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The Forerunner

Barbara Davis Hyman story

By Editorial Staff
Published June 1, 1989

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (FR) – Some Hollywood columnists have called her a profit-hungry writer cruelly capitalizing on the mistakes of her movie star mother. But Barbara “B.D.” Hyman says she hopes that her mother will be able to experience the saving power of Jesus Christ, and she continually prays for her.

After publishing her first book, My Mother’s Keeper, which chronicled her life with film legend Bette Davis, Hyman wrote a sequel, Narrow is the Way, which is the story of her faith in Jesus Christ. The first book was written “as a plea for her to hear me before it was too late,” Hyman said. “I also believe that it gives an insight into aspects of her struggles that are of interest.” Her faith in Jesus Christ, she said, helped her cope with the subsequent publicity surrounding the controversial book.

Although to date Bette Davis has not become a Christian, and rarely communicates with her daughter, Narrow is the Way echoes B.D.‘s hope for salvation and reconciliation with her mother.

Five turbulent yet peaceful years have passed since B.D. and her husband, Jeremy, became Christians. Both of their sons, Justin and Ashley, are also Christians. Their conversion from agnosticism began when a Christian businessman unexpectedly visited them during the winter on their farm in Pennsylvania. “A man came to the door to deliver books for the Chamber of Commerce, and I agreed to buy one. It was the middle of winter, so we invited him in.” Mr. Serafino Fazio, a West Virginia businessman and outspoken Christian, was “half frozen,” and starved for outside company when they invited him into their home.

“We were bored and decided to bait the holy roller,” said B.D. “If there was one thing Jeremy liked more than prying into other people’s business, it was cornering holy rollers and arguing with them.” Educated in England, Jeremy Hyman went to church six times a week and twice on Sunday when he was a child. “He liked to say that he had not graduated from school but had escaped from church. But he and I were devout agnostics and considered religion to be for people who needed something to lean on. We only went to church for weddings, funerals and the odd christenings and were happy to keep it that way.”

B.D. related that they tried to trick the Christian gentleman with loaded questions. “We asked Serafino three questions: ‘Who do I have to give money to?,’ ‘Who’s church do I have to join?,’ and ‘What kind of religion is this?’ He didn’t quote any scripture, but said that Christianity wasn’t a religion because religion is man-made. We didn’t have anything in common, but invited him over for dinner a few times until he had to return to his office in West Virginia.”
The businessman sparked Mrs. Hyman’s curiosity about Christianity and she began watching “The 700 Club” and reading the Bible. “I was interested, but I wasn’t doing anything about it until a few weeks later,” she said. “It was 7:20 a.m., and I had just put my son on the bus. Suddenly, I was surrounded by the presence of Jesus and felt urged to make a solid commitment to Jesus Christ. I made a commitment, but didn’t tell Jeremy about it.”

She told her husband two nights later about her decision, but he viewed it as a temporary, emotional experience. “It was strange because we had been married for 20 years and this was the first time I stepped out and did something before my husband. We discussed Jesus a lot, and I asked him what it would take for him to believe. He said if I got healed of my back condition then he could believe.”

B.D. lived on pain pills and had a rare disease which rotted the ligaments in her back and caused them to literally wither away. “I was watching Pat Robertson on ‘The 700 Club’ when he began to pray for someone with my condition,” she explained. “He described my age, location, and back problem. The show had a one week tape delay, but I knew it was me he was talking about. I claimed it and was instantly healed!”

That same day she did some heavy lifting in her barn, and realized that she was healed. “I didn’t take any pills, and by the end of the day I did calisthenics. I was exhausted. But at home, when my husband Jeremy looked at me, he got teary-eyed and said, ‘The Lord is real.’ “ He soon became a Christian as a result of the miracle.

B.D. said her mother responded to her newly found faith by asking questions about Christianity. She even watched a few segments of “The 700 Club” because of her daughter’s testimony. However, the rift in their relationship continued to grow as B.D. grew in her faith. Eventually her mother stopped writing or calling her. In the meantime, the Hyman family moved to the Bahamas and joined an Assembly of God Church.

After a whirlwind three-week book tour for Mother’s Keeper, in which she was interviewed by U.S.A. Today, People, television talk show hosts, newscasters, and radio reporters, she returned to the Bahamas and began writing the sequel. “I wanted everyone, particularly Mother, to know that joy, to know that oneness with the universe and its Creator. It suddenly became important that I write to my mother. My book was in stores everywhere but it wasn’t enough. I had to let her know where I was and what I was doing. I had to remind her that nothing was over unless she wanted it to be over. I had to write to her and keep on writing.

“She wouldn’t answer my letters – I couldn’t even be certain that she would read them – but it was important to tell her that I loved her. Perhaps she would save the letters and take them out in moments of loneliness. She would know that I was still thinking of her. I wondered whether she would be angry that my life was better than ever and so full of joy. Would she try to figure out why? Was there really a chance that something, sometime, would awaken in her the knowledge that there was a gaping lack in her life?

“… What can convince her that we have to measure up now in order to inherit the future? What can convince her that fame cannot work a ticket to heaven, that Oscars will not fit the keyhole? What can possibly convince her that the only way is to say, ‘I accept you, Jesus, as my personal Lord and Savior?”

“I don’t know what will convince her, and it doesn’t matter that I don’t know. God knows … I won’t preach – I won’t even try to witness – I’ll just let her know what’s going on in my life and that I love her. Publishing my book has solved my problem but not hers. Praying for her isn’t enough. The least I can do is give the Holy Spirit the opportunity to work in her through the expression of my love.”

Today, B.D. and her family reside in Charlottesville, Virginia and her husband, Jeremy, is an illustrator of children’s books.


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Your comments are welcome!

This article is so one sided. B.D Hymans was anything but Christ-like to her mother who had just undergone a mastecomy and a major stroke. She abandoned her mother in her hour of need and added insult to injury when she published the hurtful book “My Mother’s Keeper”. This book devastated her mother. B.D states in her book it was she that stopped all contact with her mother, not the other way around. B.D Hyman is a prime example of everything that is wrong with Christianity today. She gives true Christians a bad reputation!!!

Posted by Jack Norman on 07/12/2008 02:44 PM #

Nobody knows the relationship between a daughter and mother. I loved Bette Davis and still do, but my beloved mom was much like her. The truth can be unpleasant and we can love people that are sometimes unpleasant. Give B. D. {Barbara} a break. You do not know the truth, she lived it.

Posted by Barbara Snyder on 07/27/2008 09:47 AM #

I do not agree with Jack Norman’s take on B.D. Hyman. Unless someone has lived under an oppressive and unreasonable parent, they cannot know. So it is unfair for people to judge what they cannot possibly understand since they likely never experienced anything close to what B.D. suffered. How do we know where we ourselves may draw the line with our own parents?…In B.D.‘s case, it was when her mother began to be verbally abusive to her own children and slapped one of her sons hard in the face for no good reason. Is it Christian to allow your mother to try to break up your marriage when that marriage has produced two children? Is it Christian to allow a controlling and abusive parent to control and abuse our own children right before our eyes? Yes, Bette Davis did have a mastecomy and a stroke and she likely had a personality disorder that needed psychiatric help, but B.D. was dealing with a strong-willed, famous, and powerful mother who was indeed so powerful that she had even taken a movie studio to court and won…Whatever the case, Bette Davis, as the mother, could have tried to compromise with her daughter’s request for peace if she wanted to, but she would not…If Bette Davis truly wanted to have a relationship with her daughter she could have, but evidence seems to point to the fact that Bette wasn’t willing to give in…She was more willing to lose the relationship with her daughter than to have it on B.D.‘s terms (which was to treat her husband and children with love and respect during her visits with them). There comes a time when a wife and mother has to take a stand for what is right and when faced with the very difficult decision, B.D. made the only choice she could i.e., her husband and her children. [Note too that B.D. was willing to be written out of her mother’s will thus losing her mother’s estate in order to have peace.]

