If you’ve heard about Crazy in the Night, Don’t Fall in Love with a Dreamer, you surely heard about Bette Davis Eyes. But, of course, these are just some of the hits Kim Carnes released. But what was the story behind her song about Bette Davis’ eyes? And why did the legendary Bette Davis thank her?
After the release of the single “Bette Davis Eyes” in 1981, Bette Davis, who was 73 at the time, wrote to Kim Carnes. She thanked the singer and her writers for making her a part of modern times in the letter.
Who is Bette Davis?
Ruth Elizabeth “Bette” Davis was born on April 5, 1908, in Lowell, Massachusetts. Her parents separated in 1915, and by the fall of 1921, her mother moved to New York to enroll in the Clarence White Shcool of Photography. She had an apartment on 144th street of Broadway while she worked as a portrait photographer.
During this time, Davis was also in New York with her mother. She was the leader of her Girl Scout troop. They won a competitive dress parade at Madison Square Garden. Her time in New York truly inspired her to get into acting. After seeing the production of The Wild Duck, she was convinced.
The reason I wanted to go into theater was because of an actress named Peg Entwistle.Bette Davis
At the age of 22, she moved to Hollywood to do a screen test with Universal Studios. She traveled with her mother to Los Angeles by train, and because she didn’t look like an actress, the studio’s employee left. Davis was able to make it to the screen test but failed.
She did not give up. She agreed to take part in other screen tests for other actors.
I was the most Yankee-est, most modest virgin who ever walked the earth. They laid me on a couch, and I tested fifteen men. They all had to lie on top of me and give me a passionate kiss. Oh, I thought I would die. Just thought I would die.Bette Davis
(Source: Dark Victory Life)
Bette Davis in the Limelight
Her career took off from a small role in Waterloo Bridge, and the rest was history. She was nominated for several Best Actress awards only won the award twice; in 1935 for her role in Dangerous and in 1938, for her role in Jezebel.
She went on to act for more than 50 years and was part of 100 films and shows. In 1989 she collapsed during the American Cinema Awards. They found out her cancer had come back. She traveled to Spain to recover. Unfortunately, she did not. She was not well enough to travel back to the US. She passed away in France at the age of 81 on October 6, 1989 (Source: Dark Victory Life)
What Was Special About Davis’ Eyes?
Apart from her exceptional talent in singing and acting, Davis was known for her tantalizing eyes. It was known throughout the height of her career that her eyes were so beautiful and expressive. (Source: Smart Vision Labs)
Her eyes were a symbol of beauty on their own, that Kim Carnes released a song called Bette Davis Eyes in 1981. The song was composed by Donna Weiss and Jackie DeShannon. When the song became a hit, Davis was incredibly grateful to be part of modern times that she thanked Carnes and the composers. (Source: Song Facts)
Listen to the song here.