Bette, Rita, and the Rest of My Life

Gary Merrill, Author L. Tapley $18.95 (273p) ISBN 978-0-912769-13-4
This is the autobiography of a determinedly independent man who began to rebel seemingly shortly after he was born in New England in 1915. As actor, lover and occasional hell-raiser, Merrill captivates readers by recounting the details of his life, no less rocky than the Maine coast, his heart's true home. In his youth, he won roles in SRO plays ( Born Yesterday , Brother Rat , etc.); film parts followed, most memorably in the 1950s classic, All About Eve , and an off-screen role as Bette Davis's husband. The marriage lasted nine years before ``The Queen'' and her equally hard-headed spouse called it quits. Before the divorce, though, they had good times with their children and friends, and exhilarating visits with Hollywood and British luminaries. Merrill also has fond memories of his four-year affair with Rita Hayworth, who shines in a different light here. He voices a protest against ``an unbelievable book'' by Bette Davis's daughter, B. D. Hyman ( My Mother's Keeper ) as full of unfounded attacks on her mother. Photos not seen by PW. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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