General News

Spielberg buys Bette Davis' Oscar

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Jul 23, 2001 | 1:30pm EDT

Director Steven Spielberg paid $578,000 for Bette Davis' best actress Oscar for the 1938 film Jezebel. Variety reports.

It was Davis' second Academy Award, the first being for her role in Dangerous in 1935.

Spielberg will reportedly present the Oscar, which was sold Thursday by Christie's auction house in New York, to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

The A.I. Artificial Intelligence director bought the Oscar anonymously in a telephone bidding war that started at $250,000 and soared to $520,000. It was the third-highest price paid for an Academy Award.

He also donated Clark Gable's Oscar for It Happened One Night, which he bought for $607,500 in 1996, to the AMPAS.

Singer Michael Jackson paid the top price for any Hollywood memorabilia in 1999 when he purchased for $1.54 million David O. Selznick's best picture Oscar for 1939's Gone With the Wind for $1.54 million.

Other Davis items included in the sale were scripts, pictures, earrings and a bible inscribed "Ex Libris Bette Davis".

All items were being sold to help the Bette Davis foundation for aspiring young actors.

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