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Ask Casey June 2007 Letters

June 2007

Casey,

I am a devoted fan of your Grandmother. I have all of her movies ever released to video and was wondering if Letty Lynton will ever be made available.


Judi Randall
Portland, Oregon



June 2007

Dear Judi,

Thanks for the letter and welcome!

"Letty Lynton" is one of my favorite Joan Crawford films. The film itself is a gem, with incredible wardrobe, sets and acting by Joan and Robert Montgomery. Moreover, the film was produced "pre-code," meaning before the Hayes Production Code took effect. The Hayes Code changed Hollywood film making from an adult focused medium to one more family friendly.

I find pre-code films fascinating, because in my opinion the films were more realistic and dealt more honestly with adult themed issues than later films.

"Letty Lynton" fits the bill as prime example of pre-code film making. Sadly, the film has not been commercially available in over seventy years because Metro Goldwyn Mayer based the film on a play by Margaret Ayer Barnes entitled "Dishonored Lady." The playwright took MGM to court and the case made its way to the United States Supreme Court. The Supreme Court found in favor of Ms. Barnes and the film has not been seen since. Copies are available here and there, including on this website.

"Letty Lynton" is a Joan Crawford classic that needs to be released on DVD. Getting this film released is on my agenda for the coming years.

Thanks again for the great question!

Best,
Casey

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June 2007

Hi Casey!

So proud to hear you are wholeheartedly behind your grandmother's name. She is one of the most amazing women I have ever seen. I wasn't alive when she died, but have fallen in love with this icon as I grew up.

BTW, my best friend's landlord has the "Mildred Pierce" Oscar. He bought it at auciton in West Hollywood. FYI. Joan is still the queen of my city!!!!

Christopher
Los Angeles, CA



June 2007

Dear Christopher,

Thank you for contacting me! This is truly exciting news for me, as I haven't had any news about my grandmother's Oscar since 1993! After the auction and for the past fourteen years, I haven't heard anything about the purchaser or subsequent owners.

If I could trouble you for just a little more information about your friend's landlord, but only if you want to do it. What you have written already gives me information to act on!

My intentions are to buy the Oscar back and upon my death, donate it to the Academy for safe keeping.

Thanks again and please contact me if you have any additional information.

Best,
Casey


RE:

Hi Casey & Neil,

I spoke to my friend and he is going to ask his landlord what he wants to do (with the Oscar). It was the landlord's intention to donate it to the Academy when he dies anyway. He's an elderly gentlemen...

Love
Christopher

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June 2007

Hi Casey,

Do you know if/when there will be a boxed set volume 2?

James
Dallas Texas



June 2007

Dear James,

Welcome and thanks for the letter!

The first box set was a success and therefore Warner Bros. is planning on a second box set release for later this year. With the advent and continued success of the DVD format, fans have become more and more vocal about having rarely seen Joan films released on the format. Likewise, the studios see the potential profits of releasing classic films on DVD, as established and new audiences purchase DVD's regularly.

Thanks for the letter and continue to check this website for more information on the upcoming Joan Crawford box set #2!

Best,
Casey

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June 2007

Hi Casey,

After every marriage breakup, what did she totally get rid of in the house?

Sherry
Thorold, Ontario Canada




June 2007

Hello Sherry,

Thanks for the letter!

It is rumored that after every divorce, my grandmother would purge the house of any reminders of each husband. This included items as mundane as the toilet seats!

We all know my grandmother liked things neat and tidy. I would imagine that any clutter accumulated during each of her marriages was quickly disposed of after each divorce. Joan was never one to hold onto things for purely sentimental reasons. She was very matter of fact in her life and her habit of purging possessions was critical.

I recall Betty Barker, my grandmother's long-time confidential secretary, stating recently that Joan would go into purge mode and throw out photos, paperwork and other possessions. Betty, bless her heart, would retrieve the items out of the trash without Joan's knowledge! She knew well enough that Joan's penchant for purging her life of these items sometimes would go overboard!

So yes, generally, Joan would purge her household of any reminders of the "last" husband.

Thanks for the interesting question and please write again.

Best,
Casey

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June 2007

Casey,

Thank you for writing me back and sharing your stories, I have been a make-up artist in film for a good part of my life and have often used images of your Grandmother when doing Make-up. She was a screen Goddess, and I am so happy to see that you are keeping that alive with photo's and stories.Do you often recieve letters from friends that knew Joan? If so which ones stand out and can you share them with us?

