With FX's Feud on the horizon, there is once again renewed interest in hugely famous old Hollywood icons like Bette Davis, who have faded in popularity since their heyday. As a leading character on the show, Davis' life is once again on display, only this time it's a fictionalized version of her interpreted by another Hollywood icon, Susan Sarandon. Feud dramatizes the production of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, a film that resulted in an Oscar nomination for Davis and gave a little resurgence to her waning career. Davis passed away in 1989 so she can't weigh in on Sarandon's portrayal of her, but what does Bette Davis' family think of Feud?
The bulk of the story took place over 50 years ago, which means many of Davis' family members are no longer around to watch or comment on the show. Her husbands (four in total) have all passed away, as have her parents and sister. However, two of Davis' children are still alive: her daughter B.D. Hyman and her son Michael Merrill. It is unclear whether Davis' other daughter Margot Merrill is still alive, having spent her life in institutions. Neither Hyman nor Michael have commented on Feud yet, or indicted whether they plan to watch it or not.
Hyman and Michael do not appear to use social media, at least not as public figures, and neither have released a statement about Feud or done an interview. Neither of Davis' children have been in the public eye for the last few decades, though as an evangelical preacher Hyman is more apt to be in the spotlight than her brother. Michael appears to work as a real estate attorney, living a life far from Hollywood. However, his relationship with Davis was a positive one, so presumably his opinion of Feud would be predicated on how well the show depicted her.
Hyman had a more complicated relationship with Davis that she wrote about in her memoir, My Mother's Keeper. In the book, she described Davis as an emotionally abusive alcoholic who had inappropriate boundaries with Hyman and tried to control her. She also claimed that Davis was a victim of abuse herself and that Davis' fourth husband Gary Merrill was violent. Following the book's publication, Hyman still insisted that she loved her mother and wanted to use the book as an effort to reach out to her.
Hyman will also be a character in Feud, played by Kiernan Shipka, so perhaps after the series begins to air, she'll have something to say about the portrayal. Until then, Davis' children are keeping quiet.