In celebration of one of the greatest actresses in Hollywood history, Bette Davis, the Hollywood Museum gathered together friends of the icon to celebrate her life and career as a part of the Lobby Tribute Series.
Lily Tomlin shared with the museum the story of a dinner party she would never forget. “We were all just Hollywood hopefuls then but we had never in our lives expected to meet Bette Davis in such an intimate setting as the host’s tiny apartment. We were all nervous and excited but stressed out at the thought.”
Bette’s mere presence overwhelmed the up and coming actress. “Bette swept in, with a cigarette, in full power mode, not because she was showing off but just simply she had her own personal inner power grid — her strong personality in other words.”
It was Bette’s interest in Tomlin’s newest costar that put her on the spot. Tomlin recalls, “We were all scared to death of being singled out. I had just done Moment By Moment with John Travolta… it wasn’t yet released and everyone had questions about this bright new costar of mine. When Bette asked me what he was like, I said in true Hollywood candor, ‘Oh he’s a darling guy.’”
But that wasn’t good enough for Bette. Tomlin continues, “Exhaling a drag on her cigarette, she barked at me, ‘To hell with darling,’ then ferociously stubbing out her cigarette, ‘IS HE TALENTED?!!!!’ I stammered, ‘Why, yes, yes he is.’ I swallowed hard, ‘He is!’ I said meekly. I was flattened and very quiet for the rest of the evening.”
It was actually inside the Hollywood Museum (the historic Max Factor building), where Ms. Davis had her looks carefully created for many of her films. Costumes, including the dress she wore in All About Eve, are now on display in her honor, as Hollywood marks 30 years since the passing of Bette Davis.