Hollywood has known its share of legends and divas, but few can compare with Bette Davis. The 10-time Academy Award nominee made a career of playing strong-willed women who would stop at nothing to get what they wanted. In real life, the New England-born star, who died in 1989 at age 81, was just as formidable. In Touch rounded up a few of her greatest lessons.

Trust Your Instincts

“Miss D always went with her hunches, pure and simple,” Kathryn Sermak, Bette’s former assistant, tells In Touch. “Her mother was very psychic, and so was her grandmother. Miss D, not so much, but she had radar.”

Go Above and Beyond

From childhood, Bette tried to be the best at everything she did.

“I became the most dedicated Girl Scout that ever lived. I would have tripped an old lady in order to pick her up,” she admitted in her memoir The Lonely Life.

Never Fall in Love With Actors

“The masculine ego, outsized at birth, takes on gargantuan proportions in the actor,” wrote Bette, who had only one actor among her four husbands. “[An actor’s] world is a small one bound on the north by his own Polaris, on the south by his own twinkling toes.”

Dress for Success

“I always look put together,” said Bette at age 80. “I want to look well. Always. I think it’s very important. And I think it’s very sad today, the younger people aren’t doing that. And that’s wrong.”

Bette Davis’ Rules to Live By: ‘Always Look Put Together’
George Rinhart / Getty Images

Stay Open to Love

“She was always in love with love,” says Kathryn. “She had love for a lot of people, and she loved her family more than anything.”

Feed Your Creativity

“To be given a chance to create is the meat and potatoes of life,” Bette wrote. “ The money is the gravy.”

Be True to Yourself

“I’m afraid I am a Queen — with all the prerogatives of that station,” Bette wrote. “The people who call you a driving female will come along for the ride. If they weigh you down, you will fight them off. It is then that you are called a bitch.”

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