Hollywood Icon Bette Davis was Also an Adoptive Mother

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The beloved Bette Davis spent most of her life in the spotlight and is, to this day, one of the most famous movie stars of all time and an icon of classic Hollywood. Some of her fans may not know, however, that Davis was a mother of three children as well: daughter Margot Merrill, son Michael Merrill, and daughter Barbara Davis, who goes by B.D. Hyman. Of all of her children, though, only B.D. Hyman is her biological child. The other two she adopted during her marriage to her All About Eve costar Gary Merrill.

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Michael Merrill

Michael Merrill was Bette Davis’ adopted son from her fourth marriage. She left him half of her estate, bypassing both of her daughters, including B.D. Hyman. The amount she left was between $600,000 and $1 million. Michael has reached some acclaim as an actor, as well. His most popular roles were in Big Problems and Intimate Portrait. The two had a wonderful relationship.

Margot Merrill

Davis’ daughter Margot was also adopted during her marriage to Gary Merrill. The baby was diagnosed with developmental disabilities and was placed in an assistance facility where she spent the vast majority of her life.

Barbara Davis

Actress Bette Davis’ only biological was daughter B.D. Hyman. Barbara Davis Sherry is the daughter of Davis and her third husband, William Grant Sherry. Davis and her daughter had a notoriously difficult mother-daughter relationship. Their feud is almost as notorious as the star’s feud with actress Joan Crawford. In a funny turn of events, her daughter did the same thing her nemesis’s daughter did and wrote a tell-all about her mother called My Mother’s Keeper. In the book she claimed her mother was a witch and practiced witchcraft, putting demonic curses on those she didn’t like. Between the two women, Davis was also accused of trying to break her daughter’s marriage up. This may have had some truth to it, actually. However, at the time of the marriage, B.D. was only 16-years-old and her husband-to-be was pushing thirty. B.D. Hyman always viewed her mother as the villain, hence telling the world she was a drunk and abusive. Today, B.D. Hyman is about as far away as she could get from the Hollywood lifestyle. She’s an evangelical pastor and lives with her family, far away from her mother’s legacy.

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