Posted by Vicky Jackson on 07/30/2008 02:09 AM #

Hmmm…wonder why they don’t mention in this article how Bette Davis supported B.D. and Jeremy for years, and got nothing but a stab in the back for her efforts? She was far from perfect, but she loved her daughter intensely, as was her way. Jeremy did not like to work. When he did work, every business he touched failed. He fled to the Bahamas with his family after mailing the key to the family farm to the bank and leaving behind many angry creditors. People couldn’t STAND Jeremy. One was quoted as saying if the Hymans hadn’t fled the town, the townspeople would have had to “burn them out”.

Posted by Lynn on 08/14/2008 01:21 PM #

I read B.D.‘s book, and personally I believed every word of it. I am convinced her mother was a fire-breathing dragon just as Joan Crawford was the “Ice Queen.” Why do we put these people on pedestals? Celebrities are humans – sinners – with more license than most people to do as they please. Their very fame and riches deceive them. They believe they’re above it all. They don’t believe they have to repent of their sins. Why should they when there are so many people willing to flatter and accept whatever they do in the name of “artistic temperment.” They have been know to kill, or molest little boys and get away with it in America. Many people with stardust in their eyes don’t believe the truth about celebrities. This is a form of the most debilitating idolatry. It cripples the celebrity who won’t be reasoned with, and it handicaps anyone who dares to try to witness to them. (Most are afraid) I truly feel sorry for them though. God gave them talent, a great gift. Had they used their talent for His glory, think what they might have done. Even to hear a Christian celebrity inspires awe in most people. Actors are like Greek tragic heroes who truly “miss the mark.” “They gained the whole world, yet lost their souls.” P.S/ As to this bashing of the Hymans, why are people so desperately against the truth? Is Bette your goddess? Did she die on the cross for your sins?

Posted by joanne hairston on 09/17/2008 03:55 AM #

Joanne, what makes you so certain that it’s BD who’s telling the truth? It seems to me that you’ve decided to cleave to the word of a sensationalist author whose so-called Christian spirit didn’t even see fit to speak with her ailing mother before publishing a defamatory, tattletale novel about her, rather than the great number of people who came to Davis’s defense.

Posted by Kelly Sward on 09/27/2008 03:07 AM #

wow…I just read Joanne hairstons comments on BD and Bette Davis. I’d like to offer to pay for her cat scan. Totally off the mark. Just because the world recognized a tremendous talent in Bette Davis doesn't mean they see her as perfect personally….the point is, BD wrote this book while her mother was gravely ill. Christian?
She denied her children to see Bette when she was ill. Christian?
Face it, sweetheart…the girl saw dollar signs. BTW, just for the record. I love Jesus. :)

Posted by Joseph Farley on 09/28/2008 12:55 AM #

BD reminds me sadly of my own daughter, a child I adored, supported, and did everything for. Out of the blue my daughter simply changed and became a stranger to me. She refused to talk not only to me but to her siblings. She invented horrible untrue stories of her childhood and she truly seems to believe these stories. She thrives and being a “victim” yet she never was. Something mentally happed to my daughter when she turned 30 she is now 39 and none of us in the family are permitted to talk to her or her children and we don’t understand why. I know the pain Ms. Davis must have felt when her own daughter did this to her, I understand. At least the book about Crawford wasn’t published in her lifetime, BD is playing the victim for cash or maybe she is just mentally ill like my child and believes her made up stories. It truly is sad.

Posted by Dux on 10/12/2008 04:36 PM #

This is what I experienced growing up:

A father who shot himself when I was 6 years old, an alcoholic mother who threatened suicide constantly. She would send me to bed with the remark … “someday you’re going to wake up and I’ll be gone – dead and gone.”

I was told to kill all our animals because I forgot to feed them one night. The majority of my nights were spent alone in my bedroom listening to my mother cry, sob, and rage. She would burst into my room at 3:00am and scream that she hated my father, hated me and she wished I’d never been born. I was told I reuined her life by being born.

Practically every night for some 8 years, she would come into my room, enraged eyes bulging, threating me in new and different ways. Sometimes I would hide in the closet or under the bed or try and run away from home.

There are many more stories, but you get the idea.

I’m now 50 years old, my mother passed in ’87 and low and behold – this woman who would seemingly be called a “monster” is now … one of my heroes. Yes, she inflicted pain – but eventually I was able to look beyond my own pain and truly see HER pain. It’s no excuse for such abusive behavior – but it does give understanding from whence her anger, hurt and rage came.

In the end … when she died, I could truly forgive my mother for being human. And now, 21 years later – I understand who she was as a person and … I love and FORGIVE her.

Difficult circumstances were thorwn her way early in her life, but she was a survivor. She did the best she could with what she had at the time. During those years there were no support groups and no discussion “family secrets”.

I think B.D. Hyman’s book is disgraceful. Even if all of it is true – it is a disgrace and a selfish way to find healing – though I doubt that was Hyman’s motive for writing it. Revenge seems more likely.

In my opinion … Hyman, is not a Christian.

Posted by Tamara on 11/02/2008 02:25 PM #

Tamara,

The intensity of your story, as powerful as it is, is only overshadowed by the compassion in your heart. My father recently died. I think I could have easily written a book such as Hyman’s and meant each and every line. At my father’s funeral I began to discover just how many people’s lives my father had touched. How many people loved him and for good reason. I felt as though I was learning about a stranger, not the man I had known all my life. It did not erase my pain and in fact in some ways made it a bit more difficult; I regretted that I had not known this stranger. I do not know Hyman’s intent on why she actually wrote the book. I am am confident, the pursuit of profit and/or the satisfaction of human ego were co-authors. Ms. Davis was one of the most famous women in the world and by shaming her into ‘accepting’ the Lord by embarrassment is a low tactic at best. Ego driven people who profess to be Christians often self appoint themselves to become God’s spokespersons on earth and can almost without any apparent effort justify any and all actions they do as a revelation from the Lord —- directly. A book such as the first written by Hyman does not serve to heal, it wounds. It shames. I wonder in all the monies that Hyman got from her first book how much of it was spent on the purported goal of healing the relationship of daughter and Mum? On a personal note to Hyman, your mother stood not in your way when you wanted to marry at 16, how controlling could she have been? I think it is great that Hyman prayed for her Mum to understand, I would also ask Hyman to pray for herself to understand and, instead of talking, preaching or writing, just listen.

Posted by Thomas Mann on 01/19/2009 03:28 AM #

This is so mixed up. BD chose the wrong WAY to introduce Bette to Jesus and yes this can give those of us who love Jesus a bad reputation. BD should have talked with her mom about the immense love of Jesus and how accepting His love and living like Him is the only real way, truth and life. Since Bette loved BD – love would have been the way to go. Love from BD and love from Jesus. That could have worked, certianly not a rude book.

Posted by Ann on 01/20/2009 12:13 AM #

Bottom line folks: the Bible tells us to “honor thy father and thy mother..” It says nothing about respecting parents as long as they do what you want them to. Clearly BD missed this part of the Bible when she was reading it. Of course, the book about Bette was all true! I’m a HUGE Bette Davis fan and I’ve read nearly every book about her that was ever written and literally by ALL accounts, BD was NOT lying about her mother’s personality. BUT…..that still did not give BD the “right” to publish such a horrific and painful book of her mother, regardless of whether or not the timing was wrong. The timing for a book of this sort about one’s own mother is NEVER right. If Davis was such a “difficult” and “abusive” parent, then both BD and her husband could have taken steps to protect their children from their grandmother that didn’t involve writing a book and airing the family’s dirty laundry. Yes, I’m sure Bette Davis was a very difficult person to be around, but she was still BD’s mother and deserved BD’s respect nonetheless. BD’s actions are disgraceful, shameful, hurtful, and simply disgusting!

