Bette & Joan’s Legendary Feud Is ‘Star’ of New FX Series


Joan Crawford and Betty Davis were not friends. This was one of the most commonly-known “secrets” in Hollywood history. Of course, they both would play nice when the cameras were rolling and Crawford even firmly dismissed any longtime enmity in a 1947 magazine article entitled “Can Women Trust Each Other?” by saying, “Why should there be a feud? I believe there is a place for every actress in this wonderful business. Certainly Bette and I don’t fear each other.” Bette & Joan -- On Set The rivalry between the silver-screen icons is the stuff of legend, a decades-long battle sparked by both professional and personal resentments and fueled by an industry that loved nothing more than to see its women tear each other apart. Much of their fighting played out as back-and-forth sniping in the tabloids, though Crawford was always less openly hostile than Davis, whose iconic burns include the classic: “[Crawford] slept with every male star at MGM—except Lassie.” Bette & Joan -- BETTE The premise behind FX and Ryan Murphy’s latest anthology series, Feud, which premieres on March 5, is so deceptively simple that it’s hard to believe it hasn’t already been done. Each season will see Murphy and his co-producers focus on a different famous feud—much as each season of American Crime Story tackles a real-life crime—and it’s already clear that the first set of eight episodes, subtitled Bette and Joan, will be a very tough act to follow. Susan Sarandon plays Bette Davis while Jessica Lange takes on Joan Crawford. Bette Davis: Beautiful, Gifted and Hard to Love So how did these two legendary starlets end up being the centerpieces of a four-decade long feud? Bette & Joan -- JOAN 1933: It begins with Crawford’s divorce overshadowing Bette’s starring role. Crawford began her on-screen career at a younger age than Davis (Crawford made her first onscreen appearance in 1925) and was already an established star by the time Davis moved to Hollywood in 1930. In 1933, Davis had reached a pivotal moment in her still-nascent career—the comedy Ex-Lady would be the first to feature her name above the title. Warner Bros. had planned an elaborate publicity campaign announcing Davis’s new phase of stardom—until Crawford announced that she was divorcing her first husband, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., on the same day. According to celebrity biographer David Bret, The New York Times relegated Davis’s film to a small paragraph in the Review section, while devoting several pages to Crawford’s news, and other papers followed suit. Ex-Lady was dropped from theaters after a week thanks to poor ticket sales, and Davis’s beef was supposedly born. 1Bette & Joan -- Joan & actor935: Joan marries the man Bette loved. “I have never forgiven her for that, and never will.” So said Davis in a 1987 interview with journalistMichaelThorton, 52 years after the defining incident in her lifelong hatred of Crawford. In 1935, Davis starred in the drama Dangerous and fell hard for her co-star Franchot Tone. “I fell in love with Franchot, professionally and privately,” she said. “Everything about him reflected his elegance, from his name to his manners.” Unfortunately, Crawford got to Tone first. Rumor has it that she invited Tone to her home and met him naked in the solarium. The couple would announce their engagement during the filming of Dangerous. “He was madly in love with her,” Davis said. “They met each day for lunch… he would return to the set, his face covered in lipstick. Davis would go on to win an Oscar for her performance in Dangerous—and yet Crawford still managed to upstage her. 1943: Joan leaves MGM for Warner Brothers and is now directly competing for studio roles with Betty. Bette & Joan -- Bette smoking Back in the day, actors were more or less owned by a studio and couldn’t work on any other productions, unless specifically loaned out. Crawford was part of MGM and Davis was part of Warner Bros. so, even though they were competing for America’s attention, they rarely had to compete for the same roles. Until now. Crawford had her heart set on the title role in the film noir Mildred Pierce and got her wish when Davis—the studio’s first choice—turned it down. Two years later, Crawford would take another lead role originally intended for Davis, in the crime drama Possessed, and win another Oscar nomination for it. Despite Davis’s oft-quoted line “Miss Crawford is a movie star, and I am an actress,” it had become clear that the industry saw more common ground between them than Davis would like to admit. Joan Crawford: Tough, Talented, And Unlucky in Love Given the comparisons, it’s no surprise that some producers were keen to get Davis and Crawford on screen together. Their unlikely vehicle came years later when their careers were fading via the horror film What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? — about a demented former child star (Davis) who holds her crippled sister (Crawford) captive. Crawford signed on first, but knew she needed the perfect co-star to make it a career-reviving hit. Putting ego aside, she flew to New York and asked her rival to take the part. Amazingly, Davis did. Bette & Joan -- Actress Meeting Davis agreed to sign on to Baby Jane on two conditions: that she play the title role of Jane, and that the film’s director Robert Aldrich assure her he was not sleeping with Crawford: “It wasn’t that I cared about his private life, or hers either,” Davis reportedly said. “I didn’t want him favoring her with more close-ups.” Though the film was an unexpected box office success, and did to some extent represent the comeback that both actresses desperately needed, it became remembered most powerfully as a public document of their real-life rivalry. Baby Jane and the behind-the-scenes stories born while making this film, will all be revealed during the anthology series Feud.  Was their feud real? Or was it a media creation that Bette and Joan capitalized on? Maybe it’s a bit of both, but this Feud is not to be missed. bette2 - CopyFor more info on Bette Davis Click Here           joan2For more info on Joan Crawford Click Here

