Another in our occasional series, inspired by FX’s fabulous Feud: Bette and Joan, documenting classic Hollywood Feuds. Here it’s the turn of gossip columnists Hedda Hopper and Louella Parsons.
Louella Parsons had become the doyenne of Hollywood gossip by the 1930s. But when her power and demands for dish began to rub Louis B. Mayer the wrong way, the MGM mogul fought back with Hedda Hopper, one of his washed-up contract players. Mayer helped launch Hopper as Parsons’ venomous adversary in 1937, and for the next 25 years–in their gossip columns–the two flailed at each other like scorpions.
When these semiliterate, vindictive harpies dug their stiletto heels into Tinseltown, no one was safe. They competed fiercely for scoops, withheld the real dirt in return for favors and ruthlessly punished stars when they strayed too far into the other’s camp. For sport, Hedda made grrl-ish cracks about Louella’s bald spot.
When Hedda dropped dead, she was neither mourned nor missed, but she was still powerful enough to be despised. Louella ended up in a nursing home, barking out questions to the stars as their old movies played on the TV.
The winner? Hedda by a hat.