Posted by Mike Powell on 01/24/2009 05:25 PM #

I believed some of it. I think each incident related was embellished. I particularly thought references such as, “mother told me how ravishing I was” were a bit telling. Bette was portrayed as evil & B.D. portrayed herself as the sane,intelligent, “beautiful” one. That’s what I got from it. But I’m not buying it. Perchance, was B.D. a bit intimidated by her mother’s accomplishments? While growing up hob-nobbing with celebrities, did she feel inadequate? Just way too one-sided. Final words: I could never have done that (the book) to my mother.

Posted by Ro on 01/25/2009 03:24 PM #

It was ok for B.D. to take money from her mother. Her husband never worked and Davis supported them. What a human being. And she calls herself a Christian.Why did she keep taking money from her mom if she was so terrible to her.

Posted by susan on 01/26/2009 02:35 PM #

I believe B.D. was wrong in writing the book she says in the book she wanted only ruth elizabeth in her life not bette davis to show up in her life but she wants to make money off that name and now she is useing bette in her name when her name is Barbara. And through out the book she goes on about how neg. her mother is and not one thing she did wrong or jeremy. And she went on and on about everyone saying how pretty she was and how well she does this and that. Very concedided.It sounds like to me her mother did have alot of problems and her mother did love her alot and spoiled her alot.With the problems that her mother had I do not feel that it should have warranted telling the whole world,oh she says to get her Mom to understand what is wrong but that is no way to do it.How would she felt if her mother would have wrote a tell all book of that nature about her for the world to see. That is not right. I am not saying what Miss Davis did was right either ,But she did not deserve that from her daughter that says she loved her, A daughter that Loves their mother does not do that. You can never take that back. And now Miss Davis is gone and B. D. was not able to make it right with her mother before her mother left this world. I thank God I do not have anything like that on me to my mother when she left this world.I am sure B. D. has to be feeled with sorrow I know I would be..

Posted by Cee Cee on 02/05/2009 01:52 PM #

I go with Norman. I’ve read B.D.‘s bk , and thisnthat, The lonely life by B.Davis.
I am aOrthodox Jew so I do believe in G-d. We don’t believe in converting people. But we do believe in Shalom Beit=peace in the home. The fact that B.D. was worried about whether her
mother read her letters or not- is a big fat sign she needed to deal with her issues in Private. How can she expect her mother to NOT shut down when B.D. chose to embarass her mother in pubic. It is an insult after her book to then want to turn her mother to Jesus.
while the pressures of Hollywood may have added
stress to any normal life. At the worst I would give her a 5 out 10
as a hollywood mom. But she tried to do right by
her children.
B.D. a child of priveldge, not a high school graduate and extremely naive. she does not deserve to be in the same room with her mother. Bette has been dead awhile now. Even when people die the relationship goes on..so
B.D. has had along time in hell on earth thinking
about how she did not honor her mother per the
10 commandments. What a contrast to Bette’s book the lonely life- that Bette dedicated to her
mother Ruthie. Bette adored her mother and appreciated all the hard
work her mother did. By the way in the end I give Bette a 9 as a mother even with all the flaws. I know Bette pasted all of G-d’s tests. May her soul rises higher.

Posted by a.dole on 02/13/2009 10:38 PM #

I am trying to contact B.D. Hyman and found her website; was not remotely surprised to discover that, though she offers countless opportunities for you to PAY her “in the name of God”, hers is one of the VERY few websites out there that does not accept emails. Once again, big surprise. The money that she and her husband accepted from her mother throughout her adult life is a matter of public record, yet she chose to vilify a woman who, though admittedly a bit eccentric, blazed a path for countless women, whether on the stage or as a mother. Ms. Hyman’s writing style, if one can indeed refer to it as “style” is nothing short of hilarious and again, one would think that her publisher, and you for supporting her in her ceaseless pursuit of the dollar, would be thoroughly ashamed. I’ll re-state the obvious – if her mother had been such a monster, why in the world did she entrust her two children to her care on countless occasions and for such extended periods of time – thousands of miles away from their “loving mother”? Obviously this email is several years late and as I am an avid reader can only express surprise (and extreme pleasure) that “Hyman” has just now finally reached my attention. Do not bother to respond to this email as your email address will be blocked from my server. You are beyond contempt – and there are simply no words to describe the greed, avarice, selfishness (what sins does she NOT exemplify?) of “hyman”. I only wish that poor Ms. Davis might have died prior to publication of this revolting piece of utter filth.

Posted by marcy on 02/18/2009 11:48 AM #

Bette Davis obviously suffered with Borderline Personality Disorder. BD Hyman was a loyal daughter until her mother physically abused her five year old son. I see BDs book as a love letter spoken in truth to enable her mother to repent of her sins. Jesus spoke unpopular truth too. Some of you people should try spending a day with a personality disordered parent and then see how judgmental you are. Shame on you!

Posted by sojourner on 02/26/2009 02:06 AM #

A true Christian or someone who truly understood Christ’s message of forgiveness and love would not have chosen to tear her family apart by humilating their parent in public. Regardless of the timing, which I personally find disgusting, or whether or not what Hyman says is true or not she (Hyman) should have shown more Christian behavior by dealing with these very private family issues in private within the family or else by living her life privately with own family without contact to her mother. Hyman is surely intelligent enough to know that by publishing this book she would only make the issues between her and her mother worse. I am in no way a fan of Bette Davis. Her career was a little before my time but I do have my doubt about some of Hyman’s account based on what I have.
As others have mentioned.
1. Why would an extremely controlling mother have allowed and been approving of her 16 year old daughter marrying despite public criticism. My guess is Bette put her daughter’s happiness above her image and her rights as a parents in this case. Hardly a mother obsessed with controlling her daughter’s life.
2. Why did Hyman and her husband as physically capable adults continue to rely on Bette financially up until the very end of their relationship…

This woman Hyman is a Christian with a very poor understanding of Christian morality. I guess she completely overlooked Christianity and the Bible’s emphasis on respecting one’s parents, not the mention completely overlooking the central tenant of Christianity FORGIVENESS. And no publishing a tell-all scandal book for millions of dollars is not the way to forgive someone or heal old wounds..

Posted by Lena on 03/26/2009 09:52 AM #

as a best friend to BD Hyman’s eldest son Jeremy Ashley, I can tell you that that was a needed book for her to write to bring the horrible and bipolar life that was with Bette Davis.

Jeremy says his grandmother was horrible in general. I don’t think one can be judgemental to BD when she is releasing the pain she had living with her mother, fathers and lovers. It’s nice to know she has found PEACE with her ministry and books

Posted by PG on 04/15/2009 11:00 PM #

I know frome personal experience how Bette Davis would be consideredbipolar. When I studied with her she was very manic and had no tolerance to those who did not act in a perfect way. She would scream at the top of her lungs and curse you if you did a scene up to her standards—she had no patienceIlove her films and have them all but from a personal objective I can see why BD wrote her book.

Posted by PG on 04/15/2009 11:08 PM #

I think everyone should be ashamed. When BD wrote the book, her intentions in her mind could have been good. It could have been a healing process for her, right or wrong. Who says that hindsight she doesn’t regret it? Also, are any of you any better by judging her? Be careful that you will not be judged by how you are judging. We all grow spiritually and sometimes what we have done, in good faith, as Christians, in hindsight, we would change and do differently.

Posted by Sherry on 05/08/2009 07:26 PM #

Ms. Hyman seems to have missed the forgiveness part of the message of Christ. ‘ Forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us’…. Ms. Hyman is in a lot of trouble.

