The master of milking the melodrama out of history is back at it with Feud: Bette and Joan, set to premiere March 5 on FX. This time around, Ryan Murphy — the creative mind behind Glee, The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story, and American Horror Story — didn't have work too hard to conjure up drama. The real events that inspired the eight-episode miniseries are quite wild enough on their own, thank you.
Perhaps the grass is always glitzier on the other side of history. But from what we can tell, in Old Hollywood, the divas were diva-ier, the insults shadier, and the feuds far more entertaining. And there was no rivalry more notorious than that of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, two Hollywood powerhouses whose decades-long battle captivated tabloids (and drove directors crazy).
Here’s your primer for the history behind Davis and Crawford’s four-decade rivalry. Study up, so when you sit down to watch Feud, you can focus on the modern-day powerhouses of Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon instead of playing catch-up.