Legendary actor and director Clint Eastwood has impressively good taste. While some celebrity homes are over the top, tacky, or just plain weird (we’re looking at you, Nicholas Cage), Clint’s interiors are undeniably classy. The A Fist Full of Dollars star put his Pebble Beach mansion on the market for a cool $9.75 million. Eastwood scooped up the property in 1994 for the much lower price of $3.925 million. Keep reading for a look inside Clint Eastwood’s paradise beach property.
Hacienda Este Madera
Clint Eastwood’s Pebble Beach property is known as Hacienda Este Madera. For all of you non-Spanish speakers out there, that translates loosely to “East Wood Estate.” Eastwood, get it?
Anyway, the Hang ‘Em High actor listed his beach property with upscale realtors Sotheby’s. The listing reveals that Eastwood’s home spans 4.7 acres and is within an exclusive gated community in the Pebble Beach area. We wouldn’t expect anything else for the Dirty Harry star. After all, he is Hollywood royalty.
Clarence Tantau’s Vision
Clint Eastwood’s Pebble Beach property is a nearly 7,000 square foot farmhouse style mansion. The home was actually designed in the 1920s by prominent architect Clarence Tantau. The architect worked mainly in the San Francisco Bay area, and is responsible for many beautiful homes in the Oakland, Berkeley, and Santa Cruz areas.
Hacienda Este Madera has beautiful panoramic views from Point Lobos beach to Stillwater Cove. Tantau’s vision includes the home’s sturdy adobe walls, hand-crafted ironwork, and stunning Spanish doors.
The Californian Riviera
Hacienda Este Madera is located in what’s known as the “Californian Riviera.” This stretch of land — from Santa Barbara to San Diego — is known for having a perfect climate all year, and is understandably very desirable.
Eastwood has revealed that he traveled to Carmel when he was drafted for the Korean War, saying, “The air was clean and brisk, the sand white and beautiful, the people very hospitable. I thought, If I ever figure out how to make a living, I’d love to come and live here.”
Spanish Style Interiors
Eastwood’s 1920s mansion is decorated in colonial Spanish style, including terracotta roof tiles and hand-crafted ironwork. This style is known as Spanish revivalist, as it pays homage to the architecture and interiors of the Spanish Empire in North America.
Because the Spanish Empire was widespread throughout the Americas, this style is more of an overall feeling than related to specific features. Spanish revival properties tend to feature red tiles, stucco walls, fireplaces, and alcoves — all of which feature in this property.
The Open-Air Cobble Courtyard
The Million Dollar Baby director’s Spanish revivalist home is organized around the open-air cobble courtyard. From the main entrance, visitors can walk through to the courtyard, which is tucked away and secluded. The picturesque cobblestone courtyard has patinaed wood detailing and canopied oak trees surrounding the central fountain.
Courtyards are also key features of colonial Spanish homes, and often function as hallways for entering certain rooms. In this property, each of the six bedrooms is accessed via the courtyard. How charming!
His Own Golf Course Nearby
Mr. Eastwood owns several properties in this area, and founded his own private golf club — Tehàma — in 1999. The club is by invitation only, and membership is capped at 300. As well as the golf facilities, Tehàma boasts lots for building new homes.
The name Tehàma derives from the Native American word for “abundance of nature,” which accurately describes the lush green area. Eastwood told Architectural Digest, “I started caddying at 13 and knew I could carry clubs but never thought I’d swing one.”
High Ceilings and Wooden Beams
Spanish revival style homes often have high ceilings and wooden beams, which is absolutely the case in Clint Eastwood’s Pebble Beach property. These homes usually have flat roofs and arched doorways, as can be seen in this image.
Because of the wooden beams and often un-plastered walls, Spanish colonial homes often feel warm, friendly, and casual. As well as looking beautiful, the wooden beams provide crucial structural support along the ceilings. Speaking about his properties, Eastwood commented, “I only buy something I really love.”
Breathtaking Ocean Views
Of course, because of the centrality of the courtyard, much of Eastwood’s Pebble Beach property can be enjoyed from the outdoors. As well as the cobblestone courtyard, Hacienda Este Madera also boasts a stone terrace and a large lawn and garden. Of course, while reclining on the terrace soaking up some sun, you can enjoy breathtaking ocean views.
Clint also has parking covered, with a two-car garage beside the mansion, and an additional four-car garage at another part of the property.
