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Legendary Joan Crawford

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Above: Joan Crawford celebrates Cindy and Cathy's birthday on the set of "Female on the Beach" 1955.

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

July 2006

August 2006

Hi Casey,

I would like to know if JoanCrawford's Easter Seals commercial from 1960 is on DVD?

Thanks!

Alan Katzer
Winston-Salem, NC




August 11, 2006

Dear Alan,

To my knowledge and through some research, I have not been able to locate any Easter Seals commercials for sale. However, I suggest you contact the Easter Seals directly. They may have access to the commercials.

All kinds of non-film Joan Crawford items have been popping up thanks to the Internet and most lately to the very popular website www.youtube.com. There all kinds of interesting Joan Crawford pieces on the website.

Do you have a connection to the 1960 Easter Seals commercial? I would love to know.

Thanks for the question and please write again.

Best,
Casey

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August 2006

Casey,

I'm very happy to write to the grandson of my always favorite actress Miss Joan Crawford. I'm a Brazilian journalist, I am 53 years old and I'm writing a book titled "Joan Crawford in Brazil" and her horror and suspense films. My apartment is a tribute to Miss Crawford- walls and walls with the reproductions of almost all her movie poster. For me Joan Crawford is a saint. I pray for her every night before I sleep. and I feel she protected me. Sorry my bad english.

Your Brazilian friend,

jaime eduardo palhinha
são paulo - brazil




August 11, 2006

Ola Jaime,

I am still simply amazed at the international response to this website and Joan's continued worldwide popularity. My grandmother's frequent international travel for PepsiCo allowed her to meet so many wonderful people all over the world, including Brazil.

Many thanks and please contact me when your book is complete so I may purchase a copy to add to my collection.

Best,
Casey

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August 2006

Hi Casey,

First a comment: I am a HUGE fan of your grandmother's work, especially her 1939-1950 period of films. The Women is my absolute favorite of all time. Even in that small part she outshone everyone in the cast!

My question, from all the books and even her own book "My Way of Life", I've thought she raised her two oldest children and two youngest, as completely different people. During her aging in the 1940s and having to change studios, she apparently had a drinking problem which she vented in an extreme way on your aunt and Uncle. My the time your mother and her sister were growing up, your grandmother was with Alfred Steele, out of the movies and a different person. Do you think this could account for the extremely different upbringings and your mthers love for Joan and Christina and Christopher's fear and loathing? In any case, as a fan, I have every movie she ever made on DVD, a mountain of books about her, and feel she was such an individualist and an artist and had a mouth that said how she felt, I had to write to you!

Take Care!

Janet Maday
Belle Haven, Virginia



August 11, 2006

Hello Janet,

Thanks for the questions and comments.

I too love The Women. It is one of the finest ensemble comedies of Hollywood's golden age. Author Clare Booth Luce and screenwriter Anita Loos create a great storyline with an all-female cast! I love to watch Joan upstage Norma Shearer in every scene. Joan definitely steals the show as the wily Crystal Allen.

Christina was born in 1939, eight years before my mother, Cathy, and Aunt Cindy. No doubt they grew up in different households, but how could their experiences be such polar opposites? Again, Joan is long gone and cannot defend herself, so I rely on the memories of my mother.

Joan married Al Steele in 1955, almost eight years after adopting my mother and Aunt Cindy. They spent those years in the same household that Christina grew up in, although apparently with differing results, at least according to Christina.

My grandmother was by no means out of Hollywood during this time, as she made Possessed, Daisy Kenyon, Flamingo Road, The Damned Don't Cry, Sudden Fear and my personal favorite, Johnny Guitar during this period, among many other films.

Thanks again for your questions comments and please write again!


Best,
Casey

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August 2006

Casey,

I must say I became interested in your grandmother when I saw "Mommie Dearest" I didn't realize until later that she was in one of my favorite movies "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?." After seeing that movie and then seeing her portrayed in "Mommie Dearest," I thought, no way, this can't be the same woman. Was Christina Crawford lying about your grandmother?


DWi
New Jersey




August 11, 2006



Dear DWi,

Thanks for the question and keen observations.

I cannot prove nor deny my Aunt Christina's accusations about my grandmother as written in Mommie Dearest. I can rely on my own mother's memories of a loving, caring woman who had her children's best interests at heart. Remember, the book was published following Joan's death, therefore she could not defend herself against the allegations.

Furthermore, it is widely known that the film version of Mommie Dearest was an adaptation and apparently not true to the book. Christina stated as much in an August 10, 2001 interview on CNN with Larry King: "The film is not actually accurate. It doesn't come from the book." The interview transcript may be viewed at http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0108/10/lkl.00.html.

For legions of Joan Crawford fans, Mommie Dearest is just a campy film that purports to be a Joan Crawford biography. Honesty and truth are in the eye of the beholder. There is no connection between any of Joan's films and Mommie Dearest, except that the name Joan Crawford is listed in the credits.

Thanks again for the questions and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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August 2006

Hi Casey,

I know we all have our varying opinions on Mommie Dearest, but I actually enjoy this movie. Frankly, I do not care to believe it at all. It's just to outrageous to believe! I am 25 yo, but I am a huge fan of Joan Crawford via Mommie Dearest. Oddly enough, most people that have seen Mommie Dearest just interpret it to be extremely similar to a film that your Grandmother would be the main character in. It's full of melodrama and hard-edge Joan Crawford like acting. Now.....is it true that Joan once said that she would like Faye Dunaway to play her, if a movie about her life ever was made? I find that extremely ironic.

To elaborate, I think that your Grandmother came from hard times and expected so much out of herself and at the same time expected a lot out of her friends and family....I truly believe that was just her personality style and if not for that....I do not think she would have been the actress she was. I think it gave her that toughness mixed with vulnerability that so clearly comes across the screen.

Jason Coyer
Charlotte, NC




August 11, 2006

Hello Jason,

Thanks for the questions!

For many years, I could not even watch Mommie Dearest without becoming upset. However, I now view the film as a campy film derived from the childhood memories of my Aunt Christina.

As for Faye Dunaway, in fact my grandmother did at one time state that Faye Dunaway was one of the best young actresses in Hollywood. It is just a bit ironic that Paramount Pictures producer Frank Yablans courted Faye Dunaway to play Joan in Mommie Dearest.

Your characterization is on target. Without Joan's ambition and high expectations, she would not have succeeded and persevered in Hollywood for five decades and over eighty films.

Thanks for the questions and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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