Hollywood Icon Sues FX for 'False' Portrayal in Feud

Olivia de Havilland is fuming over how she was depicted in Davis/Crawford miniseries
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 3, 2017 8:21 AM CDT
Hollywood Icon Sues FX for 'False' Portrayal in Feud
In this June 18, 2016, file photo, actress Olivia de Havilland poses during an AP interview in Paris.   (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, File)

Melanie Wilkes wasn't a "petty gossip," and neither was the actress who portrayed her on Gone With the Wind, per an invasion-of-privacy lawsuit filed involving FX's Feud: Bette and Joan miniseries. Olivia de Havilland, who turned 101 over the weekend, says in her complaint against FX Networks and Ryan Murphy Productions that the character based on her real-life persona, played by Catherine Zeta-Jones in the FX series, was a "false" portrayal of her and of events that took place, Courthouse News Service reports. Specifically, de Havilland disputes an interview with her that was purported to have taken place at the 1963 Oscars, and which was reenacted in the FX show. The suit is looking for damages for "emotional harm" and "harm to her reputation," per the New York Times.

This portrayal "creates the public impression that she was a hypocrite, selling gossip in order to promote herself at the Academy Awards," which is "false," the suit says. De Havilland, who says the show can't hide behind First Amendment protections, also takes exception to the depiction of her character calling her now-deceased sister Joan Fontaine a "bitch," as well as saying Frank Sinatra sucked down all of the backstage booze at the Oscars. As the one person depicted in the show who's still alive, de Havilland was especially chagrined not to be contacted for her take before it aired, the Hollywood Reporter notes—a fact Murphy himself acknowledged in an April interview with the magazine. "I didn't write Olivia because I didn't want to be disrespectful and ask her, 'Did this happen? Did that happen?'" he said at the time. (Amelia Earhart's plane was found—in an old Joan Crawford movie.)

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