Independent Press-Telegram from Long Beach, California on July 2, 1961 · Page 95
Get access to this page with a Free Trial

Independent Press-Telegram from Long Beach, California · Page 95

Long Beach, California
Issue Date:
Sunday, July 2, 1961
Page 95
Start Free Trial

Bette Davil as a young star played such glamorous parts as the lead role in Jezebel, above. Today, older and wiser, she enjoys the part of Apple Annie in Frank Copra's forthcoming PoctelM of Mi'raclei. THE VOICE OF EXPERIENCE BETTE DAVIS HOLLYWOOD. by LLOYD SHEARER BETTF. DAVIS thinks dial: 1 No dcdictated actress should ever get married. 2 Hollywood is a ghost town in which she no longer has it place. 3 The trouble with the motion picture industry is it doesn't have enough gamblers. 4 Cameramen spoil actresses by making them look too beautiful. Now 53 and currently working in Pocketful of Mir- nc f m -- a remake which Frank Gapra first directed in 1933 under the title, Lady for n Day--Belle Davis possesses a singular distinction: she is the only adult dramatic actress in the history of motion pictures to achieve full-fledged stardom on the basis of her acting ability and not her se\ appeal. She is also one of the most honest, witty, bright and outspoken actresses the film colony has ever produced. For example, when 1 asked her if she planned a fifth marriage -- her lour previous husbands were Harmon Nelson ( 1932-19 .58), Arthur Farnsworlh ( I 940-194:0. Grant Sherry ( 1945-1950) and actor Gary Merrill ( 1950-1960)--she shook her bead violently, rolled her blue eyes wildly, exclaimed smil ingly: "I should say nol! I've had it. I'd only marry again if I found a man who had SI5 million, would sign over half of it to me In'forc the marriage and guarantee he'd be dead within a year." She laughed uproariously, then said, "In all serious- ness, I'm convinced that no dedicated actress should get married, because along with successful acting comes fame, and fame is a terrible destroyer of the male ego. Most actresses make one very his mistake iu marriage. They choose someone not as strong as they. I think our instinct is not to take into our lives any person who might try to run it. I'm not saying it's wise, but that's what we actresses do, and we live to regret it. "There is nobody living who can run an actress's career," she went on. "Right or wrong, you have to do it for yourself. If you marry a strong man, he resents that. If you marry a weak man, ho resents your domination. So in the end, you wind up with a divorce. "The solution, of course, is not to get married. But what can we actresses do: We're loo darn moral to run around with one lover after another, so we get married to the guys, and every time it costs us a fortune in money and heartbreak." The Gamblers Have Left On the other kindred subjects, ttuth Eli/abelh Davis is equally outspoken. Hollywood, for instance, merits the following judgment: "If it weren't for television production, Hollywood today would be a ghost town. The trouble with the motion picture industry is that the gamblers have left the business. In the old days, Jack Warner, Sam Goldwyn, Harry Colin, l-ouic B. Mayer--they "ere gamblers. They'd take a chance on young actors, build them into stars. "Today, no one out here wants to shoot craps. Everyone wants to play it safc.Thcre are only four or five veteran actors they'll put money behind, and then they complain that the actors and their agents have taken over the business. There are hundreds of young actors wandering around. Why don't the studios take a chance on some of them? No guts. "Hollywood has changed tremendously since I worked here steadily. Today I doubt if the industry can make a star any more. In the old days a studio would take a girl like myself, cast her in eight or 10 films a year. I had the gravy, hundreds of people work ing for me, giving me the buildup. 1 hud a chance to make mistakes and not have my career ruined. Today, · put a youngster in one film that flops, and she's finished. No one wants to lake a chance on her. The only young girl coming up that 1 can sec is Shirley Mac- I.ninc, and she's already arrived A New Home--New York "No, I'm afraid that insofar as Hollywood is concerned, I've bad it. My future, I think, lies on the Broadway stage, which is why I'm making New York my home. I could stay out here, of course, and play roles on television, but I'd only gel sick at myself. "I've faced the fact that I'm growing older," Bette continued. "Movie roles for me ore few and far between. A part like the one I'm doing now, playing Apple Annie for Frank Capra, it's a rarity, and I love it. But I have an advantage over many actresses who were my contemporaries. I accept age cheerfully, largely because my entire career was never based on looks or glamor or sex. It was an absolute miracle that people came to watch me act. It proves that the audience has a mental age much greater than 13; otherwise I never would have made it." ; In discussing some of her contemporaries--Lorctta Young, Lucille Ball, Ginger Rogers, Irene Dunne, Barbara Stanwyck--the dynamic little actress con ceded that an actress' greatest fear is growing old. "I'm sure you can understand that," she declared. "Hollywood has so ovcr-conccutralcd on ttcauty. The business has made it so difficult for an actress to get older. Yon sec, we were all spoiled for so many years by the cameramen. They made all of us look much more attractive than we really were. The cameramen and the makeup men- -really great artists --they made us appear youthful when we were aging. All the tricks they use--the soft lens, the soft focus, the nylon gauze they attach to your temples to pull hack the facial skin and gel rid of the lines. "Actresses out here get so used to seeing themselves on the screen that when they look in the mirror and see someone else, it's frightening. "The trick is to get used to the way you look now, to get rid of the false image that Hollywood gave you of yourself. I've done that, and 1 can live with myself. Hut some of my contemporaries--they're still holding out. They still want to play the beautiful, alluring, sexy leading lady instead of playing her mother." Miss Davis then went on to say that if sbe had learned anything in her 53 years of life, she bad learned this: "lie yourself. You are stuck with what you are as a person. This involves enormous honesty, hut it's the only way you can have some peace of mind. For example, I know that I'm a perfectionist when it comes to work, that I'm a driver, but in my own home I've never been a star. I cook nnd I clean, and for the husband who marries rne this is very often a letdown. Because many times a man who marries an actress wants the image he's seen on the screen and nol the real woman she basically is. Which is why I repeal that marriage is not for me--at least nol if I have a brain in my head!" · Parade · July 2. 156t

What members have found on this page

Get access to

  • The largest online newspaper archive
  • 11,200+ newspapers from the 1700s–2000s
  • Millions of additional pages added every month

Try it free