If you switched on a television set at any time during the 1980s and early ’90s, it’s likely that you caught at least an episode or two of the two-time Emmy-winning sitcom The Golden Girls. It starred Betty White, Rue McClanahan, Estelle Getty and Beatrice Arthur as a group of older women who were living together in Florida. And the chemistry between the four ladies was undeniable. But behind the scenes, two of the stars apparently didn’t get along at all.
And although The Golden Girls ended in 1992, its comedic legacy was such that the show is still fondly remembered to this day. Part of its success surely came from the fact that the four key characters were elderly ladies. At the time, you see, this demographic were rarely represented as the main characters of sitcoms.
At first, there were decisions to be made about who would play who. The creators had initially wanted White to play Blanche, even though that was the role McClanahan had hoped for when she first read the script. And while casting the show, the creators initially tried to get Elaine Stritch for the part of Dorothy, but she unfortunately flunked the audition when she swore during it.
And NBC wasn’t happy about the idea of having Bea Arthur on board. You see, previously the actress had starred in Maude – a show that had courted controversy in 1972, when the titular character got an abortion. At the time The Golden Girls was premiering, that particular issue still divided America. But writer Susan Harris insisted on using Arthur.
In the end, everything worked out perfectly casting-wise. After Jay Sandrich – the director of the pilot episode – asked McClanahan and White to switch roles, White begrudgingly agreed. So McClanahan did play Blanche after all, plus Arthur was Dorothy, White was Rose and Getty was Sophia, Dorothy’s mother.
Getty had to play an 85-year-old – despite being only 60 herself at the time. She was, in fact, only a year older than her onscreen daughter. In 1992 the actress told Sandie Newton, “When I got the script, I assumed it was for the role of Dorothy. I talked to my managers, and they said, ‘No, no, no, no, no, the part is for the grandmother… Dorothy’s mother.’” Nevertheless, she won the role by attending her audition in old-age makeup.
But it wasn’t just Getty who had to polish up her acting chops for the sitcom. In fact, everyone’s roles required them to do some serious acting, rather than just turning up and being themselves. And in a 1997 interview for the Museum of Broadcast Communications Encyclopedia of Television, McClanahan cracked a joke about the four actresses.
McClanahan said, “None of us [were] like any of our characters. People ask me if I am like Blanche, and my standard answer is, ‘Get serious! Look at the facts. Blanche is a man-crazy, glamorous, extremely sexy, successful with men Southern belle from Atlanta, Georgia. And I’m not from Atlanta!’”
“We weren’t like our characters at all,” McClanahan continued. “Betty probably the least of all. I would say Estelle was more like Sophia, although she wasn’t at all pushy or vitriolic. Estelle was funny. She was Jewish, New York funny. She kept saying, ‘Can’t we make these characters Jewish?’ She would have felt so much more comfortable than trying to be Italian – although it worked.”
“Bea was the straightest character, the least eccentric, but certainly Dorothy’s failure in life was very different from Bea’s huge success in life,” McClanahan went on. “Bea has got a very funny take on people, and she’s quick-witted. And Betty has nothing but brains. She’s almost as smart as I am!”
And the ratings for The Golden Girls were spectacular – even Harris was amazed. In a 2018 interview with Entertainment Weekly she reminisced, “It was just stunning. I think people felt like you could have a family no matter who you were, at any stage in life. So there was hope in that show – that you didn’t have to be married, you could create your own family. These were four women who became a family.”
However, behind the scenes, the stars didn’t always get along as well as their characters did. In McClanahan’s interview with the Museum of Broadcast Communications Encyclopedia of Television, for instance, she implied that Arthur wasn’t the warmest of people. “Bea and I didn’t have a lot of relationship going on. Bea is a very, very eccentric woman. She wouldn’t go to lunch [with me] unless Betty would go with her.”
And yet, the relationship between White and Arthur apparently deteriorated fast. McClanahan’s 2007 autobiography, My First Five Husbands… And the Ones Who Got Away, suggests that Arthur became jealous when White won an Emmy for The Golden Girls before her. Apparently, she was so angry that she used the c-word.
Reportedly, Arthur was increasingly displeased by the scripts for The Golden Girls. Yes, while the jokes that were aimed at White’s character were quite breezy ones, the ones about Arthur’s Dorothy were about her physical appearance – and she seemingly hated it. In fact, the actress was so unhappy about the digs that she apparently even considered leaving the show.
