I am currently reading (for the umpteenth time), 'The Girl Who Walked Home Alone', a personal biography of my all time professional idol, Bette Davis.
Charlotte Chandler interviewed Ms Davis over many months before her death in 1989 and simply presents; their conversations (about her upbringing, her studio life and her relationships), synopses of each of her movies and anecdotes from the many people who played a part in her life and career. It is fascinating and bursting with quotes from the sharp tongued star.
I find her so inspiring, she achieved such an incredible career against the odds. She was raised by a strong and determined single mother who after being abandoned by her husband, faced many nearly dire financial struggles. Finally making it to Hollywood after struggling to make ends meet in rep theatre, Bette wasn't considered 'Moviestar attractive' and so had to fight the studios (and often the directors) to be recognised as a highly accomplished actress.
It's a battle that is still being fought in the industry. The fact she conquered and redefined the Hollywood stereotypes fills me with hope for my career. Despite her many professional and personal hurdles she became one of the greatest and most celebrated actresses in the world.
As an actress, her contained and almost repressed style to emphasise her character's vulnerability is a skill I constantly reference. As an individual, well what a lady! Not afraid to speak her mind or to be unpopular in order to stay truthful to herself and her beliefs.
"Hollywood always wanted me to be pretty, but I fought for realism."
- Bette Davis