Watch This: Bette Davis Talks About Her Career’s Rocky Start

It’s a little hard to believe, but Bette Davis, whose acting career spanned nearly 60 years and whose talents produced so many sublime performances, was not an instant hit. As she explains to Joan Bakewell in the following 1972 interview, it took some time for Hollywood to adapt to her look and her peculiar skill set.

She describes the first few years as “heartbreaking” and recounts something her mother told her: “it’s the best fruit that the birds pick at.”

This video is fairly short but it is a catalogue of small joys – Davis’ understated way of registering disapproval, her explosive laugh, the way she talks about Steve McQueen. Her personality is enormous, and she plays the part of a movie star very well. Enjoy these few minutes with a legend.

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