|"I'm an Aries, I never lose."/ "Old age is no place for sissies."|
|"You wander down the lane and far away, leaving me a song that will not die.|
Love is now the stardust of yesterday, the music the years gone by."
Isn't there something in those eyes? That's when I realized how wrong I was. We talk about judgement and we don't realize we do it ourselves sometimes. I didn't know who Bette Davis really was. I noticed I did to her what I had suffered myself many times: Judged as cold and heartless due to our dry and realistic view of the world. Bette Davis knew what she wanted and knew it would not be easy to get there. She had no time to waste on fantasies or rose-colored glasses and as the years went by and she realized how detrimental they were, she didn't tolerate them in other people. She strove to inhabit reality with no exceptions. But, her heart was kind and sensitive. Bette meant well in many more occasions that she is given credit for.
The first example I would like to give is that of a Broadway play she was on briefly in 1940, before the release of "The Letter". The play was produced by a fellow by the name of Charles Bacall, a New York City based show business lawyer. Does his last name sound familiar? Yes, he was the uncle of who would soon become Lauren Bacall, a very good actress in her own right, but who, back then, was only a dreamer. Bette Davis was her unmatched icon and her first notion of what it meant to be a performer. "Please, Uncle Charlie, can't you fix it so I can meet her? Can't you make that happen?" "Why, dear niece, Ms. Davis is a very big star, a two-time Academy Award Winner, she has no time for 15-year-old girls."
Turns out she had. Ruth Elizabeth Davis took time out of her busy schedule to talk and entertain Ms. Bacall and her friend, yet another 15-year-old aspiring actress. After the meeting, Bacall wrote her an innocent letter, thanking her for her time, advice and inspiration. Bette answered from her own wrist. Lauren Bacall is almost 88 years old and still has that letter.
In 1941, Bette was offered the fabulous opportunity to play Sandra Kovak in the movie "The Great Lie". Showy part, whoever took it would be catapulted into stardom and she knew it. Who would say no? Bette did. She declined on purpose, so that the part would go to her good friend Mary Astor, whose career was going through a rough patch. After Davis selflessly gave up the part, Astor performed beautifully and went on to win a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award. It was then when she was discovered and chosen to star in The Maltese Falcon with Humphrey Bogart and her career took off completely. She had only Bette Davis to thank for everything she had become.
I’m sorry, Bette Davis. My respect for you has grown by a million percent. You are an inspiring and fascinating woman. To realize it, all one needs is good eyes to see it, an open mind to think it and a stardust melody to lead the way.