The producers soon became worried that they were about to lose one of their stars, so they started looking around for a replacement just in case. Actress Debbie Reynolds popped up in season six’s There Goes the Bride: Part 2 in order to subtly test if she would be a good fit on the show. However, in the end Arthur decided to stick around for the seventh and last season.
When The Golden Girls finally came to an end, though, a variety of rumors – including a very distasteful one about Arthur relieving herself in White’s dressing room – spread across the internet. And people noticed that White and Arthur tended to avoid each other. In a 2003 Golden Girls Lifetime special, for example, the two actresses appeared to speak from different studios.
Arthur never got the chance to tell her side of the story publicly, however. In April 2009, just two and a half weeks before she would have turned 87, she passed away from cancer. And the actress was the second Golden Girls star to die. Getty had passed a year earlier after struggling for some time from dementia with Lewy bodies.
For her part, McClanahan spoke to Entertainment Weekly about Arthur in a memoriam piece. She said, “As a friend, she was giving and loving to me. She was a very close, quiet, rather timid person – very gentle. I saw someone say something once that they didn’t mean to be a cutting remark, but it hit her wrong, and she immediately burst into tears. That was not seen very often, but those emotions were right under the surface.”
And White had something to say, too, telling Entertainment Tonight, “I knew it would hurt, I just didn’t know it would hurt this much. I’m so happy that she received her Lifetime Achievement Award while she was still with us, so she could appreciate that. She was such a big part of my life.”
A week after the death of Arthur, McClanahan did an interview with TV Guide in which she spoke about the former actress and White. She said of the two, “They approached life very differently. Bea came from a New York stage point of view. She always had what we call the fourth wall. And Betty came from a television point of view. She would flirt with the audience, and pull her skirt up and say, ‘Hi sailor.’ But Bea never acknowledged the audience.”
McClanahan went on, “Bea never confided in me why she felt the way she did about Betty. It could be something Bea never confided in me. Betty always asked me, ‘Why?’ And I’d always say, ‘You know how Bea is… [She] gets a bee in her bonnet and just doesn’t like certain things… and I don’t know why.’”
Arthur, it seemed, had very firm tastes, and some of them were rather eccentric. According to McClanahan in her TV Guide interview, the actress hated it when people wore baseball caps backwards. She said, “That really got to her. We were interviewing directors one time, and if someone came in with a baseball cap worn backwards – he didn’t stand a chance.”
And there was also quite a saddening detail hidden in that interview with McClanahan. Arthur had seemingly loathed White – but the reverse wasn’t true. White even went to her allegedly difficult co-star’s one-woman show. McClanahan said, “Betty was a big fan of Bea. Bea’s feelings about Betty were not mutual. She really did love Bea.”
A few months after Arthur’s passing, one of her friends spoke to Globe magazine about the relationship with White. They revealed, “Bea told me her bitter feud with Betty started when they were just in their first season. She said she didn’t like Betty from the start and told me she tried to stay out of White’s way when they weren’t rehearsing or on camera.”
The friend went on, “According to Bea, Betty thought she was the star of the show and acted like it. She said Betty even tried to tell her how to deliver her lines. That’s something Bea would never stand for. One day, early on in the series, Bea said she just couldn’t hold back any more, and she let rip at Betty, turning the air blue with her tirade.”
Swearing was a common theme in stories relating to the feud, too. Yes, according to Arthur’s chum, “The show’s execs had a major headache because of the Bea and Betty feud… they simply hated each other.” And they claimed that Arthur refused to do a reunion show, even saying of her former co-star, “Betty White is a [expletive].”
White herself opened up about her relationship with Arthur in 2011, while promoting her book If You Ask Me at TimesTalk. The actress declared, “Bea had a reserve. She was not that fond of me. She found me a pain in the neck sometimes. It was my positive attitude – and that made Bea mad sometimes. Sometimes if I was happy, she’d be furious!”
But did the two women really hate each other as much as it was claimed? Well, there never seemed to be as much animosity on White’s side. For instance, when she picked up her Emmy in 1986, she said, “I am the lucky one who gets to come and pick up this beautiful golden girl, but Estelle, and Rue, and Bea and I all thank you. We’re a matched set, you can’t split us up.”
