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All About Eve is without a doubt a cinematic masterpiece. Nominated for a record-holding nineteen awards, the film helped its star jump-start her stalled career.
Bette Davis said, “It was the greatest break at that point in my career that ever happened. There’s no question about it. As I told Mankiewicz, he resurrected me from the dead.”
Go behind-the-scenes of the dramatic tale below.
1. Another actress had the lead first.
Many actresses’ names came up for the lead including Susan Hayward, Barbara Stanwyck, Ingrid Bergman, Joan Crawford, Joan Fontaine, Greer Garson, and Paulette Goddard. Studio head Darryl F. Zanuck thought Marlene Dietrich would be perfect, but director Joseph Mankiewicz chose Claudette Colbert instead. However, a back injury on the set of Three Came Home meant that she needed to be replaced. They then turned to Bette Davis.
2. Bette fell in love on the set.
Davis and Gary Merrill worked together for the first time in All About Eve. Merrill, like the other cast members, were a little nervous about working with the famed actress, especially since her big personality proceeded her. He alleged quipped that no matter what it was like working with her, it would all be over in eight weeks. Little did he know, of course, that’d he’d fall in love. The pair were married in 1950.
3. Davis and Holm weren’t on friendly terms.
Celeste Holm and Bette Davis were only friends when the camera was running. As the story goes, Davis was annoyed with Holm's cheery, good manner. One day Holm welcomed Davis with “Good morning”, and Davis' response was less than charming... Afterward, the two never spoke. Despite this incident, however, both Holm and Anne Baxter maintained there was never any “catty” behavior on the set. Holm said, “Do you think Joseph Mankiewicz would have stood still for behavior of that kind? No!”