Moorish Décor and Glass Chandeliers
Whilst Spanish revival is the main architectural style of the Clint Eastwood’s Pebble Beach property, inside is decorated in a broadly Moorish revival style. Moorish architecture draws from the western Islamic world, including Muslim-ruled Spain and Portugal, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya.
Moorish styles include detailed tilework, horseshoe arches, and intricately carved wood. Eastwood’s home combines these features with contemporary details like glass chandeliers, leading to a uniquely stylish outcome. Several rooms in Hacienda Este Madera combine glass chandeliers and tiled floors.
The Fountain and Outdoor Fireplace
Understandably, because the cobblestone courtyard is a central piece of the house, it contains several features of its own. Firstly, a colorfully tiled fountain gurgles in the center of the courtyard, adding a peaceful and picturesque ambiance. Secondly, the house boasts an outdoor fireplace for any chilly California evenings, or to add to a cozy and relaxed evening atmosphere.
The Eastwood property’s courtyard is secluded and serene, with oak trees providing shelter and coverage from the outside world.
Iconic Dinner Parties
When it comes to the dining room in Clint Eastwood’s Hacienda Este Madera, we can see more evidence of Spanish and Moorish revival styles. To begin, the stunning and chic room has high wooden ceilings, which automatically make it feel grander. Of course, the dining table itself is long, with space for what the property listing calls “iconic dinner parties for artists, authors, dignitaries and musicians from around the world.”
The dining room also has terracotta tiled floors and a kiva-style corner fireplace.
Hardwood Floors and Carrara Marble
The Eastwoods’ impressive décor continues into the kitchen, which also boasts gorgeous beamed ceilings. As we can see in this picture, there are skylights among the wooden beams that fill each room with bright sunshine. Additionally, the kitchen has a center island topped with grey-white marble from Carrara in Tuscany, Italy. Only the best, right?
In this room, rather than terracotta tiles, the floor is covered in hardwood. The room has cheery blue curtains which match the blue and white checkerboard backsplash.
Stylish Grey Toned Interiors
We have to give kudos to whoever decorated Clint Eastwood’s Pebble Beach property, because it’s both stunning and coherent throughout — which isn’t to be sniffed at. In this room, we can see a mixture of gray-toned interior décor, animal imagery, and striking art. It looks cool and interesting, and certainly not like the home of a man in his 90s.
Although perhaps we judge Mr. Eastwood too harshly. After all, he is a movie star.
A Lot of Loggia
Here’s another architectural term for you — loggia. Ever heard of it? Well, a loggia is a type of covered exterior corridor that is usually held up using columns and arches. This feature originates from Italian architecture, but can be spotted at Clint Eastwood’s Pebble Beach home.
The American Sniper director’s home has six bedrooms altogether, and they’re all entered by a covered loggia that sweeps around the courtyard. Because of the lovely loggia, there’s no way of entering the rooms from inside the house.
The Master Suite
Many Moorish and Spanish revival style properties are replete with alcoves, and Clint Eastwood’s have been purpose-built into the walls. These alcoves give the property a cozy feel, and make it look more established overall. Impressively, the master suite in Hacienda Este Madera comes with double vanities, and his and hers dressing rooms.
The room also has its own fireplace and a bathtub for a relaxing soak. Unlike many other bedrooms of the rich and famous, this one feels particularly comfortable and welcoming.
His and Hers Sinks
We really have to hand it to Clint — or architect Clarence Tantau — were pretty thoughtful when it came to who would be living in this house. Not only does the property have double vanities, and ‘his and hers’ dressing rooms, but it also has ‘his and hers’ sinks. That means no waiting for your partner to brush their teeth, and plenty of mirrors to go around.
Plus, this gorgeous bathroom has striking tiles and a spa bathtub. C’est la vie!
A Place to Relax
As well as the central cobblestone courtyard, Eastwood’s Pebble Beach property also has an outdoor patio area. This part of the house has its own fireplace and is decorated with Spanish art.
Clint Eastwood has lived in California for most of his life, starting in San Francisco where he was born in 1930. As a child he lived in both Sacramento and Piedmont, and attended both Piedmont High School and Oakland Technical High School. He wasn’t a great student in either institution.
Intricately Carved Doors
Many of the doors in Hacienda Este Madera are intricately carved in the Moorish style. This detailing really adds to the luxury of the home, but doesn’t make it feel unwelcoming or excessively grand. The warm-toned wood and pretty designs make this feature another charming aspect of the home’s design.