Brad Boles
New York City




June 2007

Dear Brad,

Thanks for the great letter. Welcome!

I find it amazing and satisfying to know you, in 2007, use my grandmother's image as a model for doing film make-up! She has a classic beauty that is timeless. The cheek bones, eyes and beautiful skin make her one of the most beautiful of the classic Hollywood era actresses.

Through this website, I receive letters from people all over the world. Most are die-hard fans who just love my grandmother and want to know more about her amazing life and career. Once in a great while, I will receive a letter from someone who actually had the chance to meet her, most likely in the Pepsi days.

On several occasions, I have received letters from people who knew Joan or my mother when she was growing up. I love to hear stories because on one hand it is Hollywood history and on the other hand it is my own family's history!

My dearest and closest connection to my grandmother has been Betty Barker. She worked as my grandmother's confidential secretary from 1955 to 1977. She knew my grandmother when Betty was a young lady growing up in Los Angeles. Betty's stories of old Hollywood are always interesting!

Thanks for the letter and please write again.

Best,
Casey

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June 2007

Dear Casey,

First of all I will thank you for doing this great work for your Grandmother.I'm a big Joan Fan and I'm collecting everything I can find about your Grandmother on the net,many pages are in Englisch,or should I say the most of them and they are many times hard to read for me but I try
best to understand it all.

It really is for me a big Honor to write to Joan's Grandson and I need to apologize for my bad English. Now my question, is it true that your grandmother had a couple affairs with women? I know at that time this was something never really talked about!!!

Best Wishes!

Ursula
Germany




June 2007

Dear Ursula,

Thanks for the letter and welcome!

I am continually amazed at the international reach of this website and my grandmother's diverse fan base.

It is my honor to answer your questions, all the way from Germany!

Rumors have swirled for years about my grandmother's possible affairs with various women. Author Lawrence Quirk's 2002 biography Joan Crawford: The Essential Biography focused on some of the purported affairs. I read Quirk's book on a flight back from Las Vegas, soon after publication. Quirk listed a who's who of Hollywood actresses with whom Joan supposedly had affairs. Martha Raye, Barbara Stanwyck and Gwen Lee were a few actresses named by Quirk.

About four years ago, never before published transcripts of sessions between Marilyn Monroe and her psychiatrist were released. During the sessions, Marilyn claimed that she and Joan had a single intimate encounter. Joan apparently wanted to meet again, but Marilyn wasn't interested.

More interesting background on my grandmother's life and experiences!

Thanks for the letter and please write again.

Best,
Casey

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June 2007

Hi Casey,

What a great site! I love your grandmother's films and think she's truly outstanding. For years, I lived in the Hancock Park neighborhood where she filmed "Baby Jane" and I used to get such a kick driving by the Hudson house on McCadden, where the exterior shots were filmed. It looks pretty much the same!

Years ago, when I was working as a P.A. at Paramount, I met an old woman who was an extra. Her entire family worked in movies, starting with the silent films of the 1920's. When I asked her who her favorite Hollywood star was, without a beat, she said "Joan Crawford!" And then she told me how generous she was, and how good she was to her family. She said, "Joan Crawford paid all the hospital bills for the birth of my baby sister." And I was so thrilled to hear something positive about this great star I had admired all my life. Years later, I was working for a producer named Albert Fisher. In his office, on the wall, was a picture of him and Joan Crawford. I about flipped when I saw it and asked him all about your grandmother. It turned out that he met your grandmother while producing the 1962 World's Fair (I think it was '62). Anyway, he told me how he went to her apartment to discuss the event, and during the visit, Manhattan had lost all power. It was a city-wide black out, and he was in Joan Crawford's apartment. He said she was a delight and couldn't say enough nice things about her.

Well, I was tickled once again to have met another person who had such fond memories of this woman I had idolized since childhood. I recently read "Salad Days" by Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and was fascinated by his early recollections of your grandmother. He didn't have a bad thing to say.

Anyway, I just wanted to drop a few lines to let you know how fascinated I am with this site and I think you're doing an extraordinary job. I also think it would be wonderful if your mother and aunt could write an endearing account of their lives with "Jojo." Do you by chance recall any of their favorite memories of her, or any stories they used to tell about growing up in Hollywood?

Thank you again!

Jeff Copeland
Los Angeles




June 2007

Dear Jeff,

Another letter from my favorite city, Los Angeles !

Thanks and welcome.