And according to Arthur’s own son Matthew Saks, the media may have made more of the story than was actually there. While getting ready to open a homeless center for young LGBT people in honor of his mother in 2016, he spoke to the Hollywood Reporter about Arthur and White.
Saks suggested that Arthur may have looked down on White a little bit professionally. He said, “My mom was the real deal. I think she felt she was more of an actress than Betty. Mom came from Broadway. Betty starred on a game show at one point.” And White had indeed appeared on many – at one point the media dubbed her “the First Lady of game shows.”
Saks went on, “When they shot the sitcom, sometimes they had to stop. My mom would stay concentrated, maybe stay backstage, stand in her place there. And sometimes Betty would go out and smile and chat with the audience and literally go and make friends with the audience… I think my mom didn’t dig that.”
And yet Saks was adamant that the two women were far from flat-out enemies. Yes, he explained that although Betty and her on-set behavior “rubbed [his] mom the wrong way … there was no fighting at all. They were friends. At one point they lived close enough that they would drive each other to work.”
In 2017 Jim Colucci, writer of the book Golden Girls Forever: An Unauthorized Biography, talked to Closer about the two actresses. He said, “[Bea] came from the old school of Norman Lear, where sitcoms were filmed like stage plays and done with up-close reactions. [Betty, on the other hand], was from the Mary Tyler Moore school, where everything is a very subtle character moment. The jokes are more gentle.”
So everything about the two women resulted in a clash of personalities, it seemed. According to Colucci, “Bea would hold the script in her hand until the very last minute. Betty, almost at the table read, would be off-book. She could incorporate new lines just by hearing them, so she was able to clown around with the audience.”
Saks also spoke to Closer that year, and he shared another detail about his mother’s personality. He said, “My mom unknowingly carried the attitude that it was fun to have somebody to be angry at. It was almost like Betty became her nemesis, someone she could always roll her eyes about at work.”
For the tenth anniversary of Arthur’s death in April 2019, Saks spoke to Fox News about his famous mother’s life. He mentioned the White feud story once again, saying, “You know, I’m always being asked the question if my mom hated Betty White. It’s not the way it is.”
Saks explained, “I think my mom had some problems with her, but she liked her.” He continued, “I think it was George Bernard Shaw who said it’s fun to hate your neighbors. And I think what he meant was that everyone needs someone to say, ‘Oh, here she goes!’ We all need to have somebody that we can let get under our skin.”
Yet despite all the feud rumors, Arthur’s legacy is undoubtedly a good one. In fact, while speaking to Fox News, Saks said, “What comes to mind is just how beloved she was to so many people. Even when I was a young kid, people were always coming up to my mom on the street. My whole life, I saw the world tell her how much they loved her. It’s definitely a nice feeling.”
And McClanahan – who passed away in 2011 – always remembered Arthur fondly. She remembered how the other woman took care of her when McClanahan’s mother had died. In her TV Guide interview she said, “I went over to her home in Santa Monica and she put me to bed, and tucked me in and brought me dinner. She calmed me down and I felt safe for the first time. You don’t forget things like that.”
For her part, White is the only surviving member of the Golden Girls cast. And the so-called “First Lady of Television” is still acting – she was in Toy Story 4 in 2019. However, she hasn’t commented any more on her relationship with Arthur. And when the star does pass away, it will certainly be the end of an era.
However, feuds existed in Hollywood long before The Golden Girls hit television screens. Even as far back as the Golden Age of Hollywood, in fact, some stars found themselves embroiled in bitter rivalries. Take sisters Olivia De Havilland and Joan Fontaine, for instance, whose relationship was sadly far from perfect.
In July 2019 Havilland reached an astonishing 103 years old. And the Golden Age great can also boast of having possessed a glittering Hollywood career – one that encapsulates not only more than half a century’s work, but also two Academy Award wins. But the actress’ remarkable achievements have arguably been eclipsed by her turbulent relationship with younger sister and fellow Oscar winner Fontaine.
Even as young girls, future stars de Havilland and Fontaine quarreled. And although it’s said that the sisters attempted reconciliation multiple times, a spat in 1975 reportedly kept them apart forever. In fact, even after Fontaine’s death in 2013, de Havilland filed a lawsuit that related to their lifelong struggle to get along. So, where did it all begin?
