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Why one of Bette Davis’s two Oscars was less golden

It turns out Bette Davis really did cuddle the gold right off of her two Oscars.

A scene in the FX miniseries Feud has Davis explaining good friend Olivia de Havilland why one of her two Academy Awards was not as golden as it used to be.

She had won the trophies during the 1930s for Dangerous and Jezebel.

‘Bette, what happened to this one? Did all of the gold plating fall off?’ asks de Havilland, played by Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Davis, portrayed by Susan Sarandon, smiles and says: ‘It rubbed off. Every night when I watch television in bed, I hold it. He’s the perfect companion.’

The scene takes place just before Davis and de Havilland leave for the 1963 Academy Awards where Davis would be trying to win a then-record third Oscar for Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?

She was the odd-on favorite but famously lost to Anne Bancroft for The Miracle Worker.

Adding to her devastation at losing was the her Baby Jane co-star Joan Crawford had arranged to accept the prize for an absent Bancroft.

Ryan Murphy, the openly gay producer who created Feud, can vouch for the veracity of the scene about why the gold plating had come off one of the Oscars.

Just weeks before David died in 1989 at the age of 81, the then-journalist Murphy interviewed the screen legend for an article he was writing.

‘I walked into her apartment and the first thing she said to me was, “Do you want to see my Oscars?” She took me into a room, and one was more gold than the other one,’ Murphy tells Yahoo News.

‘It looked like it had not been rubbed off by time, but worn. I said, “What happened to this one?” She said, “I hold it at night when I watch TV. It’s my friend.” I never reported on that fact and I wanted to use it.’

FILE UNDER: Awards, Icons


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2 Remarks

  1. April 6th, 2017 at 12:07 am
    Jimmy Donahue says:

    That’s great! I have been enjoying all the naysayers challenging a lot of the details in this fantastic series then being show the source material.
    Those who got all uppity over that ridiculous scene of Davis singing on the talk show, and how terrible Sarandon was… until they saw that it was not only something that happened… twice! but Sarandon’s performans was spot on.
    Even better is how the Oscar/gold story is something from Murphy’s personal encounter that he was able to use, as told, in the series.
    I’m going to miss spending an hour each week with these wacky broads!

  2. April 6th, 2017 at 1:47 pm
    John Purves says:

    I had my doubts about the series. I thought it would be totally exploitative, but to my surprise it’s very close to everything I’ve ever read about these two screen legends. Both Sarandon and Lange are excellent.

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