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Bette Davis and Miriam Hopkins

You don't hear much about their feud, probably because most people today have no idea who Hopkins was. From what I hear, it was pretty intense and made Bette and Joan's conflict look like a playground spat. What was the source of the Bette/Miriam feud?

by Anonymousreply 7902/05/2015

I have no idea why they didn't get along but it's fascinating to see Hopkins do her own version of Baby Jane on a particularly weird episode of 'The Outer Limits'.

by Anonymousreply 112/07/2010

I thought that Mirian Hopkins WAS a miserable bitch.

by Anonymousreply 312/07/2010

Didn't they have a classic cat fight on set?

by Anonymousreply 512/08/2010

Olivia, Agnes, and Mary, R6. There's a reason why they all ended up with her in "Hush, Hush." By that point, they were the only people who could still stand her.

by Anonymousreply 712/08/2010

That's ridiculous, R7. Bette Davis had a lot of friends in the movie business. Yes, Olivia de Havilland was probably her best friend, and Mary Astor had tremendous respect for her. But there were also lifelong friendships with Claude Rains, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Jane Bryan, Herbert Marshall, Paul Henreid, Joseph Cotten, Basil Rathbone, Anne Baxter, Joan Blondell, Henry Fonda, and, later, Ann-Margret, Robert Wagner, Natalie Wood, Roddy McDowall, Angela Lansbury, and Gena Rowlands. It's true that Davis was excitable and moody, qualities exacerbated by the bitterness of her last marriage and divorce and then by her drinking. Still, almost nobody liked working with Miriam Hopkins. She was a good actress but also pathologically insecure and, as a result, ridiculously jealous and unprofessional. Eventually she found fewer and fewer jobs.

by Anonymousreply 812/08/2010

Bette Davis wasn't half the actress Miriam Hopkins was.

by Anonymousreply 912/08/2010

Also: Miriam Hopkins starred in Jezebel on Broadway, where it closed after 32 performances. Four years later, the film version was a big hit, won Davis her second Oscar, and made her the most popular and admired female star in Hollywood. In their two movies together, they were both billed above the title, but it was Davis's character who was the focus of the plot; Hopkins was clearly in support.

by Anonymousreply 1012/08/2010

[quote]made her the most popular and admired female star in Hollywood

Most popular, perhaps (although, Box Office-wise, Shirley Temple Joan Crawford and Sonja Henie were bigger draws). But she was never, ever, ever the most admired female star in Hollywood.

by Anonymousreply 1112/08/2010

[quote]Also: Miriam Hopkins starred in Jezebel on Broadway, where it closed after 32 performances.

I just read [italic]Miss Tallulah Bankhead[/italic] and I swear the author said Tallulah got the role of Julie in the Broadway play, but the IBDb says otherwise. Now I'm confused.

by Anonymousreply 1212/08/2010

Even Jack Warner, used to Bette's legendary tantrums, considered Hopkins a cunt extraordinaire.

by Anonymousreply 1312/08/2010

Miriam Hopkins couldn't resist using cheap tricks to upstage her fellow actors. Bette later remarked that it was a shame that Hopkins lowered herself that way because she was a good actress who ought to have trusted her own talent.

by Anonymousreply 1412/08/2010

Their feud started at the beginning of their careers when they were working in the same theater company. Hopkins, who was rather openly bi, put the moves on Davis who turned her down. From then on it was war.

Years later on the first day of shooting "Old Acquaintances" Hopkins turned up on the set in the replica of the ballroom gown Davis wore on Jezebel. Davis was no picnic to work with (and she did steal Hopkins man from under, well, her rug) but even she preferred Crawford to Hopkins, who would have stripped naked during Hamlet's soliloquy if it meant a chance to upstage her costars. She was the kind of crazy bitch who gives lunacy a bad name.

by Anonymousreply 1512/08/2010

Old Acquaintance is a fun film and though Bette Davis is top-billed, Miriam definitely has the showier and more complex role and comes through in spades.%0D %0D She's also spectacular as the old shrew in the William Wyler 1960 version of The Children's Hour, though she played the Shirley MacLaine role in the earlier 1930s version of the film opposite Merle Oberon and Joel McCrea. The version that's NOT about lesbians.

by Anonymousreply 1612/08/2010

Davis opened the Hollywood Canteen for WW2 servicemrn. She was widely admired for that.

by Anonymousreply 1712/08/2010

Miriam wanted to do the lez-lez with Bette and was rebuffed.

by Anonymousreply 1812/08/2010

Even though they took the lez out of the first version of THE CHILDREN'S HOUR, THESE THREE, I still think it's the better film, mainly because of Hopkins. %0D %0D She really didn't age well. She pretty much hit the wall in 1940 and was a matron forever after. %0D %0D Most of Hopkins' best work was pre-code and is no longer available. If you can, check out THE STORY OF TEMPLE DRAKE (on youtube), DR. JEKYLL & MR. HYDE, THE SMILING LIEUTENANT, TROUBLE IN PARADISE or SHE LOVES ME NOT.

by Anonymousreply 1912/08/2010

When Davis trashed Hopkins, she credited Hopkins as a great actress.

