Olivia de Havilland sues FX Networks over depiction in 'Feud'

Posted July 03, 2017

Olivia de Havilland may be be turning 101 Saturday, but the two-time Oscar victor is not letting this chronological fact slow her down, certainly when it comes to suing FX Networks for using her as a character in its acclaimed series "Feud: Bette and Joan" and for showing her gossiping about the famously contentious relationship between screen legends Bette Davis and Joan Crawford.

"Her credibility, as both the only living person of significance portrayed in "Feud" and as a reliable source who was close to the action, added to the success of "Feud" at the expense of Olivia de Havilland", Smith writes in the complaint. "This interview itself and the statements attributed to Olivia De Havilland are contrary to her public and private image and reputation and have caused her economic, reputational, and emotional damages, including distress, anxiety, and humiliation".

"Miss de Havilland was not asked by FX for permission to use her name and identity and was not compensated for such use".

Bette and Joan tells the story of the legendary rivalry between Joan Crawford (Jessica Lange) and Bette Davis (Susan Sarandon) during their collaboration on the Academy Award-nominated thriller What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? and well after the cameras stopped rolling.

Ironically, de Havilland and her late actress sister, Joan Fontaine, had their own feud, and were estranged for 30 years. De Havilland was a friend of Davis' and her character served as a commentator in the show. "Did that happen? What was your take on that?"

Screen legend Olivia de Havilland, June 18, 2006, in Los Angeles. FX and Ryan Murphy's team declined requests to comment. De Havilland's attorneys are seeking an expedited trial date because of the actress' age.

De Havilland won in court, weakening the major studios' dominance over actors by limiting actors' contracts to seven years, regardless of suspension time.

Her lawyers further alleged that "FX and its partners appropriated Miss de Havilland's name and identity and placed her in a false light to sensationalize the series and to promote their own businesses, including the FX network and brand, ignoring Miss de Havilland's interests entirely". She will turn 101 on Saturday.