Best known for her brilliant characterizations of strong and sometimes disturbed women, and for wide versatility in roles, Davis won Academy Awards for her performances in “Dangerous” (1935) and “Jezebel” (1938). But her most outstanding role might have been in “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane” (1962), in which she co-starred with Joan Crawford. Her film career spanned six decades, from her first important role in “Of Human Bondage” (1934) to her last performance in “The Whales of August” (1987).
Born in Lowell, Massachusetts, Davis began her acting career in 1926 with small roles in stock theater productions. She debuted on Broadway in “Broken Dishes” in 1929. Her Broadway role in “Solid South” won her a film contract, and she moved to Hollywood in 1931. She often battled with Warner Brothers Studios over her scripts, but found enough acceptable roles to play in about 75 films, plays, and television dramas. She was married four times and published two autobiographies, “The Lonely Life” (1962) and “This `n That” (1987).