On almost every visit to LA, I have an opportunity to drive by the "Baby Jane" house. I too love the house's architecture, that hasn't changed at all since the 1960's. The house is a regular stop on my friend Scott Michael's "Dearly Departed" tour, as any Joan Crawford / Bette Davis stories are always a popular part of the tour.

Hancock Park is a beautiful neighborhood in the city.

The story of the woman you met while working at Paramount is fabulous! When real people come forward with stories as amazing as Joan paying for the birth of a friend's child, it really makes my day and shows that Joan cared deeply for her friends and family.

The story as told by producer Albert Fisher also shows how Joan was admired and respected in Hollywood.

I have never taken the opportunity to read Doug Fairbanks' "Salad Days." It is now on my list of must reads.

I too would love if my mother and Aunt Cindy would write a memoir of their lives with Joan. It would make incredible reading for all Joan fans.

Growing up in Hollywood in the 1940's and 50's my mother would recount her life with Joan with very fond memories. I guess what struck me most interesting was her daily interactions with Hollywood stars who would come visit Joan. As a young person, she didn't really know or understand that these visitors and friends of Joan were huge Hollywood legends. It was just another normal day in Brentwood . . .

One star in particular was "Uncle Butch." He would visit often and my mother finally realized when she was old enough that "Uncle Butch" was none other than Hollywood star Cesar Romero! Just incredible!

Thanks for the wonderful letter and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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June 2007

Hi Casey,

I love this website, it gets better and better. I have a couple of questions that I have never seen asked, Where did mommie dearest come from, what did it mean? Did your mother have tp say yes mommie dearest all the time? How was Tina towards the twins in the 50's Was she a bully? I have read the book & the reviseded from 1997. What happened to Mrs. Howe the nurse? Did she stay in Europe in 55?

I also loved the Joan letters book, cannot wait for the new one. Happy birthday to Joan and the twins(belated). Good luck to you and your future plans. Thank you to Cathy.


Cliff
Colorado




June 2007

Dear Cliff,

Welcome and thanks for the questions.

This feature has become even more popular due to the wonderful letters submitted by die-hard Joan Crawford fans like you.

Although Christina transformed the term of endearment mommie dearest into the now infamous book of the same name, it was originally how Christina, Christopher, Cathy and Cindy referred to their mother. I don't believe any of the children had to refer to Joan as mommie dearest all the time, but my grandmother did insist on proper manners at all times.

As for Christina, she was nine years older than my mother and Aunt Cindy. I don't recall any bullying being done by Christina, but she was the much older sister.

Mrs. Howe was my mother's governess for many years. I don't really have much information on her status after 1955. Something to ask my mom . . .

Michelle Vogel and Neil Maciejewski are working hard on the new book. We hope to have it published by the end of 2007.

Thanks for the letter and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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June 2007

Hello Casey,

I don't have any questions for you, I just wanted to say that your "JoJo" was a fantastically beautiful vibrant woman who had alot of dignity, class, and taste. I had noticed her because of Mommie Dearest which I personally didn't care for, but it made me aware of her and her acting. I can't really say what my favorite film starring her is, because she did so many that were good.

I have nothing but admiration for her because she was so determined not to be a prima donna, and always took the time to be approachable and personable to her fans. What a wonderful lady. I think that she would be very proud that you are following in her footsteps by showing the same consideration to her new fans.

Thank you Casey, and I think the website is wonderful.


Marti
North Carolina




June 2007

Dear Marti,

Thank you very much for the wonderful comments. I love receiving letters like yours!

Many new, younger fans first encounter "Joan Crawford" through Mommie Dearest. While the movie is not exactly my favorite, at least I know most of these fans will look beyond the hype and began to watch Joan's real films and learn to appreciate her for her incredible body of work in Hollywood.

Joan knew that her fans were the reason for her success. That is why she replied to hundreds of thousands of fan letters per year and maintained correspondence with many fans over the years. She knew that without her loyal, die hard fans, her career would have been over many years ago.

That is why I am proud to continue my grandmother's tradition of corresponding with fans from around the world.

Thanks for the lovely letter and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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June 2007

Hello Casey,

It's such a thrill to be corresponding with Joan Crawford's grandson! Thank you for taking the time to do this for her fans.

Do you know if Joan ever made the list of "Highest Paid Women" during her peak years in Hollywood?

Just curious.

Sylvia
Rancho Santa Fe, Ca.




