Here's How Bette Davis Used Coke To Taunt Joan Crawford

Hollywood is often viewed as a mecca of sorts for actors and actresses across the globe. While many aspire to achieve fame and fortune there, sometimes it becomes easy to forget that celebrity status can come at a price. An example of such a price is the lack of privacy and constant drama among directors, producers, and performers. This toxic dynamic of conflict dates back to the early days of Hollywood, and even the industry's most famous and accomplished stars were not immune to it.

One of the motion picture industry's most notorious feuds involves two undeniable stars of the silver screen, Bette Davis (per Biography) and Joan Crawford (also via Biography). Both of these actresses were beautiful. Both of them were talented. Both of them saw tremendous success in films. One thing they could not achieve, though, appeared to be peace between themselves. Whether it was fighting over their acting roles, the awards they got, or the men in their lives, the conflict between these women lasted for decades.

Soda pop, punches, and a bad back

This particular conflict started with a man. Or in this case, a divorce from one. According to Harper's Bazaar, in 1933, Davis was just about to participate in her first big publicity spread for the film "Ex-Lady" in The New York Times when Crawford came in and stole her thunder. Before the film's publicity dropped, news broke of Crawford's divorce from her first husband. The Times decided that Crawford's story was more important, and relegated Davis' campaign to a small paragraph on the Review page. Davis believed as a result of this, her movie tanked, and she resented Crawford ever after.

These two actresses' paths crossed quite frequently as they ran in the same circles, but one of their most legendary interactions took place in 1962. Davis and Crawford were filming "What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?" together when Davis decided to install a Coke machine in her dressing room, per Harper's Bazaar. Normally this wouldn't be an issue, but it just so happened that Crawford sat on Pepsi's board of directors, and Davis installed the Coke machine simply to taunt her. This incident reportedly led to retaliation on the set from both parties that ramped up a feud that eventually involved back pain and even stitches. The legendary feud between these two continued until Joan Crawford's death in 1977.

Harper's Bazaar admits that the provenance of one quote is suspect, though it's widely repeated. When Crawford died, Davis supposedly commented, "You should never say bad things about the dead, you should only say good ... Joan Crawford is dead. Good."