Feud Olivia de Havilland Lawsuit

FEUD: Olivia de Havilland Sues FX Drama Over Unauthorized Portrayal

Olivia de Havilland is turning 101 this weekend, and she’s got no time for Ryan Murphy’s nonsense.

The Gone With the Wind actress filed a legal complaint in Los Angeles County Superior Court Friday stating that Murphy’s FX drama, FEUD: Bette and Joan, paints her as a Hollywood gossip, something she claims she’s gone out of her way to avoid during her long career.

De Havilland specifically objects to her likeness being included in the anthology series’ Bette Davis/Joan Crawford-centered first season without her consent. (Catherine Zeta-Jones plays the Oscar-winning actress in the show.) De Havilland is suing Ryan Murphy Productions and the network for invasion of privacy, unjust enrichment and infringement of common law right of publicity.

“Miss de Havilland was not asked by FX for permission to use her name and identity and was not compensated for such use,” de Havilland’s attorneys told the Los Angeles Times. “Further, the FX series puts words in the mouth of Miss de Havilland which are inaccurate and contrary to the reputation she has built over an 80-year professional life, specifically refusing to engage in gossip mongering about other actors in order to generate media attention for herself.”

All other real-life Hollywood players shown on the series are no longer living.

In April, Murphy told The Hollywood Reporter that he hadn’t approached de Havilland about her involvement with the show because, among other reasons, he didn’t want to be “disrespectful.”

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31 Comments
  1. Feud Season Three: Ryan vs Olivia

  2. Stanz says:

    I find it hard to believe that SHE would even care at this point. Savvy move on the part of the person in charge of her though!! Make them COINZ anyway you can, baby!!

    • Montie says:

      You obviously don’t know much about Olivia De Havilland. She may be 101, but she’s still sharp as a tack. She responded to questions about the show while it was airing. “However, in principle, I am opposed to any representation of personages who are no longer alive to judge the accuracy of any incident depicted as involving themselves.”

      • Jane Q. Doe says:

        I agree with you 100% Montie. She was just made a Dame as well. She’s still a force at 101! And if she feels she wasn’t represented fairly, well then good for her.

  3. chloe says:

    such bull! she’s 100 so some stupid great grandchild or someone who works for her probably convinced her that she was portrayed horribly just to get that money.

    • PatriciaLee says:

      Well, she was portrayed poorly, if not horribly. Not for a second did I feel that was DeHavilland, Ginger Rogers maybe, but not Olivia. It was a weakness to the whole thing. Even the usually clueless unless it’s action husband kept saying it just wasn’t her, while we watched it.

    • Montie says:

      From what I know of Olivia De Havilland, I’m pretty sure this is all her. She may be elderly but she’s still as articulate as she ever was. She’s always been very outspoken and protective of her image. There is a law named after her after all.

      • Wanda Brooks says:

        This is the women who sued the studios and got seven year contracts banned in Hollywood and also sports. Not surprised at all

  4. Lynn says:

    I think the key words here are “was not compensated for such use”. Someone’s looking for a payday. I do find it funny though that Murphy “didn’t want to be disrespectful”. I don’t want to be disrespectful by asking what reallly happened so I’ll be disrespectful by doing what I want and what I think happened whether it’s the truth or not, lol.

    • PatriciaLee says:

      That is a shocking and disappointing aspect to this whole thing, not even asking her what happened. It is such a missed opportunity for the fans and history buffs.

  5. christopher bee says:

    It´s a beautifull Day of Payments. Lets get the inherits rich. I feel ya Olivia but cut the leeches off.

  6. Jason says:

    Olivia is pretty sharp at 101. She isn’t some demented old woman. The fact she is the only one still living, you would think he would have asked her.

    • Angelfan says:

      Yes sharp and with a reputation for an iron will. Major mistake by somenowone who should’ve known better.

  7. Karen says:

    Ryan didn’t ask because he knew he would be told to get lost. He deserves to be taken for a bucketload of money. It’s not always easier to ask forgiveness than permission!

