Miss D and Me
Life with the Invincible Bette Davis
By Kathryn Sermak and Danelle Morton
The untold story of the unique friendship between Hollywood icon Bette Davis and her young assistant and protégé, Kathryn Sermak, who became her best friend and loyal companion during the final decade of Davis' life.
The Hollywood icon Bette Davis remains an enigma - the public eye. Only one person truly knew both her indomitable strength and her private vulnerability - Kathryn Sermak, her personal assistant and protégé for the last decade of her life. When Kathryn started working for Miss D in 1979, the recent college graduate was a self-professed "rube" who had to be schooled my her new employer in everything from how to give a proper handshake to which fork to use for dinner by her exacting, sometimes imperious boss. But under Miss D's tutelage, Kathryn began to blossom, and a close friendship began to develop.
Over the next decade, Kathryn became much more to the aging Davis than just a loyal employee. The two women from such different backgrounds grew incredibly close, as Kathryn put her young life on hold, sacrificing love and opportunity to guard the image and legacy of the star. Kathryn was offered a front-row seat to Davis's life of Hollywood glamour (as Davis schmoozed with celebs and took her valedictory lap around the entertainment scene) and also the dark side of that world (when Davis's daughter wrote a tell-all that nearly killed her mother). Using one of their final road trips together in France during the summer of 1985 as a backdrop, this is the story of Kathryn and Miss D's unlikely friendship and a fascinating look at a larger-than-life diva who was determined to live her life on her own terms. "Someday you will write about us, Kath," Miss D told her young friend just before her death. In MISS D AND ME Kathryn fulfills the promise she made to her mentor to tell and celebrate their story.
Since Bette Davis' death, Kathryn has continued to preserve the memory of her friend and mentor--she has maintained meticulous archives of their time together that has never been shared before, including photographs, audio tape interviews between the two of them, and other sought after mementos. In 1997 she co-founded the Bette Davis Foundation with Miss Davis's son, Michael Merrill, and is a member of the Board of Trustees. Along with Mr. Merrill, Kathryn is also co-executor of the Bette Davis Estate.
Kathryn Sermak is the co-founder of the Bette Davis Foundation and co-executor of the Bette Davis Estate. In addition to Bette Davis, Kathryn has been personal assistant to HH Princess Shams Pahlavi; French actress, Isabelle Adjani; the statesman and journalist, Pierre Salinger; astronaut Dr. Buzz Aldrin, Motown Founder, Berry Gordy Jr.; famed American designer, Patrick Kelly; and the co-creator of "Where's Waldo," Michael Gornall. Kathryn was also among the first to receive the Personal Assistant Career Award in 2003.
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- Publication date:
26 Oct 2017
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