Posted by Christina Archer on 05/16/2009 01:36 PM #

wow ..sojourner what med school did you go too? What was abusive to the 5 year old grandson? A spanking? as told by children,,,are you crazy?

Posted by Joyce on 05/28/2009 03:11 PM #

As a Bette Davis Fan, I read “My Mother’s Keeper”, some 20 years ago and recently started rereading it. At the time I first read the book, I was not yet married and had no children. Now, as the mother of two, almost adults, I question, how/why at 16 was B.D. not in school? There is no mention of any education past elementary school and tutors at the elementary school level. I hate to think that my 17 year old, in the 11th Grade, has more education than this uneducated Peacher Girl. Do Educated People really take her seriously? B.D. seemed to enjoy all the perks that went along with her famous Mother, but then stabbed her in the back with “My Mother’s Keeper”. Family business belongs in the Family. Has anyone ever heard of “Don’t Put Our Dirty Laundry Out in Street”? The “B” in “B.D” stands for “Barbara”, Not “Bette”. She was named after her Aunt Bobby, Bette’s Sister. Also, no mention of her mentally challenged, adopted sister, Margot. After B.D. found god, did she go find her sister? Or was that somebody’s else’s job? My final thought is that B.D. is a Very Selfish, Mean Spirted Person. Now in her 60’s, do we, the tax payers and folks that worked our whole lives at real jobs, have to pay social security benefits to a women that never worked an honest day’s work in her life? B.D. always seems to have her hand out.

Posted by Cindy on 06/05/2009 09:15 AM #

So let’s look at chronology, BD went to hospital hoping her Mother would die, she was informed her Mothers estate was basically broke and her Mother could no longer support her. She decides the ONLY way she could earn money was to write an exaggerated book. But Mother did not die (but also still could not support her) so she and her family ran off to the Bahamas, to hide from creditors, and sell her book. God forgive her. She will not be seeing her Mother, who is in heaven. Her Mother’s estate was mostly what was received from her awards being auctioned off, no real property or money. BD got a big piece of it already, nothing much left…….

Posted by Joyce on 06/12/2009 03:54 PM #

I’ve just finished Mrs. Hyman’s book.
I am a what she terms “Holy Roller”.
Her book gave me insight more to her Mother’s LOVE for her (B D).
I understand that B D and her husband may not have known the Lord when the book was written, however hearing over and over how much Bette LOVED her daughter and all B D would have needed to do was insure her Mother of her LOVE!
Also I would like to point out that to leave her smallest child screaming and begging her NOT to leave him would have made me completely change plans immediately.
Not to mention that her oldest son doing the movie and having such severe problems would have had me on the next plane there to protect my child.
Neither I nor anyone else is B D’s judge that is totally up to God but putting the book out there as her Mother was facing one of the worst battles of her life, it is so sad that Ms.Davis who was and still is one of the most Beloved stars of the silver screen.
If Bette had a problem and needed mental care as her daughter if she loved and cherished her Mother would have forced her into getting the help she needed so badly.
I’ve watched old talk shows in which Bette never did anything but PRAISE her daughter.
In fact reading the book and how she dared speak to her Mother at a young age was disgushing.
B D never spoke of physical abuse of her or her brother at the hands of her Mother however she talked about her Mother’s abuse of her children
I firmly believe that B D did not desire or care about her Mother recovering after the cancer and strokes.
Why oh why did you not cut her off when as you described her outrageous behavior,in the beginning why did you not just walk away for good then.
Nobody held a gun to your head or twisted your arm to make you stay.
This book is far worse than Mommie Dearest which I also failed to believe.
B D pray for yourself. you could and should have handled this so much better.
Your Dear Mother supported you all your married life only to have you (the one she wanted LOVE from the most) to rake her over the coals in her hour of need.
When we all stand before God how do you intend to explain your hateful treatment of your Mother??

Posted by Sarah on 07/05/2009 10:26 PM #

There’s never any justification for betraying a parent. If you have a problem with your mother or father, you suck it up. Whatever you may feel, you owe them at least that. BD wrote her book for money. I just wish she were Christian enough to admit it.

Posted by Lyon on 07/17/2009 07:03 PM #

I just finished watching a program about Bette Davis on TCM. It is very hard to believe that this woman B.D. Hyman might be a so-called Christian. “Christianese” perhaps!! I can’t understand how she can talk about her mother the way she did and claim that she believes in God! I am a Christian, believe in God and love my mother and the rest of my family, even though my mom was not very nice to me. But I can understand that she had problems and if she was mean, many times it was the alcohol talking, not her. This B.D. Hyman is not a Christian in my book, but someone who is still riding on the coattails of her mother. How sad that she is nothing and has to be known as Bette Davis daughter to count for something.

Posted by Vicky on 08/08/2009 07:15 PM #

I’m a Christian, also a fairly recent convert, or revert really back to the Catholic Church that I grew up in. I also was raised by parents who I think suffered from some serious psychological problems, and I was abused horribly when I was a kid. I don’t know what sort of parent Bette Davis was. Often great talent and great ambition can be difficult to deal with up close.

What is distressing is the BD Hyman never seems to use the words, “I’m sorry” or never expresses any sort of repentance that I can see. I know that my parents problems lead me down a path where I ended up doing a lot of bad things myself. I don’t beat myself up over what I became, but I still apologize for what I did. BD gives the familiar lines about not preaching, while she in fact is preaching.

Perhaps a lot of my problems stems from cultural and religious differences between the Catholic Church and these independent, do-it-yourself sects of Christianity. The Catholic Church is made up of humans and as such makes many mistakes. But it is an old tradition, with a quiet, deep spirituality. Perhaps BD could learn from the wisdom of the past, and learn most of all to be silent about things that are in the past.

The best evangelism comes not from hitting people over the head as happens too often, but in living your life in a way that astounds the world. Perhaps if BD had apologized to her mother in her second book, I would take her faith more seriously.

But Jesus heals us, just not all at once. Perhaps this is what is happening to BD. I don’t know.

Posted by MarkF on 08/08/2009 07:17 PM #

Bette Davis should have cooked her daughter a RAT for dinner after writting that book!!!

Posted by Scott on 08/08/2009 08:35 PM #

I am one of the thousands and thousands of people who like B D has suffered from the hands of an abusive parent. I haven’t written a book, but could, my father just was not famous like her Mom so it probably would not have near the impact on peoples lives. I have written a lot in regard to the abuse and thrown it in the trash. I would never judge B D neither should anyone else, there is only one judge. I am truly sorry for this life that was almost destroyed but what the devil means for harm, God uses it for His good. Life deals humanity horrible blows but thru the cross all has been forgiven and covered by the blood of Jesus. My past is dead, why go back and drag up dead stuff. Thank God, for His mercy, grace and forgivness because thru all of these comes healing and restoration. I am a 60 year old woman married to the same man for 43 years had many difficult times we have three sons two of which are pastors the youngest has his media business working for a church in Dallas.I spent many years in prayer and standing for them and I thank God a curse has been broken over both my and my husband’s family. We all have our own thoughts and ideas but there is only one that is truly right about it all and He is sitting at the right had of God our Father and has sent the Holy Spirit to direct us thru this life until the day of Jesus return. I believe B D will keep the main thing, the main thing-salvation and that Jesus is the only way, the only true way.