June 2007

Hi Sylvia,

It is my pleasure to correspond with my grandmother's fans!

Thanks for the very interesting question!

Joan was in fact one of the highest paid actresses of the classic Hollywood era. She regularly pulled in several hundred thousand dollars per year during her Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer contract years. Also, after her move to Warner Bros. in 1943, she initially signed a $500,000 / 3 film deal.

You can imagine after the success of her fabulous trio of Warner Bros. films Mildred Pierce, Humoresque and Possessed, the studio signed her to a lucrative seven year deal.

So yes, it is clear she was one of Hollywood's highest paid women during most of her career. Her later career, not so much, as the roles and films were become less star studded. Joan worked continuously as scripts were presented to her in order to maintain her household and family. After Alfred Steele's death in 1959, Joan became a single mom again and had to provide for her family. She did so by working in film and television well into the 1970's.

Thanks for the great question and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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June 2007

Casey,

I enjoy watching your grandmother's 1930's films. Is it true that she did not care for actress Jean Harlow? Was she jealous of the relationship between Harlow and Gable?

Marshell
Sidney,Ohio




June 2007

Dear Marshell,

Thank you for the letter and welcome to the website!

Even in today's Hollywood community, the interaction between stars, both good and bad make for interesting discussion. Just as with the purported feud between Joan and Bette Davis, it is true both actresses made nasty comments about each other over the years. We must remember that Hollywood stars are people too, with likes and dislikes. This includes fellow members of the acting community.

As for any ill feelings between Jean Harlow and Joan, one particular quotation speaks volumes on Joan's behalf. In Roy Newquist's Conversations With Joan, she states, "And Jean Harlow, who I forgot to mention before; she was one of Metro's real biggies, but a more tragic person you can't imagine." This quote is not indicative of any real like or dislike of Jean Harlow, but more of a look back at one of the sad circumstances in Hollywood.

Jean Harlow was the antithesis of Joan Crawford. Harlow was born to play the blond bombshell, while Joan preferred to hone her acting craft. As you stated, Harlow's relationship with Gable may have led to some jealously from Joan. As you know, Joan and Gable carried on an almost lifelong friendship and intimate relationship, so a little bit of jealousy may have crept into the relationship, causing Joan to maybe dislike Harlow.

The interactions, feuds and relationships between Hollywood stars are always interesting angles to pursue and research.

Thanks for the questions and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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June 2007

Hi Casey,

Do you think the grand staircase in "Mommie Dearest" was meant to resemble the stairs in "Queen Bee"? It would make sense considering the crew pretty much just made fun of Crawford's "campier" years. Plus when she adopted Christina, she was only around 35, Crawford still looked great, even up into her forties. Even after her harsh appearence after "Torch Song," when one gets past the eye brows and lips, she still looked great for her age.

Thanks!

Mike
New York City




June 2007

Hi Mike!

Another one of my favorite cities - New York!

Welcome.

I like your thinking on the Mommie Dearest staircase. Joan's real Brentwood house had stairs nothing like the movie. My mom would make fun of the film when it was released saying the director and producers had no idea what the "real" staircase looked like. The Queen Bee staircase is much more in line with the Mommie Dearest set and the filmmakers may have just been drawing from Joan's more campy years.

Joan looked great through her entire life. She had just a beautiful face that lasted and lasted. I think she became even more beautiful in her 30's and 40's. There is just that special something about her in her later MGM years and Warner Bros. period.

Thanks for the letter and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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June 2007

Hi Casey,

Thank you very much for taking questions about your grandmother. I have been trying to find exterior and interior pictures of Joan's Bristol Avenue home as it looked at the time she sold it. I believe that was 1955 or 1956, not long after she married Al Steele. The newest I can find on websites is 1950. Would your family have any pictures that could be posted? Also, do you know what the sale price was and who bought it at that time?

It is going through a major remodel by the current owner.
Too bad, I don't like to see historical places changed.

Thank you,

Bill
Bremerton, Washington



June 2007

Hello Bill,

Welcome and thanks for the interesting letter!

It is my pleasure to answer these fabulous fan questions.

I don't have any personal photos of Joan's Brentwood house taken at the time it was sold in 1960 to famed song and dance man Donald O'Connor. The house, sadly, has been remodeled so many times that it does not even resemble the home Joan sold to Mr. O'Connor. I am still researching the purchase price and will give you an update in a future response.

Sadly, the home has been remodeled on its exterior. However, many of the original interior elements still exist.

