The relationship between actors and Hollywood studios is a lot like a Hollywood celebrity marriage. When things are going well and the bank accounts of both parties are fat from the profits of successful collaborations that glean multimillion-dollar paydays, everybody is photographed at A-list parties hugging, kissing, smiling and flattering each other on the red carpet. But when things sour and the actions of one party threaten the bank balance of another, it’s a much messier, bitter story. The knives and expensive lawyers come out.

In Hollywood the preferred method for settling nasty disputes about the vulgar subject of money is behind closed doors and away from the public eye. Every so often, though, one of the parties involved decides to go public, or even worse, go straight to court. Over the course of Hollywood’s long history, a number of stars have resorted to legal action to get what they believe is owed to them. In many cases, they are successful — forcing studios to ...

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