the fact that this sort inclusion is both commentary, and bias, and a violation of wiki editing policy.

If you want to include that sort of information it has to be relevant to the article, for instance if you were to find a news article stating, or even speculating, about this being the cause of her death, it would be perfectly appropraite to include provided you sourced the inclusion.

But lets not kid ourselves here, she was 83, alot of people, at the time of her death, and in her age group died at that age, in fact alot of people still do, besides the life expectancy and median age rate was shorter even just twenty years ago for elderly people. Its equally possible her time was just up. (talk) 03:50, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

You know, I have seen several documentaries on Bette Davis, most of them were done by big studios. I have never heard anyone suggesting her smoking was or could have been related to her death. I think that says a lot already, after all as many said above here, she was 81 when she died. Some people are affected, some aren't, so many people smoked before it became known that smoking was dangerous. I have never heard of masses of smokers dying of cancer... I think that even though the good thing about wikipedia is that a lot of information can be added, although just as much as some is good and welcome, some is plain untrue and vandalism, but if this is not mentioned in any documentary about her why should it be included here? There are enough quotes and anectodes that reference her as being a big smoker, but there is no proof or hint that it was the cause of her death. It is not our place to start making theories...Dollvalley (talk) 23:10, 17 April 2008 (UTC)
How about this: She lived to be 81. Incredible for a chain smoker and heavy drinker. If the smoking hadn't killed her by that point, it probably wouldn't have in the future. She had a family history of breast cancer. That should be sufficient enough to conclude that she died from a hereditary cancer condition. Some people just don't die from cigarettes. Now, the STROKE probably was caused by the smoking as she was 75 when she had the operation and yes, smoking probably complicated that. However, I don't think one can accurately say that smoking contributed to her cancer. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Schneidyspidey (talkcontribs)
The bottom line is that we can't publish our own synthesis of her cause of death. Everyone dies of something and unless there is a reliable source that states unequivocably that Bette Davis's death is the end product of her being a smoker, we simply can't publish our theories of it. Wildhartlivie (talk) 03:36, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

I realize that this is an old topic, but I get very incensed when people try to project science the way they wish to and my being a nurse only makes that worse. The end result is that Bette Davis' cause of death was breast cancer. It does not say smoking. I'm actually quite familiar with all the studies and the bottom line is that nothing is conclusive. We can link a number of factors to breast cancer and the coincidence that she smoked may be only that. Good grief I can't stand it when people try to scientifically politicize articles!!! MagnoliaSouth (talk) 22:11, 28 February 2012 (UTC)


Why are there tanks at the top of the page? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:33, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

Someone removed them now their is a row and columns 4 by 5 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:35, 5 April 2008 (UTC)


Where did the tanks go? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:38, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

All This And Heaven Too: box office returns[edit]

The article mentions this movie to be Bette Davis' most successful film up to that point, while the very basic article on the movie itself states it was not a box office success. Surely Bette Davis movies before this one were successful, as regardless of her acting skills she'd have been jobless if was box office poison like some of her peers... Can someone who has that information correct whichever article needs correcting. Dollvalley (talk) 22:58, 17 April 2008 (UTC)

The reference in this article is sourced and supported, but I have corrected the mention of the film being unsuccessful in the other article, with a supporting reference. Wildhartlivie (talk) 23:36, 17 April 2008 (UTC)

Long-lost Aaron Spelling sitcom[edit]

It's not listed in her IMDb credits, but it's been popping up online.[1] —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:07, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

this was called hotel it was not picked up by the network, although i have read that bette said spelling offered her millions to return and film the entire series, this was 1982, so just before her stroke in 1983


I removed the link to Rootsweb. The actual pages at Rootsweb are written by any amateur genealogist. Rootsweb is not so much the "publisher" as the "hoster", the pages are not vetted, or reviewed by any editor. So these links are no better than a blog posting. Perhaps someone can find a page written and signed by a prominent genealogist on her.Wjhonson (talk) 04:44, 7 September 2009 (UTC)


I've removed her from "Female writers" and "American novelists". She is in the category "American memoirists" which seems the most specific and correct category to put her in for her work on her autobiographical material. That is more of a "child" category and "female writers" is more of a parent category so it's redundant to have her in both". I'm making that call in good faith, but I'm not 100% sure of that, so I'm happy to be reverted on that, if someone explains why. I'm certain however that she does not belong in "American novelists" as she never wrote a novel. Her writing was only in relation to her contributions to three autobiographical works. Rossrs (talk) 23:17, 13 June 2010 (UTC)

Photo Change?[edit]

anybody have any objections to using this new photo?

File:Bette Davis Portrait.jpg
Suggested New Photo
Current Photo

frankly, the current one is nothing more than a less than superb, less than flattering, screengrab from a trailer; both are in public domain; apparently some unregistered user has a problem w/ the suggested one. i personally don't see why any classic actor/actress should be using 'grabs' from trailers when plenty of high quality studio released portraits exist in the public domain. P.s. (talk) 15:56, 13 August 2011 (UTC)

I like your photo much better and you're right, Bette Davis was photographed for decades by the best photographers in the world, why settle for a blurry screenshot? Upsmiler (talk) 21:23, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
The new photo looks great. And it has the marked advantage of looking like her. The other shot had a good hat and a mean expression but I don't know that I'd necessarily pick it out of a lineup as being Bette Davis. Upsmiler (talk) 23:59, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
thanks, i thought it looked a lot better myself. P.s. (talk) 17:45, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Yup, that picture looks a lot better. It's great that we can use proper headshots on the articles about Golden Age actors. --Lobo512 (talk) 20:32, 14 September 2011 (UTC)

It is bad enough that the word "iconic" is used constantly, but now there are degrees of "iconic" as in "most iconic"? Come on, that's bad writing.

