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Classic Hollywood Feuds That Ruined Careers

Hollywood is like an ocean full of large and small fish fighting to survive. It’s an environment that encourages competition and ruthless behavior.

This is why feuding is common in Tinseltown. Casting directors and stars need to watch out for it because the animosity has the potential to ruin friendships and careers.

Like and subscribe for more. Watch our video for some of the most famous classic Hollywood feuds, including catfights, sibling rivalries, broken comedy duos, and more.

Jerry Lewis vs. Dean Martin

Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin were once the most successful comedy team in history.  From 1946-1956, they went on comedy tours, made 16 films, and created a hit TV variety program and a live show.

Rumors abound about why the duo split up. Maybe, Jerry got tired of Dean’s workaholic nature.

It could have resulted from the tension between Dean’s second wife Jeanne and the entire Lewis family who preferred his first wife Patti.

It could have been a fight of egos. Jerry grew in popularity while Dean was put on the sidelines. Look magazine created a multi-page spread for the duo, but the cover picture had Dean cropped out.

After this drama, the duo split in 1956. Dean became a member of the Rat Pack and Jerry continued to make popular films.

They didn’t speak for 20 years afterward until a brief reunion in 1976. Dean made surprise appearances on Jerry’s Labor Day telethon. Jerry appeared at Dean’s performance in Las Vegas in 1989, saying he was sorry they ever parted ways. Join Facts Verse to know the details about the classic Hollywood feuds that ruined careers.

Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine

Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine were one of Hollywood’s biggest sibling rivalries. They were born only a year apart, and the tension began at a young age. Their childhoods were full of bullying that occasionally got physical.

Oliva’s big break as an actress came when she earned a role in the Hollywood adaptation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She soon found other roles in a series of films with Errol Fylnn.

Joan got a contract at a rival studio that encouraged her to change her last name.

The two sisters often vied for the same parts and the same awards.

They both wanted the role of Melanie in Gone With the Wind, which Olivia got. They fought for the role of Daphne du Maurier in the famous Hitchcock film Rebecca, and Joan got it.

In 1942, Joan won an award for her role in the Hitchcock film Suspicion, beating out her sister’s work in Hold Back the Dawn.

Olivia won an Oscar in 1946 for her role in To Each His Own, but the moment became awkward when Joan came out to present the award.

The sisters were officially not on speaking terms by 1975. They kept the reasons for their rivalry a secret until Charles Hingham wrote a biography entitled Sisters: The Story of Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine in 1987.

Joan died in 2013. Despite their rocky relationship, Olivia said she was shocked and saddened.

Like and subscribe to Facts Verse for more on the relationships between the best-known pairs in Hollywood. Keep watching for more famous Hollywood feuds, including the battle that led to one of the most successful films of all time.

Orson Welles vs. William Randolph Hearst

Orson Welles was already an established name in the world theater and radio world by the time he was 24. This was partially due to his popular but controversial adaptation of the H.G. Wells novel War of the Worlds.

Orson planned to enter Hollywood after receiving a contract with RKO Pictures in 1939. He joined with writer Herman Mankiewicz who suggested a film based on the life of newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst. They worked on the project in secret and gave it the codename RKO 281.

William’s famously argumentative nature came out when he found out about the film. He sent gossip columnist Louella Parsons to look into it, and she wrote scathing reviews of the depiction of her boss.

William never watched the movie but hated it. He was enraged by actress Marion Davies’s portrayal of his mistress. He banned all mention and advertising of the film in any of the newspapers or newsreels he owned in an attempt to ensure it failed at the box office. Also, he even called on studio moguls who told RKO they would buy and destroy the film’s negatives.

While these attempts succeeded in creating a box-office failure, Orson came out the winner of this feud. The final product was Citizen Kane. It was nominated for 9 Oscars, won 1, and is now considered one of the greatest films of all time. Join Facts Verse to know the details about the classic Hollywood feuds that ruined careers.

Bette Davis vs. Joan Crawford

Joan Crawford was born Lucille LeSueur. She escaped an impoverished childhood by becoming a famous dancer and signing a contract with MGM.

Bette Davis, whose real name was Ruth, got her start on Broadway. Despite struggling to break into Hollywood, she eventually became a popular actress. During her lifetime, she was nominated for 10 Oscars and won 2.

The public considered Bette to be the better actress but thought Joan was the bigger star. They worked at the same studio and had to compete for roles.

The two women even fought over the same men. Bette fell for Franchot Tone on the set of the 1935 film Dangerous. Joan came in and married him. The marriage was short-lived but began a feud for the ages.

In the early 1960s, Bette and Joan’s careers began to decline due to their age. They agreed to work together on the 1962 film What Ever Happened to Baby Jane, but it only fueled the flames of their rivalry.

Claims of physical and mental abuse flew on both sides. Joan put rocks in her pockets to increase her weight during a scene where Bette had to drag her by the shoulders. Bette kicked Joan in the head during an already violent scene.

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane was a major hit and remains a beloved classic today. Bette was nominated for an Academy Award, but Joan accepted it. She’d made a deal with Bette’s competitors that let her accept all awards if one of the two women won.

Bette and Joan never hid their negative feelings towards each other and gave scathing comments to the press. Bette once claimed that Joan had slept with every star on the MGM lot except for Lassie Joan claimed that Bette’s acting was phony. Bette’s response to Joan’s death in 1977 was even more scathing; “You should never say bad things about the dead, you should only say good. Joan Crawford is dead. Good.” Join Facts Verse to know the details about the classic Hollywood feuds that ruined careers.

