Bette Davis discusses her career in this 1971 TV interview with Dick Cavett, joined on the program by Arte Johnson and Sen. Birch Bayh.
There is no greater TV interviewer than Dick Cavett and no greater interviewee than Bette Davis. That’s because they're both extremely honest and forthcoming in the questions they ask / answer. This is certainly true in this March, 1971 talk where two time Oscar winner Bette Davis seems perfectly relaxed through the whole program.
The actress’ take on acting? “Actors are people who are not very fond of themselves that’s why they like being other people. I’m convinced of this.” Known for playing devious characters, “I’m a very undeceitful person you see, truthfully. This is one of my tragedies, I’m much too honest. I should have learned years ago to be sort of half honest.”
It was a freewheeling conversation over a wide range of topics. “There’s not a nude off me anywhere,” Davis declared at one point. “Well, of course, in that day can you imagine nude pictures? My Lord!” I wonder if Bette Davis knew that there were nude photos and film of Joan Crawford, her nemesis, because she clearly wasn’t being catty.
When asked about the great screen lovers Davis replied, “Well, you know, I didn’t work with any of the great [lovers]. No, because, in those days, if you had any kind of box office, you had to carry the film alone. For instance, I never really made a picture with Bogie. He was in Dark Victory with me very briefly, before he became a star… Cagney for instance, always wanted to do a very serious film with me, we made a hideous thing called, The Bride Came COD.” She laughs, “The Bride Came COD, where he took cactus out of my fanny, one of those comedies.”
“The one I wanted to work with the most was Charles Laughton,” she confessed. “Oh, how I wanted to have 2 of the meanest characters in the world written. Because I loved him.” Asked about her biggest bomb, “Oh, there were so many. Well, there’s one I would hate to ever see on the late show which was, again, Beyond The Forest. ‘What a dump.’ That’s where that was said.” Her favorite line, “I’d love to kiss you but I just washed my hair.”
Bette Davis returned on November 18, 1971, her third appearance on The Dick Cavett Show. Once again she showed up in a jovial mood and, once again, the conversation flowed easily.”
On her early career, “I never thought I would ever be a box office person,” Davis recalls. “Because, you see, when I went there in ’30, imagine them looking at me after looking at these really beautiful women that had been in silent pictures for years. Imagine seeing Jean Harlow and then I come up to the gate, you know? Because I started in theater and stage actors, it wasn’t important how you looked out of the theater. I didn’t wear makeup and glamorous clothes, I just dressed in a Yankee way. And they [the studios] didn’t understand people like that.”
One funny moment came after Davis responded to Cavett’s question about her wedding night: "If you want to come to my home in Connecticut, some night in front of the fireplace, I'd tell you about my wedding night. You'd be on the floor for three hours". As Davis catches on to why the audience is laughing, she quickly course corrects, "No, I did not mean THAT! I meant LAUGHING on the floor!"
BONUS: Bette Davis on This Is Your Life with Ralph Edwards also from 1971.
Along with her mother Barbara Davis, industry greats who came to honor Bette Davis: co-stars Robert Wagner, Victor Buono, Olivia de Havilland, Paul Henreid, costumer Edith Head, and director William Wyler.
It was rumored Bette had numerous affairs, among them George Brent and William Wyler who she called “Willie.”
This is one of the best episodes of This Is Your Life, Edwards revived the show in 1971–1972 for syndication. But the production had an old fashioned feeling and failed to attract a significant young audience, lasting a single season.
In 1972, Bette Davis filmed two pilots for possible series for both ABC and NBC - Madame Sin with Robert Wagner, and The Judge and Jake Wyler with Joan Van Ark. Neither was picked up.
During the late-80s, Ralph Edwards hosted several prime time This Is Your Life specials; Betty White and Dick Van Dyke were honorees.
