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Above: Cindy and Cathy share a special moment with their mother, Joan Crawford

Below are letters from fans of Joan Crawford to her grandson, Casey LaLonde, from March 2006.

March 2006

March 30, 2006

Dear Casey,

First, I would like to say that this is an amazing addition to this website!! How many websites actually have a relative of a star answering letters!?!? It's very exciting!

My question is about your mother Cathy and your aunt Cindy. With all of Joan's old movies being released on DVD and all the special features that come along with the them, have either your mother or your aunt ever been approached to appear on the documentaries about Joan? The documentary that is featured on the "Mildred Pierce" DVD, were they approached to appear on it? Have they ever thought of writing a book? Just curious.

Thanks for your time!

Nicole
Bangor, Maine




April 2, 2006

Hello Nicole,

I am very proud to be a part of Neil's website. This is a great way to connect with my grandmother's fans and keep her memory alive.

My mother, Cathy and Aunt Cindy are very private people. That is why I am out doing what I can to restore my grandmother's image. Cindy did appear on TCM's "The Ultimate Star" documentary several years ago. However, she was literally shoved aside in the documentary by yet more interviews of Christina.

As far as I know, neither my mother nor Cindy are interested in a book. Again, that is the reason I am out here. Fans like you are the reason my grandmother had a five-decade long Hollywood career. And fans like you will help me reestablish Joan as a Hollywood icon.

Thanks for the question Nicole!

Best,
Casey

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March 30, 2006

Hi Casey,

Thanks for this site. I've been a fan ever since I was younger and my mom used to speak of her movies and how much she loved them. Years ago, the Film Forum in New York showed a complete retrospective and I attended a triple-feature of "Our Dancing Daughters", "Our Modern Maidens" and "Our Blushing Brides". I was hooked since then. She was the quintessential Hollywood survivor, both on and off the screen. I have read every book on her I've been able to get (except you know which one)...

My question is, would it be possible to do a retrospective tour with some of her lesser know but in my opinion, underestimated films. I'm 41 years old, and you'd be surprised how many of my contemporaries only know her for "you know what". I'm really sick of it, as a film fan and a journalist and a lover of classic film, Joan Crawford deserves a rediscovery: I was thinking of films like: "The Unknown", "Our Dancing Daughters", "Rain", "Mannequin", "Strange Cargo", "The Shining Hour", "A Woman's Face" and "Flamingo Road". The "retrospective tour" could be done in NY and LA for starters and take it from there...

Just a suggestion. Take care and good luck!

Juan M. Mendez
New York City




April 2, 2006

Hello Juan,

Retrospectives are a great way to highlight the well-known and more obscure films of any Hollywood actor. Last year, several institutions, including the public library in South Boston, MA and The Castro Theatre in San Francisco showed retrospectives to large audiences. The National Gallery showed several films in Washington, D.C., including "The Women" and in August showed "Paid" along with some of Joan's home movies from 1940.

About five years ago, the National Film Theatre in London, England did a Joan retrospective, again to large audiences.

As most of you know, I attended a weekend of screenings at The Castro Theatre last September. Large audiences turned out each afternoon and evening. Families, couples and singles from all walks of life turned out to see my grandmother's films. I was very proud.

L.A. and New York City are ripe for a weekend or weeklong Joan retrospective. With some of her films coming out on DVD lately and more in the near future, I am sure the studios could be convinced to show some of her other, less seen films as a tie-in to the DVD releases.

Something to work on!

Thanks for your question Juan.

Best,
Casey

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March 27, 2006

Dear Casey,

I'm curious to know what your current relationship with Christina is like. Why is it that you have never met her? What kind of terms is your mother on with Christina, Christopher and Cindy?

Thank you,

Bobby
Bowling Green, Kentucky




March 29, 2006

Hello Bobby,

I have no relationship with Christina. My mother and Aunt Cindy, I would assume, last saw Christina at Joan's funeral in 1977. No contact whatsoever.