As to smoking, it was known in the 1930s that cigarettes were bad for health; that's why cigs were called "coffin nails." The article doesn't need to make a causal connection, just note that Bette Davis smoked heavily. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:18, 11 January 2014 (UTC)

Vandal in Our Midst[edit]

Someone identified as recently took down several Bette Davis photos from Wikipedia Commons on this site with no explanation. Upsmiler (talk) 21:23, 10 September 2011 (UTC)

LGBT studies??[edit]

I just notice that Davis is part of the LGBT Studies portal? What on earth? --Lobo512 (talk) 09:11, 17 September 2011 (UTC)

  • Oh right, I looked closer and it says it's because she's a gay icon. That's pushing it a bit if you ask me, but I suppose it's up to them who they include... --Lobo512 (talk) 09:12, 17 September 2011 (UTC)

I must point out a big mistake. There is a photo of Davis in "A Stolen Life" (1946) that states "In A Stolen Life (1946), one of the unsuccessful films Davis made in this period". As it says in the article and in most of Davis' biographies, "A Stolen Life" (1946), was her biggest box office success at that time. The film received mixed reviews but Davis' performances (she played twins) was hailed. The first of her unsuccessful films was "Deception" (1946),followed by "Winter Meeting" (1948), "June Bride" (1948) and "Beyond the Forest" (1949) which all lost money and received mixed to poor reviews. --Mircea romania (talk) 01:54, 9 December 2011 (UTC)

Fixed. Please feel free to make changes yourself if you are confident in them. --Lobo512 (talk) 16:06, 9 December 2011 (UTC)

Serbian article is mindblowing! Shame on you! :)) -- (talk) 11:08, 12 January 2012 (UTC)

Abortions comment[edit]

Is it just me, or is it very odd to mention that she had several abortions while married to her first husband? It just doesn't seem to fit the context of an encyclopedic biography—far too personal and irrelevant to her notability. Phiwum (talk) 02:43, 28 April 2012 (UTC)

I don't see it as too problematic. It kind of demonstrates how devoted she was to her career at that time, which is interesting. --Lobo (talk) 10:15, 28 April 2012 (UTC)

AD's condition[edit]

This article has a great lack of references to be highlighted. I think it should be reassessed.--Nhriber (talk) 02:38, 9 January 2013 (UTC)


Prepared this in case anyone wants to use it for this article. — Crisco 1492 (talk) 15:05, 14 September 2013 (UTC)

"Miss Davis"?[edit]

Give me a break. Since when is the use of a standard honorific acceptable Wikipedia style? I'm deleting its inexplicable use in this article. fishhead64 (talk) 06:36, 23 June 2014 (UTC)

"Famously distinct eyes"?[edit]

Does the recently added "famously distinct eyes" descriptor belong in the first sentence of the lede? This is a question, not a criticism; I'm wondering if it wouldn't be more appropriate in the second lede paragraph, following "forceful and intense style". I also wonder if something like "strikingly piercing" wouldn't be more specific (and descriptive) than "famously distinct". Again, I'm asking, suggesting -- not telling. DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 23:43, 16 July 2015 (UTC)

And now, I see that the edit has been reverted as "possible vandalism" by a bot, which is probably a rare error by that particular bot. But I will leave it to the adding editor to re-add (or not). DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 23:46, 16 July 2015 (UTC)

Featured Article?[edit]

This article is currently rated as a Featured Article, but a cursory glance through shows that it does not meet the actual criteria for being rated as such. Most problematically, there are sentences and paragraphs dotted throughout the article that are not in any way cited. I can see that this article was awarded FA status back in November 2006 (almost ten years ago), when Wikipedia's standards for FA were a lot more lax; while it might have passed then, it would not pass now. The editor who brought the article up to FA status has only made one edit on the encyclopaedia since 2011 and thus does not appear to be active here anymore. Unless there are any objections, my suggestion is that this article be considered for Featured article review with the ultimate possibility of de-listing. Midnightblueowl (talk) 17:24, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

Yeah, unfortunately it's not been FA standard for a long time. The main thing it needs is sources and citations, so someone could maybe bring it up to scratch. But I also think the "Reception and legacy" bit needs work, and I've always thought the article would be better structured with a separate "Personal life"...Anyway, I'm afraid I can't make the improvements right now. I think FAR is inevitable. --Loeba (talk) 18:37, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
Given that User:Rossrs doesn't appear to be around these days, is there anyone out there who feels capable or interested in performing the necessary improvements? I am adding "citation needed" tags on those parts of the article which might be original research. Midnightblueowl (talk) 17:02, 6 February 2016 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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Little Foxes performance[edit]

The article states that William Wyler wanted her to play the role in imitation of Tallulah Bankhead, and Miss Davis disagreed. Here is what Miss Davis wrote herself:

"Gregg Toland was the cameraman and Mr. Wyler was again my director. This was the first time we were not in accord with the concept of the character I played. We fought bitterly. I had been forced to see Tallulah Bankhead’s performance. I had not wanted to. A great admirer of hers, I wanted in no way to be influenced by her work. It was Willie’s intention that I give a different interpretation of the part.   I insisted that Tallulah had played it the only way it could be played. Miss Hellman’s Regina was written with such definition that it could only be played one way."

Davis, Bette. The Lonely Life: An Autobiography (Kindle Locations 3202-3203). Hachette Books. Kindle Edition. -- (talk) 02:49, 12 July 2017 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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