Even a short list of Bette Davis's most famous films -- Of Human Bondage; Jezebel; Dark Victory; The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex; Now, Voyager; All About Eve; What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? -- reveals instantly what a major force she was in Hollywood. Her distinctive voice, her remarkable eyes, her astonishing range and depth of characterization -- all these qualities combined to make Bette Davis one of the finest performers in film history.
Drawing on extensive conversations with Bette Davis during the last decade of her life, Charlotte Chandler gives us a biography in which the great actress speaks for herself. (It was she who suggested that Chandler write this book.) Chandler also spoke with directors, actors, and others who knew and worked with Davis. As a result Davis comes to life in these pages -- a dynamic, forceful presence once again, just as she was on the screen.
Though she owed everything to her mother, Ruthie, Bette Davis remained fascinated all her life by her hard-to-please father, who walked out on his family. She remembered the disappointment -- which never left -- over her father's lack of interest in her, and she believed that her resentment of him was probably a major factor in her four failed marriages: she kept putting her men in a position where they would eventually disappoint her. She spoke happily of her love affairs with Howard Hughes and William Wyler; she recalled her leading men, favorite co-stars, and unloved rivals; and she took great care to refute the persistent Hollywood legend that she was difficult to work with. Alone and ill, she faced her last days with bravery and dignity.
The Girl Who Walked Home Alone is a brilliant portrait of an enduring icon from Hollywood's golden age and an unforgettable biography of the real woman behind the star.
Charlotte Chandler is the author of several biographies of actors and directors, including Groucho Marx, Federico Fellini, Billy Wilder, Alfred Hitchcock, Bette Davis, Ingrid Bergman, Joan Crawford, and Mae West, all of whom she interviewed extensively. She is a member of the board of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and lives in New York City.
"Bette keeps me awake at night. I lose sleep because I can never turn off her movies, like I could not stop reading this book."
-- Luciano Pavarotti
"It was a special treat -- a gift -- to read Charlotte Chandler's book and hear the voice of one of my all-time favorite actresses. It was as if Bette Davis came alive for me. Charlotte Chandler's book has become my constant companion and inspiration."
-- Liv Ullmann
"The high price of success in show business often goes unnoticed unless a perceptive writer reveals it to us, as Charlotte Chandler has done in her remarkable books about Groucho Marx, Federico Fellini, Billy Wilder, and Alfred Hitchcock. Now, in The Girl Who Walked Home Alone, Chandler reveals Bette Davis as a valiant, often misunderstood heroine of the real star wars."
-- Sidney Sheldon
"In this book, Bette is as witty, wistful, bitchy, candid, angry, romantic, sad, and funny as any Bette Davis movie."
-- John Landis
-- Michelangelo Antonioni
"An extraordinary work. Bette Davis's life is served up on a platter -- delicious, poignant, exciting, sensual, brilliant."