Whatever happened to Baby Jane? She became a hit. Her sister on the other hand? She didn't handle success very well.

At least that's what viewers learned from Feud: Bette and Joan's version of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford post-production/pre-awards season battle in the FX anthology hit's March 26 episode, "More, or Less."

In the hour, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? is finally released, and much to everyone's surprise, is a huge hit. While Bette (Susan Sarandon) flourishes with all the renewed attention and her rejuvenated career prospects, her co-star Joan (Joan Crawford) crumbles after seeing Bette garner better reviews and more Oscar buzz. 

FACT: Bette did post an ad in the "Situated Wanted, Women" section of The Hollywood Reporter seeking employment. The full ad read: "Mother of three - 10, 11 and 15. Divorcee. American. Thirty years' experience as an actress in motion pictures. Mobile still and more affable than rumour would have it. Wants steady employment in Hollywood. (Has had Broadway.) References on request."

However, she posted it prior to landing the role of Baby Jane.

Of the ad, her agent Martin Baum said he "was an important agent, she was a big star, and I wasn't going looking for work for her. That was not exactly the position I expected to be in at that point in my career — or her career. She was never out of work, but she was concerned about where her career was going. So she placed the ad. Everyone was laughing — it was a joke. Better Davis looking for a job? It didn't make sense! But she was serious about it. She felt she needed work. It just wasn't as dire a circumstance as she portrayed it in the ad."

Later, Davis said, "There was great objection by one and all to my ad. Those who were part of my professional life felt this a very foolish thing to do. It was also misunderstood. If I had not been employed at the time, I never would have done this. I did it to poke fun at the bankers and their list of who was not bankable. If we were not allowed to make films, how would they know whether or not we were bankable?"

FACT: Bette's agent suggested she book a guest role on the TV series Perry Mason in the meantime while they look for work, which she did, appearing in a 1963 episode.

Feud: Bette and Joan


FICTION: Despite director Robert Aldrich's assistant's attempting to get Joan to star in her project The Black Slipper with the help of Mamacita, the real Pauline Jameson, who was British, never had any writing, producing or directing credits to her name, but acted in many projects.

FACT: Bette did go on The Andy Williams Show to sing in 1962, and handed out dolls at theaters to promote the movie.

FACT: The New York Times review of the film did call Joan "a sweetly smiling fraud," and said her character was "such an artlessly helpless ninny, that one feels virtually nothing for her. No wonder her crazy sister finds her a deadly bore."

FACT: On The Jack Paar Show, Bette told the story of how Jack L. Warner originally said he "wouldn't put up a nickel for the two old broads." While Bette was able to laugh, Joan sent her a note saying, "In future, please do not refer to me as an old broad!" (The show alluded to this with Joan's drunken phone call to her co-star.)

FACT: Robert Aldrich disliked Frank Sinatra, the star of his next movie after Baby Jane?, 4 for Texas, a western comedy that ended up being a major flop. The director later considered legal action against the iconic singer for his behavior on set, including only working about 80 hours and his "negative and derogatory remarks."

FACT: Joan was distraught over not receiving an Oscar nomination, while her co-star did...but that's a story for another episode....

Feud: Bette and Joan airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on FX.

We and our partners use cookies on this site to improve our service, perform analytics, personalize advertising, measure advertising performance, and remember website preferences. By using the site, you consent to these cookies. For more information on cookies including how to manage your consent visit our Cookie Policy.