Flashback: When Bette Davis Became the Academy's First Female President — and Resigned in Disgust

In 1941, the 33-year-old assumed Hollywood’s top job, proposed doing away with dinner and dancing at the Oscars and revoking the right of extras to vote — ideas that were later implemented — and was met with such great resistance that she stepped down after less than two months.

A version of this story first appeared in the March 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.

In late 1941, Hollywood was rocked by two big headlines that appeared less than two months apart on the front page of The Hollywood Reporter: Nov. 7’s “Davis First Femme to Prexy Academy,” followed by Dec. 26’s “Davis Resigns as Academy Prexy.”

The Davis in question? Bette, a 33-year-old, hugely popular star who was already a two-time…

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