My mother sued and won a judgment against Christina in 1995 because Christina had claimed on a nationally syndicated radio program that my mother and Cindy were not "real" twins.

In fact, my mother and Aunt Cindy were fraternal twins born in 1947 in Jackson, Tennessee, then adopted by Joan soon after their mother's death.

My mother and Aunt Cindy were and always will be close. As for my mother's relationship with Christina and Christopher, not so much . . .

Thanks for the question!

Best,
Casey

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March 27, 2006

Dear Casey,

There's a new book coming out about Joan. Did the author ask your mom and aunt any questions for it? What did your mom say on TV to debunk Mommy Dearest in the 80s? If they aren't going to write their own book or magazine article, I hope they at least write something for future biographers. Christina shouldn't be the only one, who gets heard, and where she has lied and we can tell (like the bit of Joan getting fired from MGM and going mad in the rose garden) it should be revealed.

Peter Swanson
Minneapolis MN




March 29, 2006

Hello Peter,

If you referring to the David Bret book Joan Crawford: Hollywood Martyr, by no means did the author contact anyone from my family. The author is making some interesting assertions, including that my grandmother was forced into prostitution by her mother. I have never heard of even a rumor of something like that happening to her. I plan to contact the author for him to provide whatever research he has on the subject because I just do not believe it.

Anyway, getting back to your question, "my" side of the family has kept relatively silent over the years. My recent public appearances have been the first for anyone in my family since my Aunt Cindy appeared on TCM's "The Ultimate Movie Star" documentary in 2002. However, Christina overshadowed Cindy. Documentarians just cannot leave Christina out of a production!

David Hartman on "Good Morning America" interviewed my mother, Cathy, in 1981 to defend my grandmother. My mother said the following during the interview: "My mother was a very warm person. She was always there when we needed her. She was a working mother, but she always had time for us, and as far as 'Mommie Dearest,' it's a great work of fiction. Christina must have been in another household.''

Other than that appearance and a small article and photo op in People Magazine in 1983, nothing, nada, zilch. That's why I have been going public recently. It is about time Joan's family defended her.

Thanks for the question!

Best,
Casey

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March 26, 2006

Dear Casey,

First of all, thank you so much for becoming a part of this site and for helping preserve and spread the memory of your wonderful grandmother. As for my question this is mostly before your time, but do you have any memories or good stories about Miss Crawford and her close friend Barbara Stanwyck? They're two of my very favorite actresses and Id love to hear anything you know about them.

Thanks so much!

Ashley
Sarasota, FL




March 29, 2006

Hello Ashley,

Barbara Stanwyck is also one of my favorite classic Hollywood actresses. Her performances in "Double Indemnity" and the classic pre-code "Baby Face" are fantastic and not to be missed.

Joan and Barbara Stanwyck were the best of friends for their entire lives. Joan's nickname for Ms. Stanwyck was "Missy" and they were friends and professional colleagues for many years.

As you know, Joan was in constant contact with her friends, family and fans. She maintained life-long contact with Ms. Stanwyck until Joan's death in 1977. Research into Joan's friendships with other Hollywood stars, including Barbara Stanwyck would make great reading.

Thanks for the question!

Best,
Casey

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March 26, 2006

Dear Casey,

I am so glad that you are trying to restore Joan's reputation. She is a wonderful actress and my very favorite. I never believed Christina. Could you tell me why Christina wrote what she did and if her brother (Chris?) agrees?

Thank you,

Mary Wills
Texas





March 27. 2006

Hello Mary,

Your question has been the same one I have been asking since I was a child. Christina's version of events in "Mommie Dearest" was written from her memory. I nor anyone but Christina, Christopher and Joan were in the household when the events supposedly occurred. Joan is dead, so it is Christina and Christopher's word against their dead mother.

My mother, Cathy, had nothing but loving memories of Joan. That is how I remember my grandmother.

Joan apparently got an indication that Christina was writing a tell-all book before she passed away. Joan's will famously excluded Christina and Christopher from the will, " . . . for reasons which should be well known to them."