Thanks for the questions and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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June 2007

Hi Casey,

I was just wondering your thoughts on the book "Bette and Joan - the divine feud" which was first published in 1989. I am 3/4 of the way through it, and have found it a fascinating read. Although, who really knows how much is fact or fiction with a book like this. What I do like about the book is that it shows what a much nicer person Joan was compared to Bette. All Joan wanted to do was get along with her, but Bette continued to treat her poorly.

I was also hoping you could tell me if more of Joan's key films will be released on DVD. I have been a fan for over 25 years. By the way, thank you for publishing all the rare photos on your website.

Andrew Mason
Canberra, Australia


June 2007

Dear Andrew,

Thanks for the letter! Please continue to write.

The Divine Feud is a fun book that adds to the myth and mystique of the purported feud between Joan and Bette Davis. Given all I know about my grandmother from contemporary friends, fans, biographies, autobiographies, documentaries and other sources, the feud has been blown out of proportion over the years. Both actresses were so busy starring in films, family and social engagements, that there really wasn't time for an organized feud.

By all means, both actresses made nasty comments about each other over the years. A "Divine Feud?" I don't buy it!

I do agree that Joan appears the nicer of the two in this "feud."

As for DVD releases, Trog (1970) is being released later this month. Reunion in France (1942) was also recently released. Rumor has it, more DVD's are scheduled for release later this year and early 2008. Stay tuned!

Thank you for remaining a true fan for over 25 years!

Thanks for the letter and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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June 2007

Casey,

Why did Christina think her adopted mom, Joan Crawford,
was so unreasonable, and in sending her off to private schools and a Catholic school?

Yvonne G. Davis
Weatherford, Oklahoma




June 2007

Dear Yvonne,

Thanks for the letter and welcome to the website!

I dare not venture into Christina's thought processes. It is my position that Joan was doing what she thought best for all the children. My mother and Aunt Cindy attended several private schools through the years and they didn't have any ill feelings over going to boarding school. No matter how Joan treated Christina, I don't think it would have been good enough.

Thanks for the question and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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June 2007

Casey,

No question just think you are doing an honorable thing. Your grandmother was a "great" actress and "movie star" in a great era. She was also human like the rest of us with faults, etc. but that does not dimninish what she gave to the movie industry and us fans.

Keep up the good work!!

George Hovey
Massachusetts



June 2007

Dear George,

I love when letters like yours arrive! Please do write often!

Your statements are honest and speak directly and to the point. Joan Crawford was the ultimate movie star. Her contributions to Hollywood, television, radio and the business world should not be diminished by her relationship with two of her four adopted children. Critics who can look only to Mommie Dearest and no deeper are missing out on a varied, stunning career unmatched by today's stars.

Thanks for the letter and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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June 2007

Dear Casey,

What was Joan's last personal automobile (color, make, model)??? Thanks !!! Great site !!!

Dan
Texas




June 2007

Dear Dan,

Thanks for the interesting letter!

There is lots of information about the early Joan Crawford cars, especially when she was living in Los Angeles. I have seen photos of her 1933 Cadillac. Very classy.

Her older cars, not so much. After her marriage to Alfred Steele in 1956, Alfred gave his black Ford Thunderbird (very nice) to Christina. To my knowledge, during Joan's marriage and after his death in 1959, Joan did not drive much or at all. She was now accustomed to hired cars and drivers. She also had moved to Manhattan following her marriage to Alfred, so there was really no need for a car in the city, as all New Yorkers know all too well.

Thanks for the question and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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June 2007

Dear Casey,

I would very much like to thank you, as many others have, for your contribution to this website. It is a plethora of great information for all of Joan's fans.

My question is: Where is Joan's Academy Award for "Mildred Pierce" now? Also who is in possession of her other awards?

Thank you.

Kent Bailey
Lexington, Kentucky




June 2007

Dear Kent,

Thanks for the questions and welcome!

You have asked a question near and dear to my heart. In 1993, my mother Cathy decided to sell Joan's Academy Award for her famous role as "Mildred Pierce." The reasons for selling the Oscar are hers and hers only.

I was attending Penn State University at the time and I do recall the Academy protesting loudly. This was the first major Academy Award sold at auction, and not subject to the Academy's rule that no Oscar may be sold that was awarded after 1951. Christie's auction house conducted the sale and the award fetched $68,500. Due to the intense interest, the award far exceeded the $8,000 to $12,000 pre-sale estimate.

