How Did Bette Davis Die?

The newest FX anthology series, Feud, which premieres on March 5, follows the famous battle for attention between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford on the set of their shared film, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?. And even though both actresses have been gone for decades, they’re still very much a part of Hollywood’s history. Crawford died in 1977, but Davis passed away in 1989, more than 10 years later. So, how did Bette Davis die? Feud is all about the rivalry between the two actresses, but viewers may be wondering what happened to these iconic stars after the fact.

In 1989, at the age of 81 years old, Davis died of breast cancer. According to The New York Times, Davis’ lawyer said that in 1983 Davis had undergone a mastectomy and that, at the time, doctors had advised her to “go on going about her business.” Although the larger than life actress died of breast cancer in 1983, she spent an entire lifetime winning two Academy Awards and a Golden Globe, and nominations for countless films and TV shows over the years. But acting wasn’t the only place where Davis seemed to be in demand.

In 1941, she was the first woman elected to serve on the board of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, as president no less. But, according to Vanity Fair, she resigned several weeks later because she felt she’d only been chosen because she was a woman and she wasn’t meant to actually do work in the position.

On Feud, a small piece of Davis’ career is looked at during a time when she filmed What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? with rival Crawford. It was a feud that lasted all throughout the duration of filming (and many years before that) and one that arguably added to the film's success. But after the production had wrapped, Davis went on to continue to excel in her acting career. In fact, shortly before her death in 1989, Davis had been honored for her accomplishments at the San Sebastian Film Festival in Spain.

Although the feud between Davis and Crawford reached a peak in the only movie they ever filmed together, according to the New York Post, it was a feud that had gone on for the duration of their careers. According to the article, the feud began long before the actresses filmed What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? and that's something viewers will get to learn all about throughout Ryan Murphy's latest anthology creation.