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Some mothers feel it’s their right to dominate, push and pull. had also embraced the idea of publishing her book and had sold it to William Morrow. ” On earth, at least, Jeremy and his mother-in-law are now many miles apart.

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He turned out to be a born-again Christian and introduced B. Cryptic about their income, they say it comes from investments and business interests. One incident that stands out in their minds is the mystery of how the epilogue of the book came about.

The money from the book will not be unwelcome, but B. A final plea to Davis to listen, it grows increasingly religious near the end: “Regard this, Mother, as my cry in the wilderness, to prepare the way and make straight your path.” Curiously, neither B.

“Miss Davis has been very sad about the whole thing,” says her lawyer, Harold Schiff. writes or says, Mother has been devoted to that family.” The man who survived five tempestuous years, from 1945 to 1950, as Davis’ third husband takes a harsher view. ’ She told me there was room for only one star in this family.” Perhaps inevitably there were bitter fights, and during one, Sherry threw a “small steamer trunk” at Davis. She realized I wasn’t someone she could manipulate, although she never stopped trying.” The next Mr. “I cannot say I saw anything but love on Bette’s part.” R. Wagner, who produced and starred in Madame Sin with Bette, observes that “motherhood was her thing.

Davis’ son, Michael, a Boston attorney who is running for his second term as a member of the Brookline Board of Selectmen, fears that the book may be emotionally—and possibly physically—hazardous to his mother. William Grant Sherry, 70, a landscape painter in Mill Valley, Calif., succeeded Harmon Nelson, the band leader Davis married at age 24, and businessman Arthur Farnsworth, who died two years after their 1941 wedding. Davis, Michael’s father, Gary Merrill, is slightly more sympathetic to Bette—though not to Sherry. She couldn’t have been more generous or caring.” The dynamics of mothering are of major interest to B.

Her drinking had been pretty heavy for many years, but now [around 1973] it became really serious. Davis was married to her third husband, artist William Grant Sherry, when B. …” and Gary would slap me across the face or knock me down and Mother would scream louder that I was making it worse. D., who began to suspect that if Bette really resented Merrill’s attacks, she would have done something about it. was the child who clearly got most of Bette’s attention. shot back: “I never kiss and tell.” Snapped Bette: “Well, he better have.” Soon after, B. fell in love with Jeremy Hyman, a British film company executive 13 years her senior, foiling Bette’s hope that her daughter should remain always at her side. All you care about is your precious little love affair. If I wanted to, I could take him away from you right now.” After some stormy scenes, Davis reluctantly agreed to the marriage.

She not only drank in the morning, she was actually drunk by 10 a.m. When the marriage broke up in 1960, Bette focused increasingly on her work and her family—B. as well as on Michael, now 33, and Margot, 34, the two children she and Gary had adopted. She thought Margot should be treated with normal discipline.” It was not uncommon for her [Davis] to tiptoe in when I was taking a bath and giggle coyly while remarking on how amply endowed I was… When she began dating at 13, Davis encouraged her to experiment with sex. “She thought it would be a disaster, and I’d go running home to her, and she’d be proven right,” says B. “She thought she’d hold on to me through my misery.” But the union proved a happy one, and Bette retaliated, says B.

Once, at a family dinner, Bette had trouble carving a chicken. I like to feel the goo and blood and think of all the people who’ve done me dirt.” After digesting all this, readers will have good cause to wonder: Is it true? Merrill, who is now 69 and does voice-overs on IBM and Volvo commercials, considers B. I mean, here is a woman who took care of her and gave her money.” As for the accuracy of the book, he says: “There are kernels of truth in it, but multiplied. I wouldn’t start a fight.” He denies certain anecdotes in the book, such as the one in which he slashes wildly at B. “She is a kind of genius—an extraordinary woman,” says her old chum Olivia de Havilland, Davis’ co-star in Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte.

She flung the fork across the table, tore the bird apart with her bare hands and, “frequently licking her fingers,” presented the pieces to the astonished guests. Davis herself could be enlightening on the subject, but so far has remained silent. She’d visit with her for a while, then call over the governess.” Sherry corroborates B. “She could drink a bottle of Scotch a night and not show it at all,” he remembers. “Once a reporter wrote a very nice article about me, and Bette said: ‘How much did you pay him? Bette and I were both big drinkers, and sure I slapped her and B. We had physical fights, but not much more than the average family. “She loved her daughter and was immensely proud of her.” Geraldine Fitzgerald, Davis’ Dark Victory co-star, found Bette to be extremely devoted to her family.

She persistently demanded to see the manuscript and was told that she’d have to wait till the book was finished. D.) At one point, while she was filming a TV movie, Murder With Mirrors, in England, the actress, according to her daughter, asked a doctor to call B. and report that Davis had taken to her bed and was in danger of another stroke. To do so during her lifetime, some would say, is cruel and self-destructive. “If I could count the times Mother has said she hated me and didn’t have a daughter,” says B.

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