When she trashed Joan, she didn't.

The last person I would have expected Davis to hate was Celeste Holm, whom she clearly hated with a passion.

by Anonymousreply 2112/08/2010

Tallulah starred as the lead in "Dark Victory", r12, not "Jezebel."

And, r21, I think it was Celeste who hated Davis, more than the other way around.

by Anonymousreply 2212/08/2010

There is a clip of Bette on some talk show talking about Miriam...she takes a drag on her ciggie and spits out: "Oh, that Miriam Hopkins, she was a real bitch!"

by Anonymousreply 2312/08/2010

It was well known in Hollywood that Miriam Hopkins was generally loathed by everyone she ever worked with. Edward G. Robinson really hated her and refused to ever work with her again. Frankly, I never saw her appeal. To be she always seemed like a hyperactive Pekinese. And she usually chewed too much scenery to be believeable.

by Anonymousreply 2412/08/2010

R11: By "admired," I meant by the public and the critics for her acting. For the next few years her movies made a lot of moneys and she won a lot of awards (or was nominated for them). Regarding the Hollywood Canteen, do her motives really matter, though there is no evidence she conceived and executed the idea for any reason other than public service. She also threatened to shut it down if black and white soldiers weren't treated alike and integrated. Under California law at the time, public venues could be segregated by race. Davis stood up for what was right, so it's doubtful that all she cared about was the attention the Canteen brought her.

by Anonymousreply 2512/08/2010

It was also said that that Davis told several people that Crawford was trying to get a little too close for Davis' comfort (if you know what I mean) early in their professional relationship, and for that reason Davis never warmed up to Crawford off the set. And believe her or not, Crawford's daughter Christina claimed in her book that Joan was very bisexual.

I always got the feeling that Bette was somewhat homophobic where lesbians were concerned.

by Anonymousreply 2612/08/2010

I don't think anybody who worked with Miriam Hopkins had a good word to say about her. She was a nutty bitch. Davis was just another in a long line of people who couldn't stand her.

by Anonymousreply 2712/08/2010

Where is all this so called Miriam hate being read? I'd like to see these sources because honestly I don't believe it. I don't think Bette and Miriam hated each other as much as you guys think. They were both competitive. Miriam was a terrific actress. So what she was stagy in her movies, it was from being on stage before Hollywood. Her pre-codes are amazing especially Temple Drake... She wasn't perfect but dammit the only person who was was probably Donna Reed.

by Anonymousreply 2812/08/2010

I always loved Miriam in The Heiress - there's a a franticness (?) about her character that I love. And the scene late at night where she confronts Olivia about telling Monty that she disinherited herself is so moving,

by Anonymousreply 2912/08/2010

[quote]The last person I would have expected Davis to hate was Celeste Holm, whom she clearly hated with a passion.

Holm's version of the story in a TCM interview is that Bette was having a mini tantrum, called Holm a "bitch," and Holm never forgave her. To this day, she apparently loathes Bette for that one incident.

by Anonymousreply 3012/08/2010

BTW, R22, Tallulah was cast in "Jezebel" but during rehearsals fell ill from the gonorrhea that almost killed her. Then the part went to Miriam.

by Anonymousreply 3112/08/2010

Miriam's acting style may have been "stagy" and mannered, but Bette's wasn't exactly naturalistic!

by Anonymousreply 3212/08/2010

r30...that version of the animosity between Bette and Celeste is different from another story I heard from Celeste on some talk show. She claimed that on the very first day of the shoot, Celeste walked over to Bette and said a pleasant "good morning" and Bette sorta looked her up and down and said "Oh shit, good manners!" Celeste said that she never said another word to Bette when they weren't shooting their scenes.

by Anonymousreply 3312/08/2010

Hey, it could have been both, R33. I've heard Bette was relatively cooperative on the "All About Eve" set, and frankly, neither story sounds particularly bad. Nothing to hold a grudge about for decades, at any rate.

by Anonymousreply 3412/08/2010

Do your homework, r28. The sources are not hard to find. Every Bette Davis biography discusses atlength the animosity between Davis and Hopkins.

by Anonymousreply 3512/08/2010

That was cunty Bette's excuse about EVERY actress she couldn't get along with - "Well, she wanted to have sex with me, and I rebuffed her."

