White Mama

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White Mama
Genre Drama
Written by Robert C.S. Downs
Directed by Jackie Cooper
Starring Bette Davis
Ernest Harden, Jr.
Eileen Heckart
Music by Peter Matz
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Executive producer(s) Thomas W. Moore
Producer(s) Jean Moore Edwards
Cinematography William K. Jurgensen
Editor(s) Jerry Dronsky
Running time 96 minutes
Production company(s) Tomorrow Entertainment
Distributor CBS
Original network CBS
Original release March 5, 1980 (1980-03-05)

White Mama is a 1980 American made-for-television drama film starring Bette Davis in the title role, directed by Jackie Cooper and adapted from the novel of the same name by Robert C.S. Downs. It was broadcast on CBS as The CBS Wednesday Night Movie on March 5, 1980.

For her performance, Davis was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie.


Davis portrays Adele Malone, an impoverished white widow who takes in a black juvenile offender named B.T. for the support money it will bring. During the course of their stormy relationship, Adele teaches B.T. about responsibility, dignity and pride, while he teaches her street savvy, survival and grit. Together they find a mutual trust and respect that are dramatically tested when Adele is evicted from her apartment and forced to join the legions of homeless bag ladies. In the subsequent dramatic change of events, B.T. enters a brutal boxing match where he must fight an awesome opponent in order to help his caring friend to financially survive.


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