Faye Dunaway Was A Nightmare During Making Of “Mommie Dearest,” Remembers Costar

imagesYou can put this on record: Faye made life very difficult. [Costume designer] Irene Sharaff, who had come out of retirement to do it, said, ‘That woman is on cocaine!’ She walked off the film midway and said, ‘I’m going back to New York and not returning, because of Faye. I have never walked off a movie in my entire career… You can enter Faye Dunaway’s dressing room, but first throw a raw steak in there to distract her.’ I never saw any drug use, but I saw the erratic behavior and mood swings, which happen for a reason.”


Rutanya Alda, who played Joan Crawford’s loyal assistant Carol Ann in the unforgettable film version of Mommie Dearest, speaking about famously temperamental star Faye Dunaway in an interview with Gay City News

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  • DShucking

    Grrrr, you best not say nuthin bought no Mommie Dearest!

  • mada

    Saw Hedda Lettuce present/parody Mommie Dearest and Rutanya was a guest. Boy was it funny to hear the smack she said about Faye. It was almost like Bette Davis possessed her and was talking about Joan Crawford. Hilariously catty.

  • PT

    I have spent a lot of time with Faye. Yes, she’s erratic, but drugs have nothing to do with it. Rutanya Alda should crawl naked across five lanes of broken glass to thank Faye Dunaway for making Mommie Dearest a classic and making anyone care about anything Rutanya Alda has to say about anything. Ungrateful much? I actually enjoy the dish, but some of Rutanya’s comments about Mommie Dearest have been over the line.

    Faye was prodded into that performance by the director and by Christina Crawford and her husband/producer. They wanted camp and they got it. Yes, Faye is a complete Diva in the old sense of the word – and may have many unflattering character flaws. However, at the time Mommie Dearest was filmed she was NOT on drugs, nor since – and quite frankly, it WAS an Oscar-worthy performance (contrary to how Rutanya makes fun of how Faye thought she’d be nominated). It’s mesmerizing. Period.

  • that_dude247

    F off. Faye made the movie a classic.

  • niles

    That is why you were and always will be just a “supporting” actress, dahling.

  • Drew2U

    …Maybe it was because a great actress was reduced to a schlock script and adolescent directing and she panicked knowing it was going to do exactly what it did–ruin her career.

  • Rotafan

    I worked on a production on the Paramount lot when M.D. was filming and it was well known that Dunaway was impossible, and that if she wasn’t doing cocaine, she was the only one on the film that wasn’t. She has claimed the movie ruined her career, but really it was her behavior on the movie that did it.

  • robirob

    The movie is infamous camp.

  • balehead

    Ruta is shopping a book proposal by the way….Coincidence??….

  • Cam

    Her behavior is so erratic, creepy and well known that a syndicated columnist in many gay papers (Billy Master) used to have a regular installment called “Faye Watch” where he would write about whatever her latest freak out or crazy behavior was.

  • Discodaddybob

    I worked at Paramount at the time MD was filming there and I often stopped by the 2 stages where they were shooting to admire the incredible sets that had been constructed to recreate Joan Crawford’s home in Beverly Hills. It was a troubled shoot, starting with the lousy script and a weak director who allowed Ms. Dunaway to go completely ‘over the top’. It was also common knowledge that Dunaway was a monster on and off the set. No one dared approach her for fear of being verbally attacked and abused. Still, the film has become a cult classic (it bombed at the time), thanks to Dunaway’s over the top performance and Ms. Sharaff’s magnificent costumes that she created for Dunaway. NO MORE WIRE COAT HANGARS!!!!!!!!

  • groucho60

    I guess you have to be my age (60) to remember Bette Davis on Carson’s Tonight show talking about Faye when the made The Disappearance of Aimee McPherson and what a nighmare she was. I think Ms. Davis called her “Unprofessional” and left it at that. Coming from Davis who was always known to be difficult, Ms Dunaway must have been a horror.

  • Hillers

    I have one thing to say to her: Carol Anne, I have ASKED you to keep the children quiet today! And for CHRISSAKE, get them OUT OF THE GARDEEEEEN!

  • biscuit_batter

    @groucho60: You can watch that interview on youtube. It’s funny to watch but Bette Davis was dead serious about Faye’s unprofessional behavior.

  • Patsy Stoned

    “first throw a raw steak” – I have to give it up to her on that one…that is pretty funny.

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