Posted by Renae Welch on 08/08/2009 08:53 PM #

I am so grateful to have found this string. Both of BD Hyman’s books were deeply dishonest and motivated by money. It is established fact that during the leanest financial years of Ms. Davis’ career she was the sole provider for her daughter’s family of four, including a husband who could not or would not maintain gainful employment. That mere fact alone completely undermines Hyman’s version of why the two women came into conflict to begin with: that Ms. Davis was irrational in her dislike of her daughter’s husband, and that she was jealous of her daughter’s marital success. No aging actress forced to take jobs to support her son-in-law’s family has any reason to be jealous, and any ensuing dislike or contempt is entirely rational. I think BD’s alleged conversion to Christianity was the only way she could manage her guilt about betraying an admittedly difficult mother who fanously loved her more than anything or anyone else, by all accounts, including BD’s. If anyone ever reads the second book, you’ll find that she justifies her husband’s failure to work upon relocating to the Bahamas, as well as the family preference for snorkling and sleeping in over church attendance. It wasn’t until after their profits from their ill-gotten gains were wiped out in the stock market (to quote BD, “Satan stole our money;” that’s an actual quote from an interview she gave) that she created her own ministry. Presumably her parishioners are encouraged to attend services and tithe even on beach days.

This woman is a disgrace.

Posted by charlotte on 08/29/2009 11:51 AM #

BD Hyman has to earn a living somehow. Perhaps now she’ll “honor thy mother” since there’s financial gain to be had.

Posted by James Haydn on 09/15/2009 11:00 PM #

I believe every word B.D. wrote in “My Mother’s Keeper”. I also believe her to be a good person and a good christian. Hopfully she did give Bette something to think about in her final days and I pray that Bette accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior.

Posted by RLB on 10/29/2009 07:27 AM #

I am a Christian. So is my mother. And yet, my three brothers and I were raised by a mother who was both physically and emotionally abusive. We all agree that our mother makes Joan Crawford and Bette Davis look like perfect little angels. I thank God that I had the wherewithal to know that I needed help to prevent me from repeating the behavior with my own children. At 26 and 24, they are both non-abused, well adjusted young adults now serving our country with pride.

As a child, I longed for my mother’s love and affection. Never got it. In my early twenties, I became angry about it. By my mid thirties, I had learned that my mother too had been a victim of her own childhood. She had learned, at least in part, to be incredibly monstrous towards us, as a result of her own experiences and natural responses to those experiences.

Sure, I thought about writing a book many years ago, to show that in this life, we are beneficiaries and or victims of our upbringing. It’s easy to love your mother when you’re a beneficiary. It’s not so easy when you’re victim. Still, it is no less mandatory…most especially when you are a Christian.

The one thing I could never forget though, was that no matter how awful she was, she was THERE. She raised all four of us by herself. There was no support of any kind from our father, yet materially, we wanted for nothing. This she accomplished during a time when it was extremely difficult for ANY woman to land a good paying job…let alone a BLACK woman. Yes, God is good…and so was Bethlehem Steel!

Very rarely do I ever hear people complain about how abusive their fathers were to them; maybe because they weren’t around? If he was around, and allowed it, isn’t he just as guilty? Or maybe he was too busy abusing the mother to bother with the children? Having two grown children of my own, I choose to be mindful of what it was like to carry them for nine and half months: Three months of morning sickness; learning the real meaning behind the phrase; “barefoot and pregnant”; seemingly endless doctor’s visits and exams; watching everything I ate and drank, and taking daily vitamin and mineral supplements, all in an effort to bring the most healthy babies into this world…which, thank God I did. I remember the labor pain too; along with the stress and pressure I felt to regain my pre-pregnancy figure for myself, and for my husband. Having this experience made me realize something: As awful as she was, my mother had similar experiences bringing the four of us into this world. Having a baby is a beautiful thing; but it’s not exactly easy. If it were, men would do it!…just kidding…sort of.

Seriously though: It is one thing for men, and women who have not yet given birth to take the kinds of things mentioned above for granted. But those of us who have had this experience should treat each other with a much greater and deeper respect. This includes those of us that were raised by abusive mothers. Even they have earned our love and respect. Stop allowing society and even ourselves to take this incredible process for granted. Every year, thousands of women still die here in the U.S. from complications due to childbirth. Not to mention all the other ailments and diseases that manifest themselves for the first time during pregnancy. Many of these never go away. Like countless others, Bette Davis risked her life and good health to bring her daughter into this world. Christian or not, this book does not honor that.

There is a difference between judging someone, and making an assessment. I judge no one; not my mother; not B.D. Hyman; not anyone. I do however make the following assessment and come to this conclusion: My awful mother did an awful lot for me (pun intended). But; if all my mother ever did for me was to bring me into this world, then she has done more for me than any one in this world could ever possibly do; for SHE is the vessel God used to bring me into this life. Any and every good thing she does beyond that is “gravy.”

Posted by Donna on 11/15/2009 09:16 PM #

All these comments from people who don’t know the Hymans. I know Jeremy, B.D., and her two children, personally.
You might want to do the same before you determine what kind of people they are.

Posted by Jerry on 11/29/2009 03:30 PM #

I couldn’t agree more with you Ann! Look people here’s the thing, this story is so one sided, foolish and idiotic. No Bette Davis wasn’t perfect…but lets look at the whole picture. If my mothers breast was cut off and she had a stroke I’m not writing anything but a get well card. This has nothing to do with Bette Davis the star, this is Bette Davis a human being and child of God. BD a year prior to writing that book said on 60 minutes how wonderful her mother is (well was) and how she uses her moms parenting skills on her own kids. You want to introduce Christianity into someones life? You don’t threaten, force, kill, beat, or bully. This is not being “Christ” like. Christ is an enlightened being, he loved all and had no hatred in his heart. He didn’t spread his message by force or hate. What she did was a hateful thing and oh wow she watched the 700 club…that explains alot. Since when has Christianity been titled “conservative” or “liberal”? All words used by man to create the illusion of seperation and superiority. May God, Goddess, Buddha, Vishnu, Krishna, The Universe, what ever diety (or dieties) you believe in bless you know and forever.

Posted by Pancakes on 12/05/2009 04:32 AM #

The book that BD wrote should’ve been her own private journal, if she wanted catharsis. No, she wanted the world to judge and dislike her mother because she was jealous of her fans.
Most all have had difficulties with parents, especially parents of that era. They themselves were brought up by parents who suffered hardships and learned behaviors from their own parents. The alcoholism was a major factor in Bette’s life. With any other disease she would’ve been given some slack, but with alcoholism people only judge.
I find the fairytale marriage in the book a coping mechanism. No sixteen year old understands married love. No sixteen year old knows what love really is. The book makes me think that BD still did not understand what love is, or hard work for that matter.
I too got married at sixteen, no clue regarding reality.Finished high school, raised four children, went to college, becme a professional,worked hard all my life like BD’s mother. It’s only too bad that Bette poured so much into her daughter instead of finding a loving partner to share her life and good fortune with instead of sharing all this with an unappreciative daughter. In my eyes she deserved that no matter what kind of person she was. Perhaps she’d of been a better person had she found a truely loving partner.

Posted by Marsha on 12/06/2009 12:47 AM #

Very well put, Donna!
I wanted to write because I too felt compelled to point out that The Hyman defenders are very quick to cry that the Bette defenders are judging. It’s not really judging though. Just like donna pointed out they are assessments on the situation.

One thing that is interesting is that The Hyman defenders are holding onto that “DON’T JUDGE” doctrine but completely ignoring God’s message of forgiveness. I guess it is confusing to me that their only argument is that Bette defenders should stop judging and that “nobody knows what it’s like”

It’s no secret Bette Davis was a difficult and accentric person. OK. Yes we got that. But when the woman was in failing health was there really any more risk of harm? Really? Like others have said: Walk away. I am pretty certain Hyman would have gotten a lot further with Bette by shutting her out. Not by writing a book. After all, Bette loved attention. Thrived on it actually. During WWII she used to cajole her fans into buying war bonds. When questioned about her methods she told her skeptics that people expect that behavior from her. So a scandalous book about her would only fan flames that were already lapping at the heals of those involved. And if it was about releasing the hurt and anger onto paper. Do what they tell you in therapy and write a journal!!! It’s private and it works wonders.

