Still hot the year she died of pancreatic cancer Joan Crawford was a complex woman. She became a film actress at the age of 20 although she actually began her career as a dancer. She debuted her dancing on Broadway then was signed by MGM in 1925. MGM gave her small, meaningless roles and Joan was having none of that. She took her career into her own hands and by the 1930s she rivaled MGM colleagues Norma Shearer and Greta Garbo. If you know anything about Greta, Joan was serious. Joan often played hardworking young women who find romance and bucks. These “rags-to-riches” stories were popular with Depression-era audiences. Considering very few people could afford to eat let alone go to movies, that was a feat.
video: At home with Joan Crawford
video: Joan Crawford Interview 1965
video: The Lucy Show – Joan Crawford Guest Stars
Joan became one of Hollywood’s most prominent stars but her films lost money and she was labeled “box office poison“. Joan misinterpreted her character in Rain and it flopped. She bribed autograph hounds to pursue her. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer signed her to a new contact but the movie industry crowed “Crawford has slipped.” That was when her career took a nosedive.
Article: The Second Rise of Joan Crawford…box office poison
video: Whatever happened to Baby Jane
After an absence of nearly two years, Joan starred in Mildred Pierce (1945), for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress. Talk about in-your-face. She acted in film and television throughout the 1960s, her performances became fewer until she retired from films. When unflattering photographs were published, and with the news that her stepdaughter, Christina Crawford, was publishing an unflattering biography, she became reclusive until her death in 1977. In 1978 Christina released Mommie Dearest exposing Joan as a child abuser. Many actors denounced these claims but others, including Bette Davis supported her. Mommie Dearest was a bestseller and was made into a 1981 blockbuster film with Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford. The film was spoofed on SNL.
video: Mommie Dearest – The Ending Scene
video: Joan & Christine Jerry Lewis Telethon
video: Charlotte Chander talks about Joan Crawford about Mommie Dearest begins at 3:12
video: Last know footage of Joan Crawford
video: Mildred Pierce Vida & Mildred Fight
Joan’s Facebook Fans: 6,038 people like Mommie Dearest … how creepy