Before he could afford a home like this, a young Clint Eastwood worked all sorts of jobs including lifeguard, grocery clerk, firefighter, golf caddy, and paper carrier.
Alcoves All Over
In this image we can see some of the alcoves in Clint Eastwood’s Pebble Beach mansion. They add some depth and interest to the room, and also provide some extra storage.
After a long career in TV and movies, it makes sense that this top actor and director would want a comfortable home that looks and feels lived in. Over the years, Eastwood has won a whopping 13 Academy Awards, so we won’t resent him a little time spent on a comfortable couch.
A Gated Home
Due to the exclusive, closed-off feel of the community that Clint Eastwood was living in during those great years at Hacienda Este Madera, it makes perfect sense that the Hollywood star had a gated entrance.
Not to mention the fact that he is one of the most iconic actors of all time and so security and surveillance are the name of the game in virtually every home he owns. This is clear proof of that.
It makes perfect sense that someone like Clint Eastwood would have a long, winding driveway that provides a scenic route from the entrance of his estate to the actual building.
And due to the fact that Eastwood has a pretty extensive car collection, it makes sense that he should have a pretty long driveway so that he doesn’t have to store them all in his garage every time he wants to take them out for a spin. Why do that when you are already gated off?
Everything Is Connected
One of the best parts of Clint Eastwood’s former home is how accessible every part of the house is. Despite being pretty big, as expected, it seems like one can get from virtually any corner of the home to another one because of how open and meticulously designed the place is.
As you can see, it is very easy to get from the patio to the living room and from the bedroom to the study.
A Place to Wind Down
In case you didn’t know by now, Clint Eastwood has a complicated relationship with religion and has never directly adhered to one particular faith.
With that said, he has developed a spiritual side over the years and this can certainly be seen in the design of his Pebble Beach home and the environment in which it is situated. This beautiful statue also demonstrates his spiritual side, including a line from Corinthians 5:8 at the bottom.
Where the Creativity Happens
When you are an actor, director, and producer who is as prolific as Clint Eastwood, you’ve got to have that space where you can go to and let your creative juices flow. Thankfully for him, he had plenty of spaces like that in Hacienda Este Madera.
Take this study, for example, which was pretty simple for the most part. By that, we mean it didn’t have too much clutter. Simply a desk, a typewriter, and plenty of space for him to think and conjure up his next screenplay.
Where Dreams Are Made
When you have lived a long and successful life as Clint Eastwood has, you need a good amount of sleep. They say that you need at least eight hours of sleep per night to give yourself the best chance possible and it seems like this Hollywood star has the perfect sleeping area to make this happen.
As you can see, Clint doesn’t settle for a semi-comfortable bed. High-level comfort is the name of the game and he won’t accept anything less.
A Cosey Fireplace
As previously mentioned, one feature that Eastwood had plenty of in Hacienda Este Madera was a handful of fireplaces. For the most part, the climate in this part of the world is pretty amazing all year round. This doesn’t mean though that it can’t get a little chilly every once in a while.
There was nothing Clint loved more than to kick back next to a cosy fireplace, have a drink with his loved ones, play some music, or simply read a book.
A Stone’s Throw from the Beach
Even at his age, Clint Eastwood loves nothing more than to get out and hit the Pacific waters. He is fond of all sorts of water activities and Hacienda Este Madera’s close proximity to the beach made it really easy to make this happen.
When he lived in this part of the world, Clint could often be seen taking the short walk down to the beach, hopping on a surfboard, or simply to take a nice stroll down the white, pristine sands.
Close Attention to Detail
One thing is for sure about Clint Eastwood’s beautiful home – the amount of detail and thought that was put into this home is absolutely staggering. On face value, it is easy to overlook this and think of Hacienda Este Madera as beauty in all of its simplicity.
But that is simply not the case. As you can see, every nook and cranny of the home is full of tiny pockets of intricate detail, including patterned acorns on the wooden furnishings, amongst other things.
The Mayor of Carmel
Clint Eastwood has owned properties around Pebble Beach for many years, and in the 1980s he decided to run for Mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea. The Mystic River director decided to run when the city council denied him planning permission for a building he wanted to renovate. He took the city to court, won, and then ran for Mayor the following year.
Speaking about his run, Eastwood said, “We couldn’t get anyone else to do it […] Being a very determined person, I decided to win.” He did.
