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I wouldn't piss on Joan Crawford if she was on fire.
—Bette Davis

Ruth Elizabeth "Beth" Davis is a main character and one of the protagonists of the first season of Feud, which focuses on her rivalry with Joan Crawford. She was an American actress of film, television, and theater.

She is portrayed by Susan Sarandon.[1]

Biography

Pilot

Olivia de Havilland, Bette's best friend gives an interview describing the infamous feud between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford as one about pain rather than hatred. After Joan takes Robert Aldrich to see a play called The Night of Iguana starring Bette Davis, she manages to convince the stubborn starlet to co-star in a movie together called What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? after telling her that roles aren't coming in for women their age, and offers to give Bette the main lead, furthering her persuasion to get her to join the movie project.

Bette goes home and reads a magazine, before calling Robert and asking him of Joan's intentions. He tells her that she needs the role since she is the only one who can take a bigger risk. She then demands to know the truth, and he reveals that offers aren't coming in for himself either. He also convinces her to quit Broadway and come back to Hollywood.

Bette and Joan are finally cast in the movie and give a press interview together. After Mamacita walks up and gives Joan a Pepsi-Cola bottle for promotion, Bette spitefully leers at Joan and shrugs her off as they both pose and sign their contracts in front of the press, as it becomes apparent that both have grown uncomfortable with each other.

Joan Blondell gives an interview and appears to describe Bette as a struggling and failing mother who married one of her co-stars Gary Merrill but ultimately got divorced, and was also struggling to obtain movie roles as she got older. Despite being divorced from her husband, they both appear to still hold romantic feelings towards each other, however, Joan Blondell said it was his acting that was the problem in the relationship, even firing him on a Broadway tour in favor of a different co-star.

On the day of the first shoot, Bette angrily arrives on set with her daughter B. D. Hyman. Bette visits Joan in her dressing room, and levels out some rules; while they both hate each other, they do, however, need the movie to work out for their careers. Bette compliments Joan's acting, but then points out flaws in her appearance. After Joan catches Bette with Robert, the director, she confronts them and Bette says that she was only offering ideas. Robert then escorts Bette and tells her to make it work between her and Joan otherwise he'll be losing money for nothing and she agrees.

In her dressing room, Bette takes one of Joan's wigs and does her own makeup, ultimately making herself look terrifying. She then walks out and on to set as everyone stares at her, she takes a bow in front of Joan and Robert. Everyone then applauds her as Joan walks off. Joan and Bette watch a brief screening of their scenes together.

Bette and Joan then appear to Hedda Hopper's house for a dinner together.

The Other Woman

After meeting the young actress who is playing Joan's neighbor, Joan visits Bette and voices her concern about Robert's biased views, however, Bette isn't concerned but Joan is convinced that the woman will sleep her way to the top and steal the show. Bette then leaves set, but before she could she asks Robert to fire the young actress, now siding with Joan, and having no choice, he is forced to fire the young woman. Bette and Joan watch the young woman walk off set.

Joan Blondell continues to give her views on Bette and Joan's feud, describing it as "chemical" as while Bette was receiving a lot of roles, Joan wanted more serious roles to play and was beginning to lose her stardom. However, Blondell would later go on to describe Bette as "difficult, expensive and powerful", and the roles that Bette turned down went to Joan, who wasn't happy about this. But this eventually turned around for Joan, who was getting all the roles while Bette was struggling to obtain serious ones. Jack Warner would also thrive on this and continued to make money off them.

Bette walks over to Robert and complains about the breakfast scene, Joan also agrees with Bette and both persuade Robert to rewrite the scene. Together, they both walk off seemingly getting along with each other.

At a party, Hedda is still convinced that they aren't getting along with each other but both are adamant that they are "friends", however, Robert comes to the conclusion that they are only getting along so that they can team up and take more shots around set. Jack Warner has also suggested to stir gossip between the two and release Robert would later tell Hedda false information about Bette's views on Joan's breasts, describing them as "fake".

In the middle of Bette's shoot, Joan interrupts them asking to speak with Robert and complains about the false allegations Bette has made, but Bette says that she hasn't said such thing. To get revenge on Bette, Joan calls Hedda and makes ageist comments towards Bette, describing her "old enough to play her mother". Bette then storms into Joan's dressing room demanding her reasons for selling the story and makes it clear that she's only focused on acting.

Later, Jack and Robert watch scenes from the movie together but all Jack wants is to make money from the feud between Joan and Bette.

