Why did Bette Davis and Joan Crawford Hate Each Other?

The enmity between Davis and Crawford created one of the most famous celebrity feuds of all time.

Why did they hate each other so much? Well, it’s a long story.

Crawford was already a big star when Davis was making her first appearances in movies. Joan had slept her way to the top, and gone as far as marrying the legendary Douglas Fairbanks Jr. Davis was irritated by the way that the newspapers seemed so obsessed with Crawford’s love life, and she was especially put out the time that the studio had arranged a big publicity stunt for Davis’s new movie Ex-Lady only for Crawford to steal the headlines by announcing on the same day that she and Fairbanks were divorcing.

Bette had been jealous of Crawford’s affair with Clark Gable, on whom she had a crush, but it was Franchot Tone who the two really fell out over. Tone, who was dating Crawford, was Davis’s leading man in Dangerous. Davis fell in love with him, but he married Crawford.

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Eventually, Davis became a huge star, overtaking Crawford. By the 1940s both stars were employed by the same studio, Warner Bros., where they had adjoining dressing rooms. Crawford did her best to win Davis over, sending a stream of flowers and gifts next door, but all were returned (with Davis making sneering remarks about “lesbian overtures”). The rivalry and bitchiness soon started to become obvious, and before long it was legendary. They bitched about each other’s appearance, love-lives, upbringing, careers, awards, and even each other’s children.

Eventually, Davis became a huge star, overtaking Crawford. By the 1940s both stars were employed by the same studio, Warner Bros., where they had adjoining dressing rooms. Crawford did her best to win Davis over, sending a stream of flowers and gifts next door, but all were returned (with Davis making sneering remarks about “lesbian overtures”). The rivalry and bitchiness soon started to become obvious, and before long it was legendary. They bitched about each other’s appearance, love-lives, upbringing, careers, awards, and even each other’s children.