Mrs. Eastwood and Company
Clint Eastwood’s stunning Spanish style Pebble Beach property has had its time in the spotlight already. In 2012, the property was featured in reality show Mrs. Eastwood and Company, which ran for 10 episodes. The series followed Eastwood’s then-wife Dina, daughters Francesca and Morgan, and a six-person acapella group. That’s right — you read that correctly.
The acapella group — named Overtone — also lived in Hacienda Este Madera with the Eastwoods. Unsurprisingly, word is that Clint was not happy.
The Eastwood Family
So, the Eastwood Pebble Beach estate was inhabited by Mr. and Mrs. Eastwood, two daughters, and a six-person acapella group. But, this isn’t the entirety of the Eastwood family (especially the acapella group, who are not related at all). Throughout his life, the Changeling director has had two wives — Maggie Johnson and Dina Ruiz. He has also had two-long term partners named Sondra Locke and Frances Fisher.
Though it wasn’t confirmed until recently, the famed actor has eight children altogether — Scott, Francesca, Alison, Kyle, Morgan, Kathryn, Laurie, and Kimber.
Clint Eastwood’s Other Properties
As well as the Pebble Beach property, Clint Eastwood also owns a 15,949 square foot compound in Carmel-by-the-Sea, a 1,067.5 acre Rising River Ranch in Burney, an apartment in Burbank, and a Bel-Air residence (including the property next door). As well as this California real estate, the Gran Torino director has a 5,700-square-foot house in Idaho, and a 1.13-acre, oceanfront manor in Hawaii.
Eastwood also built a 16,000 square foot, hacienda-style mansion on 14 acres of his private golf club’s hilltop.
The Tehàma Community
Clint Eastwood didn’t just build properties for himself on the Tehàma golf club grounds. Rather, he created a one-of-a-kind community with lots of land available to turn into dream homes. The area, nestled in the hills above Carmel-by-the-Sea, is an exclusive community on the California Central Coast.
Speaking about the project, Eastwood said, “I thought, someday people are going to want some privacy and they’ll get tired of living crammed in next to each other. And that’s really it.”
A Self-Sustaining Community
As well as being an exclusive community, the Tehàma project is also environmentally sound, eco-friendly and self-sustaining. Altogether, the ratio of homes to land leaves 85% of the area untouched, meaning that local wildlife can continue to flourish in the area. Currently, the rolling hills above Monterey Bay boast wild deer, fox, turkey, and quail.
Previously, Eastwood purchased animal sanctuary Mission Ranch in order to save the area from developers. One thing’s for sure – Mr. Eastwood has made his mark on California.
August 13th, 2018 was the date that Hacienda Este Madera was finally purchased and no longer officially Clint Eastwood’s. Although it was originally valued higher, the home still sold for a respectable $6,975,000. To who this beautiful home belongs to now is unclear and the current owners wish to stay private.
However, there is no denying that this is and always will be a special estate that is located in one of the truly stunning parts of the world. Moreover, it will always be the place that one of Hollywood’s finest lived in.
Bette Davis’s Life Through Rare Vintage Photos
Considered by many to be the bad girl of Hollywood’s golden era, Bette Davis is the epitome of class, talent, and charisma. An undeniable icon of her time, Davis was a trailblazer and a screen legend who defined the history of Hollywood. From her four marriages to her feud with Joan Crawford, take a look through Bette’s turbulent life and relationships in the pictures below.
Debut in Bad Sister (1931)
Merely at 23, Davis made her film debut in the 1931 movie Bad Sister by Universal Studios. The film was a pre-Code drama that focused on a young woman, bored with her mundane life, who falls for a charming con artist.
Bette was quite nervous and insecure about her appearance in the movie, especially after getting harsh criticism from the studio’s makeup chief Jack Pierce. She even left midway through a pre-screening of the film as Davis was allegedly too distressed with her performance.
After a series of unsuccessful films with Universal, the studio decided not to renew Bette’s contract. Just as she was about to leave Los Angeles and return to New York, Davis had a change of luck.
Actor George Arliss chose Bette as his co-star in the upcoming film The Man Who Played God, produced by Warner Bros. The 1932 movie later became Bette Davis’ big break in Hollywood. The photograph is from the film’s premiere in 1932.
A 1931 Portrait for Warner Bros.
Following the success of her breakout role in The Man Who Played God (1932), Bette Davis signed a contract with Warner Bros., where she would remain for the next 18 years of her career.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for Bette with Warner Bros… She was even involved in a lawsuit with the studio after breaching her contract to appear in two British films in 1936.