However, given that the buyer was anonymous and reputedly a Middle Eastern businessman who bought the Oscar for his mother, the award has not been seen since the sale. I constantly search for the any news of a new sale within the Hollywood collectibles community. No news yet.

It is my intention to someday purchase the award. I would then designate that upon my death, the award would be donated in perpetuity to the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles for permanent display.

As for Joan's other major award, her 1970 Golden Globe award (the Cecil B. DeMille Award) is still in my mother's possession.

Thanks for the great questions and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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June 2007

Casey,

I know that Ms. Crawford has done bad movies in her later days. Do you have any personal favorites from her late career (I for one love Johnny Guitar, and Strait-Jacket)? I think, even though the movies were "B-Movies," her mere presence alone has elevated the movies to a status befitting an a-list production.

I have never dwelled on the Mommie Dearest issue, because I thought it was a lot of bollocks. If you think about it, after its publication, Christina had a stroke. I don't know if you can call it karma though.


Oh, and another question, I suppose you have met a lot of your grandmom's friends, who among them were a blast to be with? (I'm in the Philippines, but I would love to travel to the US just to get a photo of me and Ms. Crawford's star, and well, grave).

Joel
Manila,Philippines



June 2007

Dear Joel,

Welcome and thanks for the letter.

I agree, some of my grandmother's later films were bombs. "Trog" (1970) and "Berserk!" (1967) come to mind as some of her later stinkers. But to her credit, Joan kept working to pay the bills, no matter how silly the scripts. Some of her other later films, including "Strait-Jacket" (1964),"Johnny Guitar" (1954), "Autumn Leaves" (1956) and "The Best of Everything" (1959) are good films and, I agree, are elevated due to the presence of my grandmother.

She also did many guest appearances on television shows during this period, adding to her already large body of work.

Thank you for your comments on Mommie Dearest. Karma can be an interesting thing!

My grandmother is interred at Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale , New York , north of New York City .

Thanks for the letter and I hope you can visit the United States soon!

Best,
Casey

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June 2007


Hey Casey!

Big fan... I was wondering if there has been any talk of a biographical movie about your grandmother... I wish they would do something great about her TRUE life story instead of Mommie Dearest crap!

Anyways have you heard of in the future or past of any biographical movie.. or made or TV movie??

Lauren
Chi-Town




June 2007

Dear Lauren,

Thanks for the letter!

No talk as of yet. As you and all other Joan Crawford fans will agree, it is about time for an honest, biographical film. Some consider Mommie Dearest as a biographical film. I certainly do not and welcome a new take on her life and career.

Given she had a multi-decade career spanning from the silent film era to the 1970's, the biographical film would be an interesting undertaking. On what periods to focus? What about her intense, lifelong relationship with Clark Gable? Her four (okay five marriages, if you count James Welton from 1924 - 1925)? Her work for Pepsi and appointment to the Board of Directors following Al Steele's death in 1959? So much material to cover and so little time.

And finally, who to play Miss Joan Crawford?

Thanks for the letter and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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June 2007,


Casey,

Thank you for your wonderful site. My favorite Joan Crawford movie will always be "The Women." Two quick questions. Is "The Women" available in DVD or VHS? I have tried every movie store in the northwest and have not been able to find it. Second, while the stories told by Christina and Christopher are sad and painful, isn't it true that your grandmother hadn't seen her only son in many many years??

Joan was the mother and adult in this situation. I just can't imagine not seeing my children for years and then the last thing they recieved from me being a public disinheritance. I heard that Christopher died last year. Did you ever meet him, or make peace within your family?

Again Casey, I want to thank for the wonderful site and I hope my questions don't cause you any unhappiness.


IRMAJEAN
BONNERS FERRY IDAHO



June 2007

Dear Irmajean,

Thanks for the letter and welcome.

"The Women" is one of my favorites. An all-female cast coupled with the machine gun fast dialog by Clare BoothLuce and Anita Loos makes for one incredible film. A remake is in pre-production in Hollywood , but no remake will ever match the cast of Joan Crawford, Norma Shearer, Rosalind Russell and Marjorie Main.

"The Women" is currently available on DVD through Amazon.com and other Internet sources. You may also be able to order the DVD from a store in your area. "The Women" will also be playing at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco on July 27th 2007.

It is true that Christina and Christopher had not seen their mother for many years before her death. By the early 1970's, ill feelings were obviously keeping them away from Joan. This is also the period when I believe Joan found out about Christina's book and decided to write them out of her will.

