Ok, so we’ve already covered Bette Davis in our Monday Quiz Format, but that was more than a year-and-a-half ago. Certainly a star of her stature deserves a revisit.
Davis was, of course, a superb and popular actress who launched a one-woman rebellion against the studio contract system that led to fundamental changes in the way Golden-age Hollywood did business. She was a feminist before feminism was invented.
The questions for our first Davis quiz were are based on the actress’ autobiography, The Lonely Life, first published in 1962, and updated to just before her death at 81 in Paris on Oct. 6, 1989. The actress telling of her own story was invaluable, of course, but she often pulled her punches.
Today’s quiz is inspired by author Laura Moser’s crisp, direct and efficient telling of the actress’ life and career in the 2004 biography, Bette Davis. Worth a look-see. Alright, onward to our questions. (As usual, answers tomorrow.)
1) Question: What was the principal effect on a very young (nearly 10 years old) Bette Davis of her parents’ marital breakup after the departure of her father? a) It emboldened the future actress; b) It made her a lifelong rebel; c) It left her with an alcohol problem; or d) It resulted in a lifelong pattern of difficulties with men.
2) Question: Although he was famous for directing women onscreen, George Cukor made it a personal point to never work with Davis in Hollywood. a) True; or b) False.
3) Question: Davis was NOT the first choice to play Margo Channing in 1950’s All About Eve. Which of the following were considered for the part before Davis finally won it? a) Ingrid Bergman; b) Claudette Colbert; c) Rita Hayworth; or d) Marlene Dietrich.
4) Question: Although she became one of the great stars of Hollywood’s classic period, Davis always preferred work on the stage in live theater. a) True; or b) False.
5) Question: What was Davis’ true opinion of Marilyn Monroe, who played a cameo in All About Eve as a “graduate of the Copacabana School of Dramatic Art?” a) Davis disliked her instantly; b) Called her a slut who “couldn’t act her way out of a paper bag”; c) Instantly knew Monroe had star material; or d) Predicted she would have a “nervous breakdown.”
6) Question: Why did Davis dislike Rita Hayworth? a) She distrusted stars who were strictly so called glamour queens; b) She despised her for being beautiful; c) Because fourth husband Gary Merrill began an affair with Hayworth after the marriage to Davis collapsed; or d) She was just being spiteful.
7) Question: In 1946, Davis’ movie earnings made her the highest paid woman in America. How much did she make that year? a) $500,000; b) $328,477; c) $275,000; or d) $437,555.
8) Question: Davis has long been a favorite of gay men of a certain age. Why? a) She was so flamboyant; b) Because she often appeared in heavily dramatic roles; b) Because of her strong performance in All About Eve; or d) She wasn’t Joan Crawford.
9) Question: What did Davis really think of Joan Crawford? a) Couldn’t stand her; b) Envied Crawford’s sex appeal; c) Dismissed her as an inferior actress; or d) Rather liked her.
10) Question: In All About Eve, Davis plays an aging actress undermined by an ambitious, young actress played by Anne Baxter. Both were nominated for an Academy Award as best actress for the picture. Neither got the Oscar. Why?