It’s no secret that families have arguments, but big-time actress, Bette Davis, is known for her rocky relationship with her daughter, B.D. Hyman. The actress is held with high regard in the film industry, appearing in over 100 films, but her family might think less of her. Many know her as a loveable small-town girl who made it big, but others say that it was all just a persona. To find out more about the beloved actress and the history of family feuds in Hollywood, be sure to watch the whole video: we’ve saved the best for last!
Who is Bette Davis
Bette Davis was born in the small town of Lowell, Massachusetts in 1908. When she was only 7 years old, her father abandoned her family, leaving her mother to raise two children alone. In Highschool, Better found her love of acting. She performed in Theatre for several years before she decided to move to New York City to pursue her dream of acting at the John Murray Anderson-Robert Milton school of Theatre and Dance. She thrived at the school and began to master her craft. One of her classmates was the legendary actress, Lucille Ball.
Bette launched her acting career when she made her debut appearance on Broadway in 1930, starring in Broken Dishes, a comedy depicting a housewife dreaming of the man she almost married instead. Over the next several years, Bette had signed with Warner Brothers and made appearances in over 15 different films.
Bette was well known for playing bold and strong-willed women who shattered society’s expectations and limitations of the modern-day female. The actress went on to make history and become one of the most well-respected performers of all time. She is even well known in the music industry after singer and songwriter, Kim Carnes, decided to write the hit song “Bette Davis Eyes”.
Relationship with Joan Crawford
Joan Crawford was an award-winning actress and dancer. She made her rise to fame in the mid-1920s, several years before Bette Davis became a big star as well. The pair of actresses are well known for their roles in the film “Whatever happened to Baby Jane?”. The pair had a cordial relationship at the beginning of their careers, but unfortunately, they lived during a time where Hollywood encouraged fights between women actresses. The constant fights and tabloid articles created a lot of good press for the media world; and not only that, it was an easy narrative to sell.
The feud between the stars all began when Joan Crawford announced her divorce from her husband, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., on the same day that Bette planned to announce her new partnership with the Warner Bros. Company. From this moment forward the pair of actresses despised each other.
In 1935, several years after her divorce, Joan Crawford announced her engagement to American actor, Franchot Tone. There would be nothing wrong with this announcement if it wasn’t that Bette Davis was madly in love with Tone. Bette and Franchot starred together in the movie titled Dangerous. The pair of actors grew close, but unfortunately for Bette, Joan got to him first. This was clearly a huge betrayal between the actresses, so much so that 52 years later in a 1987 interview, Bette said she would never forgive Joan Crawford for stealing him from her.
In 1943, Joan Crawford made a historic move to work at Warner Brothers as well. Joan was placed in a dressing room not far from her enemy, Bette Davis. It was said that Joan made an attempt to mend her relationship with Davis by sending many gifts to the actress’s dressing room. Joan claimed that every gift she sent was swiftly returned.
In 1952, Bette was offered to play the role of none other than her mortal enemy, Joan Crawford. One of Crawford’s old friends wrote a movie depicting her as an overused and fading Hollywood actress. Bette jumped on her chance to play the role, and she played it well. The movie obviously did not sit well with Joan, and thus the feud continued for years to come.
Though there had been rumors that the actresses would star in a film together due to both of their undeniable talent, Davis made it clear that she would never work with Joan. Eventually, Davis was convinced to star in the film with Joan and the film became a huge success. It was on the set of the film that the actresses were able to play out their feud on screen. After the movie broke box office records, the actresses remained mostly silent about each other.
It was only years later in 1977 when Bette Davis spoke about Joan’s death. Though the two never got along, Bette admitted that she respected Joan as an actress. In the end, it turned out that Bette and Joan had more in common than they thought. Through the feud between those actresses was long and drawn out, nothing sings more than the betrayal of loved ones. Both the daughters of Joan and Bette eventually released books about their mothers; the books went into gruesome detail about the abuse and maltreatment they received as the children of such big stars.