Bette first met Harmon Oscar Nelson at boarding school in Massachusetts. The couple later married on August 18, 1932, in Arizona. The marriage was vastly scrutinized by the press, given the fact that Bette was making a lot more money than Harmon.
Harmon reportedly banned Davis from buying a house until he could afford to purchase it himself. That and several abortions later, and their marriage was over in less than six years. Harmon discovered Bette was having an affair with Howard Hughes and filed for divorce in 1938.
Bold Career Choices
Many claim it was the 1934 film Of Human Bondage to be the one that truly made Bette Davis a star. Based on the 1915 novel of the same name by W. Somerset Maugham, the story portrays Bette’s character as a self-centered, cruel, and self-serving woman.
Many actresses turned down the part, but Davis saw that as an opportunity to show her acting skills and hopefully pave the way for more serious roles. The film was not only a success, but it also led to a precedent in the Academy Awards where people could vote for Bette despite her not being nominated.
Front Page Woman (1935)
Although Bette hoped her 1934 success story with Of Human Bondage would lead to her playing more serious roles, her studio, Warner Bros., continued to offer more ‘lighthearted’ parts.
In the 1935 comedy film Front Page Woman, Davis played a witty reporter who refused to marry a fellow colleague from a rival newspaper until he admits she’s as good at their craft as he. There was definitely a touch of feminism in her role which was still rare for films in the 1930s.
In her first Oscar-winning role in Dangerous (1935), Bette Davis plays Joyce, a troublesome actress, opposite Franchot Tone, who portrays Don, a prominent architect who falls in love with her. After receiving the Academy Award for Best Actress, Bette commented that she felt the Oscar was a belated consolation prize for her role in Of Human Bondage (1934).
Decades later, Davis would admit she fell professionally and privately in love with Franchot during filming. He later married actress Joan Crawford, and many believe that set the start of Bette’s feud with her.
With Henry Fonda in Jezebel (1938)
The 1938 film Jezebel, directed by William Wyler, marked the beginning of the most successful period in Bette Davis’ career. During the production of the movie, Davis became romantically involved with Wyler, later describing him as “the love of my life.”
Curiously, Bette partnered with none other than Henry Fonda (Jane Fonda’s father) in Jezebel, a man who she allegedly had a crush on for a long time.
As Queen Elizabeth I
For the role of Queen Elizabeth I in the 1939 film The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, Bette Davis shaved her hairline and eyebrows to achieve greater resemblance with the iconic queen. It was the first of two times Bette would portray the notable British royal.
At first, Davis had her doubts about Errol Flynn being cast to play Essex due to his ‘casual attitude’ to his work. However, years later, upon reviewing the film with her friend, Olivia de Havilland, Bette turned to her and admitted she was wrong, and that, in fact, “Flynn was brilliant.”
Bette’s Second Husband
1940 was an eventful year for Davis. She had one of her most commercially successful films, All This, and Heaven Too, and a relationship with fellow actor and former co-star George Brent. She turned down his marriage proposal as she had just met her future second husband, innkeeper Arthur Farnsworth.
The two were married in December 1940, but their romance was short-lived because Arthur died just three years later, in 1943, leaving Davis a widow.
Walking Out of Set
The Little Foxes (1941) was previously adapted on Broadway with Tallulah Bankhead playing the main role of Regina on stage. The director was Davis’ former lover William Wyler who insisted that Bette do her own version of Regina. Davis and Wyler frequently fought on set for virtually everything, and, at one point, Bette even walked out of the set and the project altogether.
After rumors that she’d be replaced by Katharine Hepburn began circulating, Davis returned to complete the film. It was a commercial and critical success with nine Oscar nominations, one of which for Davis’ performance.
The Great Lie (1941)
Her 1941 role in The Great Lie, where Davis played opposite former lover George Brent, was refreshingly different from her previous parts. The film is an emotional drama focusing on love, loyalty, and betrayal.
Here, Bette Davis plays a kind, sympathetic character that’s hard not to like. That movie was a brief departure from her preferred roles of portraying strong and complex characters.
An Iconic Scene
Davis wasn’t initially interested in starring in the drama, but it was producer Hal Wallis who convinced her that female audiences at the time really needed romantic dramas to serve as a distraction from their uncertain lives.
