The Real Story: “The Feud” Between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford

Posted on February 19, 2017 at 3:24 pm

“The Feud” is the new series from Ryan Murphy (“Glee,” “American Horror Story,” “Nip/Tuck,” “American Crime Story”), with three Oscar-winning actresses in the real-life story of three Oscar-winning actresses. Susan Sarandon played Bette Davis, Jessica Lange plays Joan Crawford, and Catherine Zeta Jones plays Olivia de Havilland in a story that takes place at in the 1960’s, when their stardom was waning. Davis and Crawford, both known to be temperamental divas who were intensely competitive and loathed each other so much it was almost a hobby, were cast in the grotesque horror film “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” They played sisters, both performers (yes, that means actresses are playing actresses playing actresses). Davis was Jane, a former child star and Crawford was Blanche, a one-time movie star, now paralyzed following an accident, and thus dependant on Jane, who delights in torturing her.

“The Feud” is the behind-the-scenes story of Davis and Crawford as they made the film. The cast includes Alfred Molina as director Robert Aldrich, Judy Davis as gossip columnist Hedda Hopper, Oscar winner Kathy Bates as Joan Blondell, and Murphy favorite Sarah Paulson as Geraldine Page.

Bette and Joan: The Divine Feud has more details about the decades-long animosity between the two stars, including Davis ordering a Coke machine for the “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” crew — because Crawford was married to the CEO of Pepsi.

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