Well, de Havilland – born Olivia Mary – and Fontaine – born Joan de Beauvoir – came into the world 15 months apart. But the sisters’ closeness in age foretold little about the relationship that they’d go on to share. Early on, in fact, de Havilland struggled with the thought of having a little sister, according to biographer Charles Higham. And shamelessly, she’d apparently shred the hand-me-downs that were meant for Fontaine, leaving her younger sibling to sew them back together.
Shockingly, Fontaine told People in 1978, “I regret that I remember not one act of kindness from Olivia all through my childhood.” By contrast, she did divulge one of her earliest memories of her sister’s alleged bullying. And this, Fontaine claimed, happened when she and de Havilland were five and six years old, respectively.
Fontaine went on to explain, “[My sister] had learned to read. And one night when we were alone, she read aloud from the Crucifixion from the Bible with mounting gusto until finally I screamed. Olivia loved it.” In a 2016 interview with Vanity Fair, de Havilland also admitted of her turbulent relationship with her sister, “Our biggest problem was that we had to share a room.”
Indeed, sharing proved to be a big problem for Fontaine, too. Apparently, you see, she resented the fact that the girls’ mother, Lilian, seemed to favor de Havilland. As Fontaine grew older, then, she picked up ways to bug her big sister. De Havilland recalled to Vanity Fair, for example, that her sibling would purposefully drive her crazy by mimicking everything that she said.
What’s more, it seems as though de Havilland and Fontaine’s home environment did little to cultivate a loving bond, either. The sisters were born in Tokyo, Japan, where their British parents had met. There, their father, Walter, was an English professor, while Lilian, who was a stage actress, performed in recitals for the European colony.
But this exotic start did not end well for the family. Infidelity on Walter’s part, for instance, marred and eventually broke up his relationship with Lilian. And both would end up remarrying on different sides of the world. After a stint in England, Walter eventually returned to Japan to live with their housekeeper, with whom he had cheated. Lilian, meanwhile, took the girls to California and found a new spouse, too.
In addition, Lilian’s new husband, George, apparently raised the girls very strictly, making for a less than warm upbringing. In 1978 Fontaine would explain to People, “My family was a combination of the critical and perfectionist – and that’s tough. We didn’t have a loving childhood; my stepfather made sure we had a military childhood.” Ultimately, then, George came to be known as “the Iron Duke” to the sisters.
But Lilian also had strict standards for her daughters. Apparently, you see, she wanted her girls to speak with proper British accents – in spite of their American upbringing. And strangely, according to de Havilland’s Vanity Fair interview, Lillian kept her own acting experience a secret from the girls. In fact, de Havilland claimed that her mother had spanked her when she’d uncovered her hidden stash of stage makeup.
Yet it seems that even their tough parents did little to bring de Havilland and Fontaine together. In any case, they often liked to get each other into trouble. De Havilland would pull funny faces, for example, so that her sister would laugh at the dinner table and spit out her drink in the process. And as a result of her outbursts, Fontaine would receive a beating from their stepfather, according to Vanity Fair.
Mind you, de Havilland and Fontaine also quarreled when their parents weren’t around. In one incident, the younger sister even broke her collarbone – although the siblings’ accounts of this differ. You see, de Havilland claimed that the accident had occurred when she’d been around six. On that occasion, while Fontaine had apparently tried to pull her into a pool, de Havilland had resisted, with the result being that Fontaine had chipped her shoulder on the pool’s ledge in the ensuing struggle. In the end, then, that injury had allegedly led to de Havilland being banned from swimming.
In Fontaine’s memory, however, she had been 16 and Olivia 17 when the incident had occurred. Fontaine told People, “One July day in 1933 when I was 16, Olivia threw me down in a rage, jumped on top of me and fractured my collarbone.” Disturbingly, she added in the same interview, “Olivia so hated the idea of having a sibling that she wouldn’t go near my crib.”
Now, if Fontaine’s timeline is to be believed, she left home shortly after cracking her collarbone. In 1933, you see, she moved out to her birthplace, Japan, to live with her father and his new wife. Then, when she came back to California the following year, she found her sister on the brink of Hollywood stardom. In fact, de Havilland bagged a Warner Brothers contract that November.
