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Bette Davis Talks About Her Acting Career on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson

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Added by Mel in Variety


Bette Davis Talks About Her Acting Career on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson Airdate: 02/09/1983 #johnnycarson #bettedavis #thetonightshow






Video Script:: 

this listed I'm holding here is a list of the pictures that Betty Davis has made it goes on and on and on at it it is such a great pleasure in the producer her career speaks for itself and the high quality of her work during her career speaks for itself she's given everybody in the world so much pleasure and she will start with Jimmy Stewart in a film which will be on home box office later this year and to add to her many achievements I don't know that you knew this or not she made an album in England in 1976 which it borrows again available in record stores called Miss Betty Davis sings would you welcome please miss Betty Davis [Applause] Johnny yes ma'am this is a red rose it has a lot to do with Valentine's Day you are not forced to be my Valentine I'm not asking that of you also this is to thank you but the night I was ill and couldn't come and you made it very clear units to share that I was ill as indeed I was and I finally realized you have a hit show I really got so many Get Well cards from your show but you do not believe it and any of those any of you who sent me some of those oh I do thank you very much knowing you only only illness kept you off the show that night than you oh yes yes I have a very Yankee thing about not promising and not doing it it was just I I actually had that flu bug for four weeks right you feeling the worst oh oh yes I'm fine thank you no I was thinking today the last time you were you know God you know they told me that I can't believe it we must have we must be bitter enemies I said it was something I said 1972 did I do something wrong I don't it's too long ago to remember I'd remember that you had made an album and then somebody told me about it you made this in 1976 recorded it in England in England yes with Norman Newell at EMI and he had wanted to make a record with me for years and I've done lots of music in my life too musicals in the theatre and I'm either too young or too old several things but there are many other songs on this and I'd always wanted to make an LP yeah and so I had the opportunity but nobody in America bought it until now it's not straight so now well I thought it was and as a matter of fact I asked to come on your show this time you did not ask me I just because I'm a saleslady tonight I'm hoping that maybe this will help people buy this record if they know it's around right see the dough records oh I must give the whole including songs the whole name don't really remember do it properly if I'm a sales certainly some of the songs are including songs from whatever happened to be oh yeah all about it these are do records the vision of barista Sarabeth now also I had to give up I had to give up signing this album at Tower Records in Westwood that same week are you real I am going to do it this Saturday Westwood tower records now interestingly enough you know I've never gone on one of these shows to sell anything no I don't think you I haven't not to sell a film I just don't believe in selling yourself but this record I would be so thrilled if people bought it because ya know do you want to be able you want to be a bullet on the charge don't you because I was so incensed with EMI that they just dumped this record so that's what would please me then then this is mine that's what I like is honesty right up we'll take a break we're coming back we get a lot of things to discuss when was the first time you sang in a film remember the first number was there either too young or too old right and mr. lesser and mr. Arthur Schwartz came to me and said they had an idea for me to do a musical number well I roared with laughter walked out and said thanks a lot but finally in the long run I did it because that number was during the war and that was a hit that was top of the well we both remember the Lucky Strike parade yes on for years and that was the top number for ten solid weeks yes well because Frankie Lester what words I mean how can you get better yes you've been described as a legend an extraordinary actress how would you like to be best remembered it's a good worker just a good I haven't George the work my my goal was never the marvelous good fortune of the public that was never my goal my goal was to do the best I could and I just adored the work right when when you were criticized and I suppose there are times and poor performers and artists have been well actually if if you are never criticized if everybody says she's just that's a very nice actress good actress you have had it you must have you must have prose and you must have constant and heaven knows I've had a lot of cons there's no question I don't remember many of those yes yes many people I when I did my show in London of a wonderful English woman got up in the Palladium and said I'm here alone tonight because my husband hates you well lady was honest go right home and tell him yeah join the club there are many that's kind of hard to answer I was I was looking at the list of pictures that you made and they got to be over a hundred motion pictures here well it's certainly in the area of a hundred I am lost count you had two two Academy Awards ten nominations and every one of them for Best Actress and supporting mm-hmm that is incredible I don't know but I was disappointed about a couple of them I didn't get really I always wanted to be the first one who got three miss Hepburn beat me and you still enjoy working yes now the challenge still there nowadays not the same time yeah of course of course when I were young my challenge basically I did it yeah but once I get started working if it's for instance it like this the picture with with Jimmy Stewart this was a thrill because to work with him we never ever had and it