Debbie Reynolds vs. Elizabeth Taylor

Debbie Reynolds was the first to marry Eddie Fisher. They were wed in 1955 and had 2 children, Carrie and Todd.

Tabloid rumors stated that, after the death of her 3rd husband Mike Todd, Elizabeth Taylor began an affair with Eddie.

The event became the latest story in celebrity news and soured the reputations of everyone involved. Mike was labeled a cad who abandoned his wife and children, and Elizabeth was called a homewrecker. Debbie officially filed for divorce in 1959.

The pair’s friendship made the affair sting even more deeply. Debbie told People Magazine in 2015 that they’d been friends for years. She had no idea that Eddie was cheating when he moved in to comfort Elizabeth after Mike’s death.

Debbie and Elizabeth did get a chance to reconcile in the 1970s. Chance brought them together on a cruise ship. They exchanged apology notes and rekindled their friendship.

The two became so close again that Elizabeth wrote Debbie into her will. She left her friend a sapphire bracelet, necklace, and earrings. Debbie also regularly visited her friend as her health declined.

Eddie died at the age of 82 in 2010, Elizabeth died at 79 in 2011, and Debbie died at the age of 84 in 2016. Join Facts Verse to know the details about the classic Hollywood feuds that ruined careers.

Vivian Vance vs. William Frawley

Vivian Vance and William Frawley appeared as a couple on the hit series I Love Lucy but despised each other off-set.

She landed the role of Lucy’s best friend Ethel Mertz when she was 39. She didn’t like the fact that William Frawley who played her husband Fred was 69 at the time.

The comment offended William and they began to develop animosity. Vivian attempted not to let it show while filming, but her costar didn’t feel the same way. He called her a bitch on set and claimed he dreaded filming scenes where they had to kiss or lie in bed next to each other.

The duo worked together for the entire 9 years that I Love Lucy was on-air. Fans believe that their real-life tension may have enriched their scenes. It made the characters’ merciless teasing of one another seem more believable. They never reconciled in public. Join Facts Verse to know the details about the classic Hollywood feuds that ruined careers.

Marlon Brando vs. Frank Sinatra

Frank Sinatra has feuded with several major Hollywood names, including Marlon Brando.

Marlon’s performance as Terry Malloy in Elia Kazan’s film On the Waterfront won him an award at the 1954 Oscars. Frank was jealous that he hadn’t received the role and began to lash out. He gave Marlon the nickname “Mumbles” called him “the world’s most overrated actor,” and expressed a distaste for his method acting techniques.

Marlon and Frank were set to appear in the 1955 musical Guys and Dolls. Frank was once again jealous to see Marlon cast as the lead. Marlon attempted to begin a reconciliation by acting the famous crooner for singing and dancing help, but he refused.

The feud began after that. Marlon knew that Frank preferred to finish films quickly and insisted on multiple takes to test Frank’s patience. Allegations even suggest that Frank sent mafia thugs to jump Marlon.

Fred Astaire vs. Ginger Rodgers

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers were dance superstars who worked in 9 films together. Despite their partnership, they never got along.

The feud began during the film of the 1935 musical Top Hat. Ginger asked costume designer Bernard Newman to make her a blue dress covered in ostrich feathers. She loved it, but Fred convinced director Mark Sandirch to ask her to wear a simple white gown instead.

He eventually caved and let Ginger wear what she wanted, but it made the experience uncomfortable for Fred. Allegedly, his feathers got in the way of their dancing. He is famous for being a perfectionist who wants everything on set to be just so.

Ginger and Fred never publicly acknowledged their rivalry, but hints were still present. Fred’s biographer Michael Freedland confirmed it, saying that they couldn’t agree on who was in control. When asked if they liked each other, Fred responded, “We worked together. That’s all.” Join Facts Verse to know the details about the classic Hollywood feuds that ruined careers.

Abbott vs. Costello

William Bud Abbot and Lou Costello were comedy staples in the 1940s and 50s. They entered almost every niche of the entertainment industry and performed on the stage, radio, film, and TV.

Their names may be tied together today, but their working relationship was less than pleasant.

Health issues made the situation even worse. Abbot struggled with epilepsy and turned to alcohol for relief, while Costello had several near-fatal bouts of rheumatic fever.

Costello called Abbot a drunk in 1945. He threatened to end their partnership but was talked out of it by their agent.

After that, the pair only spoke when they were performing together. Their act lasted until 1957 when Abbot retired.

Cybil Shepherd vs. Bruce Willis

Cybill Shepherd was part of the ABC series Moonlighting from 1985-1989. She was already a major Hollywood name and expected to be the star of the show.

Bruce Willis wasn’t as famous as he is today when he also earned a part on the show, but he became an audience favorite and outshone Cybil. Writers made his character the more appealing and heroic one and turned Cybil’s character into an unlikeable shrew. They also wrote her pregnancy into the show by linking the two characters romantically. Bruce despised the decision and felt it ruined the premise of the show.

Cybil and Bruce reunited for his breakout film Die Hard in 1988. They were still feuding and asked to film their scenes separately whenever possible.

Feuds and Hollywood have gone hand in hand since the invention of film. A few major ones will remain in the memory of fans forever.

Do you think casting directors should attempt to find a new actor when a feud begins or attempt to help the professionals work through it? Let us know in the comments below and subscribe to Facts Verse for more on the most famous celebrity feuds.

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