I don't believe any of it.

by Anonymousreply 3612/08/2010

Tallulah Bankhead was everything Bette would have you believe she was.

by Anonymousreply 3712/08/2010

According to one book about All About Eve, Celeste Holm supposedly threw a fit about her dressing room. She also seemed to hate Anne Baxter, saying that she was pretentious and unnaturally proud of being the granddaughter of Frank Lloyd Wright. (Bette and Anne became good friends on the set of All About Eve and stayed friends until Anne's death. In fact, Bette discovered the cancer that eventually killed her in the shower at Anne's house, staying with her on vacation more than thirty years after they made the movie together. So much for the myth that Bette had no friends from Hollywood.) Moreover, Celeste was bitching about "the Queen Bee from Warners" to anyone who would listen before Bette got to location in San Francisco, where filming began. As a last-minute replacement for Claudette Colbert, Bette was late to join the cast. Let's face it: Celeste Holm was angry about the fact that only one of them was a star.

by Anonymousreply 3812/08/2010

R37--everything but a movie star.

by Anonymousreply 3912/08/2010

Bullshit, r38. Bette was set to replace Colbert several weeks before filming began. She arrived in San Francisco the same day everyone else did, in fact, she flew up with several cast members - it's when the attraction with Gary Merrill first developed.

Celeste Holm said a pleasant "Good morning!" to Bette on the first day of shooting, Bette replied "Christ, good manners" (probably more of a sarcastic, joking kind of response), Celeste took offense, and that was that.

Which is not to say that Celeste isn't a bitch. I've worked with her. She is.

by Anonymousreply 4012/08/2010

Uh, I was just gonna say.....anyone who defends Celeste Holm has not worked with her.%0D %0D I've told this story on DataLounge before but heard from Kathy Bates that Taylor Hackford wanted Celeste for Dolores Claiborne for the role of the old rich lady that Judy Parfitt eventually played but Celeste was so ornery and grand in meetings that it lost her the role.

by Anonymousreply 4112/08/2010

r35, Ahhh phooey! It's nothing but Bette Davis biographies. There's an image to uphold, they want to help. Until there is a Miriam Hopkins biography... and r39, don't go there!

by Anonymousreply 4212/08/2010

My impression of Celeste Holm is that she is one raving cunt. Every interview I have seen with her over the past few decades she didn't have a good thing to say about anyone. She always came across as a grande dame but it wasn't inborn. She was playing a part that didn't quite come off. She also had an inflated idea of her own talents. IF she was so goddamned talented then why didn't SHE ever star in a picture. She was always relegated to where she belonged - a supporting player, nothing more.

by Anonymousreply 4312/09/2010

Cut the old bitch some slack. You'd be cranky too if you were partnered with the wooden Hugh Marlowe.

by Anonymousreply 4412/09/2010

r44 - Wooden, but extremely handsome at the time. Would have loved to have checked out his woody.

by Anonymousreply 4512/09/2010

Celeste also costarred with Handsome Hugh in Come to the Stable but Loretta Young was top-billed. Can you imagine what that set was like with smug Celeste and prim Loretta dressed in nuns' habits and full-inhabiting their habits?! %0D %0D Has Loretta ever had a thread on DL? She was once as big a star as Joan, Bette and Norma (and far bigger than Miriam!) and made a very successful, elegant and lucrative transition into her own television series in the 1950s and early 60s but is truly forgotten today.%0D %0D Anyway, back to Miriam....if there's anything left to disparage or defend.

by Anonymousreply 4612/09/2010

I have never heard a nice thing about Celeste from folks here in NYC who have worked with her. And I have to say, in every interview where she talks about the "Eve" shoot and how she and Bette didn't get along, it is she who comes across as a humorless bitch. The incident she describes doesn't even merit a shrug, much less totally cutting someone off.

by Anonymousreply 4712/09/2010

The "Oh shit! good manners" remark was most likely Bette being her usual sarcastic self and not meant seriously, but a humorless bitch like Celeste would have thought Bette meant it. Everybody on "Eve" got along with Bette and liked her except for Celeste. As mentioned above Anne Baxter, who played Davis's nemesis in the film, became a lifelong friend. Contrary to legend, Bette got along with most of her co-stars except for Miriam Hopkins and of course Joan Crawford. Claude Rains, Geraldine Fitzgerald, George Brent and Paul Henreid all adored her and they all stayed friends with Bette for decades.

