Who really won the iconic feud between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford? | The Tylt
Who really won the iconic feud between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford?
Bette Davis and Joan Crawford's rivalry is one of the oldest and most famous in Hollywood history. "Feud: Bette and Joan" highlights the pair's rivalry during its most pivotal moment, when Davis and Crawford finally worked together on "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" in 1962. Ironically, the film focuses on a sister rivalry similar to Davis and Crawford's real-life feud—which was used as a marketing ploy for the film.
"What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" tells the story of former child star Baby Jane (played by Davis), whose star has faded into alcoholism and mental illness at old age. But her sister, Blanche Hudson (played by Crawford), became a thriving actress in her adult years. Jane's mental state switches into a violent version of Baby Jane, who holds her sister captive and tortures her. The now-classic film was definitely a hit in 1962, but the on-set rivalry that was played out on film is the stuff of legend.
But wait—how did the decades-long feud between Davis and Crawford begin? Harpers Bazaar's Emma Dibdin wrote the break down of the feud's origin.
Crawford was already a movie star when Davis came to Hollywood in 1930. While Crawford was a thriving actress, Davis struggled to find a role good enough for her breakthrough. In 1933, the comedy "Ex-Lady" was supposed to be Davis' big break in Hollywood. Her name was being featured above the credits. It was a big role for the young actress. But in true Crawford fashion, she stole Davis' thunder.
Instead of "Ex-Lady" dominating the papers, Crawford announced she was divorcing her first husband, Douglas Fairbanks Jr. Since "Ex-Lady" was upstaged by Crawford's personal celebrity news, the film didn't get the publicity it deserved and quickly tanked at the box office.
Here are five times when Davis' star power crushed Crawford in their feud.
1. Crawford stole Davis' shine when she was trying to breakthrough as a Hollywood leading lady. Davis got the last laugh when she won her first Oscar for "Dangerous" before Crawford was even nominated in 1936.
2. Rumor had it Crawford was actually secretly in love with Davis in 1950. Davis allegedly believe this to be true—calling Crawford "a phony" for always being so shady and vicious! Davis won because Crawford allegedly desired something she could never get from Davis—her love.
3. Crawford's former friend Katherine Albert allegedly wrote "The Star" to favor her life as a faded actress desperately clinging to her star power. Davis played the lead in 1952 and got an Oscar nomination.
4. Davis got to play the title role opposite Crawford in "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" in 1962. Plus, she got to torture her mortal enemy throughout the film—including kicking the actress in the head and throwing her down the stairs. The aggression that Davis used in the stunts brought her so much joy. We just know it!
5. Davis got the Oscar nod for Best Actress for her legendary performance in "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" in 1963. Crawford wasn't even nominated! While Crawford was an infrequent Oscar nominee, Davis was no stranger to getting Oscar nods throughout her career.
There are so many famous quotes of Davis sharing how she really feels about Crawford. Davis threw epic shade at Crawford for taking her leftover roles. She basically called Crawford a second-rate actress compared to her. Ouch! Her most famous and ruthless quote is allegedly when Crawford passed away.
Here are five times when Crawford's masterful shade triumphed over Davis in their rivalry.
1. Their war started when Crawford's personal news bested Davis' superstadom in 1933. Crawford took the feud to whole other level when she married Davis' "Dangerous" co-star who she loved. Davis won the Oscar for "Dangerous," but Crawford married her co-star Franchot Tone in 1935.
2. Davis beat Crawford to the Oscars in the 1930s. Crawford was unimpressed with Davis' Oscar win though. Plus, Davis was plainly dressed. When Davis won—Crawford threw the most epic shade about Davis' ugly, plain dress—totally crapping on the fact that she just won her first Oscar.
3. Davis turned down "Mildred Pierce," yet Crawford took the part in 1945. She won the Best Actress Oscar for her title role in 1946. Crawford would take another one of Davis' leftover roles for "Possessed" in 1947. Crawford got another Oscar nod in 1948. One woman's leftovers was another woman's treasures.
4. Davis got to be borderline abusive to Crawford while filming "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" in 1962. Crawford got her revenge in a scene where Davis had to drag her across the bedroom. Crawford knew Davis had back problems. She made herself as a heavy as possible by stuffing her pockets with rocks and actively ruining shots so they'd do the take again and again. At the end of the shoot, Davis was in back pain.
5. Davis got the Oscar nomination for "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" but Crawford didn't. Crawford really got the last laugh after campaigning hard against Davis in 1963 and getting on stage Oscar night to accept the award on Anne Bancroft's behalf. Davis was shocked. Crawford famously posed with the other acting winners with the Oscar in her hand.
Crawford was the shade queen of her era! She was out for Davis' blood from the jump in the 1930s. Crawford managed to steal the show from Davis on several occasions. That's pretty apparent in how Crawford was quoted about Davis over the years.
Davis didn't hold back her hatred of Crawford whatsoever. Davis won two Oscars and garnered a total of 10 nominations. Crawford only won one Oscar with a total of three nominations. HA! Davis won the war!
Watch rare footage of Davis winning her second Academy Award for "Jezebel" in 1939.