Bette and Miriam Hopkins face-off behind the scenes of The Old Maid (1939), as director Edmund Goulding looks on |
Spurred to take action following Hedda Hopper’s reports of on-set tension between the two actresses, the Warner’s publicity department devised a plan to incorporate the “feud” between Bette and Miriam into publicity for the film.
At the time, Bette told a reporter: “Hoppy and I are going to get a couple of pairs of boxing gloves and pose for a picture glowering at each other like a couple of fighters in their corners. It’s the only answer we can make to all the nonsense about how we can’t get along.”
Years later, producer Hal Wallis, who observed their on-set behavior, recalled: “I think later the studio tried to claim that it was all just publicity, but it was the real thing. Those girls hated each other.” Bette later stated that the only two actresses that she worked with and “criticized” were Miriam Hopkins and Faye Dunaway. ✨