by Anonymousreply 4812/09/2010

I remember thinking that Celeste came off rather pretentious while talking about Bette and "Eve." After she told the story about the "good manners" thing, she sort of looked at the host and then at the audience as if to say: "Can you believe it? She said that to me! To me! Why, I never! Well, I showed her...I didn't speak to her anymore. Hmpffff."

by Anonymousreply 4912/10/2010

"Miriam Hopkins...she was a real bitch!"

by Anonymousreply 5002/11/2012

Perhaps r20 Bette was hoping to get some hot grateful military cock among all those servicemen? Bet the same applied to the other gals there ... unless the gay guys there got to them before they did !

by Anonymousreply 5102/11/2012

I tried to give Celeste a complement about her hat. She looked at me as though I'd spit in her face. She's known as "Cellestial".

by Anonymousreply 5202/11/2012

And one must remember that Celeste never said anything negative about Bette in public until after Bette died.

by Anonymousreply 5302/11/2012

[quote]Davis opened the Canteen for one reason - satisfying her already unstable ego.

No, I think her motives were good but it was no secret in Hollywood that the Canteen did satisfy one of her needs--the need for young soldiers.

Jack Carson told a story to one of Davis' biographers that a soldier asked to be introduced to Davis, saying, "I hear she fucks like a mink."

Carson was offended after all Bette'd done for the troops and was about to punch the GI. But then he said he had to laugh and thought, "Ain't it the truth!"

As far as Miriam Hopkins goes, even Jack Warner--long inured to Bette's tantrums--considered Hopkins an intolerable bitch.

by Anonymousreply 5402/11/2012

I've read just about every biography of Davis ever published and I don't think it was mantioned even once that Hopkins ever made a romantic pass at her. The animosity sprung from the Jezebel incident and Hopkins insatiable need for validation and "look at me"-thereby trying to upstage every pece of furniture on the set.

by Anonymousreply 5502/11/2012

Hopkins pulled a lot of tricks on the set--Edward G. Robinson complained about her as well. Vincent Sherman said that Hopkins told him that she felt that she had to protect herself when she was working at Warners--Davis was the big star there, and Hopkins thought that she would be overshadowed if she didn't fight back.

by Anonymousreply 5602/11/2012

Lillian Hellman, in one of her autobiographies, wrote about what a bitch Miriam Hopkins was.

Although, the argument has been made that every word Hellman wrote, including "and" and "the," were lies.

by Anonymousreply 5702/11/2012

R48, Bette Davis also did not get along with Errol Flynn, hated his guts actually and had no respect for him as an actor or a man.

Hopkins wasn't the original choice to play opposite Davis in Old Acquaintance. Norma Shearer was offered the role first, but she turned it down as she didn't want to play second lead to Davis. I wonder how Davis and Shearer would have gotten along?

by Anonymousreply 5802/11/2012

Thank God La Shearer turned down the part. Her temperment was entirely wrong for the character. She would have been a better fit for Davis' character.

by Anonymousreply 5902/11/2012

I have related this anecdote before. Holm appeared on my campus years ago to speak at a film forum. UBER bitch. She drove us crazy. We were working behind the scenes and you would have thought it was the Cannes Film Festival. One nasty piece of work.

by Anonymousreply 6002/11/2012

Norma would have never worked in Burbank. She was a Culver City girl through and through.

by Anonymousreply 6102/11/2012

"Bette Davis also did not get along with Errol Flynn, hated his guts actually and had no respect for him as an actor or a man."

Flynn later complained that when she was supposed to deliver a stage slap, she punched his lights out.

by Anonymousreply 6202/12/2012

You've answered your own question OP. Hopkins was a big star but she is not remember as such today in the same way as Crawford was. Also I don't believe their enmity was on the radar when it was happening to the degree that Crawford's and Davis's was, if I'm not mistaken Davis's sheer loathing for Hopkins didn't really surface publicly until she mentioned it on Dick Cavett. Interestingly in the same breath, Davis also mentioned that Hopkins was a great actress, something she certainly never felt about Crawford. I would put Davis's late-revealed enmity for Hopkins in the same category as her late-revealed enmity for Celeste Holm.

by Anonymousreply 6302/12/2012

Bette worked with Miriam twice. Was her experience on The Old Maid not as distasteful as that on Old Acquaintance?

Never seen The Old Maid. Is it worth checking out? Does Miriam steal that one away from Bette, too

by Anonymousreply 6402/12/2012

I don't remember Bette not liking Errol Flynn. She just thought he was a terrible actor, but I don't think it was personal. And late in life she admitted, having seen the Elizabeth movie again, that he was much better than she realized at the time.

by Anonymousreply 6502/12/2012

And she also spoke admittedly fondly of Errol's beauty.

