7 show-biz teams who hated each other

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7 Show-Biz Teams Who Hated Each Other (DYR)
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7 show-biz teams who hated each other

Leonard Nimoy & William Shatner

(AP Photo)

Leonard Nimoy & William Shatner

Classically trained actor William Shatner came to Star Trek expecting to be the star of the series. After all, he was playing the captain. But again audiences changed everything when little-known Leonard Nimoy, playing the timeless role of Mr. Spock, became a fan favorite, whose popularity was credited at the time with keeping the show on the air. Relations between the two became so delicate that even as the sci-fi opus was being originally broadcast a story entitled “The Truth Behind the Star Trek Feud” hit the newsstands. In it, an anonymous actor notes darkly, “Nimoy is the star, but Shatner is the boss.” The article goes on to say, “Tension on the set is overpowering. ‘The electricity over there,’ said one visitor, ‘is so heavy you could charge a battery with it. I got the impression that Shatner and Nimoy are almost afraid to say anything for fear of setting off a bolt of lightning.’” As it turned out, neither actor ever publicly said anything negative about the other, and now the two are reported to be very friendly.

(AP Photo/Ric Francis)

Leonard Nimoy & William Shatner

(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Bea Arthur & Betty White

(AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

Bea Arthur & Betty White

This pair of Golden Girls was part of the extraordinary foursome whose rapport kept their sitcom at the top of the tube for seven years, from 1985 to 1992. But behind the scenes, Bea Arthur simply detested Betty White’s chipper demeanor, frequently using the C-word when describing her co-star. Apparently Arthur was irritated that White was the first of the cast to win an Emmy for the show, and even high-hatted her in public, greeting Rue McClanahan at a 2003 reunion but snubbing White. “Bea Arthur had an intense dislike for Betty White,” said writer Greg Hernandez, an opinion finally confirmed by White herself two years after Arthur’s death: “Bea…was not that fond of me,” reported columnist Michael Musto. “She found me a pain in the neck sometimes. It was my positive attitude—and that made Bea mad. Sometimes if I was happy, she’d be furious!”

(AP Photo/Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Marion Curtis, HO)

Bea Arthur & Betty White

(AP Photo)

Bruce Willis & Cybill Shepherd

(AP Photo/Lennox McLendon)

Bruce Willis & Cybill Shepherd

As a film star for more than a decade, Cybill Shepherd fully intended to rule the roost when she signed on for the 1985 TV series Moonlighting. But she hadn’t counted on the sudden rise to stardom of her fairly unknown co-star, Bruce Willis. During the run of the show Willis not only charmed audiences but also became a major movie star in the process, scoring hits with Blind Date, Sunset and especially Die Hard. Shepherd’s big-screen career had been on the rocks for some time, and that, combined with Willis’ increasing egomania and on-set rudeness, caused sparks to fly. Producer Jay Daniel has called the set “a very unpleasant place to be,” and according to the pop-umentary 40 Greatest Celebrity Feuds, “Bruce got more power, and Cybill felt his input was changing her character into a bitch.” Happily, in recent years the pair seems to have patched things up.

(Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)

Bruce Willis & Cybill Shepherd

(AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

Bud Abbott & Lou Costello

Bud Abbott & Lou Costello

The legendary comedy team of Abbott and Costello met during their years on the burlesque circuit, teaming up in 1935 when they realized their personas of brash straight man and childlike comic worked as perfect foils for each other. Long struggling separately, they became an immediate hit as a duo, regaling audiences with their classic vaudeville routines first on radio and then, with incredible success, in the movies. However, in 1945, at the height of their popularity, Costello became incensed when Abbott hired a servant whom he had fired, and refused to speak to his partner except when they were working. They appeared in mostly separate scenes in their next two films, both of which underperformed at the box office. This financial strain, combined with their complete dissimilarity in personality—Abbott a laid-back drinker and gambler, Costello an overeager micro-manager—caused increased coolness and antipathy, which was sensed by the public, who now preferred the new team of Martin and Lewis. They continued to work together until 1957, when Costello, chafing under the partnership, broke it off, hoping for increased success on his own. He died two years later.

