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Grudge Match: Remembering the Real Feud of Bette Davis & Joan Crawford

Grudge Match: Remembering the Real Feud of Bette Davis & Joan Crawford

Grudge Match
Courtesy of Everett Collection

Today's celeb remeses have nothing on Hollywood's greatest rivals.

"Joan Crawford has slept withevery male star at MGM except Lassie," Bette Davis once quipped.

Decades before featherweight spats like Jolie v. Aniston or J.Lo. v. Mariah, Davis and Crawford set the claws-out standard for Hollywood catfights. Their mutual hatred for each other--sparked when both were vying for the same men, many of whom Crawford bedded--is the stuff of legend. It's exploited to the hilt in their sole movie together, the hag horror classic What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, and now, in Ryan Murphy's new FX series Feud: Bette and Joan.

"She has a cult," Crawford said of Davis. "I have fans. There's a big difference."

BabyJane, which put the actresses' sadomasochistic sparring on the silver screen, pulled in big box-office numbers and earned Davis an Oscar nod. But that didn't help quell the rage. Davis declared, "I wouldn't piss on Joan Crawford if she were on fire."

Related | Ryan Murphy Interviews Jessica Lange on Fame, Feuds & the Feminine Mystique

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