Both Bette Davis and Joan Crawford had children in their teens by the time they filmed the movie “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?”. Joan was regularly accompanied to set by her adopted twins Cindy and Cathy while Joan’s oldest daughter, Christina, set her eyes on her very own career in the film industry. Bette had only one daughter named Barabara, whom Bette called B.D. as a nickname. B.D. appeared in the hit film for just a brief moment, but it was clear that Bette’s daughter wanted to play similar roles to her mother. Though not much was publicly known about the relationship between B.D. and Bette, Bette mentioned in an interview that she believes talent skips a generation. Therefore she thought B.D.s son would make a better actor, stating that she just had a hunch about her grandson.
Though Bette Davis and Joan Crawford did not have much in common, they had the shared experience of motherhood. Joan had adopted 4 children over the course of her life, while Bette had one of her own children, B.D. and later adopted Michael. For many years not much could be said as to what kind of relationship the actresses held with their children. This all changed when the daughters decided to write tell-all memoirs of their experience with famous mothers. Joan Crawford’s eldest daughter, Christina Crawford, first published her controversial book titled, Mommie Dearest, in 1978. The book depicted Joan as a terrible mother who likely adopted so many children as a publicity stunt. The daughter goes into detail about her mother’s battle with alcoholism and the emotional abuse of her children. The book highlights Joan’s failures as a parent and provides many examples of the actress’s erratic behavior in the home. Though none of the specifics in the book can be verified nor denied, it’s clear that Joan did not have the best relationship with her daughter. Her son on the other hand denounced the book and joined his mother in banishing Christina from the family for her betrayal. Even Joan’s most notable enemy, Bette Davis, criticized the daughter for authoring such a book and claimed that if she didn’t like her mother, she was an adult who could have decided not to have a relationship with her rather than slandering her name.
Funnily enough, Bette’s daughter would soon paint an extremely similar picture of her mother in her book titled, My Mother’s Keeper. It with the release of B.D.’s tell-all book in 1985, it was now clear that both of the daughters had stories to tell. It seemed that the relationship between Bette and B.D. started to dwindle when B.D. decided to marry her husband, Jeremy Hyman, at just 16 years old. Davis often spoke about how she viewed the marriage as a mistake and that she feared it would derail her daughter’s acting career. The book was written years after she tied the knot with Hyman and told an eerily similar tale of Christina Crawford’s upbringing. B.D. spoke of her mother’s drinking problem as well as her radical punishments. One example of unusual punishment was Bette’s decision to lock herself in a room and fake her own death to prove a point to B.D.. Her distraught daughter slept outside the door and was told in the morning quote “I hope that taught you a good lesson”. Though the tales are similar, there is much less support for B.D.s book than Crawford’s. Many see the book about Bette as a cash grab and a publicity stunt. Believing the book was full of blatant lies, Bette and her son Michael banished B.D. and rarely spoke of the betrayal.
It’s no doubt that Bette Davis and Joan Crawford were some of the most beloved actresses of all time. Their careers spoke for themselves but it seems that their daughters felt the need to expand on their missteps as mothers. Bette and Joan proved themselves to be the catty type. Though they were both legendary actresses, their lifelong feud helped prop up their careers and keep them relevant. When the separate books were released by their daughters, Mommie Dearest, Christina Crawford’s book proved to be a more reliable tale. Several of the claims made in the book were confirmed as accurate by close confidants of Joan Crawford. On the other hand, the book written by B.D. Hyman received a lot of criticism and had no support from outside sources. Even B.D.’s brother Michael claimed his sister’s accusations as false. It’s easy to examine a public relationship, but no one really knows what happens behind closed doors. We want to know what you think about the mother-daughter dynamic. Do you think Bette was a good mother or was it all just another acting role for her? Let us know what you think in the comments! If you enjoyed this video, make sure to click the like button and be sure to subscribe to our channel to stay up to date with some of your favorite celebrities!