Olivia de Hav­il­land

The Oakdale Leader - - ENTERTAINMENT - By Tony Rizzo

As pro­ducer Ryan Mur­phy was get­ting over the dis­ap­point­ment of his minis­eries “Feud: Bette and Joan” win­ning only two Em­mys (for hair and makeup) out of 18 nom­i­na­tions, his thoughts must have turned to the law­suit filed by two-time Os­car-win­ning ac­tress, Olivia de Hav­il­land.

The Bette Davis/Joan Craw­ford feud al­legedly began in 1945, when Craw­ford was dropped from her MGM con­tract af­ter 25 years, and was able to talk Warner Broth­ers stu­dio head Jack Warner into let­ting her be “Mil­dred Pierce” (1945). Her first film of a four-pic­ture deal for Warn­ers was the non-pay­ing ben­e­fit film “Hol­ly­wood Can­teen” (Bette Davis’ pet project). Davis con­sid­ered “Mil­dred Pierce” the one that got away,” and she felt Craw­ford stole it from her, along with the Os­car she would have won for it.

Only one ac­tress de­picted in “Feud: Bette and Joan” is alive to­day (Craw­ford died in 1977 at 71, and Davis died in 1989 at 81). To add nar­ra­tive to the eight-part mini-series, pro­duc­ers used Os­car-win­ners Catherine Zeta-Jones as Olivia de Hav­il­land and Kathy Bates as Joan Blon­dell (who died in 1979 at 73). They never ex­pected de Hav­il­land, at 101 years old and liv­ing in France, to file a law­suit.

“The series made me look like a gos­sip who ex­ploited oth­ers for her own gain, and de­spite be­ing the only liv­ing per­son por­trayed in the show, I wasn’t con­sulted,” de Hav­il­land said. We checked the book “Bette & Joan: The Di­vine Feud,” by Shaun Con­si­dine, pub­lished in 1989, for which he had in­ter­viewed both Davis and Craw­ford, and couldn’t find any quotes at­trib­uted to de Hav­il­land as de­picted.

Be­cause of her ad­vanced age, Olivia has asked the court for and been granted a speedy trial. On Nov. 27, “Feud’s” lawyers will have to pro­duce ev­i­dence proving De Hav­il­land ac­tu­ally said the things she claims have de­famed her. She’s so adamant about this case she’ll prob­a­bly travel from France to tes­tify.

*** What hap­pened to Si­mon Baker, star of “The Men­tal­ist” (2008-2015)? He re­turned to his na­tive Aus­tralia when the show ended, took time off and began pre­par­ing to di­rect him­self in the up­com­ing ‘70s surf­ing drama “Breath,” which pre­miered at the Toronto Film Fes­ti­val to good re­views.

Uni­ver­sal Pic­tures was dis­ap­pointed in Tom Cruise’s re­cent “Mummy” film, which cost $195 mil­lion to make and grossed $408 mil­lion (a lit­tle bet­ter than break even in Hol­ly­wood terms), es­pe­cially since his new­est re­lease, “Amer­i­can Made,” grossed $34 mil­lion of its $80 mil­lion cost be­fore even open­ing in the U.S. Uni­ver­sal was hop­ing his star power would kick off its slate of hor­ror re­makes, in­clud­ing its next, “The Bride of Franken­stein,” and more Cruise “Mummy” films. Tom loved his “Mummy,” but he loves be­ing “Amer­i­can Made” more, and so do most movie­go­ers!

Photo credit: wikipedia.org

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