Olivia de Havilland at the 2003 Oscars (Photo: Courtesy of A.M.P.A.S. via Getty Images)
Olivia de Havilland, the only movie star portrayed on the acclaimed FX limited series Feud who is still alive, tells The Hollywood Reporter that she hasn't seen the series, but that "in principle, I am opposed to any representation of personages who are no longer alive."
One of the most critically hailed and highly rated shows of the season, Feud was created by Emmy winner Ryan Murphy and stars two-time Oscar winner Jessica Lange and one-time Oscar winner Susan Sarandon as one-time Oscar winner Joan Crawford and two-time Oscar winner Bette Davis, respectively. The show revolves around the premise that Crawford and Davis were long-bickering rivals who reluctantly teamed up to make the 1962 horror film What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, which proved a hit but only further complicated their relationship. One episode dramatizes the 1963 Oscars at which Davis was nominated for Baby Jane but Crawford, who was not, still managed to upstage her.
Feud also is filled with other portrayals of people who were a part of Hollywood's Golden Age, virtually all of whom are dead — Crawford died in 1977, Davis in 1989 and the list goes on. The major exception is two-time Oscar winner de Havilland, who is now 100 and residing in Paris. De Havilland is played on the series by fellow Oscar winner Catherine Zeta-Jones as a regal friend and supporter of Davis, but she was not consulted by the show's creators — Murphy recently told THR that he "didn't want to intrude on Ms. de Havilland" — so THR emailed her (yes, she uses email) to ask for her thoughts about the show and the women at the center of it.
"I have received your email with its two questions," De Havilland replied. "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."
Added De Havilland, "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."