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article imageJudge grants early date for Olivia de Havilland suit against FX over 'Feud'

By Veronique DUPONT (AFP)     Sep 14, 2017 in Entertainment

Hollywood legend Olivia de Havilland may be 101 years old, but she's still spry enough to sue FX over her depiction in the network's Emmy-nominated miniseries "Feud: Bette and Joan."

Los Angeles judge Holly Kendig on Wednesday agreed with the actress's request for an expedited trial given her advanced age, and set a court date of November 27.

"I can't imagine how you could not do that when the plaintiff is 101 years old," Kendig said, rejecting a petition from the defense hoping to move the case to January.

De Havilland, who won Oscars for Best Actress in 1946 and 1949, said that she did not give her consent for the "Feud" producers to use her likeness in the miniseries, nor has she received any remuneration for the use of her name and identity.

The FX miniseries focuses on the famous rivalry between Bette Davis, performed by Susan Sarandon, and Joan Crawford, as portrayed by Jessica Lange.

British actress Catherine Zeta-Jones portrays de Havilland -- Davis's friend -- in the show.

Of the stars of yore in the miniseries, only de Havilland is still alive.

"Feud: Bette and Joan" has been nominated in 10 categories in Sunday's Primetime Emmy Awards.

Also depicted in the show is the rivalry between de Havilland and her younger sister by 15 months Joan Fontaine, also an Oscar winner. The rivalry only ended with Fontaine's death in 2013.

- 'Very mobile' and 'alert' -

De Havilland's attorney, Suzelle Smith, said after the hearing that her client "has a lot invested in the case" and may appear during trial, even though she has lived in France for decades.

"She is very mobile and very alert," Smith said of her client.

When she initially filed the lawsuit in June, de Havilland claimed that "Feud" damaged her "professional reputation for integrity, honesty, generosity, self-sacrifice and dignity."

De Havilland rose to fame in the 1930s playing ingenue roles alongside Errol Flynn, but moved on to more challenging fare, winning Academy Awards for the 1946 film "To Each His Own," and four years later for "The Heiress."

Legendary director Victor Fleming chose her for the role of Melanie Hamilton in the US Civil War epic "Gone With the Wind," (1939) where she was married to Ashley Wilkes (Leslie Howard), the man coveted by Scarlett O'Hara (Vivien Leigh).

Other notable films included "My Cousin Rachel" in 1953 with Richard Burton, and "Hush... Hush Sweet Charlotte" in 1965 with Bette Davis.

The two-time Oscar winner and five-time Academy Award nominee came to embody the elegant glamor of the silver screen in the 1930s and 1940s.

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