Joan Crawford: Tough, Talented and Unlucky in Love


Lucille Fay LeSueur was born to a single mother in Texas and spent her childhood moving from state to state, struggling to get a proper education. She dreamed of a better life as a famous dancer. After some time in various chorus lines, Lucille decided to switch gears and landed a $75 a week gig as an actress at MGM. The studio publicist didn’t like the sound of her name (too close to “sewer”) so he organized a “Name the Star” magazine contest for $1000 prize. And a star (named Joan Crawford) was born!

A prolific and long-lasting film career was to follow, with Crawford ultimately going on to star in more than sixty films. She took on talking roles with projects like Hollywood Revue (1929) and Grand Hotel (1932), and her dancing skills were prominently displayed with Fred Astaire in the 1933 hit Dancing Lady. Clark Gable was also featured, and was a recurring co-star in works like Possessed (1931) and Strange Cargo (1940).

Joan Crawford and Clark Gable

Joan Crawford and Clark Gable

Was Clark Gable the love of her life? At times, Joan intimated as much, even though she had had four husbands—actors Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Franchot Tone, Phillip Terry, and Pepsi-Cola president Alfred Steele—and many lovers. Clark Gable co-starred with Crawford in eight movies, more than anyone else, and the two are rumored to have pursued an affair on and off for decades. They were certainly good friends, and when Gable’s wife Carole Lombard was killed in a 1942 plane crash, Crawford took over her scheduled role in the film They All Kissed the Bride and donated her salary to the American Red Cross.

Bette & Joan’s Legendary Feud Is ‘Star’ of New FX Series

joan3Crawford adopted four children, one of whom, Christina, wrote the 1978 memoir Mommie Dearest, in which she writes of enduring highly erratic and abusive behavior from her mother during childhood. The book was adapted into a 1981 film starring Faye Dunaway as Crawford.

Though garnering a series of notable roles, including her Oscar winning performance as the lead role in Mildred Pierce, Crawford’s career had grown quiet, only to be revitalized yet again with the 1962 horror classic Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, co-starring her “buddy” Bette Davis.

Crawford died of a heart attack in 1977. Her exact age was unknown as her birthday was a subject of numerous rumors.