Monetary gain was on the front burner here. Not healing.

One other note. Hyman’s version of Christianity is based around the Rapture and end of the world armegeddon stuff. From interviews I have seen of her she very rarely talks of a forgiving God and love and family. Her God is swift with vengeance and punishment. I thought that was kind of strange.

Anyway, I forever will be a fan of Bette Davis and her work knowing full well how ornery she could be.

As for Hyman: I choose to disregard her existence. Something she could have chosen to do instead of writing such propaganda.

Posted by Lynn H on 12/31/2009 12:26 PM #

I’ve read the above
messages; only a few
make sense. Why is it
that some people GET
it while others NEVER
do. Compassion I mean.
B.D. has passed the
age of enlightenment
and has made amends to
the public that loved
her mother so much.
I too come from an
abusive childhood.
So what! Should I play
the victim forever?
I think not.
In the fifties when
I was a kid growing
up on a farm, I couldn’t
wait to do my chores
and run into our
shotgun shack to watch
the noon movie. If it
was with Bette Davis I
was elated. Whatever
else she was, she was
a trooper and a great
actress. B.D should
be thanking her God
that Bette Davis
decided to have her and
raise her and love her
to the best of her ability.

Posted by Lydia Bennett on 01/04/2010 03:56 PM #

I’ve read these posts with great interest, for I grew up in a wealthy, dysfunctional, abusive, alcoholic family. A family that looked good to the community, for the most part, and is much respected and admired by most people in the community. Let’s cut to the chase. BD Hyman knew that Davis would soon die, and she (Hyman) could inherit that huge fortune. Had she been the profit driven awful person some of you are claiming, wouldn’t it have been easier to just be quiet and inherit the estate? Yet she was willing to write the book and cut the ties. The profits of that book, I’m sure, pale in comparison to the size of the Davis estate. She is more than credible. I’m a middle class accountant, who grew up hunting and fishing on a huge family Texas ranch. My family was and is in the oil business, to this very day. They are wealthy. I cut the ties seven years ago. The abuse that I took growing up, the alcoholic, violent jerk that my dad is……he was raised with a silver spoon, my beloved late grandparents built the company. My two half brothers suffered almost as much as me, though my hateful stepmother did pet them, but all three of us were nevertheless subject to my Dad’s fits. My brothers had the same gripes and complaints, they despised him, and I often took up for them, being the oldest. But when I left, they sided with him, they cut me off. They can do math. A big ranch and oil company divided by two is better than divided by three.
Bottom line is, I have few regrets. My wife and I are raising our children in our Christian home. My children are sheltered. They are not being raised in a hell hole, and they are happy, which is something that I never was growing up. I’ve found out alot about people the last few years, and the power and influence of money. To most of the folks that are defending Davis on these posts, you remind me of my two half brothers. You are a respecter of persons. If you would have lived B.D.‘s life from childhood, you would probably be a famous actress now, drunk with power and sin, wealthy from your mothers cash and your own fame and cash also, the spitting image of your mother in every way, and Hell bound.
B.D. could have stayed in the family. I could have sayed in my family. That’s the easy way. I admire her.
One other thing, as bad as my dad was, he was better than my mother, who I neve saw after the age of 11. My wife never saw her dad after the age of 10.
Neither my wife nor I have any use for bad, absent, or abusing parents. Not too much makes me mad, but you folks that are on here defending Davis….that makes me mad.
Thy Bible says honor your Father and Mother some of you have posted. I believe that, but I think that the Bible doesn’t contradict itself. The Bible says to PROVOKE NOT your children to wrath. It also says, Jesus said, that in the last days in some situations mother will be against Daughter, Father against son.
Now are these three things in contradiction? No.
The Bible is not in contradiction to itself. I think the Word of God probably means to Honor your mother and father, especailly if they honor God. But if they are truly evil, I don’t think the Lord wants you to honor THAT. The Bible clearly says, “What fellowship does light have with darkness.?”
I admire B.D. Hyman. I just found out tonight that she even existed, reading a wikipedia article about Joan Crawford, and then Bette Davis. I find inspiration in her story.

Posted by Keith on 01/29/2010 12:39 AM #

Well, I read Ms. Hyman’s book years ago, and haven’t hunted it down for a re-read. She does not seem to have forgiven her mother. I’ve just lost my mom and in church have realized that I miss her. Mothering was not her forte’, but I miss her still. I love her very much, and hope that she loves me too. Forgiveness is a process, but it can mean freedom.

Posted by Christina Archer on 02/28/2010 02:57 PM #

I know B.D. Hyman. Her ministry and counseling has saved my life several times over. She is a Godly woman, a great teacher, a powerful over comer in the body of Christ, and the smartest woman of God I have ever known.

As far as her mother and her, that is not my business, but I believe B.D., quite simply and she has never steered me wrong spiritually. I look at the fruit in my life from knowing her and I see Jesus Christ. Period. For people to judge her Christianity is a very dangerous place to be. We do not know all things, and we do not know someone’s heart, that is God’s business, not ours. I just know what her counsel and prayers have meant to me.

Posted by Tina on 05/04/2010 09:44 PM #

I have read these opinions from various people and how they feel Bette Davis was unjustly prosecuted and how B. D. was so horrible for writing about her mother. What I would like to know is why Bette Davis would support her daughter getting married at 16 years old and not “forcing” her to get an education so she could have a way to support herself if she didn’t get married. I always thought Bette was a woman who’s thinking was way ahead of her time. But if she really had BD’s interest at heart, things would have been different. I think that Bette was more envious of BD and her looks than anything else. Let’s face it…Bette had a different look with her “eyes” being the trademark. BD has a natural beauty that Bette never had.
As far as her husband and his lack of work…you don’t know the whole story about any of these relationships. It is like a divorce…it’s his side, her side and the truth is really in the middle. All these people who are judging her for writing a book several decades ago just makes me laugh. Has any of the above people changed their lives in the last 20 years? I dare say they have. Shouldn’t BD be given the same priviledge? Finding Christ comes in different ways and at the most strangest of times. For those who have persecuted BD in the above opinions…you who call yourself Christians….if you are, won’t you be judged for judging BD? Be careful where you trod…you never know when you are entertaining angels.

Posted by Diane Whicker on 05/23/2010 08:23 PM #

All I’ve got to say to the children and spouse of this B.D. (snake in the grass woman) is, you better watch your backs because when B.D. runs out of money, who knows which one of you she’ll target next.

Posted by Toni Gross on 06/04/2010 10:52 AM #

This may seem odd, but I seem to have a relationship with my sister that sort of parallels the one between Bette and B.D. (Me being Bette and my younger sister being B.D.)

I accidentally brought my sister together with a guy that I totally disapprove of and have actually come to hate. I am in the midst of reading “My Mother’s Keeper”, and while I’m certain that B.D. exaggerates when depicting her mother’s antics and oddities and meltdowns, I can actually relate to Bette’s frustration and it doesn’t seem that out-of-hand to me! I am a fan of Bette Davis, but I do not side with her simply because I admire her work as an actress. I would not have read the book if I was expecting to side one way or another. I actually understand how she must have felt. I know how it feels to say things I don’t mean and to go too far without being able to stop.

AND! It would figure that B.D. would decide to present herself as a Christian, after all, my sister is also a hypocritical Christian (Catholic!) slut.

Honestly, the whole Bette/B.D. situation, awful as it is, makes me feel better about myself and my sister. The end, however, is not so comforting.

And I quite agree that people who model themselves after Christ would NOT write a malicious book, and then ignore a mother in need when she has undergone mastectomies and breast cancer and a stroke and just plain old age!

How could B.D. expect her mother to be normal? At the time of B.D.‘s birth, Bette had already been a star for quite some time! Clearly, she was not to be treated like a normal person. One would think that the DAUGHTER who had spent years with the woman, would know how to handle her!

