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

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)

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

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)

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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