was just like it used to be once that once I get beyond the makeup and the hours and taking the makeup off when you get home at night which is the worst bore of all well I'm on the set working I love it but I do not get up and jump with joy at 6 o'clock in the morning you're not a you're not a nice person at 6:00 in the morning no I'm nice but I just don't jump with George yes I begged William Wyler to make another film with me Oh for so many years after he retired and he said I've had every morning of my life getting up at 6 o'clock I will never do it again and those are the things that finally it doesn't bother you when when you're working very hard to accomplish a goal but it isn't the same thrill I have to admit that right but I do always hope still that it's good I haven't just sort of sat back and said well people have great respect for you and doesn't really much matter what you do that that would never be for me you still have to have a pride in everything I still have to do it as well as I can were there in the or actresses that influenced you specifically at any time I don't know if influenced me one of the passions of my life of course was Anna Magnani absolutely and she we had sort of the same reputation in her country that I finally ended up in mind so I always said there was one in each country influenced I don't I don't have a memory of being actually influenced I always wanted to have Katharine Hepburn's gorgeous face you know I would look at mine and say why can't you look like that divine woman so that kind of envy I may have had but I don't think I was employed which is probably a very conceited remark no but look at the people who I just must have gone my own way I guess and look at the people who probably have envied you and your career well maybe yeah has there been any actor actors that you've really wanted to work with you say that I find it interesting you'd never work with James Stewart no you see Gables Stewart all those marvelous people were metro-goldwyn-mayer and I was never you never went back and forth it's all because people sort of couldn't believe Jimmy's I never worked together it was never any opportunity no did we ever think we would write you think it is better for actors today don't be a little more independent and not having to make no I think it was a great for young players the young players to learn the craft oh yes to learn the craft and to have that solid job week after week after week did you ever do a picture you really didn't want to do well the first two years I did everyone I didn't want to do oh yes parachute jump how I swung right no I don't remember oh they don't put these on television thank God Bureau of missing persons Oh Gold horrible they were what they called the be pictures in those days right but you're obligated on a contract to do under contract and I didn't have the position in the beginning but we did and I'm strapped but of course I came from the theater I'd been in the theatre four or five years so I had some knowledge of acting but I think it's sad today because with the contract system with such continuity you know and that and and that's why people got to know you love you and you became part of the family they saw your year after year after year after year and they bought properties for you they bought plays for you very difficult today to get script right do you uh are you severe critic of yourself when you watch yourself never appreciate I mean I have never liked what I have done every time I have finished a film in all those years all these years I say now let's make it now I know what I'm doing because that's the worst of motion pictures the first day you've got to play that character because that first day will be shown just as much as your last day that is very difficult as opposed to the theater where you rehearse but you must be happy with some of your work well now when I'm removed and see some of them I never could stand my face of course it was just one of those things no truthfully never could stand my face directors kept me out of rushes because I'd be so depressed for days what didn't she like about your face I thought it was hideous I couldn't stand it well now I'm a great many years older and I see some of those films and I don't think there's any question I was the best-looking woman and sexy too Oh sexy - and sexy - no no no I don't want it anymore you can think about it can't you I mean no I don't even I am not because I imagine I would have very few opportunities what do you like to do not when you live what's a nice day for you didn't you enjoy it oh really yes I'm a very domestic person gentleman very sentimental about my things my joy and the fact I have three children and three grandsons and very domestic and about after about six months of this I am ready to go to work again right yes but that's about as much as I want to work yeah you got something coming up sure not at the moment no not at the moment I do not scripts I've been very fortunate with with the networks you see I've had four of the greatest parts for my age in the last two or three years that that anybody could ever have and right-of-way is another one and I personally think the networks are doing films about people much more than the what they now snobbishly called theatrical films like these now television films and theatrical films and you're not really in if you're not making see Africa films I think the networks are doing some absolutely incredible scripts I mean it you know one thing you didn't you see Thursday's child the other night no I did not I understand well Vicky Poole who wrote that book was my neighbor in Portland Maine and I knew that whole family and Sam and all of them and well it's incredible book and incredible story but but that's just one of many many right of way is another great script just great yeah we're gonna take a break and you know Richard Pryor don't you we just met backstage but one fleeting second all righty well we'll have a couple more fleeting seconds out here you're welcome we'll be right back


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