101-year-old actress sues over miniseries

Olivia de Havilland.
Olivia de Havilland.

LOS ANGELES • Hollywood screen legend Olivia de Havilland filed a lawsuit against FX Networks last Friday, saying she did not give her permission to be portrayed in the miniseries Feud: Bette And Joan and that the depiction had harmed her reputation.

Lawyers for de Havilland, whose turned 101 last Saturday, said the network and Ryan Murphy Productions did not consult with her and that she is the only living person to be depicted in the eight-part miniseries.

De Havilland was portrayed by Catherine Zeta-Jones in Feud, which starred Jessica Lange as Joan Crawford and Susan Sarandon as Bette Davis.

The series explored the tension between the two actresses in the later years of their life and during their filming of 1962's What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?.

The series was warmly received by critics, and touted as a strong contender for next month's Emmy Awards.

De Havilland's complaint was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court.

In an April interview with The Hollywood Reporter, producer Ryan Murphy said he did not contact de Havilland because he "didn't want to be disrespectful and ask her, 'Did this happen? Did that happen? What was your take on that?'"

In the complaint, lawyers criticised Zeta-Jones' depiction of de Havilland giving an interview that they said had never taken place in real life, even though the series intended for viewers to believe it was true.

The complaint adds that de Havilland was portrayed as a "petty gossip" in the show.

De Havilland, one of the last surviving cast members of the 1939 film Gone With The Wind, won two Oscars in a career spanning 50 movies that was also marked by a legendary feud with her younger sister and fellow Oscar-winner Joan Fontaine that was worthy of a screenplay. Fontaine died in 2013.

De Havilland moved to Paris in the 1950s, where she currently resides, and has only made rare public appearances since retiring.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 03, 2017, with the headline '101-year-old actress sues over miniseries'. Print Edition | Subscribe