With Joan dead for thirty years, Christopher dead as of last year, and with only Christina remaining, no one knows the truth.

Thanks for the letter and please write again.

Best,
Casey

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June 2007

Hi Casey!

I'm sure Jojo would be so pleased with you! You are a stellar grandson for upholding this site in her honor.

My questions to you are:

Do you ever keep in contact with your Aunt Christina? Also, if Christina wrote Mommie Dearest, why was Christopher disinherited? Had Joan ever mentioned knowledge of the book before her death? And one more thing...I read in a book (and gosh I can't remember the name of it now) but it stated that the house Joan lived in with Christina and Christopher was haunted. Do you know anything about that?

Thanks so much!

Marti
Tennesee



June 2007

Dear Marti,

Thanks for the letter and welcome!

It has been my pleasure to correspond with Joan Crawford fans like you.

I never had the opportunity to meet my Aunt Christina, even before my grandmother's death in 1977. After the will was read following the funeral, in which Christina and Christopher were disinherited, there has been no contact between my family and Christina or Christopher.

It appears Joan believed that although Christina was writing the book, Christopher was some how a part of the process. My grandmother took the betrayal very seriously and the result was the disinheritance. Those who attack my grandmother's actions to disinherit Christina and Christopher fail to acknowledge that my grandmother was a human being who took the betrayal very hard.

As for the 428 North Bristol house being haunted, I have too heard the stories. I have no concrete evidence of any haunting, but it is still an interesting and fun aspect to the Joan Crawford legend.

Thanks for the letter and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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June 2007

Casey,

Thanks for taking the time to respond to the questions on this site. It's really kind of you. In a previous answer you stated that your grandmother disinherited Christina and Christopher when she found out Christina was working on a book about her. Had she begun writing MOMMIE DEAREST while your grandmother was still alive? Also do you have a favorite memory or occasion you spent with her that sticks out in your mind?

I know it wasn't an A movie, but your grandmother's performance in STRAIT-JACKET is in my opinion one of her best. She is so touching as Lucy and shows much restraint. I really enjoy it.

Thanks again!

Gene
Texas




June 2007

Dear Gene,

Welcome and thanks for the letter.

It is my opinion that Christina was working on some type of memoir about her life as a child of Joan Crawford well before Joan's death in 1977. There is no other obvious reason Joan would have disinherited Christina and Christopher from her will. It is well documented that Christopher especially rebelled against Joan.

As for my favorite memories, just spending time at her apartment in Manhattan. As she was older and a bit reclusive, we didn't go out with her in the city, but spent all of our time visiting.

I saw Strait-Jacket on the big screen for the first two years ago at The Castro Theater in San Francisco. Although definitely a B-picture, Joan still puts in a great performance as a scary mental patient murderer. Not an Academy Award winning film, but definitely fun and entertaining!

Thanks for the letter and please write again.

Best,
Casey

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June 2007

Dear Mr. LaLonde:

Did Cindy and your mother share a bedroom while they were growing up? I'm interested in where they slept when your grandmother and Mr. Steele built their apartment on East 70th Street and Fifth Avenue.

Some people have said that although the couple had 5 (?) children between them, there were no bedrooms specifically provided for them at 2 E. 70th Street. Did Cindy and your mother have their own rooms there, specifically set aside for them and stocked with their permanant possessions, or where there neutral guestroom for the children to sleep in, or what?

Thank you for taking the time to find out. I think it's great that your keeping up your family tradition of keeping in touch with the public1

Sincerely,

Cookie
Los Angeles




June 2007

Hello Cookie,

Welcome and thanks for the letter from my favorite city Los Angeles !

My mother and Aunt Cindy spent much of their school time in various boarding schools. They traveled with their mother when not in school to many destinations across the globe including many countries in Europe and The Bahamas.

After my grandmother sold her house in Brentwood and moved to New York City to live with Alfred Steele after they married, the twins would come visit them often. When they would visit New York , the twins would stay with their governess, Mrs. Howe, in a nearby hotel. In this day and age, this arrangement may not appear family friendly, but as the twins were away at school for most of the year, Joan and Al thought this was the best arrangement. My mother never spoke ill of the arrangements.

Thanks for the kind words and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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June 2007,


Casey,

What ever became of Christina and Christopher? Do they have kids and do you talk to them?


