Five Most Famous Feuds in Hollywood

Mark Twain once said, “Truth is stranger than fiction.” Anyone who has ever worked behind the scenes of a film or TV show knows that what happens behind the scenes is often more entertaining than anything on the screen. With that in mind, here’s our list of the five most famous Hollywood feuds of all time.

1. Olivia De Havilland and Joan Fontaine

de havilland and fontaine on name dropping

In the longest case of sibling rivalry in Hollywood history are sisters Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine. Growing up, they fought constantly, and at one point, Olivia broke Joan’s collarbone. It all started with their mother, whom Joan believed favored Olivia. When Olivia became an actress, Joan followed suit, but her mother forced her to come up with a different surname (Fontaine) by refusing to allow her to use the family name of de Havilland.

In 1942, both sisters were nominated for lead actress, but Joan beat out Olivia, becoming the first sister to win an Academy Award. During the ceremony, Joan slighted her sister when she rejected her attempt to congratulate her. Years later in 1946 when Olivia won the first of her two Oscars her sister approached her backstage and extended her hand, but Olivia turned her back on her ignoring her completely.

The sisters stopped talking altogether in 1975 after a disagreement about their mother’s cancer treatment. Their rivalry would last their entire lives until Joan died in 2013 at the age of 96. Olivia, who is 101, said she was “shocked and saddened” by the passing of her sister.

2. Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra

Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra

It is rumored that Frank Sinatra was upset when Brando was cast over him for the lead role in “On the Waterfront.” Sinatra was very vocal about the fact that he thought Brando (whom he called Mumbles) was the world’s most overrated actor. Things would escalate when both men were cast in the musical “Guys & Dolls.” Brando, knowing he was not a singer or dancer, asked Sinatra if he would help him with the musical numbers. Sinatra refused by saying he didn’t go for that “method crap,” resenting Brando’s form of acting. To get back at Frank, who preferred spontaneity and few takes, Brando would purposely mess up the last line of every scene they were in, forcing multiple takes. This infuriated the crooner.

It got so bad between them that they would only communicate with one another through third parties. But it didn’t stop there. Things got so heated that at one point, Brando was jumped by two thugs and blamed the attack on by Sinatra, whom he claimed had orchestrated it through his mafia connections.  The attack scared Brando so much that he never again spoke about Sinatra in interviews.

3. Debbie Reynolds and Elizabeth Taylor

Debbie Reynolds and Elizabeth Taylor on Name Dropping

Before the whole ordeal with Jennifer Aniston and “Brangelina,” there were Debbie, Eddie and Elizabeth.  In 1955, Debbie Reynolds married singer Eddie Fisher, and in 1957, Elizabeth Taylor married producer Mike Todd. Debbie was Elizabeth’s matron of honor, and Eddie was Todd’s best man. All four friends quickly settled into married life. Unfortunately, they would not get the chance to live happily ever after.

In 1958, Mike died tragically in a plane crash. Eddie made it a point to console Elizabeth, and before long they fell in love. Debbie was the last to know even though the affair was all over the tabloids. ,When she finally realized what was happening, she was shattered. She said once about her former friend “She liked him well enough to take him without invitation.”

Eddie and Elizabeth married in 1959, but in 1965 while filming “Cleopatra,” Taylor fell in love with her co-star Richard Burton and left Eddie that same year. Though Debbie and Eddie never reconciled their relationship, she and Elizabeth did in 1966. During a cruise, Elizabeth asked Debbie to dinner to put everything behind them. They did just that and remained friends until Taylor’s death in 2011.

4. Bette Davis and Joan Crawford

Bette Davis and Joan Crawford on Name Dropping

No list about Hollywood feuds would be complete without the most famous feud in all of movie history. Bette Davis and Joan Crawford worked together only once during the filming of “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” However, their feud had begun decades earlier during the 1930s.

When Davis was shooting a film entitled “Dangerous,” she fell in love with her co-star Franchot Tone. Crawford, who knew how Davis felt about Franchot, seduced him and eventually married him, rubbing it in Davis’s face. And so, a lifelong hatred was born.

The height of their rivalry would culminate during the shooting of “Baby Jane.” In one scene, Crawford filled her pockets with rocks (or weights) so that when Davis dragged her through the floor, it would hurt her back. Davis, however, got her own chance to inflict pain during another scene where she was supposed to be kicking Crawford in the stomach; she purposely kicked her hard in the head, instead. The peak of their rivalry came when Davis received an Oscar nomination for her performance in “Baby Jane” but Crawford did not. Joan, jealous of the attention heaped upon her co-star, contacted every other nominated actress in the category, asking them if they wanted her to receive the Oscar for them should they win. When Davis lost to Anne Bancroft, it was Crawford who accepted the award to spite her.

5. Debra Winger and Everyone Else

Debra Winger on Name Dropping

Debra Winger probably has the worst reputation in Hollywood for being difficult to work with. “An Officer and a Gentleman” is by far one of the greatest love stories ever captured on film. Yet Debra Winger hated every second of it. She compared co-star Richard Gere to a brick wall and called Taylor Hackford, the director of the film, “an animal.” In an interview, Winger said that during filming she made no attempts to hide how upset she was, but for whatever reason her emotions translated to being in love on the big screen.

The most famous incident on a movie set involving Debra Winger occurred during the shooting of “Terms of Endearment” while filming with actress Shirley MacLain. During one scene where the crew was setting up marks (places for actors to stand), Winger started to order Shirley MacLain to hers. Shirley said, “I heard you. I know marks when I see them.” Debra replied, “Good, how’s this for mark?” then turned around, lifted her skirt slightly, bent over and farted in Shirley’s face. Always a class act, Shirley replied, “Do you always talk with your mouth full?”




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  • Jesus Reyna
    Posted at 19:40h, 16 January Reply

    I hope the sisters were able to reconcile somewhat before Joan’s death.

  • Sagar Rai
    Posted at 10:52h, 17 January Reply

    stop over exaggerating debra winger as a dfficult actress. She did not not get along with everyone, She got along well with many such as Anthony hopkins, John travolta, Tom Berenger Robert redford.

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