Yes, de Havilland landed a role in the big-screen adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream after impressing scouts in the theater production. And when Fontaine and Lilian had attended the play’s opening night, de Havilland hadn’t even recognized her sister, who had just returned from Japan. She told Vanity Fair, “She had bleached hair; she was smoking; she was no longer my younger sister.”
After seeing Fontaine so changed, de Havilland had encouraged her to finish her education – but her younger sister apparently had a new plan. De Havilland recalled, “I advised [Fontaine] to go to Los Gatos High School and graduate. ‘I don’t want to,’ she told me defiantly. ‘I want to do what you are doing.’” And so Fontaine did just that – although there was a caveat.
You see, de Havilland refused to allow Fontaine to come to Hollywood and use their family name. She even promised her younger sister that she could live with her in LA – if she chose a different stage name. At first, however, Fontaine refused – that is, until a psychic apparently gave her the same piece of advice. De Havilland explained to Vanity Fair, “I gave her examples of younger sisters who changed their names and had the best careers: Loretta Young and Sally Blane, for instance.”
In addition, Fontaine told People, “Professionally, de Havilland was Olivia’s; she was the first-born, and I was not to disgrace her name.” And so she proceeded to shuttle through a slew of different surnames, including Burfield and St. John. Then, the actress said, “At the urging of a fortune teller, I picked Fontaine – my stepfather’s surname. ‘Take that,’ [the psychic] advised. ‘Joan Fontaine is a success name.’”
In the meantime, de Havilland’s Hollywood career had begun to take off, with several studios wanting her on their sets. MGM, for example, haggled to get her into Gone with the Wind, and Warner Bros. eventually agreed to this. Nevertheless, the company wasn’t open to lending de Havilland out a second time to star in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca.
Fortunately, those casting Rebecca had an easy second option: Fontaine. And signing onto the Hitchcock flick proved to be a star-making turn for the younger sister, as her performance ultimately earned her an Academy Award nod for Best Actress in 1940. Incidentally, de Havilland garnered a nomination that year, too, for Best Supporting Actress in Gone with the Wind – but neither sister took home a statuette.
In 1942, however, the Oscars would pit de Havilland and Fontaine against each other – and only one sister would walk away victorious. Both women had been nominated in the Best Actress category; Fontaine had again partnered with Hitchcock for the movie Suspicion, while de Havilland had starred in drama Hold Back the Dawn.
Perhaps only adding to the tension, Fontaine and de Havilland were both at the same table when actress Ginger Rogers made the announcement: Fontaine was the winner. And according to her 1978 autobiography, No Bed of Roses, the star froze when she heard her name. She wrote, “All the animus we’d felt toward each other as children, the hair-pullings, the savage wrestling matches, the time Olivia fractured my collarbone, all came rushing back in kaleidoscopic imagery.”
According to Judith Kass’ 1976 book Olivia de Havilland, though, the losing sister graciously cheered “We’ve got it!” when Fontaine’s name was called. Yet Higham has claimed that Fontaine ignored her sibling when she tried to congratulate her, leaving her upset.
Still, regardless of what actually happened between de Havilland and Fontaine that night, the media seemingly sensed some tension between the pair. The next day, Fontaine’s win wasn’t the only Oscar story to make headlines; according to Vanity Fair, “the war of the star sisters” suddenly became a recurring tabloid theme. And the siblings’ differences seemingly continued to widen as their contrasting public personas crystallized.
For one thing, Fontaine’s behind-the-scenes life apparently grabbed the public’s attention more often than de Havilland’s. The latter explained to Vanity Fair, “Joan had a lot of dash that men admired immensely.” Indeed, she dated the likes of Prince Aly Khan and Howard Hughes – who, incidentally, also had a relationship with her sister. And yet de Havilland didn’t quite make the tabloids because, as she put it herself, she was “a simple person.”
In the end, de Havilland did find love in novelist and journalist Marcus Goodrich, whom she married in 1946. But that union seemingly drove the sisters apart even further – especially after a comment that Fontaine notoriously made about her sister’s husband. The star remarked, “All I know about [Goodrich] is that he’s had four wives and written one book. Too bad it’s not the other way around.”
And while de Havilland expected an apology for what Fontaine had said, she supposedly never got one. Then came another tense incident between the famous sisters. In 1947 – so, five years after Fontaine had won her Oscar – de Havilland earned another Best Actress nomination: this time for the movie To Each His Own.
