Olivia de Havilland taking FX ‘Feud’ to the Supreme Court
Olivia de Havilland may be 102 years old, but the two-time Oscar winner is not about to back away from a fight.
The famed actress is asking the US Supreme Court to overturn a California ruling that said it was OK for FX, Fox 21 TV and producer Ryan Murphy to use her persona and her name in “Feud: Bette and Joan,” an eight-episode series about Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, Deadline reported Friday.
De Havilland was played on the show by Catherine Zeta-Jones.
“We must persevere and speak truth to power,” de Havilland said as her attorneys filed their petition with the nation’s highest court.
“The fight is itself important to the principle of honesty, so much in need today in the face of deliberate public confusion for selfish agendas,” she added in a statement from her Paris home.
Her lawyer, Suzelle Smith, told Deadline that the California decision “is a radical departure from traditional First Amendment precedent and benefits no group other than those who seek to use the names and identities of others in untrue and salacious ‘historical dramas’ for their own profit.”
In court papers, de Havilland’s lawyers say their client is “fiercely protective of her name and professional reputation. Miss de Havilland is almost unique among major stars in that she achieved success without sacrificing her . . . commitment to truth, loyalty, consideration of others and plain old fashioned good manners.”
De Havilland claims the networks and Murphy never asked for permission to use her likeness in “Feud,” which aired in 2017. It’s unclear what, if anything, she is seeking in damages.
The plaintiffs did not reply to Deadline’s request for comment.
During her career, de Havilland appeared in 49 films, including “Captain Blood’’ and the “Adventures of Robin Hood,’’ in which she played opposite her swashbuckling co-star Errol Flynn.
One of her most famous film roles was Melanie Hamilton in “Gone with the Wind.”
She moved to Paris in the 1950s, and was awarded honors including the Legion d’honneur. She also has been named Dame Commander of the British Empire.
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