Friday, March 09, 2007

Bette & Joan

I have been reading an awesome old-school book entitled Bette & Joan: The Divine Feud by Shaun Considine. It is perhaps the gayest thing I have ever read, and that includes HX Magazine and Factory Made. Bette Davis and Joan Crawford were some old time, mean assed, hardcore bitches that make any of these children in showbiz calling themselves "divas" these days laughable. Bette was the true actress while Joan was the true movie star. As the tale is told, Joan was desperate for Bette's approval in the beginning, which Bette hatefully would not give and would give only reads, but one Joan came into superstardom in her own right she could read just as hard on her nemesis.

Here is a favorite excerpt about Joan:

In 1953 at Universal, Rock Hudson was still a year away from hitting the big time with Jane Wyman in Magnificent Obsession. But Joan, after seeing an early cut of Captain Lightfoot, told Milton Rachmil, "That guy has got it. He's a combination of Gary Cooper and Robert Taylor." Hollywood lore said that Joan, with her normal enthusiasm, sent Rock her usual telegram. A dinner meeting at Brentwood followed, but on this night, perhaps heeding a rumor that Rock was gay, Joan changed her routine. It was a warm California evening, so after dinner they sat outside, drinking brandy by the pool. She entertained the bashful actor with stories of his favorite Metro stars, Garbo, Harlow, and his idol Clark Gable (whose lopsided grin Rock had borrowed for some of his early movies). Then the star suggested they swim in her heated pool. There were brand new trunks in the pool house for her guest to wear, and as he swam she sat nearby, nursing her drink and watching the magnificent Rock as he cut through the water. Afterward she suggested he shower and change, so they could go dancing. The story told, true or fabled, was that Rock was back in the pool house, taking a shower, when the lights went out. Suddenly he felt the warm, naked body of Joan Crawford beside him. "Sssh, baby," she whispered, "close your eyes and pretend I'm Clark Gable."


And another:

[...]Bautzer's story was that Crawford was with him when they spotted the provocative young starlet [Marilyn Monroe], dressed in a tight tan skirt and white angora sweater, standing in line at Schenck's buffet table. Taking the intiative, Joan approached Marilyn and said sincerely, "You're very pretty, my dear, but you don't know shit about clothes."


One more:

[Joan] claimed she had not seen [The Star, in which Bette Davis's character was supposedly based on Joan]. "Of course I had heard she was supposed to be playing me," she said years later, "but I didn't believe it. Did you see the picture? It couldn't possibly be me. Bette looked so old, and so dreadfully overweight."


Next time, hatefullness from Bette.

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