Fact-Checking Feud: Bette and Joan’s Finale: Was It Really That Depressing?
All good things must come to an end.
On Sunday night, Feud: Bette and Joan brought the story of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford‘s infamous rivalry to a close, with the FX anthology hit airings its season one finale. (Season two will be Feud: Charles and Diane, in case you missed the Internet’s meltdown over the news!)
But unlike most finales, Feud went out with a whisper, not a bang, as Bette (Susan Sarandon) and Joan’s (Jessica Lange) later years, regrets and struggles were examined, and shined a light on how lonely and isolated Hollywood can make an aging star feel.
But how much of “You Mean All This Time We Could Have Been Friends?” was accurate? We’re fact-checking Feud: Bette and Joan one last time…
FICTION: Mamacita (whose real name was Anna Marie Brinke) went back to Germany in 1974, three years prior to Joan’s death in 1977.
FACT: Joan reportedly did have dental work done to remove her back molars for instant cheekbones.
FACT: Trog ended up being Joan’s last film, and the budget was so low she did have to use a car as a dressing room and provided her own wardrobe. She did not exactly enjoy the experience, with Conversations With Joan Crawford quoting her as saying, “If I weren’t a Christian Scientist, and I saw Trog advertised on a marquee across the street, I think I’d contemplate suicide.”
FACT: My Way of Life, Joan’s lifestyle advice book for women, came out in 1971, and did include all of the passages heard in the episode, including, “I sit on hard chairs — soft ones spread the hips.”
FACT: The New York Times did call Bette’s turn in Hush, Hush…Sweet Charlotte “resentable.”
FACT: Bette Davis was roasted on The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast, which ran for 10 seasons and had stars making jokes about other stars.
FACT: The only person Bette really disliked more than Joan was Faye Dunaway. When Johnny Carson later asked Bette who was “the worst person” in Hollywood, she answered Faye, calling her “totally impossible.” (Faye would go on to portray Joan in Mommie Dearest, the adaptation of her daughter Christina Crawford‘s tell-all book, released in 1981.)
FACT: “You should never say bad things about the dead, you should only say good… Joan Crawford is dead. Good!” Yep, Bette really said this after Joan’s death.
FACT: While she did say that previous quote, Bette also spoke of respecting Joan and called her “a professional.” Before her death, Joan spoke of working with Bette, reportedly saying, “Oh, I love competition! I really think that competition is one of the great challenges of life. And we must have challenges. Otherwise, we don’t grow. I think with Bette Davis, in Baby Jane, was one of the greatest challenges I’d ever had.”
What did you think of Feud: Bette and Joan? Sound off in the comments.