Good Gracious! The Gilmore Girls Are Back

gilmore girls

Gilmore Girls makes its much-anticipated return on Netflix next month with four memorable chapters from the lives of Lorelai, Emily, Rory and countless more Stars Hollow stalwarts. Picking up nine years after we last ​dropped in on the whimsical Connecticut town, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life finds each of our ​leading ladies at a major crossroad: Lorelai’s relationship with Luke is at an unnerving standstill; Rory’s budding journalism career in New York has stalled before it’s even begun; and Emily’s world is turned upside down following the untimely passing of her beloved husband, Richard.


Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life is told through four 90-minute chapters — each spanning one season: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall — and brings back to life everything from the quaint corner diner to the dreamy Dragonfly Inn to a fast-talking, quick-witted mother-daughter love story unlike any other.

The trailer also gives us glimpses at all the things we love about Gilmore Girls: Lorelai and Rory stuffing their faces with junk good and coffee, awkward Friday night dinner (with Kirk!), Taylor lording over a meeting, and Sookie (Melissa McCarthy) having a little accident in the kitchen.

“Haven’t done that for a while,” Lorelai says with a grin. Rory smiles. “Felt good!”
Yes, it does!

All four 90-minute episodes of “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life” begin streaming Friday, Nov. 25 on Netflix.

Emily Blunt Is The Girl On The Train


The tracks take surprising twists in this entertaining mystery starring Emily Blunt. This sexy thriller is getting mixed reviews, with some claiming the movie is actually better than the book for a change.

John and Emily: Love at First Site

Unraveling the convoluted chronology, we are introduced to Rachel (Emily Blunt), our narrator and the titular character, who spends long stretches of each weekday riding the train back and forth into New York City. Along the way, there’s a particular house she looks for. Living there is her vision of the ideal couple: pretty, blond Megan (Haley Bennett) and her husband, Scott (Luke Evans). Every time she sees them, they seem so much in love. She overlays her fantasies and hopes on these two, whom she has never met, and feels betrayed when she glimpses Megan sharing a kiss with her psychologist, Dr. Abdic (Edgar Ramirez).

We learn that Rachel once lived only a couple of houses away from Megan and Scott. That was before alcoholism claimed her marriage. Now, her ex-husband, Tom (Justin Theroux), lives there with his new wife, Anna (Rebecca Ferguson). Things become complicated for Rachel when Megan disappears under mysterious circumstances on the night when Rachel decides to confront Megan about her possible infidelity. And, due to a booze-induced blackout, Rachel has no memory of what happened during that encounter.


It’s an intriguing premise, and Blunt melts into the role like ice in a glass. She looks lost, ravaged by hopelessness, her voice thickening into syrup, her gait a confused stumble.

The resolution of the film’s central mystery is a slight letdown and comes after the story has written itself into a corner. But the journey is so good it doesn’t matter that the destination comes as a disappointment.


And many, many people already know where the story is headed, since Paula Hawkins’ 2015 novel sold like an Adele album. Upon its release it was looked at as the new “Gone Girl,” and the movie is pegged to the same weekend when “Gone Girl” opened two years ago.

There are problems with “Girl on the Train” — it’s often hard to tell Megan and Anna apart (they’re supposed to look similar, but it’s not a problem in the book as you see the name on the page), the male characters feel underwritten, and the tone at times feels overwrought. But, if you’re asking whether it’s as good as the book, you should pause before answering — the book, alas, didn’t have Blunt in it.

Rose Byrne Is Just a Perfect Neighbor

rose byrne

The Woman

Rose was the youngest of four children growing up in Sydney, Australia. She took an interest in acting at a very young age and was a part of the Australian Theatre for Young People at age 8. She made her film debut in 1994′s Dallas Doll, which starred Sandra Bernhard. After appearing on several Australian TV shows, such as Heartbreak High, Byrne starred opposite Heath Ledger in Two Hands (1999). Continue reading

Happy 25th Anniversary Thelma & Louise!


