Bette Davis Estate Near $1 Million; 2 Daughters, Grandsons Left Out

from Associated Press

Actress Bette Davis left her daughters and grandsons out of her nearly $1- million estate, according to a will filed for probate Monday.

The bulk of the estate is split between her son and a close friend.

Davis, who died on Oct. 6 of cancer at age 81, had been estranged from her daughter, Barbara Davis Hyman of Charlottesville, Va., since Hyman’s book, “My Mother’s Keeper,” was published in 1985.

Hyman wrote that Davis had been “an abusive, domineering and hateful mother,” and “a grotesque alcoholic” largely responsible for her own mistreatment by some of her three husbands.


Manhattan Surrogate Court Judge Renee Roth directed Hyman to notify the court by Dec. 5 if she plans to contest the will.

Davis’ adopted daughter, Margo Mosher Merrill of Geneva, N.Y., was found to be mentally retarded at age 3 and has been in special schools and institutions since.

Neither of Hyman’s two sons, Ashley and Justin, received any bequest from Davis.

Davis said in the 10-page will, dated Sept. 2, 1987: “I declare that I have intentionally and with full knowledge omitted to provide herein for my daughter, Margo, and my daughter, Barbara, and-or my grandsons, Ashley Hyman and Justin Hyman.”

Davis’ adopted son, Michael Woodman Merrill of Chestnut Hill, Mass., receives about half the estate, which totals between $600,000 and $1 million.

Michael and Margo Merrill were adopted while Davis was married to actor Gary Merrill.

Kathryn Sermack, a friend and secretary who lived with Davis in her Los Angeles apartment, also gets about half her estate.