Bette Davis was born Ruth Davis April 5, 1908 in Lowell, Massachusetts. Just before her 10th birthday, Bette's father, Harlow, left the family. Although she had little money, her mother, Ruthie, sent Bette and her sister to boarding school. Upon graduating Cushing Academy, Bette enrolled in John Murray Anderson's Dramatic School. In 1929, she made her Broadway debut in Broken Dishes. She also landed a role in Solid South. In 1930, she moved to Hollywood to screen test for Universal.
Six small films later, Bette's contract with Universal was not renewed. She wanted to go back to Broadway, but a phone call from Warner Brothers quickly changed her mind. In 1932, she signed a seven-year contract with Warner Brothers. The film The Man Who Played God (1932) landed Bette on the path to stardom. She was a smash when she was lent out to RKO for the role of Mildred in Of Human Bondage (1934), her first critically acclaimed hit. Her role in Dangerous (1935) led to her nomination for a Best Actress Oscar. She became the first Warner Brothers actress to win the coveted award.