If I ever have the opportunity to meet Aunt Christina, my first question will, "Why did you write the book?"

Thanks for the question!

Best,
Casey

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March 26, 2006

Dear Casey,

I watched "Mommie Dearest" before I quite understood who Joan Crawford is/was and I found it very far fetched- in fact I thought it was just another camp screenplay from the 80s with a fictional character. However, now that I know of Joan and her wonderful legacy etc., I still find it far fetched.

I am wondering if your family still talks to Christina.

Thanks,

Lyndsy
N.Ireland, UK




March 27, 2006

Dear Lyndsy,

Lots of people I talk with name "Mommie Dearest" as their first "Joan" movie. It is a pleasure to hear that those same people are interested enough to watch some of her 83+ films to get to know the "real" Joan Crawford. Remember, "Mommie Dearest" is just an exaggerated movie based on the memories of Christina Crawford.

Some of the fans I spoke with in person at my September 2005 appearance at The Castro Theater in San Francisco made the claim that without "Mommie Dearest," Joan's memory may have just slowly faded away. I agree to a certain extent. Other famous Hollywood stars from the early days of film maintain their fan bases, but with "Mommie Dearest," Joan became an enduring pop culture icon.

I believe "Mommie Dearest" is backfiring on Christina. Joan Crawford is still the ultimate movie star and the publicity from the book and movie, albeit not positive, has kept Joan in the news and zeitgeist for the past thirty years since her death.

The film is perhaps one of the campiest productions film productions ever! I have only watched the movie three times in my life and I don't see my grandmother onscreen. I see Faye Dunaway with lots of makeup!

Thanks for your question.

Best,
Casey


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March 25, 2006

Casey,

Did your grandmother ever express any interest in remaining in the Catholic faith to which I think that she was baptised as a child?

Thanks,

Brent Anthony Egan
Sydeny Australia





March 27, 2006

Hello Brent,

It is great to know my grandmother has fans ALL OVER THE WORLD!

My grandmother's religious life is interesting and needs more exploration. As I related in a previous answer, she became an adherent to Christian Science soon after coming to Hollywood. She never really spoke about Catholicism. We all know she did not have a great childhood. She may have left Catholicism as a result.

Great question!

Best,
Casey


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March 25, 2006

Casey,

I just wanted to say that your grandmother was a very beautiful woman. She is one of my favorite classic actresses. My question to you is, why did her love affair with Clark Gable end?

Many thanks,

Lisa
Waxahachie, TX





March 27, 2005

Hello Lisa,

Thank you for the lovely comments.

Clark and Joan's relationship was complex and passionate. Their love affair was intermittent in between their respective marriages through the years. They remained friends until Clark's death in 1960. I believe their love affair never truly ended, but was interrupted by each other's marriages.

Their love affair would make a great movie, showing how Hollywood changed through the years.

Thanks for the question!

Best,
Casey

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March 24, 2006

Dear Casey,

That is so sweet of you to answer questions, as your grandmother would be proud. I am only 23 and have fallen in love with Joan Crawford. I think she will continue to have fans younger then me for a long time. I was wondering...do you ever speak to your second cousin, Hal's daughter also named Joan? Also, your mother would probably know, how did Joan feel in general about homosexuals? I know her best friend was William Haines and she had lots of gay friends so I'm sure she loved all kinds of people but I'm curious. My favorite moves of Joan's are & "Queen Bee" and "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane."

Thank you,

Jonathan
East Greenwich RI





March 27, 2006

Hello Jonathan,

Thanks for your questions.

I have never met Hal's daughter. That would be a fascinating meeting!

From her writings and interviews, Joan took everyone at face value without consideration of sexual orientation, color, etc. Her lifelong friendship with William Haines testifies to her humanity. Joan's fanatic following in the lesbian, gay and transgender community is amazing and indicative of her accepting nature.

Those are two great film choices. "Queen Bee" is Joan at her nastiest and "Baby Jane" showed a vulnerable woman in a horrific setting.

Thanks for your questions!