Bette took great interest in the role and studied her part to the smallest detail. It’s in Now, Voyager (1942) that one of the most famous movie scenes of all time takes place — when Paul Henreid’s character lights two cigarettes staring daringly into Davis’ eyes, then passes one to her.
Bette & the Hollywood Canteen
Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Davis began selling war bonds to raise funds in support of the troops. Her war effort peaked with the creation of the Hollywood Canteen, a servicemen’s club in Hollywood where soldiers would be served free of charge.
Davis was the head of the operation and made sure that there would be “important names” attending the club every night. Warner Bros. even produced a film, Hollywood Canteen (1944), dedicated to the cause where Bette Davis appeared as herself. Davis would later comment this club had been one of her life’s greatest accomplishments.
As an Older Woman
In the late 1940s, Bette Davis’ professional career suffered setbacks. With a string of films that either didn’t get critical appraise or commercial success and with her becoming a mother and taking a short break from movie-making, Bette’s career was in a shaky place.
In the 1945 movie The Corn Is Green, Davis played a much-older English teacher who saves a young miner from the poor and difficult life in the coal pits and offers him an education. Bette was 37 at the time and insisted on aging herself to suit the part.
Her Own Production Company
What’s curious about A Stolen Life (1946) is that it’s the only film that Bette made with BD Productions, her very own production company.
In it, Davis played the role of twins, and even though it became one of the greatest box office successes in her career, the film received poor reviews describing it as “a disinterestedly empty piece.” Then again, with a profit of $2.5 million, the film must have done something right.
Pictured here in the late 1940s are Bette Davis and her third husband, William Grant Sherry, whom she married in 1945. William was a masseur, and Bette was allegedly drawn to him because he claimed he’d never heard of Davis and her films.
She liked that he wasn’t intimidated by her career, and the two were quickly wed. William is also the father of her only biological child, a daughter named Barbara.
Becoming a Mother
The notorious 1947 film Possessed had been specially written for Davis, but as she was pregnant at the time, she passed on the project. The role was eventually given to Joan Crawford, a woman with whom Bette was yet to start a historical feud.
On May 1, 1947, at the age of 39, Bette gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Barbara Davis Sherry (better known as B.D.). In her memoirs, Davis writes that she considered ending her career after becoming a mother. That never happened, however, and as she returned to Hollywood, her relationship with Barbara began to deteriorate.
In All About Eve, Bette plays the role of aging Broadway star Margo Channing who has to deal with Eve, a young fan who ambitiously maneuvers her way into Channing’s life, thus threatening the integrity of her career and relationships.
Off-screen, Bette and her co-star Gary Merrill begin a romantic relationship leading to her fourth and final marriage. The film won six Oscars and it’s the only one in Academy Award history to receive four acting nominations for female performances (Baxter and Davis for Best Actress, Ritter and Holm as Best Supporting Actress).
Fourth and Final Marriage
Just weeks after her divorce with Sherry was finalized, Bette married her All About Eve co-star Gary Merrill on July 28, 1950. This would be Bette’s last marriage.
Their marriage lasted an entire decade, and they adopted two children together, a baby boy (Michael) and a baby girl (Margot). The couple is pictured here on Bette’s 43rd birthday on April 5, 1951.
The Virgin Queen (1955)
The 1950s weren’t the most successful years in Bette’s career. Few of her films during that period were critically and commercially successful. That didn’t stop her though and she kept working.
One of her appraised roles during that period was in The Virgin Queen (1955), where Bette played Queen Elizabeth I for the second time in her career. She again shaved her hairline to gain a better resemblance to the queen.
With Marlon Brando
Here Bette Davis poses next to Marlon Brando (who won for Best Actor) and Grace Kelly (Oscar for Best Actress) during the 1955 Academy Awards.
If you’re wondering about Bette’s headpiece design, it was made to cover her shaved head as she had just portrayed Queen Elizabeth I in the 1955 movie The Virgin Queen for the second time in her career.
Pocketful of Miracles (1961)
The 1961 movie Pocketful of Miracles wasn’t a commercial success, and some were opposed to casting Davis, fearing her failing career would have a negative impact on the box office.
They were right, but Bette nonetheless starred in Frank Capra’s film. This was a testing time for Davis’ career and a role she desperately needed.
A Life-Long Feud
When Joan Crawford saw the script of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? she was immediately interested. Many claimed it was her that proposed Bette to play her sister and that Crawford ultimately convinced Davis to agree to do the film (which she did under very specific circumstances).