“The best time I ever had with Joan Crawford was when I pushed her down the stairs in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” - Bette Davis
“I will not retire while I've still got my legs and my make-up box.” - Bette Davis
Local Kid Shows / Movie Stars on TV / Saturday Morning Shows / Video Vault / TV Goodbyes / Fabulous Fifties / Unseen Scenes / Game Shows / Requested Forgotten TV Shows / The Super Sixties / More Modern TV Shows / The New * * Shows / 1980's Wrestling / TV Blog
|TV's Embarrassing Moments / Action Shows of the Sixties / TVparty Mysteries and Scandals / Variety Shows of the 1970s / The Eighties / The Laugh Track / 1970's Hit Shows / Response to TVparty / Search the Site / Add Your Comments|
Hit Shows of the Seventies: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy / Gene Roddenberry in the 1970s / 1977-1978 Superhero & Science Fiction TV Shows / Funniest SNL Skit Ever! / Prisoner: Cell Block H / Why John Amos Left Good Times / Reviving Match Game / How Betty White's 'Happy Hommaker' Came About / TV Dads Talk Sex & Fatherhood / Angie Dickinson Blows Off This Is Your Life / Orson Welles' Last Interview / Bruce Vilanch on Writing for Donny & Marie / Writing For Fernwood 2 Night / Best Columbo Episodes / One of the Most Controversial Episodes of All In The Family / Outside Chance / Norman Mailer & Muhammad Ali / Charles Nelson Reilly Flops on Broadway / Chuck Norris vs Eva Gabor / Dirty Sally / The Protectors / Chevy Chase Talks Hollywood Cocaine Parties / 1977 Season Show Openings / Love Boat's Oscar Winning Guest Stars / Tom Snyder Interviews Star Trek Cast & Harlan Ellison / Tim Conway's 'The Dentist' Sketch / Henry Winkler on His Happy Days Audition / Patrick Duffy of Dallas Interview / Time Express / Wonder Woman Leaves Paradise Island / 1972-73 TV Season / George Burns on the Carson Tonight Show in 1989 / Best Season of Dallas Ever? / Cloris Leachman Remembered / Ken Berry Interview / Why Barney Miller Ended / Vivian Vance Almost Joined the Cast of Rhoda / Marilu Henner Talks About Andy Kaufman / Cher on Mike Douglas 1979 / TV Show Book Tie-Ins / 1972 Jackie Robinson Interview / Dr. Strange 1978 TV Movie / Kathy Garver Interview / Space: 1999 / Paint Along with Nancy Kominsky / Mary Kay Place Albums of the 1970s / The Supremes - Mary Wilson vs Diana Ross / When Bruce Dern Killed John Wayne / 1974 Tom Snyder Our Gang Special / Remembering Ken Berry / Bruce / Caitllyn Jenner? / Billy Crash Craddock Interview / Melissa McCarthy Almost Quit Acting Days Before Landing Gilmore Girls / Bar Rescue's Wildest Customers! / TV HITS - By the Numbers / Alex Baldwin On His TV and Film Roles / Top Ten Sitcoms of the 1970s / James Cameron Made No Money for Titanic / Growing Up In The Playboy Mansion / Ed McMahon Drunk on the Air! / Lucy Interviewed by Barbara Walters / Valerie Harper Cancer / Jeff Bridges Breaks Down His Iconic Roles / Dallas vs Eight is Enough / 1974 MAD Magazine TV Special - Never Aired! / Iconic M*A*S*H Restaurant Coming To Kroger? / When Lucy Got Fired / Partridge Family and Brady Bunch at Kings Island theme park 1972-73 / Awkward Talk Show Moments / Allan Blye Interview / Jack Benny's Last Tonight Show 1974 / Patricia Heaton's Audition for Everybody Loves Raymond / Luke Perry's Last Role / Johnny Cash's Last Interview / Judy Garland's Last Film / Who Was Bob Gordon? / Richard Dreyfuss vs Bill Murray / Jeff Ross vs Everybody / Tennessee Williams 1972 Interview / Ed Asner Interview / Norm Macdonald vs OJ Simpson / Tony Kornheiser Interview / Freddy's Nightmares TV Series / Emmy Award Multiple Winners / Nathaniel Taylor aka Rollo Lawson / Mary Kay Place Albums of the 1970s / That Girl & TV's Single Working Women / Can You Identify These Stars? / Betty White vs Joan Rivers / Paul Lynde's Greatest Hollywood Squares Zingers / Sonny Comedy Revue / Star Trek Animated / Dark Shadows / Hal Linden Interview / Dark Shadows Movies / Dark Shadows Novels / The Night Stalker / One of the Funniest Carol Burnett Show Skits Ever / Fred 'The Hammer' Williamson / Johnny Carson interviews Lucille Ball / Dawn Wells / Betty White : An Appreciation / Bette