Best,
Casey

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March 24, 2006

Dear Casey,

By far, Joan Crawford has had the most influence on my life. I sincerely admire you for helping restore your grandmother's reputation as a remarkable actress but above all as a woman. Last night to celebrate her birthday, I listened to her 1973 Town Hall interview and it sparked a question to ask you. She talks about her topaz jewelry and her pinafore. It made me wonder, what of her personal items do you or your family own? Do you have many family photographs? Also, if you could ask your grandmother one question, what would it be? If I think of anything else to ask I'll be sure to mail it!

Thank you so much,

Nolan
Edmond, OK




March 27, 2006

Hello Nolan,

Your comments and questions bring back so many memories of my grandmother. Her Town Hall interview is great and provides so much insight into her career and life. A friend sent me a digital copy several months ago. I had not heard the interview in many years and it was so much fun going back in time!

As for personal items, my mother, Cathy, still retains a bulk of her personal items. I have several treasured things, including some gifts she gave me as a child. Those include a small tortoise shell covered turtle from Spain and a porcelain tiger and cub. No doubt these items were purchased on her overseas excursions for Pepsi.

Later in life, Joan had a thing for the big eyed children paintings of Walter and Margaret Keane. I have now one of the portraits. It shows a small child and kitten loaking over a wall with a dark shaded ocean in the background.

Joan was an avid reader and had a large book collection she built over her life. have many of the books in my library today.

I have a small, but nice collection of studio prints, including some original photos (and negatives) by Hurrell. However, I have no family snapshots of Joan and me together.

I wish I had been older when my grandmother was alive. I have so many questions to ask! One question would be: What was Hollywood like in the 1920's and what was it like working for MGM?

My wife, Heather, on the other hand, would probably ask: Was Clark Gable the most handsome man or what?!

Thanks for the question!

Best,
Casey

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March 24, 2006

Dear Casey,

I appreciate Joan Crawford moreas time goes by. I never believed that she was anything but a wonderful mother. Was she interested in Christian Science?

Annabelle
Duluth, MN




March 27, 2006

Hello Annabelle,

Excellent question!

For many years she was an adherent to Christian Science. However, I never recall my mother, Cathy, saying that Joan ever discussed politics or religion. I believe Joan maintained that both topics were very personal and not to be discussed. Joan did not judge based on color, religion or politics. She was famously friendly with everyone from the film production crew, to acting colleagues, to her millions of fans around the world.

Best,
Casey

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March 24, 2006

Hello Casey,

How do you do?

It's so great what you are doing....rebuilding your grandmother's reputation etc. It means a lot to us Joan Crawford fanatics! :) (and of coarse Joanie herself.) Joan Crawford deserves to be recognized for her genius. Anyhow, I was wondering what your opinion on a film about your grandmother is? Since "Mommie Dearest" was so terrible, do you think a new film would be a good idea or a bad idea? Who do you think could play Joan Crawford?

Thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity!

Have a lovely day!

Candy
Atlanta, GA





March 27, 2006

Hello Candy,

I love your comments! I take pride in rebuilding my grandmother's memory. Fans like you are making it happen.

I think a new bio pic would be a great way to help reestablish my grandmother's image. I do not consider "Mommie Dearest" a biography, but the memories of my Aunt Christina and nothing more.

On this topic, I was not amused during this year's Academy Awards telecast, when during a tribute to film biographies, the producers put in a clip of "Mommie Dearest."

There are so many undiscovered talents in Hollywood who I am sure would jump at the chance to play my grandmother. It would be interesting and fun to focus on her early life and career in Hollywood.

Best,
Casey

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March 24, 2006

Hello Casey,

I find Joan Crawford and many other late great screen divas to be fascinating. I also wondered what happens to the stars prized possessions. What ever happened to the awards that Joan Crawford won? I am specifically interested in knowing what happened to her "Mildred Pierce" Oscar and her Golden Globe Awards.