Bud Abbott & Lou Costello

Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers

(AP Photo)

Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers

The First Couple of the Hollywood Musical will forever dance as one, she in flowing gowns, he in white tie and tails, gliding celestially across an art deco set to the strains of Cole Porter or George Gershwin. In real life, however, neither could much stand the other. Astaire came to the partnership a certified Broadway star, new to films and eager to make a success. Rogers had been hoofing around Hollywood for a few years, a young chorine 12 years his junior mostly known for tapping in Busby Berkeley’s girlie lines. RKO paired them up in Flying Down to Rio and their terpsichorean elegance caused a sensation, soon sending them to the top of the box office charts in a series of nine films from 1933 to 1939. Behind the scenes, however, Astaire was quite the taskmaster, nervous about everything and demanding take after take until he achieved his standard of perfection. People assumed his work with Rogers turned her into not only a star but also a lady—a statement she heartily disagreed with, irritated at the notion of herself as putty to be shaped by her partner. Furthermore, she wanted serious dramatic success, and lobbied the studio for other roles. By 1937 they were appearing in films separately, but still got together a few more times finally splitting in 1939. Astaire went on to dance with other partners, while Rogers quickly won a Best Actress Oscar in 1940 for Kitty Foyle. Though nostalgia and the box office led to one reunion 10 years later, in The Barkleys of Broadway at MGM, film fans everywhere still consider them eternally united.

(AP Photo/Lennox McLendon)

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers

(AP Photo)

Vivian Vance & William Frawley

(Photo by CBS via Getty Images)

Vivian Vance & William Frawley

Though they have achieved immortality together as Ethel and Fred Mertz, beloved landlords of Lucy and Ricky Ricardo, in real life Vivian Vance and William Frawley loathed one another. The incident that ignited their long-standing feud occurred on the very day they were introduced to one another: As the story goes, the 64-year-old Frawley overheard the 42-year-old Vance saying, “I can’t play his wife. No one will believe I’m married to that old coot.” After that all bets were off, and Frawley refused to speak to her on the set—a promise he kept throughout the series. Many believe their animosity gave their respective barbs the tart verisimilitude that makes them so funny. Making things worse was the fact that they were contractually tied together: If one would have left the series for any reason, the other could be written out. Often producer Jess Oppenheimer had to act as a go-between when Vance and Frawley disagreed about stage business, with Frawley finally saying, “I’ll do it for you, but not for that bitch!” As I Love Lucy was winding down, a spinoff for the Mertzes was proposed; Frawley, needing the money, reluctantly agreed, but Vance outright refused to work with him again. When asked about his co-star in years to come, he said, “I don’t know where she is now and she doesn’t know where I am, and that’s exactly the way I like it.”

(Photo by Loomis Dean//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

Vivian Vance & William Frawley

(AP Photo)

Mae West & W.C. Fields

(Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

Mae West & W.C. Fields

Though people today automatically lump these two comedy icons into a team, the cold truth is that they only made one film together, 1940’s My Little Chickadee. The pairing was Fields’ idea, struck by the thought that their legendary personas could mesh into a complementary whole. He turned out to be both right and wrong: Their scenes together work well, but one can discern a bit of upstaging by each, neither wanting to play second-fiddle to another old pro. Off-camera, West, a dedicated teetotaler who despised alcohol, disapproved of Fields’ renowned love of liquor (even on the set), and threatened to shut down production if she ever saw him take a drop. For the most part they kept to themselves, rarely engaging the other. The real problem for both, however, was the wretched script they were first given; a successful playwright who created all of her own (dirty) lines, West took to rewriting a workable Wild West comedy out of the mess. For his part, Fields contributed his own bits and routines, which almost never had anything to do with the plot. When the film was released, West was incensed that he was given equal writing credit, as well as payment of $150,000 to her $50,000, and refused to appear with him again. As the years went by she grew increasingly angry over the snub, and also resentful that people would ask about My Little Chickadee more than any of her other films. Before she died in 1980, she said, “Some people have gotten the quaint idea that I made more than one film with W.C. Fields. No way, baby. Once was enough.”

(Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

Mae West & W.C. Fields

(Photo by Universal/Getty Images)

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DoYouRemember.com got to thinking about famous show-biz pairs who, though they might have had brilliant chemistry together on-screen, rather disliked if not outright hated each other. Today we look at seven famous duos whose incredible charisma was exclusively for the benefit of the camera.

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