Btw why all this tiresome talk of Tyrone on Scotty's thread? What about Errol? Wasn't he also bi?

by Anonymousreply 6602/12/2012

Actually, Davis asked producer Henry Blanke to offer Shearer whichever role she wanted in Old Acquaintance. By then, however, Shearer had met her second husband and was retired for good. In fact, the two actresses respected each other. After the 1934 Oscar nominations were released, it was Shearer, nominated for The Barretts of Wimpole Street but incensed that Davis had been overlooked for Of Human Bondage, who lobbied the Academy to allow write-ins. Shearer and her husband, Irving Thalberg, had been founding members of the Academy and were worried that the omission of the most acclaimed performance of the year would hurt the award's credibility. Looking back, I think the right performance won. Davis was exciting but unmodulated. She would do better. Colbert was just great, introducing the kind of acting in romantic comedy -- easy, fast, sexy -- that stills looks fresh.

by Anonymousreply 6703/08/2013

To loosely quote Bette:

"Now Miriam Hopkins....she was a reeeaaaal BITCH.

She was a terribly good actress but also terribly JEALOUS."

What Bette omitted in this interview was that Miriam had good reason to be jealous....Bette was fucking Ernst Lubitsch,the director of the film they were working on together who also happened to be Ms. Hopkins' HUSBAND. Que escandalo!

by Anonymousreply 6803/09/2013

Miriam Hopkins husband was Anatole Litvak (sp?)

by Anonymousreply 6903/09/2013

Bette couldn't get along with anyone, and then she would lie about her co-stars. What a fucking cunt she was.

by Anonymousreply 7003/09/2013

Faye Darling(R70), I was an extra in that movie. Bette was a total pro. Everything she said about you was right on the money.

by Anonymousreply 7108/04/2014

They were all a bunch of crazy bitches. Damn good actresses though.

by Anonymousreply 7202/04/2015

Davis also disliked Robert Montgomery (also forgotten, but once a leading and Liz Montgomery's father). She referred to him as a male Miriam Hopkins. A good actor, but an annoying person.

by Anonymousreply 7302/04/2015

Wow interesting article about Celeste Holm

by Anonymousreply 7402/04/2015

My favorite quote from Bette re: Ms.Hopkins after Bette fucked her husband:

"Miriam Hopkins....now she was a REEEAAALL Bitch! She was a TERRIBLY good actress but she was terribly JEALOUS of me!

Now THAT fellas is what's referred to as "doubling down".

by Anonymousreply 7502/05/2015

Bette was such a cunt I'm surprised anyone at all was friends with her. In her later years all she did was bitch and bitch and bitch and bitch.I love the story that when shes carry on on the set of "the Whales of August," Lillian Gish would just turn off her hearing aid so she didn't have to listen.

by Anonymousreply 7602/05/2015

[quote]Everybody on "Eve" got along with Bette and liked her except for Celeste

Davis was a bitch to Marilyn, too.

by Anonymousreply 7702/05/2015

This thread again. As previously mentioned, Bette and Miriam's rivalry goes back to their stage days when both were part of George Cukor's repertory company in 1928. But back then, Miriam was clearly the leading lady, while Bette was a mouthy ingenue whom Cukor fired after only one season.

Five years later, Hopkins starred in "Jezebel" on Broadway, but the play was not a huge success. Nevertheless, Warner Bros expressed interest in the story as a vehicle for their rising star, Bette Davis. But Miriam, who was part owner of the rights, refused to sell her share unless the deal included her in lead role. Warner Bros agreed, but reneged and gave the part to Davis. Miriam was livid. When Bette won the Oscar the following year, Miriam reputedly flew into a rage and tore apart her library/study.

Cut to 1938-39, Miriam's once high-flying career on the wane. She signs a three picture deal with Warner Bros, where the one-time ingenue, Bette Davis, is now top dog. She films "Old Maid" with Miss Davis, whom she suspects of sleeping with her husband the year prior. She files for divorce, but is persuaded by Jack Warner not to name Davis as a third party. She goes to Reno for her six weeks to get her divorce, forcing her to postpone production of "All This, and Heaven Too." While there, Warner Bros tells her they're canceling the project. Okay fine. Warners assigns her "Virginia City" instead, and during production she discovers that "All This, and Heaven Too" is back on the roster, but with Bette fucking Davis in the lead!

by Anonymousreply 7802/05/2015

This thread proves Bette is the gay man's bitch.

by Anonymousreply 7902/05/2015
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