Spielberg Buys Bette Davis Oscar at Auction

July 20, 2001 -- An Oscar that Bette Davis won for her role inthe 1938 film Jezebel sold for $578,000 at the auction houseChristie's.

Christie's said in a news release that anonymous telephonebidder on Thursday bought the golden statuette, which was valuedbetween $150,000 and $200,000 before the sale.

But Variety columnist Army Archerd reported today that thebidder was actually Steven Spielberg, and that the director plansto present the award to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts &Sciences, as he did when he bought Clark Gable's Oscar for ItHappened One Night for $607,500.

Sale to Benefit Young Actors

The Oscar was part of the actress' memorabilia auctioned tobenefit the Bette Davis Foundation, which provides financial aid toyoung people pursuing acting careers.

The auction netted $645,984, Christie's said.

Davis, who died in 1989, won the best-actress Oscar for herportrayal of a Southern belle.

She appeared in more than 80 movies, winning her first Oscar,also in the best actress category, in 1935 for her role inDangerous.

The sale prices include the auction house's commission, 17½percent on the first $80,000 and 10 percent on the rest.

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