In this rare photograph, the two iconic actresses are captured during the table read discussing the script in 1962.
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
The 1962 film What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? by director Robert Aldrich was a much-anticipated horror, not only because audiences were thirsty for more Psycho-like releases, but also because it was the only film that brought rivals Bette Davis and Joan Crawford together on screen.
Their decades-long feud saw its peak during filming, with both actresses pranking each other on set. In the movie, they played two aging sisters (both former actresses) who were forced to share a decaying Hollywood mansion. Bette and Joan’s public comments after filming wrapped continued to fuel their notorious feud.
Bette Davis and Joan Crawford
The feud between the two actresses occupied public attention and the media for decades. It’s been widely covered in the press and on film with the 2017 FX’s miniseries Feud: Bette and Joan focusing on the peak of their feud during the filming of the 1962 movie.
Here, they are photographed with the iconic producer Jack L. Warner during a promotion party for What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?.
Where Love Has Gone (1964)
Despite her career revival in the 1960s, not all films Bette made in that period were a success. The 1964 drama film saw Bette Davis and Susan Hayward starring as a mother and a daughter.
Where Love Has Gone failed to earn critical success, and production of the film was reportedly slowed down due to heated arguments between Bette and Susan. Neither of them openly discussed their issues.
Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964)
Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964) was originally intended as a follow-up to What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962), where Bette Davis and Joan Crawford were to star alongside each other for the second time in a similar script.
However, just a week and a half after filming began, Crawford withdrew from the project and was replaced by Olivia de Havilland (seen in the picture next to Davis). The official reason was Joan’s health, but others have speculated it was the tension between her and Davis.
Madame Sin is a 1972 British thriller film that was originally made to serve as a pilot for an upcoming series, but the network later dropped the project. Nevertheless, this movie earned Davis critical praise.
That same year, Bette starred in another pilot (that eventually remained a standalone film) called The Judge and Jake Wyler produced by NBC. These types of failed pilots were quite common in the 1970s.
AFI’s Lifetime Achievement Award
In 1977, Bette Davis became the first woman to be honored with the annual Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Film Institute. This formal acknowledgment of her impressive career resulted in a new revival for Bette, and she managed to once more make a strong comeback with a series of critically and commercially acclaimed films.
Jane and Henry Fonda, Olivia de Havilland, and Natalie Wood were among the actors who paid tribute to Davis at the event.
Death on the Nile (1978)
Death on the Nile is a British mystery film based on the famous novel by Agatha Christie of the same name. Although it wasn’t as successful as the previous adaptation of a Christie’s novel, Murder on the Orient Express (1974), audiences still enjoyed the film and Davis’ performance in it.
Bette was cast as Marie Van Schuler, an elderly American socialite (seen in the picture with the large black hat) with a passion for kleptomania.
In one of her later films, Family Reunion (1981), Bette Davis plays the lead role of feisty spinster Elizabeth Winfield who tries to protect her small hometown from the prey of dishonest relatives and their greedy plans with shopping mall developers.
It’s notable that Bette’s grandson, J. Ashley Hyman, also appeared in the movie alongside his famous grandmother. He decided not to pursue an acting career after that film.
One of the many awards and recognitions in Bette Davis’ career came late in her life with the Women in Film’s Crystal Award. Despite her poor health at the time, she attended the ceremony.
Bette and fellow actress Ruth Gordon (known for her immaculate Broadway performances) both received an award in an official event held in June 1983 in Los Angeles. This picture was taken right after they received their awards.
Bette Davis on Letterman (1987)
In 1983, Bette Davis’ health began to deteriorate, following a breast cancer diagnosis and a series of strokes. She pushed through those problems and continued to work and make public appearances.
In 1987, she made a guest appearance on Late Night with David Letterman, where she gave one of the wittiest, most entertaining interviews in her career. In line with her style, she lit a cigarette during the show as she was talking to the host. Despite her illness, Bette remained a heavy smoker and continued to smoke 100 cigarettes a day.
Bette’s Final Public Appearance
Determined to continue working and being present in the public eye, Bette traveled to Spain to make what would eventually become her last public appearance at the 1989 San Sebastian film festival.
Spanish film aficionados were exalted to see their idol, and it seemed she was just as happy to see them. Bette Davis passed away at the age of 81 just a few weeks later in a French hospital. Despite her illness, Bette preserved her energetic presence and eagerness to keep working. Her tombstone says: “She did it the hard way.” She sure did.