I’ve never met Bette Davis. In fact, I was born several years after her death in 1989. But, if it hadn’t been for her, I’m not sure I’d be alive today.
I struggle with depression, and despite therapy and medication, I’ve had some pretty bleak times in the past year or so. One night I was up obscenely late, channel-flipping, eating ice-cream and feeling generally worthless. I came across “All About Eve” just as Margo was running down the stairs to catch Bill and Eve in mid-conversation. I was hooked. (This wasn’t my first encounter with Bette, I’d seen “Dangerous” years before, but this is the one that sparked my interest in her.) About a week later I came across a copy of her autobiography, “The Lonely Life,” at a used bookstore. I bought it on a whim and stayed up all that night reading it. I was moved, I was inspired. Bette’s story is a classic tale of someone rising from humble beginnings, overcoming obstacles, and changing the world. It was just the story I needed to hear.
Now every time I feel lost, or hopeless, or worthless I turn to one of Bette’s films and forget my problems for a little while. I think about a strong person who didn’t take no for an answer and who succeeded without being “traditionally beautiful.”
So I’d like to take this moment to wish Bette a happy birthday, and to thank her (wherever she is) for her continuing encouragement.