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Centenarian Olivia De Havilland has no time for Feud

Bette Davis (left) and Olivia De Havilland arrive at Kennedy Airport to attend the opening of Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte in New York. (Photo: Joe Farrington/NY Daily News Archive/Getty Images)

Of all the fascinating players—Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Bob Aldrich, Jack Warner— in the FX series Feud: Bette And Joan, only one is still alive. While Feud creator Ryan Murphy decided to respect the privacy of Olivia De Havilland, who recently celebrated her 100th birthday from her home in Paris, the press was not so conciliatory: The Hollywood Reporter reveals that it emailed Ms. De Havilland a few questions “to ask for her thoughts about the show and the women at the center of it.” The questions involved the series itself, and more specifically, the 1963 Oscars; in the series, De Havilland (Catherina Zeta-Jones) attends the awards to support her friend Davis (Susan Sarandon), who has been nominated for Best Actress for What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?, much to the consternation of her non-nominated co-star Crawford (Jessica Lange). And De Havilland actually responded, writing:

I have received your email with its two questions. I would like to reply first to the second of these, which inquires of me the accuracy of a current television series entitled Feud, which concerns Bette Davis and Joan Crawford and their supposed animosity toward each other. Having not seen the show, I cannot make a valid comment about it. However, in principle, I am opposed to any representation of personages who are no longer alive to judge the accuracy of any incident depicted as involving themselves.

As to the 1963 Oscar ceremony, which took place over half a century ago, I regret to say that I have no memory of it whatsoever and therefore cannot vouch for its accuracy.


While Screen Crush is crowing over De Havilland’s “IDGAF” response, it seems more like a woman perplexed by the attention given to the events of decades ago, and has long since moved on with her life. And she doesn’t really have to watch the show, having (supposedly) lived it. De Havilland actually would make a great subject for a Feud season herself, spending her life and career battling her own Joan: her sister, Joan Fontaine. But her now-stated stance against these sort of programs may make that iffy.

Feud: Bette And Joan concludes this Sunday, April 23.

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