Bette then arrives on set and ensures that she wants to out-do Joan in the film and Robert sides with her and asks her to sing live for the film. Bette is nervous about this but decides to do it as Robert helps her with her lines. Joan then begins to notice Bette's relationship with Robert blossoming and decides to confront him, believing that Bette is seducing him and even attempts to seduce him herself, but failed.

Bette then meets the actor who is playing her love interest, and is horrified that he isn't attractive, and later goes home with her daughter who is getting more attention from men around the set than her. She then decides to move B. D. to Maine, but B. D. knows that Bette is jealous of her because she is more attractive than her. Bette then calls for Robert to come to her house appearing upset and knows that B. D. is telling her truth and comes to the realization that more attractive men won't want to play her love interests. Robert then kisses Bette after believing that she is the better person than him.

Mommie Dearest

Bette arrives on to set and asks to speak with Robert. They agree to keep their relationship platonic and forget about their one-night stand. She then jokingly offers B. D. to play the neighbor, which Robert quickly agrees too. Joan arrives on to set and tells her that she caught B. D. smoking with her twin daughters. Bette asks her how she keeps her daughters in line, and Joan reveals that her parenting in strict. Bette then offers Joan a drink after work, and later go to the resuarant with Joan and reveals her intentions to allow B. D. play the neighbor. Joan then reveals her own relationship with her mother describing it as distant and broken, even losing her virginity at age 11 with her mother's second husband. Bette then reveals her own relationship with her mother as slightly better although they spent long periods of time away from each other due to her mother's work. She then describes her mother as her only true female friend. They both then agree to work on their relationship to make the movie a success.

Back on set, Bette complains about to Robert about Victor's running commentary on set and over eating and also helps B. D. with her lines but is horrified by her acting.

Robert then tells Bette about Hedda's latest gossip about her and storms out to confront Joan about her plans to compete with her in the best actress category. They both argue until they storm away into their dressing rooms.

While Bette and Joan film a scene together, Joan breaks out into laughter until they have to redo the scene. Bette then watches Joan film a scene then complains because she is standing there and while Bette films a scene, Joan talks over it. With all of Joan's annoyances getting in the way, Bette takes her anger out on the dummy playing Joan's stunt. Robert then calls Joan in for the additional shots and Bette kicks her in the back of the head.

Bette and Robert watch back B. D.'s scene and Bette is still horrified by her terrible acting. Later, Bette and Victor run their lines together, when B. D. appears asks for help to practice her lines also but Bette tells her to go to bed instead.

Joan then tells Hedda more gossip about her time with Bette on set, making her seem like the difficult one even though in reality it appears that Joan was the difficult one on the set day at the beach. Hedda then appears to Bette's house and asks for her gossip on Joan but Bette doesn't have any gossip for her, but Hedda threatens to expose B. D. terrible acting and Bette insists that B. D.'s role won't affect the movie because it's not important enough, however, B. D. hears her say this.

Bette then gets Victor out of jail after a police raid and he thanks her for her help.

On set, Bette comforts B. D. and assures her that her acting will not ruin the film and later calls her daughter Margot (who is in a private school) who is upset that her mother has left her and hangs up the call.

Due to issues with the lighting of the sun making Bette and Joan appear more younger, they had to redo the beach scene indoors since their characters are much older-looking.

More, or Less

The episode opens with Bette meeting her new, younger agent who suggests upcoming roles before her movie is released. She appears unamused by his suggestions until he reveals that her popularity with decline due to the film being a B-Movie. After this, Bette fired her new agent and puts out an add on the newspaper for new work without the agent's knowledge.

After the film's success, however, it's revealed that Bette enjoyed her reclaim to fame much more than Joan did. She also took part in an interview with the Jack Paar Show. While Joan sits in bed watching this interview, she recieves a phone call from Bette, but Joan isn't happy because throughout Bette's success, she had been dragging Joan down with cruel comments about her age and appearance. Joan hangs up, not wanting any part of sharing the film's success with Bette.

In 1963, Bette went on to star in Perry Mason. She gets a surprise visit on set by Robert who takes her out to dinner. She revealed that she has a script and wants Robert to direct the film, however, he is hesitant, not wanting a repeat of what happened between her and Joan onset. However, she reveals that she wants to be her own co-star because the role she'll be playing are twins and because technology has advanced since the success of her previous film. But Robert remains hesitant and refuses. Bette remains worried that not as much film offers will come in for her.