Posted by Terese Letanche on 07/11/2010 12:13 AM #

Beloved,I write this with love and compassion for all and w/o passing judgement on anyone. I am not perfect & it is only by the Grace of God that I live today. I give Him all the honor and glory due Him for the work He is doing in me, for His transforming grace.
I have not read the book. I do not know personally this woman BD.
God knows both she and her mother. God knows all that went on. He is the one who judges, not I.
Sometimes we do things thinking at the time it was the right thing to do, only to realize later we could have done things differently. But the damage is done & we cannot undo what was done. We can only pray that the one we hurt forgives us. That is a choice they have to make. Some choose not to forgive. Was that the case here? I do not know, but God does.
The consequences of the choices we make in life, we have to live with. Those choices are made harder to live with when we are ridiculed and judged by others. It brings us to our knees before God,
(Again, God is the only one who truely knows what went on.) & He forgives our bad choices our waywardness our sins. Can we do any less?
Look how God worked with the people in the book of Jeremiah. Have you read that book? Awesome. My heart went out to Jeremiah and the mission God gave him. That was some hard tough choices there. But he was faithful and obeyed.He spoke to the people. (That may have been alittle off topic here, for that I apologize. I was thinking of God’s forgiveness and to what lengths He would go)
Who actually knows the heart of these two women?
As to BD, only God knows her thoughts or the intent of her heart. That which motivated her.
“To err is human to forgive is devine.” so my mom always said.
It is so easy to sit back and point a finger when we don’t know all the facts. God is the only one who does.
May Bette rest in peace. I pray she knew God before she passed on.
BC, like clay in the potters hand may you become the vessel God is molding and shaping you in to becoming. A vessel worthy of His glory. In His Love I pray Amen

Posted by CG on 09/25/2010 05:52 PM #

Gotta love the religious extremists who pretend to be dedicated to God, yet treat their own mother as Hyman did. Bette Davis was who she was and for Hyman to condemn her, then open a ministry is nothing short of laughable. By the way, go on a diet fatass.

Posted by Ellen Morrissy on 11/08/2010 10:30 PM #

ummm…Bette’s daughter’s name is Barbara Davis Hyman, not Bette Davis Hyman.

Posted by DS on 11/20/2010 01:24 PM #

Bette loved her daughter and even made a movie she wasn’t excited about so that she could give B.D. a lavish wedding…through the years Bette supported B.D. and she couldn’t wait for her cash infusion from her disgusting book which was a complete betrayal of their relationship until mom passed…many believed she went ahead with the release as it looked like Bette was in her final days…little did she know, true to form Bette rebounded only to find her daughter betrayed her big-time and the uglyness still surrounds B.D. and the hypocricy of a ministry is shocking…seams she is selective of scriptures and never ask forgiveness for her public display of her loveless actions.

Posted by brandon weaver on 12/18/2010 01:31 AM #

“Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you.” Deuteronomy 5:16

Bette Davids may have been a terrible mother, I don’t know, but that does nothing to justify B.D. Hyman’s actions. By your fruit you shall be known and her actions did not demonstrate a Christian heart. She choose to publish that book, publicly shaming her mother when she could have follow Christ’s example of love, grace, and forgiveness. There were many Biblical alternatives open to her, ones that might have lead to healing, but she choose the path that would earn her the most fame and money.

Posted by Bob Arsenio on 12/20/2010 02:12 PM #

First of all “B.D.” doesn’t stand for Bette Davis Hyman it stands for Barbara Davis Hyman. She was named after her Aunt Bobby. So, before you start writing about someone make sure you KNOW their name. I loved Bette Davis the actress but once I saw “All About Eve”, I knew her and Margot Channing was one and the same.
Its too bad that B.D. and her Mother never reconciled. I read the book it was a plea to her Mother, that she should be a Mother and Grandmother in private, and the GRAND STAR for the public. Unfortunately for Bette, she had to be the Grand Star and Great Actress all the time. My heart goes out to B.D. but, mostly my heart goes out to her mentally challenged sister Margot. May God Bless them Both.

Posted by Brian Keith on 02/04/2011 03:55 PM #

B.D. Hyman could have resolved some of her issues with her mother if she had asked her to go to family counseling together. The fact that B.D. chose to write a book, whose only real purpose was to humiliate and destroy her mother, tells much more about B.D.‘s character than her mother’s many shortcomings. I have an abusive mother; she has no insight into her problems and acts out every day. But out of loyalty to her (loyalty based on knowing she did the best SHE could with what she had to work with – probably a mental illness – I would never air our dirty linen in public by listing her transgressions. The fact that B.D. chose to write a public and humiliating book about her mother suggests B.D. is the true parasite. Her mother may not have known any better and made many mistakes, but B.D. Hyman did know better and made a choice to hold her mother up for humiliation. Shame on you, B.D. Hyman!

Posted by Debra Lynn on 02/22/2011 05:14 PM #

B.D. Hyman opened the wounds of her mothers life and poured salt in them. The God she says she believes in will judge her. That’s all she needs to remember.

Posted by Randolph Burns on 04/15/2011 10:12 PM #

I never read the book. I only just became aware after seeing Payment on Demand last night on TCM. Though the movie wasn’t one of Bette’s greatest, I was intrigued by the fact that her daughter was in the film and spent some time trying to figure out which one she was. Then I IMDB’d it and found all this stuff about BD Hyman. The first thing I did after reading about the book was googled BD. And was shocked to find that even today, she continues to take full advantage of her lineage. Her websites say she is a ‘teacher not a preacher’ and under every line or photograph of her it also says she is the daughter of Bette Davis. She is taking full advantage of her mothers name, even keeping the nickname BD. For this reason I feel that her motives were not pure. For if she truly wanted to deal with the pain she would have done it in a more personal way and she would have left her mothers name out of any of her future endeavors. I agree – it’s disgraceful.

Posted by DLM on 06/05/2011 12:46 PM #

Bette Davis was a true New Englander. Tough but fair. Difficult to know. Without doubt she loved her family. She took care of her mother, sister, BD and later BD’s husband. BD’s book was written after the success of Christina Crawford’s book with the hopes of cashing in on the hem of mother’s dress, but while Joan was most likely bi-polar, Bette adored her daughter. BD’s book was an uncalled for venomous valentine, to Bette and it broke her heart. Bette was strict and wanted the best for her daughter, which sounds like a parent to me. A lot of BD’s book reads like rebellion and has the air of manufactured twaddle, providing no insight into her famous mother’s psyche. BD disgusts me, conversion to Christianity or no, she is a barnacle attaching herself to her mother because without her, she’s just like everyone else.

Posted by Rand T. on 09/04/2011 11:03 AM #

I had the privilege of knowing Bette Davis and working with her. She was tough, no doubt about it. But one thing I do know—she adored her children and grandchildren. Her major fault is that she created a monster in the form of her daughter. She gave her too much, bragged on her too much, let her get away with too much. She almost went broke providing money to BD and her worthless husband. If anyone were bipolar it would be the daughter BD. Look at her today. She far surpasses her mother in toughness and role playing. I hear she has had big problems with her sons and that her brother also disinherited her. And this is a person who would have you believe she represents all that is good in life. No, not in the least. She does not promote good in my estimation; she is play acting more than her mother ever did.

Posted by Jack F on 10/09/2011 03:31 PM #

I just finished re-reading “The Girl Who Walked Home Alone: Bette Davis, A Personal Biography” by Charlotte Chandler and wanted to see what B.D. was up to. Rand T. said it well. All I have to add is, My Mother’s Keeper was all about money.

