"Mr. Sikov, author of biographies of Peter Sellers and Billy Wilder, is both a respected scholar and a delicious gossip, which makes him perfect to chronicle Davis's bravura life. His research skills are worthy of a truffle hound. (Who knew that Davis had been a Girl Scout leader?) Mr. Sikov studied Warner Brothers studio records and Davis's personal archive at Boston University. He conducted in-depth interviews with her co-workers, lifelong friends and employees. This new material, combined with his own perceptive point of view, makes Dark Victory essential reading for anyone interested in Davis, even though much has already been written about her."—Jeanine Basinger, The New York Times"A refreshingly unsentimental and unapologetic biography, one in which the inevitable bits of tittle-tattle—about Davis's marriages (four) and affairs (uncounted, but including William Wyler and Howard Hughes) and family life (scathingly depicted in her daughter B.D. Hyman's book, My Mother's Keeper)—don't seem unduly sensationalized . . . Bette Davis is one of those stars it's impossible to imagine Hollywood without. Sikov's book is a valuable guide to an essential career."—Charles Matthews, The Washington Post"Film historian Sikov steps into the ring with battlin' Bette of Warner Bros. Like many of her biographers, friends, ex-husbands, directors, costars and everyone else within shouting distance of Bette Davis, Sikov finds the diva a tempest. Indeed, the turbulent currents of her personality at times drew the author to 'brooding darkly.' Nonetheless, his passion for her films prevailed, the focus of his book becoming not her life, he writes, but her work. And that he greatly admires. He combs production records of her films, particularly the classics she made at Warner . . . What surprises are the number of bad films-and bad performances-Davis delivered . . . That she remains justly regarded as a major screen artist attests to the talent and tenacity Sikov describes. He makes it clear Davis often had good reason to fight for better scripts, directors and costars, even if doing so meant suspension and financial loss by the hand of Jack Warner. Sikov vividly limns Davis' work in classics such as Dark Victory, Now Voyager and All About Eve . . . he captures the punch of an actress who succeeded in spite of—and because of—herself."—Kirkus Reviews
Film critic Ed Sikov is the author of the critically acclaimed On Sunset Boulevard: The Life and Times of Billy Wilder and Mr. Strangelove: A Biography of Peter Sellers. He has taught at Columbia University, Haverford College, and Colorado College, and lives in New York.