    • Teddy says:

      Personally, I hope she nails him–I agree with you, she was there and knows the truth and would not have gone along with his tales of fiction. Just because she’s older doesn’t mean she can’t fight back…

      • I was waiting for something like this to happen. The show was great but the whole thing was based on gossip and hyperbole. A lot of the key events have been thoroughly documented but if the show taught us anything, it’s that gossip is subjective and can be very harmful when depicted as fact. A lot of people took the show seriously, even though it was just a bunch of tabloid stories mixed together in a really entertaining way.
        Tbh, I don’t think Katherine Zeta was even playing Olivia. At least, not really. The show just needed a sort of narrator so Ryan pulled a famous name out of the hat.

        • herman1959 says:

          Yes, he was really dumb for using her name. But, he probably thought he could get away with it because she was too old to notice…SURPRISE!

  8. Bob says:

    Ryan’s lawyers will probably drag out the lawsuit in hopes of her dying so he doesn’t have to pay.

  9. S.uddenly says:

    Love Olivia but I think this isn’t going to work out for her. There was nothing in the miniseries that threw shade on her at all – in fact quiet the opposite. I didn’t particularly like Zeta-Jones as her but it was in no way offensive or insulting. All the things concerning her including her sister are common knowledge. Can’t believe she gives a hoot about any of this. She needs to talk to Carol Burnett (whom I also love!) who tried to sue FAMILY GUY over portraying her and her char woman character in an episode – it was thrown out. And let’s remember this was not a documentary it was a work of fiction based on a book. I don’t think she’s not the only one still alive – isn’t BD alive and maybe the Crawford twins – perhaps they’ll join the suit.

  10. Pat says:

    Oh, c’mon! She’s 101. As if she cares to begin a lawsuit. More like it’s her greedy lawyers wanting to make a buck. Smh.

    • grazelled says:

      Just read about her, she cares. She has a history of taking a stand and fighting for what she believes in, just because she’s 101 doesn’t mean she’s not the same woman. I live in So. Calif. in a “blue zone”, one of the 4 places in the world where people live to be over 100 and are driving, doing surgery, just living active lives, so it’s normal for me to expect an 101 year to participate in her life.

  11. Sarah says:

    Ryan Murphy is a scumbag and Ms de Havilland should sue him for fictionalizing history and making up lies about a living person. I bet he and his production company go after fan fiction, and would protect their fictional characters and writing. Real people deserve respect, and the right to control their own likeness. Just because unscrupulous fans think it’s okay to steal off the internet doesn’t mean it’s okay to violate the rights of others. I hope she wins.

  12. davidztaylor says:

    I watched the series, I didn’t think that the role was unkind or hurtful in anyway. I don’t mean to be rude, but I suspect the large majority of people in general (and even the viewers) knew one way or another if she was still living. Her personal integrity was not hurt in the slightest by this portrayal. In fact, it’s probably done her a favor consider we are talking about and paying attention to her at this point in time. I find it difficult to empathize with actors who spend a lifetime saying ‘pay attention to me’ and getting paid for it then complaining about it. If every actor or actress who was every portrayed in something without their ‘authorization’ ligated, it would be a constant stream. This comes across as a money grab by someone manipulating an old lady who’s classier than this.

    • PatriciaLee says:

      Actors spend a lifetime building a commodity that people enjoy. They may have to do it for free for years and years to finally get to the point of being paid, decently, but once at that platform use is $. That is only fair.

  13. keniri says:

    Murphy told The Hollywood Reporter that he hadn’t approached de Havilland about her involvement with the show because, among other reasons, he didn’t want to be “disrespectful.”

    Seriously? He didn’t want to be disrespectful and yet that’s exactly what he did. LOLS

  14. TV Gord says:

    “This motion picture is a dramatization of the real events that inspired it. Dialogue is simulated, some characters are added and some events are created to tell the story.”

    This disclaimer probably covers Murphy legally. I find it hard to believe that he or Fox would not have their, um, bases covered.

    • kalli says:

      The use of “real events” being key. It uses her likeness and name without permission and doesn’t say it’s not meant to resemble her, and further, it posits that this was a real thing which is dramatised, not a fictional version of events. It’s not going to cover them – they may have decided it would bring in more $$ than they would have to pay out, though.