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Olivia de Havilland and Jacqueline Bisset receive French Honours

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The Los Angeles Times story has language very similar to that in the article linked by leonid. It adds, however, something I was not aware of:

Sarkozy praised de Havilland's courage for her lawsuit against Warner Bros.

After demanding more substantial scripts from Warner Bros., de Havilland got to co-star with Bette Davis in "In this Our Life" (1942). But she bulked at being typecast as an ingenue so the studio placed her on suspension. When her contract ended, Warner Bros. said she owed them time. She then sued.

The court's landmark ruling in her favor transformed the studio system's hold on stars, giving them more freedom.

"You are a rebel because you are the only one who dared file a suit against the studios to defend the liberty of actors," Sarkozy said. "You won. It's exceptional."

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Thanks for pointing that passage out, bart. De Havilland was gutsy but she was not alone. Any Warner star with an independent streak wound up walking out on and/or suing the Brothers at one time or another. James Cagney brought suit against them for breach of contract in the mid Thirties and won. Bette Davis brought suit on grounds similar to de Havilland's in the mid Thirties and lost. Times had changed and I think de Havilland had Screen Actors Guild support and and Davis didn't, but I don't know if that made the difference. Davis received a brutal publicity battering and lost most of her money. If she were around she'd set Sarkozy straight. :)

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