Biography (1987– )
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Bette Davis: If Looks Could Kill 

Share the magical memories - and see clips from her Oscar winning performances - in this profile of the "First Lady of the American screen."


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Episode credited cast:
Peter Graves ... Himself - Host
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Eddie Acuff ... (archive footage)
Anne Baxter ... (archive footage)
Humphrey Bogart ... (archive footage)
Joe E. Brown ... Himself (archive footage)
Jack Carson ... Himself (archive footage)
Dick Cavett ... Himself (archive footage)
Eduardo Ciannelli ... (archive footage)
Joseph Cotten ... (archive footage)
Joan Crawford ... (archive footage)
Barbara Davis Barbara Davis ... Herself - Davis's Sister (archive footage)
Bette Davis ... Herself (archive footage)
Ruthie Davis Ruthie Davis ... Herself - Davis's Mother (archive footage)
Olivia de Havilland ... (archive footage)
Charles Farrell ... (archive footage)


Share the magical memories - and see clips from her Oscar winning performances - in this profile of the "First Lady of the American screen."

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Release Date:

13 September 1994 (USA) See more »

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Technical Specs




Color (Technicolor)| Black and White
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Did You Know?


The closing credits to this episode says the narrator is Harry Smith though the actual narrator's voice is that of Peter Graves. See more »

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User Reviews

Ruth Elizabeth Davis' Straightforward Approach to Life, Career and Happiness
30 June 2010 | by WeatherVioletSee all my reviews

Well, the first reviewer does an excellent job of capturing the essence of this wonderful episode regarding the life and career of film star Bette Davis, so I'll mention a few of its production details.

A casual Bette Davis fan may appreciate this upbeat retelling of Bette's rise to fame and glory, from her 1908 birth, in Lowell, Massachusetts, and her parents' divorce when she and sister, Bobbie, are very young, through her formative years, leading to the stage and her contract years with Warner Bros. Studios and the decades to follow.

A borderline fan may decide that Bette's saga with Warner Bros. and points beyond merits a second look, while a die-hard fan may naturally expect more and more than 50 minutes of praise and adulation and abbreviated select film clips because s/he would already have familiarity with Bette's impressive acting career.

Everyone involved with this episode sings well-deserved praises of the legendary Bette Davis with the exception of her vindictive elder daughter, B.D. Hyman, who in unfounded fashion smears her parent's reputation by bearing a volume of false testimony in one of those many discredited tell-all books by a celebrity's spoiled child and is proved erroneous.

Otherwise, you'll want to tune in to hear appropriate adjectives describing Miss Davis and her acting, such as dynamic, spectacular, insightful, direct and professional, along with her willingness to stand up to a tyrannical Jack Warner, as well as her mission to honor U.S. Military personnel with entertainment and hospitality, with Bette and actor John Garfield's co-founding Hollywood Canteen, to minister throughout the WWII era.

Bette's marriages are with Harmon Oscar Nelson (1932–38), Arthur Farnsworth (1940–43), William Grant Sherry (1945–50), and Gary Merrill (1950–60).

Interview Guests for this episode consist of Michael Merrill (Son), Ann Sothern (Actress/friend), Roddy McDowall (Actor/friend), Robert Wagner (Actor/friend), Harold Schiff (Bette's Attorney), Leonard Maltin (Film Historian), James Spada (Biographer: "More than a Woman"), with Peter Graves (Narrator) and Peter Graves or Harry Smith (Host), plus archive interviews with Bette Davis (1958 and 1983, with Dick Cavett).

Still Photographs include Bette Davis (Self), Ruthie Davis (Mother), Harlow Davis (Father), Bobbie Davis (Sister), Harmon Oscar Nelson (former Husband), Arthur Farnsworth (former Husband), William Grant Sherry (former Husband), Gary Merrill (former Husband), George Arliss, Jack Warner, Paul Muni, Franchot Tone, William Wyler, John Garfield, Celeste Holm, Gena Rowlands, James Stewart, Lillian Gish, and B.D. Hyman (Daughter).

Archive film footage includes Bette Davis, Leslie Howard, Judith Anderson, Spencer Tracy, Charles Farrell, Humphrey Bogart, Errol Flynn, Henry Fonda, Eduardo Ciannelli, Ed Sullivan, Mickey Rooney, Hedy Lamarr, Red Skelton, Joe E. Brown, Jack Carson, Joseph Cotten, Ronald Reagan, Eddie Acuff, Anne Baxter, Gary Merrill, Hugh Marlowe, Joan Crawford, Victor Buono, Olivia de Havilland and Glenn Ford.

Film Clips include a screen glimpse of Bette Davis through the years, in scenes from 20,000 Years in Sing Sing (1932), The Big Shakedown (1934), Of Human Bondage (1934), The Petrified Forest (1936), Marked Woman (1937), Jezebel (1938), Dark Victory (1939), Juarez (1939), The Letter (1940), In This Our Life (1942), Hollywood Canteen (1944), Deception (1946), Beyond the Forest (1949), All About Eve (1950), Pocketful of Miracles (1961), What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962), and The Nanny (1965).

Newsreel and Television clips include coverage of 1935 Academy Awards ceremonies (1936), 1938 Academy Awards ceremonies (1939), Hollywood Newsreel (1940), and "Telephone Time: Stranded" (1957).

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