Filmed in 1971, Bette Davis’ THIS IS YOUR  LIFE suffered from one major fault – it was far too short!  The format should surely have been an hour at least, but it never was.

A 25 minute running time meant Bette’s life and career was literally run through. When asked by Ralph Edwards if Bette was difficult, WILLIAM WYLER merely got to say “No.  Easy? No! She was demanding of everyone, mostly of herself.”

Bette made a point of saying Wyler was the best director she ever had. She said, “This is my all time hero as a director.”

The same with OLIVIA DE HAVILLAND who had flown in from Paris.

A few words about being intimidated by Bette initially and that was Olivia’s contribution.

What a waste.


William Wyler., Ralph Edwards, Bette Davis.



Olivia De Havilland, Bette Davis. (William Wyler and Bette’s sister Bobbie in the background)



Paul Henreid

Paul Henreid repeats the famous cigarette-lighting scene from Now Voyager. He mentions that Bette gave him the cigarette case he used after they made Deception.

That’s about the extent of his contribution to the program.

Also interviewed very briefly were Bette’s stand-in, Sally Sage and Victor Buono and Bette’s sister Bobbie .

Almost  the highlight of the program was the appearance of impersonator Barbara Heller who did an amazing Bette Davis.

Bette said, “She’s marvellous!”

There was no mention of Bette’s children.

Bette was at a meeting with Robert Wagner and others, discussing their forthcoming film Madame Sin when Ralph Edwards surprised her.

We look back now with regret that more advantage wasn’t taken of the opportunity to have people like William Wyler talk more about their films. But I guess This Is Your Life wasn’t the format for any in depth discussion.

4 responses »

  1. Vienna! Received your post on my site re “Thoroughly Modern Millie.” Sometimes, great minds don’t always think alike, right? Anyway, I don’t know if you saw my reply but, back in ’14, I wrote an essay, titled “Thoroughly Awful,” which explained my feelings at length about “Millie.” Here’s the link:

    Let me know what you think. You can reach me, if you feel compelled, at

    Thanks! And, as always, love your site.


  2. I did read your review and appreciate your reservations. It ‘s like when I watch the Bojangles

    number by Fred Astaire. I like it except for the blackface which was totally unnecessary.

  3. Ack, it’s too bad the episode couldn’t have been shown in two parts, especially since they went to all the effort to have those fabulous guest stars.

    However, you’ve made me desperately want to see this. I’m going to track this down!

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