Crawford VS. Davis: Hollywood’s Most Notorious Feud


Within the star-studded world of Los Angeles, many celebrities feuded with each other on and off the set.  The ego-driven atmosphere of La-La Land stirred up a lot of competition among certain actors/actresses that worked with each other.  Some of the most infamous fights include Mary-Kate Olsen/Paris Hilton, Debra Winger/Shirley Maclaine, Courtney Love/Madonna, Cybill Sheperd/Christine Baranski, Jaime Foxx/LL Cool J, and even Sarah Jessica Parker/Kim Cattrall.  Their life may seem glamorous in Tinseltown, but what people don’t see is the fierce competition that occurred during filming.

Many aspiring actors/actresses make their way to Los Angeles to become a star, hoping to become the next larger-than-life character in America.  Becoming a star meant fighting your way to the top in the dog-eat-dog world that is show business.  It’s a long and arduous journey within the superficial town of Hollywood, but the road to stardom pays off in the end.  Before the 21st century, there was one feud that would be known as one of the most notorious fights in Hollywood.  Today’s post dives into the legendary fight between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford.

Our famous feud started in 1935: Dangerous hit the theaters, which starred Bette Davis and Franchot Tone about a rehabilitated, alcoholic actress who was known to be a jinx.  Davis fell hard for Tone during filming, but he has his eyes set on Crawford instead.  Crawford allegedly invited him over to her place and greeted him…naked!  They eventually married, sparking Davis’ jealousy.  Joan Crawford was already a big star, sleeping her way to the top in order to get the roles she wanted (like I mentioned before, it was a dog-eat-dog world in the realm of show business!).

Bette Davis was so irritated with the newspapers becoming obsessed with Crawford’s love life, especially when the studio arranged this big publicity stunt for her new film Ex-Lady.  Most of what they bitched about were each other’s appearance, upbringing, love-lives, awards, careers, and even each other’s children.  Their Hollywood schematics went on for decades up until 1962.

Crawford went to Davis with a pitch that would be the film What Ever Happened to Baby Jane, a psychological thriller film produced and directed by Robert Aldrich.  The duo needed a big break in the new decade of Hollywood, so this was their chance to revive their acting careers.  Filming started going well, but it wasn’t long before they were at each other’s throats.  Name-calling, complaints, threats, and even physical altercations went on during the filming.  Their feud reached its highest peak when they were filming the movie.  This historic soap opera became a staple series for various TV/film projects, including one that is premiering in less than a month.

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Ryan Murphy (co-creator of Nip/Tuck, Glee, American Horror Story!) signed on to a new series called Feud that will premiere on FX on March 5th.  The premiere will chronicle the Davis and Crawford’s backstage battle during the production of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?.  Jessica Lange stars as Joan Crawford alongside with Susan Sarandon as Bette Davis.  Other cast members include Stanley Tucci, Judy Davis, Sarah Paulson (AHS veteran!), Kathy Bates, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and even Kiernan Shipka (Don Draper’s daughter Sally Draper in Mad Men!).  The 8-episode series will premiere in less than a month.

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I am really looking forward to this series in March!  Ryan Murphy creates some amazing content for TV and it will be interesting to see how he writes his version of the feud.  Other than the show itself, it will be awesome to see Jessica Lange on TV again!  If you’re a fan of American Horror Story like me, then you know that Lange played some of the most badass characters of all time.  Her finale role in AHS was Elsa Mars in American Horror Story: Freak Show.

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It’s funny how TV shows/films can mimic what was happening with the actors and actresses in real life.  Davis and Crawford’s feud went on for so long before shooting What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? and this film mirrored their tumultuous journey.  Even before the digital age, celebrities feuded with each other in Hollywood.  Media outlets like newspapers and radios showcased the inevitable drama that was happening on/off the set.  It was this land-marked feud of all feuds in Hollywood.

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Working in the TV/film industry can be a dirty game.  Aspiring actors/actresses would be up for ANYTHING to snatch that lead role that would make their careers (that included sleeping with a few employees!).  You have to swallow your pride and be up for anything that flies in your way.  Los Angeles is part of the Wild West and nothing is wilder than the crazy antics of Hollywood.  Joan Crawford and Bette Davis’s long feud shows how wild Hollywood can be sometimes.

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