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She wrote: ‘She focused all of her hopes for emotional fulfillment on me, proclaiming that I was the most talented, brilliant, beautiful being on earth.’Hyman added: ‘B. was to be the fantasy daughter of the world’s greatest mother and the presents she lavished on her would know no bounds.’Hyman alleged her mother’s obsession with her came to a head when, at the age of 16, she met her future husband Jeremy at the Cannes Film Festival where What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? Despite her mother’s best efforts to thwart their whirlwind romance, Hyman married the British film executive in January 1963.In My Mother’s Keeper, she described a woman who was so bitter about her own failed relationships she made it her mission to break up her daughter’s marriage.
Pictured, the trio at Hyman's Christening Hyman said Davis followed her and her husband around the country, even moving to Connecticut when they bought a home there.The portrayal of the actress as a drunk, fading star who staged suicide attempts to manipulate her daughter and was so possessive that she hated her British son-in-law, was so hurtful it severed their relationship for good.At the time of its publication, Davis was a 77-year-old breast cancer survivor who had had several strokes. I lost her, but that’s that and I say in my book that realizing that she had written this kind of a book about me was as catastrophic as the stroke was to me.‘It’s something, of course, that I will regret deeply, all the rest of my life, yes.’Two years later Davis died aged 81 in 1989, after her breast cancer had returned.The four-time divorcee largely raised her three children alone.She had Hyman with her third husband William Sherry, who walked out when the little girl was still an infant.Davis and co-star Joan Crawford are pictured on the set of Baby Jane It includes claims that her mom dabbled in witchcraft, casting spells on her enemies from her bed, and that the star’s ‘demonic’ curse on Hyman and her family led to her grandson’s bipolar diagnosis and her daughter facing terminal cancer.
In a 2015 video, Hyman says: ‘[She] would sit on her bed and she had this big metal wastebasket and she would have her secretary get a piece of clothing from someone who had vexed her, crossed her in her view, and she would take this piece of clothing and she would mumble incoherently and she would then set it on fire and hold it over this metal wastebasket, and laugh as it burned and she dropped it into this container.‘People’s lives were destroyed. All sorts of horrible things happened to them.’She also claims to have witnessed her mother’s ‘demonic cackling,’ watching her ‘transform into a Satanic figure, [with] a Satanic face, long claws on the end of her hands,’ scraping at the glass of a terrace door during a 1982 trip to her Davis, California home.
In addition to Hyman – who is her only natural born child – she adopted two more children (son, Michael, and a daughter Margot) with her All About Eve co-star and fourth husband Gary Merrill.
In her memoir, Hyman described witnessing her mother being beaten by her stepfather who also used to shock their servants by drinking a martini for breakfast while standing naked in the kitchen.
‘Not just her threatening Justin when she was here, but that business of her calling that friend of hers in Chicago...saying that I’d been hypnotized and she had to set me free.'She claimed other people had said Davis ‘called them to say that I was being held against my will, that I’d been brainwashed and needed help to escape from here.’In an open letter to Davis at the end of the book, Hyman claimed the tell-all was the only way she could reach her mother, whom she likened to the manipulative Gone With the Wind heroine Scarlett O’Hara.
At the time of the book’s release, facing criticism that the memoir was a cruel attempt to smear the ailing star, Hyman told the audience of the TV show AM Philadelphia: ‘I love my mother very much.
After yanking her daughter off the set for ‘posing and laughing in front of the grips like a streetwalker,’ mother and daughter get into a war of words at home.