When director Ridley Scott’s film–about two best friends who hit the road in a ’66 Thunderbird looking for a little excitement but end up fugitives–opened in May 1991, it sent seismic waves through the culture. There was hand-wringing about what some called an anti-male message, and magazine stories analyzed violence and guns and what it meant when women had their fingers on the trigger. But it was also a critical hit–nominated for six Academy Awards (including Best Actress for both Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis)–and has continued to be revered as one of the most important feminist films in history.

Geena Davis played Thelma, an ignored Arkansas housewife, and Susan Sarandon her pal Louise, a stoic waitress with a noncommittal boyfriend. Both figure that a girls-only weekend at a nearby fishing lodge will give them a reprieve from their man troubles.

But while Thelma & Louise promised to be merely an Odd Couple-turned-Easy Rider road movie, rookie scriptwriter Callie Khouri delivered several startling detours that transform her frivolous twosome into serious characters. Like an instant photograph, Thelma and Louise developed before our eyes. They make a pretty picture, but also a shocking one. Away from the men in their lives, the powerless Thelma and Louise empower themselves.


“The reaction to Thelma & Louise was so eye-opening that from then on I chose roles thinking, ‘What are the women in the audience going to think about this?’” says Davis, 60. She launched the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media in 2004, focusing on improving female roles in family entertainment.

Sarandon, 69, also has become a beacon for progressive causes, arguing passionately against America’s wars, the death penalty, and Wall Street excess.

The two actresses managed to form a deep bond while working on the project together and remain good friends. They often get asked about the possibilities of a sequel, which might seem a bit hard to pull off knowing how the iconic film ends. For now, we can relive the importance of the original and celebrate the movement it caused 25 years later.

Can You Find True Love In an Arranged Marriage? Ask Ravi Patel

Ravi and Geeta

By Lindsay Piper Shaw

In 2009, Ravi Patel accompanied his family to their native home of India for a month-long trip. Unbeknownst to his parents, Patel had been dating an American woman for two years, and feeling conflicted that she was not Indian, he broke off the relationship. The breakup came just on the heels of this pre-planned family jaunt, which was conveniently timed during India’s wedding season.

Patel’s parents were hopeful that their almost 30-year-old son, who to their knowledge had never been in a serious relationship, would finally allow them to arrange him to be married. His sister, Geeta, an accomplished filmmaker, picked up her camera to document the trip and the quest to find her brother a wife in a film called Meet the Patels, which premiered in 2015.

Family shot

Patel’s parents and all of their family members and peers had been coupled through arrangements. Patel’s mother said that before they wed, she only spoke to her husband-to-be for 10 minutes, but she claims he made her laugh like crazy when the moment they met. After they wed, the groom moved his new bride to America, where they had two children, Ravi and Geeta, and by all accounts a loving and successful marriage. Their courtship had been minimal, but they spent the following years getting to know each other and developed a deep, mutual love — a love that both their children admired.

Determined to provide the same marital bliss for their eldest child, Patel’s parents jumped at the chance to find a partner for their son.

Patel, heartbroken, was open to examining any option to find love, including his family’s cultural practice of arranged marriage. His parents went to work distributing Patel’s “biodata,” a one sheet personal resume that acted as a physical dating profile. Patel’s biodata was given to family members and strangers to distribute, all while Patel’s parents were sifting through hundreds of eligible women’s biodata sheets. They spoke to other members of their community, setting up dates for their son, hoping he would find finally settle down.

Speed Dating

Patel dove head first into the cultural traditions to find a partner, all the while comparing the new women in his life to his old flame. The search for a suitable wife proved to be difficult and extended well beyond the Indian wedding season. While back in America, the quest continued through biodata sheets, dating websites, and even a convention designed to find an Indian partner. After two and half years, Patel had gone on countless arranged dates and had traveled across the U.S. to meet potential partners.

Finally, he realized, he had found The One.

The movie seeks to challenge Western views of arranged marriages and how different cultures determine a suitable partner. Meet the Patels shows the struggle between old and new ideals, and the age-old question of whether or not we’ll ever find true love.

You can find out who is The One in Meet the Patels, streaming on Netflix.