Posted by Stella on 10/10/2011 11:12 AM #

All parents have faults; there are no perfect parents in ths world. And people who have been treated like Bette Davis was by her father often develop traits for survival emotionally that are not healthy traits but aided them in surviving such trauma as children. It is one thing for a parent to try to be a good parent and make mistakes versus a parent who just is abusive. And for children to act like brats and make something of all of the faults in a parent and tell it to the world shows the selfishness and ingratitude. They too will make mistakes and they should hope their children know they’re good people in spite of those mistakes. And to use Jesus Christ as her excuse to publish this book is disgusting. She used this book to increase her finances and to draw attention to herself just like a narcisists would do not a Christian.

Posted by Frances on 10/21/2011 05:56 PM #

The reason why I’m posting the review about the King Fellowship Corner is to prevent other people from being deceived and from becoming victims of the ministry of the pastor like my family was.
I attended B.D. Hyman church for one year and had an opportunity to get to know her as a person. She really speaks well but I found out that she hurt a lot of people who left her church with broken hearts. She has done a lot of evil deeds, she cannot get along with people and actually I have never met a person who is so hateful and envious of people like she is (especially of pastors of other churches, post-members of her church, and normal families where husband and wife love each other, and respect and love their parents). She has an extremely arrogant heart. She creates gossips, lies about members of her church, and covers sinful life of her son and her husband. She just doesn’t live a Christian life that she preaches about. Her church is a family business. There are about, I guess, eight people who remained in her church. Therefore, I believe that exciting review about her is from somebody who does not know her personally.

Posted by tetiana on 01/16/2012 11:14 PM #

In a sort of variation of the law of unintended consequences, my reading of Barbara Davis [Sherry Merrill] Hyman’s book (the obscenely-titled “My Mother’s Keeper”) about her famous actress mother, Bette Davis, mostly served to reinforce my already-held admiration of Bette Davis, flaws and all. The book’s perhaps disputable anecdotes merely confirmed Davis was, in real life, as interesting, if not more so, a character as any she had played on the silver screen. But no one ever “kept” Bette Davis, the woman, mother, or actress.

Was Bette Davis psychologically imbalanced? Most probably she was so, as I think all or most entertainers are anyway. Entertainment, including acting, comedians, and musicians, is a profession almost borne out of insecurities and narcissism. And as with life itself, younger entertainers may be especially immature and self-absorbed, hopefully attaining more wisdom as they grow in life and with more experience in their chosen profession, sometimes becoming a little eccentric as they grow older and revert to some child-like behaviors.

But some, as do I, may also adhere to the belief psychology itself is an imprecise barometer of behavior and inexact science, with at least as much exaggerated emphasis placed on its importance and relevance as any theistic philosophy. It may even been said psychology was the religion of the 20th Century. And, after all, there is only a letter’s difference between “Freud” and “fraud.”

There are essentially two ways one may view B.D. Hyman’s authoring a book about her mother. One, is it was cruel to have done so while her mother while still alive to have read the book and be hurt by it. The second viewpoint, one with which I more concur personally, is that it was at least more gutsy, however cruel, to have written a book about one’s parent while said parent was still alive and in command enough of her faculties to still defend herself, which Bette Davis was and did, at least partly, in her own response book, “This ‘N That.” This view would also hold Hyman’s book was more courageous (however self-serving and monetarily motivated) than that of the book (“Mommie Dearest”) about one of Davis’ greatest film rivals, Joan Crawford, as Crawford was already deceased when Christina Crawford wrote her tell-all tome about her adoptive mother. And wouldn’t even the most ardent Davis fan expect a child of hers to have inherited some of the Bette Davis’ guts anyway?

I am sorry B.D. Hyman’s book caused her mother pain. And of the two women, I would most certainly rather have spent an evening with Bette than with her theologically-brainwashed, ungrateful daughter. And even though I never bought a copy of “My Mother’s Keeper” (not wishing to endorse what I saw as bad behavior with at least questionable motives), I must confess the borrowed copy of it (from the public library) I read was mostly entertaining. Even though its overall perspective was slanted toward its author’s viewpoint, I am sure a large part of it was still factually accurate; else Davis would have sued her daughter.

And as I alluded previously, some things Hyman saw as character flaws I found to be amusing and entertaining, reinforcing my love of one of entertainment’s greatest real-life characters. A pity neither Davis nor Hyman’s stated choice of Glenda Jackson are now able to portray Davis in a biopic based on the Hyman book, the former for being deceased, the latter for having retired from acting (and having become a member of the British Parliament).

But unlike Joan Crawford’s adopted children, who were largely trophy kids trotted out for public relations purposes, I think even Hyman’s book confirmed Davis was, overall, a genuinely loving parent, however much Hyman may have disagreed with her mother, especially later in both their lives.

Indeed, the disagreements mentioned in Hyman’s book were of the verbal and paths of life sort. Never once did Hyman assert Davis had been a physically abusive parent. On the contrary, Hyman wrote both her mother and herself had been victims of Davis’ fourth husband’s (actor Gary Merrill’s) alcohol-infused physical and verbal abuse. Davis had often acknowledged herself, in book and interviews, her marriages were failures, more or less legitimized affairs, the only positive results of which were her children.

And it is especially telling Bette’s adoptive son, Michael Merrill, has shown a consistent devotion to his mother’s legacy in all the years since her death; himself an accomplished lawyer and former member of the Brookline, Massachusetts town government. For a child-by-choice to maintain such loyalty really says something. As an adopted son myself, I may attest to this.

Bette also paid for the care & living expenses of her mother, mentally ill sister, and adoptive daughter, Margot Merrill, throughout most of their adult lives, as long as Bette herself was alive.

My conclusion about Bette Davis, having read her two volumes of memoirs, plus about a half dozen biographies (including Hyman’s and two by Davis friend Whitney Stine), is she was a flawed-but-amusing, strong-willed & professionally self-righteous human being with a great talent, who tried to be a good parent but sometimes failed, tried to be a good actress (and sometimes director) and almost always succeeded!

Posted by Jim M. on 07/19/2012 06:45 AM #

I am reading your book now and I think you did a great job. But not everything needs to be told. Glad that you are a Christian and hope your mom believed in the end about Jesus and God.

Posted by linda Kay on 11/05/2012 06:00 PM #

Having known neither the actress or daughter, it is sad to see a child who was so lavished with everything she wanted to turn on her own mother. One thing that is required of a “true” believer in Christ is to forgive. At no time did I read that after becoming a “Christian” did BD tell her mother she forgave her for all those allegedly horrible things she did to her as a child or to her children. As for a son getting a spanking, he probably deserved it. I concur with the many who believe that the motive was monetary. How sad. BD you need to ask God’s forgiveness for your failure to forgive your mother. After reading “This N That”, I would not be surprised if Miss Davis did not die of a broken heart along with her old age. Also, because she was a no nonsense person who demanded things be done right and not twice, how does that make her bipolar? What doctor diagnosed that? She knew what she wanted and for her name on a movie, demanded it. And for much less than these prima donnas are being paid today. I loved her movies and still watch them whan I am able. God rest her soul. To B.D. One day you will have to close your eyes and meet your maker. God help you.

Posted by Linda on 02/07/2013 08:00 PM #

I just re-read My Mother’s Keeper and then looked on the web to see interviews with B.D. Hyman. As a young girl, she did not have the sneer she displays as an older woman. Her young beauty is hardened and I, also, wonder what she does for the mentally-challenged sister. If she really is a Christian now, that should be a great concern – and in essence, she should try to be a substitute mother to her. She is very undereducated, having left school so young – perhaps she just has not seen anything but her own views and therefore thinks she is correct in all she says. Very spoiled little girl.

Posted by Brenda Joyce on 04/09/2013 09:29 AM #

I appreciate everyone’s opinions of BD Hyman. It is easy to see who the Christians are leaving comments— “judge not, lest ye be judged.”

Posted by James Ritter on 09/04/2013 11:23 PM #

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