Legendary Joan Crawford

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Casey Letters May 2007


May 2007

Hi Casey,

Are you planning anything special to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Joan's death on May 10th?

I'm running a marathon of my favorite Crawford films as a mini tribute to one of Hollywood's most enduring stars.

San Diego, Ca.

May 2007

Dear Lonnie,

Thanks for the letter and welcome!

In commemoration of the thirtieth anniversary of my grandmother's death, I am here in Rochester, NY, visiting the staff of George Eastman House. The wonderful staff, to include Curator of Motion Pictures Patrick Loughney and Assistant Curator Caroline Yeagher, have provided me access to their incredible collection of Joan movie still photographs and films.

I couldn't think of a better way to commemorate my grandmother's life than by celebrating her remarkable career.

Thanks for the letter and please write again!



May 2007

Dear Casey,

Just finished watching Mommy Dearest,was your grandmother really that mean? I do not want to believe it! and if not, why would your aunt write such untruths? I'm looking forward to hearing back from you. thank you for this website.


Sharon Ortega

May 2007

Dear Sharon,

Thank you for the letter and welcome.

First, allow me to thank you for taking the time to write. Second, I am glad that you have questioned the factual basis for "Mommie Dearest." Even Christina, whose book the film is based, criticized the filmmakers for not following her book more closely. I take that as a refutation, by the author, of film's factual basis.

The film makes for campy fun, but that is about it. The film ruined Faye Dunaway's career and won multiple "worst movie" awards. Never mind the damage to my grandmother's personal and professional reputations.

I can't fathom why a daughter would write such harsh words about her mother. My mother Cathy had nothing but wonderful things to say about Joan. I take my mother's word over Christina any day.

Thanks for the letter and please write again.



May 2007

Hi Casey,

I've been a fan of Joan's for decades and have read many books & articles about her life. One thing that puzzles me is the decrepancy of her birthdates. Some sources list it as 1904, 1906, or 1908.

Do you know which date is the correct one ?


Phil Kormann
Chester, Pa.

May 2007

Dear Phil,

Thanks for the letter and welcome to the website!

Many biographers and fans have tried to answer this question, as the "real" birthday of my grandmother has been pondered for many years. Biographers have used 1904, 1906 and 1908 as her birth date. A friend in Los Angeles, who has done his own extensive research on the subject and has traveled to San Antonio, Texas and Lawton, Oklahoma, suggests her real birth date is March 23, 1906. His information is logical and I tend to believe this is her real birthday.

However, Joan always stated that 1908 was her birth year. Without intensive investigative work, this is almost impossible to disprove, as Texas did not require birth certificates until 1908. Given this knowledge, Joan may have fudged her birth year to subtract two years from her real age. As we all know, Hollywood and the entertainment industry is youth oriented, so this was not a bad thing to do at the time.

In conclusion, without definitive information, Joan's birth date will always be a point of interest for fans and family alike.

Thanks for the question and please write again.



May 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

May 2007

Dear Andrew,

Thanks for the questions and welcome to the website!

It has been a number of years since I read The Divine Feud, but I do recall the book as a fun read. It is not as well researched as I would want, but still fun nonetheless. The book provides many snarky quotes from both great ladies and provides an interesting context for the purported "feud."

I personally have never bought into the "feud" claims of this and other authors. Yes there was some personal animosity and critical comments from both actresses. However, both woman were so busy with their careers and taking care of their families that neither had the time or interest in creating or maintaining a feud.

One of Joan's comments from Roy Newquist's Conversations with Joan about "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane" is particularly insightful. I understand why authors and fans believe a feud existed:

"I don't hate Bette [ Davis ] even though the press wants me to, and they're putting out a feud story on the publicity end. I resent her - I don't see how she built a career out of a set of mannerisms instead of real acting ability. Take away the pop-eyes, the cigarette, and those funny clipped words and what have you got? She's phoney, but I guess the public likes that. Tomorrow we're going to do that goddam beach scene, my big scene, but just watch - she'll find a way to steal it. She always does. But when you play a crazy lady you always walk away with the honors."

Again, a fun read, but I always expected both ladies to have a heated public argumentor some other kind of altercation, but nothing ever happened . . .

As for more Joan DVD releases, "Reunion in France" is available on Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007 and rumor has it that the second Warner Bros. box set will be available by the end of 2007, titles to be announced soon.(Three of the titles have been announced, please see home page for details).

Thanks for the great questions and please write again!





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