The Dick Cavett Show: Season 6, Episode 40

Bette Davis (18 Nov. 1971)

TV Episode  -   -  Music | Talk-Show
8.9
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Title: Bette Davis (18 Nov 1971)

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Bobby Rosengarden ...
Himself (band leader)
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Genres:

Music | Talk-Show

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Release Date:

18 November 1971 (USA)  »

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In this show, Dick Cavett asks Bette Davis if her mother told her about the "birds and the bees". Davis responds: "No, there was no sort of real education. If you want to come to my home in Connecticut, some night in front of the fireplace, I'd tell you about my wedding night. You'd be on the floor for three hours". The audience howls with laughter. Davis then realizes why the audience is laughing, and quickly says: "No, I did not mean THAT! I meant LAUGHING on the floor!" See more »

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Probably the best Cavett interview
15 August 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Whatever she was - and there was nothing easy about Bette Davis - she was a riot! This relaxed, funny, intelligent, animated interview with Dick Cavett is stupendous. Much as I loved his interview with Katharine Hepburn, the no-holds barred Bette in this interview is something to behold.

Because he knew Davis, Cavett was much easier with her than he was with Hepburn, and while Hepburn had a wonderful sense of humor, this was a much more raucous interview. Davis fed off that audience as if it was mother's milk.

It wasn't all laughs. This is a nearly 40-year-old interview, and when she talks about the people that filmdom had lost up to then - one thinks about where we are now, with her gone and nearly everyone else - and it's sobering.

The other sad moment is when she talks about her daughter - we know B.D.'s betrayal is coming as well as the estrangement - and it's sad. For those who think Bette deserved "My Mother's Keeper," remember this: she let her daughter get married at a young age to a man she loved, giving her a beautiful wedding and supporting the two of them all the way; she never missed an opportunity to use B.D. in her films; and even Gary Merrill, from whom Davis was divorced, defended her when the book came out, stating that you could say what you wanted about Bette, but never that she was a bad mother. The point is - B.D. and her husband had no way to support themselves and had probably tapped Bette for her last loan. And let's just see how Bette treated her other daughter, Margo, whom she adopted and who turned out to be mentally challenged. She refused to return the child to the adoption agency and made sure that she had care for life. When I saw Davis in person in Boston in 1974, her son was in attendance, and she had him stand in the audience.

Davis' perspectives on life, love, sex, and stardom are all evident here. When Cavett asked if he could light her cigarette, she said, "yes, I'm not woman's lib." Too much.

I'll never forget seeing her in person when she toured with John Springer as part of an interview series - the largest, bluest eyes you've ever seen - she looked beautiful and petite. Bette Davis was a true star. We will never see anyone like her again. The world has changed, and there seems to be no place for quirky individualists. Too bad. Our loss.


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