#rivals #JoanCrawford #BetteDavis #catfight #girls

Rivals

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I know it's a mask

 

I know it's a game

 

 

 

You're a liar

 

We are all liars

 

 

 

You pretend in front of the world

 

I know the real you

 

 

 

We're bitter rivals even until the end

 

We laugh and smile at the world masquerading our feud as trivial matter

 

However, behind closed doors it's an all out war!

 

 

 

The two halves of you are deliberately parted

 

If the world knew who you truly are and what you do

 

All memory of you would be instantly shamed and your good name would be tarnished - forever ruined

 

 

 

I know you; a girl with a humble start

 

You came from nothing

 

You've clawed, lied, cheated, and schemed

 

You've broken hearts and did damage

 

 

 

It's ok; we've all done it at some point in our lives

 

We are all despicable and wretched souls

 

 

 

You are Joan

 

I'm Bette

 

 

 

Our feud is so bitter, toxic, and complicated that its intangible yet pure palpable

 

 

 

I don't know how it all will end, all I know is this:

 

 

 

Golden rule of life: never underestimate your rivals.

 

Author's Notes/Comments: 

Sid Waddell once said, "Golden rule of life: Never underestimate your rivals."

 

Based on the infamous rivalry between two Old Hollywood legendary stars, Joan Crawford and Bette Davis.

 

Here's the full story:

It was the most notorious cat fight in Hollywood history. In the blue corner, the formidable Bette Davis, and in the red, equally feisty Joan Crawford. Both magnificent actresses on top of their game, both festering with barely concealed hatred for one another. But what could have caused this? Was it mere professional jealousy or something deeper?

 

These two cinematic giants were reduced to duking it out over, what else, a man. Namely, the slightly less legendary, Franchot Tone.

Bette says, "I fell in love with Franchot, professionally and privately. Everything about him reflected his elegance, from his name to his manners." It’s a pity this debonair actor inspired decades of tit-for-tat cat fighting.

 

Joan Crawford, at that time, was MGM’s reigning sex symbol. Newly divorced and on the prowl, she invited Tone over for dinner, only to greet him naked, in her solarium. Whether it was the nudity or the possibility of free tanning sessions, Franchot was hooked and Joan made sure Bette knew about it.

 

Davis admitted " He was madly in love with her. They met each day for lunch…he would return to the set, his face covered in lipstick…He was honored this great star was in love with him. I was jealous of course."

 

With deliberate tactlessness Franchot and Joan proudly announced their engagement. They married in New Jersey as soon as Dangerous wrapped. Their union only lasted till 1938, the year Bette won her second Oscar for Jezebel. The love affair might have bitten the dust but the animosity created would last a lifetime more.

 

Bette looked down on Crawford as a shallow "mannequin" with eyebrows like "African caterpillars" whilst she was a serious, theatre-trained performer. She also called into question Joan’s reputation with the opposite sex, or as she put it "She slept with every male star at MGM, except Lassie."

 

Crawford was no kinder "Poor Bette," she tutted "she looks like she’s never had a happy day, or night, in her life." In 1943, Crawford, and her eyebrows, left MGM and signed up with Warner Bros, the studio which just happened to be the home of Ms. Davis. Now their professional rivalry was to be cranked up a notch or ten, with both ladies competing for some of the same parts.

 

Crawford won an Academy Award for Mildred Pierce (1945) a part Davis turned down, no doubt adding to her bitterness. Though Bette didn’t do too badly herself, winning two Academy Awards in the course of her career.

 

But it was in 1962 that their rivalry reached a crescendo, when the pair were signed up to appear on screen together for the first time. The movie was called Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. A chilling story about two former film stars living a lonely existence in their Hollywood mansion, the film saw pasty faced Bette tormenting the bedridden Joan.

 

Joan was married to the CEO of Pepsi Cola at that time so Bette made sure she had a Coca Cola machine installed in her dressing room. For a scene in which Bette had to drag Joan across the floor, Joan filled her pockets with rocks. And in those fight scenes, no stunt doubles were necessary. Despite this, the two actresses were described as consummate professionals, always remembering their lines and turning up to the set on time.

 

Even if it was motivated by the chance to give each other a good kicking. Said Bette "The best time I ever had with Joan was when I pushed her down some stairs in Whatever happened to Baby Jane."

 

Baby Jane enjoyed rave reviews and widespread acclaim, with Davis nominated for a Best Actress Award at the Oscars. Crawford however, was not. Not to take this lying down Crawford came up with a plan. She called all the other actresses nominees offering to accept their awards on the night if they won. Strangely they agreed and so, when Oscar night rolled around, Davis and Crawford found themselves waiting side by side in the wings, with Bette "certain" that the prize was hers.

 

Imagine her horror as the name was announced "..Anne Bancroft for the Miracle Worker!" and Crawford coolly stepped forward to rapturous applause. "I almost dropped dead!" gasped Bette "I was paralyzed with shock. To deliberately upstage me like that- her behavior was despicable."

 

Their claws continued to be out for one another for the remainder of their days, until Joan was the first to pass away from a heart attack. The tragedy did nothing to diminish Davis’ acid tongue; "You should never say bad things about the dead, only good…Joan Crawford is dead. Good."

 

Hard to believe their mutual loathing could endure for so long, whether it was love rivalry, or mutual insecurity in such a precarious profession?

 

The only two who know the answer are Joan Crawford and Bette Davis!

 

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