In 1973, Joan Crawford told a paying audience that Faye Dunaway was the only current movie actress who “has the talent and the class and the courage to become a real star.”
Poetically enough, Faye went on to play Joan in the 1981 film Mommie Dearest.
She wasn’t only the new Joan, she WAS Joan — her absolute embodiment — and as the Bon Ami powder flew and the children’s bed clamps tightened, it wasn’t exactly pretty.
But of course, Faye had already earned her Joan stripes.
When she co-starred with Joanie’s arch rival, Bette Davis, in 1976’s The Disappearance of Aimee, the two clashed harder than Alien and Predator.
It was almost as if Faye was instinctively channelling Joan’s persona and giving Bette
an old-time fight but with higher cheekbones.
But she was outclassed.
As a male co-star of the film later told me, “Faye Dunaway needs a step ladder to sniff Bette Davis’s ass.”
So did Joan, you might say.
I love all three divas, but in order of formidability, they remain: Bette, Joan, Faye.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 18, 2010