Thanks,

Jon
California




March 27, 2006

Hello Jon,

A fascinating question indeed. Like other Hollywood stars who pass away without a living spouse, and as per Joan's famous will, my mother, Cathy, received a bulk of the estate. Some of her possessions were sold at auction shortly after her death. Most of her furniture featured in a 1976 issue of Architectural Digest, became the property of my mother and later was delivered to our house north of Allentown. This is the furniture I grew up with. I have two green leather clad stools and a really cool pineapple shaped porcelain plant stand.

As for her awards, her Oscar was sold in 1993 at auction in New York. If I remember correctly, to a buyer in the Middle East. I believe my mother still has Joan's Cecil B. DeMille award from the Golden Globes ceremony in 1970.

I am always on the lookout for her Oscar and have every intention of purchasing the award. I have not seen it mentioned since its sale, but like every other collectible, it will come up for sale again in the future.

Best,

Casey

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March 24, 2006

Casey,

In the years between the time she left her MGM contract and the beginning of her days at Warner Bros., what did she do? Thank God she did Mildred Pearce......I have it ontape, but sit and watch it every time it is on.

She is and will always be a GREAT STAR.

Thanks,

Dickson
Syracuse, NY





March 27, 2006

Hello Dickson,

As a shrewd business woman, Joan didn't leave many things to chance. Although she agreed with Metro to release her from all contractual obligations at the end of June,1943, she signed a contract with Warner's on July 1,1943. No time lapsed between her contracts. It is apparent she had a Warner's contract lined up prior to the end of her Metro contract. Like I said, very shrewd.

As well all know, Joan did some of her greatest, most critically acclaimed work at Warner's, including "Mildred Pierce," "Humoresque" and "Possessed."

"Mildred Pierce" is always cited as her greatest work. It is hard to deny.

Thanks for the question.

Best,
Casey


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March 24, 2006

Dear Casey,

I have been a fan of your grandmothers, Joan Crawford, for many years. Ms. Crawford has always intrigued me. I was wonderingif your mother, Cathy, has ever shared any touching memories specifically about Joan Crawford with you. I would love to hear one of yourfamilies favorite memories of the mother, the grandmother...Joan Crawford.

Karen
Memphis, TN





March 24, 2006

Hello Karen,

My mother had wonderful stories of her life growing up with Joan.

One story in particular always intrigued me as a child. My mother visited the set of "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane" frequently. She was 14 or 15 at the time and one of the visits occurred the day Joan was to do the beach scene at the end of the film. Joan was made up to look, well, dying. My mother saw Joan in makeup and it really scared her! Joan looks ghastly onscreen near the end of the film. I can just imagine what the makeup looked like in person!

My mother had stories of growing up at 426 North Bristol in Brentwood. Other stars' kids would come play in the backyard and they would have birthday parties. Just the opposite of what my Aunt Christina described in "Mommie Dearest."

Above all, she loved and adored her mother, as did my Aunt Cindy.

Best,
Casey

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March 24, 2006

Dear Casey,

I thought Joan Crawford was just an amazing and wonderful actress. I've always liked the paring of Clark Gable and her. Clark is my favorite actor and I was just wondering if you know anything about Clark. How he was and what their relationship was and how it ended. Also I want to ask how Clark was as a person. I'm really interested to know...if you don't know about Clark that's okay. But I'd still like to know about their relationship!

Holly
Nashville, TN





March 24, 2006

Dear Holly,

Thank you for the loving comments and keeping my grandmother's memory alive.

As for the Clark Gable - Joan relationship, imagine the most passionate, fiery love affair ever! By all accounts, including friends, family and the media, their relationship was reportedly decades long. They were the best of friends, lovers and film colleagues. Joan was devastated at learning of Clark's death in 1960 after completing filming of "The Misfits."

Clark was a handsome, hardworking Hollywood heartthrob. I understand from a first hand source his presence would light up a room and he attracted his share of female admirers.

Clark and Joan's film pairings were always a passionate exercise. My favorite pairing is 1931's "Possessed." Overall, I consider them to be the hottest on-screen couple in Hollywood history.

Best,
Casey

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