SERENA
RHODE ISLAND




June 2007

Dear Serena,

Thanks for the letter and welcome!

Following the death of my grandmother in 1977, as you know Christina infamously published Mommie Dearest. She never had children and currently lives in Idaho.

Christopher severed ties with Joan several years before her death. Christopher passed away last year after a bout with cancer. Christopher married twice and had several children.

I have corresponded with Christopher's daughter Janit on several occasions and look forward to more contact.

Thanks for the questions and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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June 2007

Casey,

The way you described your grandmother almost brought tears to my eyes. It reminded me of my own who died just one year before yours in 1976. I was raised in NJ just outside of NYC, so I remember WPIX, the independent station that you mentioned. In the 60's and early 70's, the independent stations would run old films to fill up air time, so by the time I was ten years old I had seen so many pictures that your grandmother had appeared in. It seemed as though I couldn't watch television without seeing her in one film or another. I must have been ten years old when I saw Mildred Pierce for the first time. While she was older (40 or 41) in that picture than in some of the others she did, I found her to be more beautiful in it than in any of the others. I was entranced by the graceful way in which she moved. I loved the sound of her voice. It wasn't excessively feminine-sounding like that of Elizabeth Taylor when she was young or Marilyn Monroe, and for this reason there was something more dignified about it.

I am glad that you are doing what you can to resurrect your grandmother's reputation. Yes, I agree with you--the Warners' Brothers era was one in which she played in some masterpieces. There were a couple, however, that she did a little bit later that I thought were beautiful --Autumn Leaves and The Esther Costello story.

I think that you are wonderful, Mr. Lalonde, to dispel some of the cruel myths about your grandmother that your aunt has been propagating. She has made one helluva career for herself for the past 30 years by trashing your grandmother. I don't think that she realizes how cruel a thing this was to do to your grandmothers fans--to defame someone we have regarded so highly.

I have just a few questions. Do you know if your grandmother had any paramours in her later years when you were a little boy? I have heard stories of how alone she was at that time and hope that she did have someone in her life as Al Steele predeceased her by many years. The other question is about her father, Thomas Lesueur. Was he from Quebec originally or was he from Tennessee? I have read that he was from both places.

If you have time to write and reply to my questions, I would enjoy hearing from you, but if not I hope that you will read my message and know what a good person I think that you are to do what you're doing, and that I am one of many millions of people whom your mother has touched with her great acting talents and with the wonderful films that she has starred in.

Regards,

Marshall Schreier
Washington, DC




June 2007

Dear Marshall,

Welcome to the website!

Your letter was fabulous! The classic films WPIX and the other New York City independent television stations ran in the 1960's and 70's opened up a new audience to Hollywood films. Your experience was like many fans who watched my grandmother's films.

I too think my grandmother was quite beautiful, especially in her Mildred Pierce - Warner Bros. period. She just had that special something that separated her from other Hollywood contemporaries.

At the end of my grandmother's life, to my knowledge, she did not have any paramours. She became reclusive towards the end of her life, but still maintained her famous correspondence with friends, fans and family. She was alone at the end of her life because I believe she did not want to be a burden to anyone.

As for Joan's father, Thomas Lesueur, he was American born and lived in several southern states before Joan's birth.

Thank you for the warm thoughts and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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June 2007

Hi Casey!

What a wonderfull website you have! Great pictures and great histories about your grandmother...she was the best,of couse...there will be no one like her...

My question is: It is true that Joan had some relatives in Brasil? Somebody said this somewhere...I just can't remember!

And sorry about my English...I don't use it very often!

Thanks for this site...and thanks to continue with "Jojo" tradition of respect and love for her fans...

Erica
São Paulo,Brasil




June 2007

Dear Erica,

Thank you very much for the kind words. Neil Maciejewski does fantastic work on the site and I can't thank him enough for asking me to correspond with my grandmother's fans.

I agree with you: she was the best and no actress has approached her success or longevity.

We have had several people from Brasil ask questions, and I am always surprised at the international reach of this website and popularity of Joan Crawford!

You are the first to ask about Joan relatives in Brasil. I have never heard any details about relatives in South America , so I will continue researching . . . Joan did spend significant amounts of time in Brasil for Pepsi.

In her second autobiography My Way of Life, she fondly recalls, The welcome in Sao Paulo was almost too much. There were thousands of people on the street, pressing in on the car until it began rocking. It was frightening, though it was very flattering, and very exciting.

Thanks for the interesting question and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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