Meet Patels Poster

Lindsay Piper Shaw is a Millennial searching for the adult equivalent of a participation trophy. She loves podcasts, excel spreadsheets, and wearing double denim. She spends most of her spare time searching for a parking spot near her apartment.

The Dovekeepers Set To Become CBS Mini-Series

dovekeepersCBS is gearing up for a four-hour miniseries based on Alice Hoffman’s historical novel The Dovekeepers. The mini, set for 2015, hails from exec producers Roma Downey and Burnett, the married creative team behind History’s Emmy darling The Bible and Fox’s upcoming feature follow-up, Son of God.

The Dovekeepers, first published in 2011 by Simon & Schuster imprint Scribner, is aNew York Times best-seller and was hailed by Nobel laureate Toni Morrison as a “major contribution to 21st century literature.”

The story takes place nearly two thousand years ago and tells the story of nine hundred Jews who held out for months against armies of Romans on Masada, on a mountain in the Judean desert. According to the ancient historian Josephus, two women and five children survived. Based on this tragic and iconic event, Hoffman’s novel is a spellbinding tale of four extraordinarily bold, resourceful, and sensuous women, each of whom has come to Masada by a different path

Although Downey calls The Dovekeepers a story of hope, and perfect for these times, she acknowledged it’s steeped in tragedy — describing a scene in which one of the women standing at the edge of the fortress sees a plume of smoke and “comes to the awful realization it’s the Roman army come for these 900 people — thousands of them” and their gradual realization that their initial sense “no one was ever going to be able to reach them…turns into a nightmare.”

Watch the Trailer Here:

‘Tis the Season When Children Star

shirley templeBy Katherine Sharma

It’s the time of year when children dominate in public media and private ceremonies, symbols of hope and innocence to be showered with gifts. We forget how recently children became “economically worthless but emotionally priceless,” as sociologist Viviana Zelizer has said.  Even in early 20th century America, children were economic assets who worked in fields and factories; they were soldiers and sexual partners; they were traded in marriage by families seeking financial and social gain; and they were regularly parents themselves in their teens.

In many places in the world, children still perform roles today’s Americans believe should be reserved for adults–and they are still political pawns in deadly adult conflicts, as the recent headlines about the Pakistani Taliban’s school massacre prove. So it seems especially apropos now to remember one of our earliest and most popular icons of the child as innocent source of joy: child star Shirley Temple, who died just this year at age 85. Some of the curly-topped moppet’s 1930s-era Christmas-themed movies used to be seasonal TV fare, including Heidi, I’ll Be Seeing You, Bright Eyes (with the signature song “On the Good Ship Lollipop”), and Stowaway with its final Christmas scene. Now little Shirley is the subject of a new book, The Little Girl Who Fought the Great Depression by John F. Kasson. Yes, this is one little girl who was economically priceless (to the movie studios), emotionally priceless to a nation seeking optimism in hard times, and politically priceless to leaders like President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who publicly enlisted Shirley in his “politics of cheer” to back economic revival programs. Kasson also credits Shirley’s impact with a new view of the child as coddled consumer, of children cared for through the purchase of things. To borrow from her hit debut song, “Baby, Take a Bow” for the seasonal shopping frenzy, Shirley.  To see a review of Kasson’s book, go to


Katherine Sharma’s family roots are in Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas. But after her early childhood in Texas, she has moved around the country and lived in seven other states, from Virginia to Hawaii. She currently resides in California with her husband and three children. She has also traveled extensively in Europe, Africa and Asia, and makes regular visits to family in India. After receiving her bachelor’s degree. in economics and her master’s degree in journalism from the University of Michigan, Katherine worked as a newspaper and magazine writer and editor for more than 15 years. She then shifted into management and marketing roles for firms in industries ranging from outdoor recreation to insurance to direct marketing. Although Katherine still works as a marketing consultant, she is now focused on creative writing.