17 January 2014

Bette's first divorce

Bette Davis was married four times. Her first husband was musician Harmon Nelson, whom she married in 1932. After six years of marriage, the couple divorced. By then Bette was already a successful actress (with roles in such films as "Dangerous" (1935) and "Jezebel" (1938)), whereas her husband couldn't really make a career for himself. The fact that she earned a lot more money than he did had only worsened their relationship. In 1938 when Nelson found out Bette was having an affair with Howard Hughes, he filed for divorce.


On 21 November 1938, Bette Davis sent a telegram to Jimmy Starr of the Los Angeles Herald Express. Starr was a gossip columnist with the Herald, and Bette wanted to inform him that she and Harmon were getting a divorce (and would not be reconciling, like Starr apparently thought):


Via: telegrams from last century

Transcript:

TDS BEVERLYHILLS CALIF NOV 21 1938

JIMMY STARR

LOSANGELES HERALD EVENING EXPRESS LOSA

THERE WILL NOT BE ANY RECONCILLIATION [sic] HARMON WILL APPLY FOR A DIVORCE

BETTE DAVIS

Note: Harmon Oscar Nelson is probably best known for his middle name. When Bette Davis won the Academy Award for "Dangerous" in 1935, she allegedly nicknamed the statuette Oscar after her husband. Bette Davis' story, however, has been disputed by others. Several people have claimed "ownership" of the name Oscar, amongst them Walt Disney.

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