Joan Crawford had initially been asked to present the statuette during the ceremony, but she’d ultimately canceled. This led the Academy to make an interesting substitution: they asked Fontaine to give away the Oscar, which just so happened to go to her sister. According to The Independent, the Academy may have believed that the stage would encourage the siblings to bury the hatchet.
And yet when Fontaine called de Havilland’s name, the on-stage reunion didn’t go as the Academy had perhaps wanted. The women didn’t even hug, with de Havilland rejecting her sister’s attempt at a handshake, too. Obviously, then, the tension remained strong between the siblings. But although in the future the animosity would cool down, this would only last for a short while.
In 1953, you see, de Havilland split from Goodrich – the husband whom Fontaine had insulted to the press. And this separation opened up communication between the sisters again. In fact, in 1961 de Havilland spent Christmas at her sister’s New York City apartment. But while this reunion seemingly signaled the start of a thaw between the pair, their relationship would grow cold again – and this time, it would be for good.
Apparently, the rift started up once more after Lilian’s cancer diagnosis, which came in 1975. At the time, Fontaine’s work on a tour of Cactus Flower was keeping her away from home, leaving de Havilland to care for her mother with the help of her daughter Gisele. Despite the assistance, though, Lilian succumbed to her disease that same year.
And Fontaine later claimed to People that de Havilland hadn’t let her know Lilian had requested to see her. The secrecy had apparently only increased, too, once the sisters’ mother had died. Fontaine explained, “Olivia and the executor of the estate took full charge, disposing of mother’s effects as well as her body – she was cremated – without bothering to consult me.”
Adding insult to injury, de Havilland allegedly even failed to invite Fontaine to her mother’s memorial service – although she attended regardless. By contrast, de Havilland claimed that she’d kept Fontaine abreast of the funeral plans but that her sister had simply said she couldn’t make it. In either case, though, it didn’t bode well for the future of their relationship.
In fact, de Havilland and Fontaine apparently never spoke again. As Fontaine put it in 1978 to People, “You can divorce your sister as well as your husbands. I don’t see her at all, and I don’t intend to.” So, for the rest of the sisters’ lives, they stayed apart. And if Hollywood events drew them together again, they seemingly took great care to avoid each other.
Indeed, de Havilland and Fontaine allegedly remained estranged for nearly 40 years – until the latter died of natural causes in 2013. And some years prior, she had predicted that she’d be the first one to pass away. In 1978 Fontaine had explained to People, “Olivia has always said I was first at everything: I got married first, got an Academy Award first, had a child first. If I die, she’ll be furious, because again I’ll have got there first!”
A day after her sister’s death, de Havilland released a statement, expressing that the news had “shocked and saddened” her. But William Stadiem, who would interview de Havilland for Vanity Fair in 2016, would have a different take after meeting the centenarian. In fact, he would suggest that her simple statement had been hiding something deeper. Stadiem explained, “Olivia’s official statement… belies a deep and enduring grief that no veteran thespian façade can fully conceal.”
Fast-forward three years, and on July 1, 2019, de Havilland turned a remarkable 103 years old. She’s told Vanity Fair, however, that she plans to live until she’s 110. Presumably, then, the actress, who’s known to be a great writer, will pen her memoir during that time. And that book may well offer further insight into her complex relationship with her sister.
Surprisingly, though, just when you thought Fontaine’s death had put an end to the sibling rivalry story, de Havilland opened up another chapter. In 2017, you see, she filed a lawsuit against the FX network’s show Feud: Bette and Joan. Now, although the program centers around the relationship between actresses Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, a fictionalized de Havilland is also featured.
And funnily enough, de Havilland claimed that the portrayal damaged her “professional reputation for integrity, honesty, generosity, self-sacrifice and dignity.” Presumably, this had something to do with the way in which the fictional de Havilland speaks about her sister in the TV show. For example, de Havilland – played by Catherine Zeta-Jones – twice refers to her sibling as a “bitch.”
But as you may expect, the California court system dismissed de Havilland’s case. And when she appealed this decision to the Supreme Court, it, too, knocked her back. In the end, then, the actress’ legal claim finished much like her lifelong battles with her younger sister: with no one answer as to who was right and who was to blame.