Ruth Elizabeth Davis was born April 5, 1908, in Lowell, Massachusetts, to Ruth Augusta (Favor) and Harlow Morrell Davis, a patent attorney. Her parents divorced when she was 10. She and her sister were raised by their mother. Her early interest was dance. To Bette, dancers led a glamorous life, but then she discovered the stage, and gave up dancing for acting. To her, it presented much more of a challenge. After graduation from Cushing Academy, she was refused admittance to Eva Le Galliennes Manhattan Civic Repertory. She enrolled in John Murray Andersons Dramatic School and was the star pupil. She was in the off-Broadway play The Earth Between (1923), and her Broadway debut in 1929 was in Broken Dishes. She also appeared in Solid South. Late in 1930, she was hired by Universal, where she made her first film, called Way Back Home (1931). When she arrived in Hollywood, the studio representative who went to meet her train left without her because he could find no one who looked like a movie star.