And The Winner Is... (The Oscars of 1963)

Bette is a shoe-in as one of the 1963 Academy Award Oscar winners for the best actress category and still isn't backing down from her rude comments towards Joan.

It's revealed by Olivia that the Academy Awards was the downfall for both Bette and Joan, mainly because of the pressures from media highlighting their infamous feud.

Back in 1963, Bette calls Olivia who gives advice to Bette about making comments towards Joan, and not to say anything about her as the press want a cat-fight between them, using her own experiences with her sister as examples. But it's harder for Bette to not say anything about Joan.

On the night of the Oscars, Bette reads over a congratulations letter from Ronald and Nancy Reagan and goes with Olivia to the event. Bette is determined to win and unite her two previous Oscars with a third one. Backstage, Bette is nervous and is calmed by Olivia. Bette wants to go the green room to get booze but tells her not to go because Joan is there.

Bette then storms into green room where Joan is, looking polished and serving alcohol and food to the Oscars guests. She wishes Bette good luck on her category nomination.

Unfortunately, Bette loses to her Oscar win to Anne Bancroft, who couldn't attend the event herself, and to make matters worse for Bette, Joan gets to accept the Oscar for Anne. This leaves Bette devastated and heart-broken from her lose.

Back at home, Bette becomes increasingly bitter towards Joan as she now realizes that because she didn't win, no director will want to hire her for any movie role.

Hagsploitation

Jack Warner wants Bette and Joan to star in another movie together called Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte with Robert attached to the picture again. He refuses, knowing that they both truly despise each other at this point. But Jack, wanting to keep the feud between them both alive, is adamant that Robert gets them both to star in it.

Bette is angry with Robert's request to star in a film alongside Joan, especially after accepting the award (on behalf of Anne Bancroft) that she worked so hard to get but failed. Bette then demands to have creative control over the film.

On the day of the table read for the script, Bette and Joan cross paths yet again, where Joan apologizes but Bette doesn't want Joan's apology but a promise to stick by each other as they brave through their new co-stars. However, Bette is unimpressed by Robert's script and interrupts throughout the read, even jumping ahead. Bette becomes irritated towards Joan as they throw insult after insult to each other, before Bette flees.

Later during the filming of Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte, Robert revealed to Bette that he and his wife are getting a divorce. She gives him some words of confidence before continuing filming.

At the hotel where they will be staying during the time of production, Joan arrives and is upset to learn that no rooms are available for her. It's hinted that Bette played a part in this as Joan is placed in a horrible hotel room with Mamacita.

Abandoned!

You Mean All This Time We Could Have Been Friends?

Profile

Bette Davis is a talented, brilliant and dedicated actress, but behind the scenes she has a very little to bad reputation compared to her onscreen movie roles, for example, turning down movie roles because they didn't make her demands and even having a petty hatred towards Joan Crawford due to her (former) rising popularity while she was failing to make ends meet and struggling with motherhood. Upon first meeting her, she held a hostile, deadpan and almost rude personality towards Joan who was only offering her a chance to make it big in Hollywood again, and due to ageism and the lack of movie offers, she decided to join the project, only to further ignite their hatred towards each other. Bette is extremely diva-like and is unapologetic when it comes to other people around her even firing her ex-husband from a Broadway tour due to his lack-lusting performances. She also has a strained relationship with her daughter due to her jealousy of B. D.'s youth, beauty and admiration from male attention, and it only becomes more obvious when both Bette and Joan team up to get the actress who is playing the younger neighbor fired. Something that both her and Joan have in common, is that they are both extremely dedicated actress and only wishes to continue with her work until she no longer can.

Relationships

Joan Crawford is Bette's co-star of the film What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? and feuding rivals behind the scenes. After meeting each other for the first time, it appeared that Bette didn't like Joan, despite Joan's efforts to be kind and even offering her the main lead. However, their relationship only worsened after they signed their contracts for the film and began shooting. Despite knowing that they hate each other, they decide to still act together out of the fact that this movie is their last chance to prove themselves as dedicated actresses.

Robert Aldrich is Bette's director of the film What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? and along with Joan Crawford, wanted Bette to join the project and quit Broadway.

Gary Merrill is Bette's ex-husband who she divorced because of his acting, even firing him from tour and replacing him with a different co-star. Despite this, they appear to still hold romantic feelings for each other.

B. D. Hyman is Bette's daughter.

Appearances

Bette and Joan (8/8)

Multimedia

Images

Pilot

Videos

References

Navigation

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