Turns out that Bette Davis and Joan Crawford were not, in fact, bitter enemies. Their alleged animosity was fabricated by the publicity departments at MGM and Universal Studios. Though not close friends, they remained amicable privately throughout their lives. Joan, however, did very much detest Norma Shearer and thought of her as her main rival in the 1920’s and 1930’s. I can’t help but wonder if Joan had something to do with smothering Norma’s career. By 1942 Joan was picking up an Oscar for “Mildred Pierce” and Norma went into early retirement.