Davis' 2 Best Interviews 1971 / Barbara Eden Interview / Gavin McLeod / Spider-Man 77 / The Next Step Beyond / The Music Dark Shadows / 1970 TV Shows / Mike Connors Remembered / Mike Wallace, Virginia Graham & Jim Longworth / Dick Clark / Woody Allen Hosts Tonight Show 1971 / Carson Tonight Show / Alan Alda Interview / Jackie Gleason Show / 1973 TV Shows / Thriller / Post Modern Sitcoms / Elvis in Greensboro / Remembering Dick Van Patten / TV Dating Shows / The Jacksons TV Show / Fall Previews of the 70s / Lance Link, Secret Chimp / Star Wars Holiday Special / Alias Smith and Jones / 1977 Year in Review / Top Ten 1970-76 / The Rockford Files / All in the Family / Sam Hall (Dark Shadows) Interview / Actor Ed Nelson / Death of Archie / Battlestar Galactica / Wonder Woman / Network Jingles / Class of '74 / Happy Days / Good Times / Mr. Bill / Dinah! / Maude / Doris Day Show / Pamelyn Ferdin Interview / The Bicentennial Minute / Jingles & Catch Phrases of the 1970s / Early Cable TV 1970s / TV commercials for Women / TV Moms / Red Skelton / George Lindsay / Country Music TV Shows of the 1960s & 1970s / Betty White Show / Shirley Jones Interview /Shirley Jones Interview / Rodney Dangerfield / How Sanford & Son Ended / Sanford & Son Spin-Off Grady / Great Memoirs / Virginia Graham Show / The "N" Word on TV / 10 Classic Comedy Routines You Have To Laugh At Before You Die / Hollywood Squares / 1970's Teen Idols & The Hudson Brothers / TV Stars with 3 Hit Shows / The Rookies / Unsold Pilots / Jackie Cooper / The Good Guys / Match Game / Make Room For Granddaddy / Mannix & Gail Fisher / Bette Midler in the 1970s / Bonus 1970's Stuff: Silent Star Marion Mack / Biff Burger / 1970s Fast Food Chains / Latin Casino / Beverly Hills Supper Club Fire / 1970's Daytime Talk Shows / The Fess Parker Show / Brady Bunch Sex Dungeon? / Love, Loss & What I Watched
|Classic TV Commercials / 1950's TV / 1960's TV / 1970's TV / Groucho vs William F Buckley / / TV Games / Honey Boo Boo / Lucy Shows / Classic Cars / John Wayne / Gene Roddenberry / Rockford Files / Sea Hunt / 1970s Commercial Jingles / Superman on DVD / Toy Gun Ads / Flip Wilson Show / Big Blue Marble / Monty Hall / Carrascolendas / Mr. Dressup / Major Mudd / Chief Halftown / What's In Oprah's Purse? / Baby Daphne / Sheriff John / Winchell & Mahoney / Fireball X-L5 / Mr. Wizard / Captain Noah / Thanksgiving Day Specials / Disney's First Christmas Special / Saturday Morning Cartoons / The Magic Garden / Amahl & the Night Visitors / Holiday Toy Commercials / Lucy & Desi's Last Christmas Show / Joey Heatherton / Fat Albert / The Virginian / Bewitched / Death of John Wayne / 1974 Saturday Mornings / Chuck McCann / Rudolph Collectables / Shrimpenstein / Local Popeye Shows / New Treasure Hunt / 1966 ABC TV Shows / 1967 TV Shows / 1968 TV Shows / Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes & Baby Doll / Fridays / TV Moms / Red Skelton / Star Wars / KISS / Lancelot Link / Saturday Morning Cartoons / The Magic Garden / Wonder Woman / Classic Comic Books / Andy Griffith / Cher / TV Shows on DVD / Outtakes & Bloopers / 1967 TV Shows / Romper Room / ABC Movie of the Week / The Goldbergs / Daws Butler Commercials / Saturday Morning Commercials / Captain Kangaroo / Chicago Local Kiddie Shows / Boston Local TV / Philly Local TV / NYC Local Kid Shows / Amos 'n' Andy / Electric Company / Bette Davis / Judy Garland / Christmas Specials / Redd Foxx / Good Times / Sitcom Houses / What's Happening! / Winky Dink & You / Sonny & Cher / Smothers Brothers / Commercial Icons of the 1960s / Soupy Sales / TV Terrorists / Irwin Allen / The Untouchables / Carol Burnett Show / Batman TV Show / Green Hornet / Today Show History / Our Gang / Doris Day Show / 1970's Commercials For Women / Bill Cosby in the 1970s / The Golddiggers / Lola Falana / 1970s TV Shows / David Bowie on TV / Hudson Brothers / Jackie Gleason / Hollywood Squares / Match Game / Bob Keeshan / Gumby / The Flip Wilson Show / Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour / The Bobby Darin Show / The Richard Pryor Show / George Burns / Celebrity Commercials / Rudolph / Movie Posters & More!|