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The Lonely Life: An Autobiography [Mass Market Paperback]

Davis Bette
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 40 pages
  • Publisher: G P Putnam's Sons; Berkley Ed edition (Oct 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425123502
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425123508
  • Product Dimensions: 16.8 x 10.2 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 651,425 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


The Hollywood legend talks about her four marriages, her leading men, her feud with a well-known co-star, her longing to have a child, and her favorite roles.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have read three books by and about Bette Davis.This is one of them , and is an excellent read. I am a little confused at the complex character of her.She was thoroughly spoiled as a child ,(Selfish ,Arrogant , yet insecure,) and by the success and adulation she received as an actress.Yet she had a helpful kindly, and loving streak too.I think she was a bit misguided . You cant really see yourself as others see you.( especially if you also drink. This temporarily changes you. (I have first hand knowledge of this myself, I have seen an amiable soul change after a few beers into someone else ,I was not as comfortable with at all.)
I think there was a lot of truth in BD Hymans book.( another book written by her daughter) And I know she wanted to keep Bette away from her children , but I think she could have been a lot more kind, to a Mother who brought her up.I felt sorry for Bette. at the end of all the books . I feel that BD should have simply barred her from seeing her grandchildren or had supervised visits only. I feel she looked at things totally from her own point of view , and over reacted.I feel for her but my sympathy lies with Bette. and I think this humiliation was unecasary and cruel, to a loving if misguided and flawed character.
This autobiography gets to the real Bette.It is very interesting reading . It is a book that you can read more than once , to try and build up a true vision / picture of the real Bette Davis.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Remember one thing: it's the best fruit the birds pick at." -- Ruth Augusta (Favor) Davis -- (Bette's mom) 3 Feb 2011
By Annie Van Auken - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
When Bette Davis appeared on an 11/16/62 Jack Paar Program (as seen entirely in THE JACK PAAR COLLECTION), she spoke briefly of her latest film, WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? (1962). Then Jack showed the dustjacketed cover of this autobiography and inquired about an incident where Davis had been hospitalized for osteomyelitis of the jaw. She was released after six weeks of what the actress described as "sheer hell." That same day, Walter Winchell erringly reported that Davs had jaw cancer, potentially runious gossip, for studios won't risk hiring an actor who may not be able to complete a picture.

Some serious chat about the harmful effects of gossip columnists followed, then, switching gears, the star showed a great capacity to laugh at herself by teaching Jack, Jonathan Winters and Gisele MacKenzie how to smoke a KENT (Paar's sponsor) like Bette Davis does in THE LETTER (puffpuffpuffpuff... "Petah!").

The bulk of THE LONELY LIFE as expected is Bette, probably speaking on tape, in plain launguage. Unfortunately, significant passages are by her unnamed but not invisible ghost writer, who philosophizes in pedantic polysyllabics on a number of unrelated subjects such as the Cold War, African independence, the Moon Race and British actors. Appropriately, Bette's Hollywood career and family life are her main concerns. She's respectful of nearly everyone mentioned, never damns an enemy beyond a mention of animosity. This is definitely not a tell-all exercise in revenge, not by a long shot.

Her early Hollywood struggles to escape typecasting as a sexless kid sister lasted four long years. Certain directors, like Michael Curtiz, simply did not want Bette Davis in their movies, thought her devoid of talent and allure. Others were kinder and helped Bette climb the ladder of fame, if slowly. Her big break (and a first Oscar nomination) came when the actress convinced Warner's to loan her to RKO for OF HUMAN BONDAGE (1934). According to Miss Davis, her own studio actually lobbied AGAINST her winning the statuette, but the ploy backfired. Negative publicity about Warner's devious actions reinforced her celebrity status. Even the doggy roles they gave her for a while longer couldn't hold this winner back.

The subsequent parts of the story that are in Bette's voice make for a fascinating read. The narrative ends with her mom's illness and demise. The book is in fact dedicated to the memory of Ruth Davis with a repro of a note to "Ruthie" signed "Pinky." Two photo sections are included, a total of 76 quite rare snapshots. Highly recommended to all fans of classic era Hollywood.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT BOOK 13 April 2013
By JD - Published on
Verified Purchase
Another must have for Bette Davis fans. She was truly her own person and one of a kind. One reads what she sacrificed for her art.
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