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Legendary Joan Crawford

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Above: Joan Crawford with her children Christina, Christopher, Cathy and Cindy say hello to a gentleman friend in 1950.

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

September 2006

September, 2006

Casey,

Do you believe any of your Aunt Christina's allegations about your grandmother? as a child of a very similar household to the one described in her infamous book, it makes sense that your mom & her twin have entirely different memories than the older kids. Especially since they didn't really grow up together.What about the people who have alleged that the stories are true when they didn't have to?

Lisa
New York




September 30, 2006

Hi Lisa,

Since I have been going public for the past two years, I have made it a point to not attack my Aunt Christina personally. I was not in the house when the supposed abuse occurred, nor was my mother. However, I will say that my mother and Aunt Cindy have nothing but fond memories of Joan. You are correct, my mother and aunt were several years younger than Christina, but could have Joan changed that much in those several years?

Thanks for the questions!

Best,
Casey

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September, 2006

Hi Casey,

A good friend of mine has an opportunity to purchase a very nice antique round table from her landlord. Underneath there is a signature of "Joan Crawford" signed in 1943. Having compared the signature to your grandmothers from items I located on the internet it appears that it may very well be that of your grandmothers. If you would be interested in obtaining a copy of the signature, I would be happy to forward it to you if you would be so kind to advise your email address.

Look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,

Ron LePage
Vernon, British Columbia, Canada




September 30, 2006

Hello Ron,

What a great find! It's funny that she signed her furniture!

I would love to get a copy of the signature and a photo of the table.

Best,
Casey

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September, 2006

Hey Casey!

I am so excited about you keeping in touch with your mothers never ending fan base. I was wondering, I'm not sure they did this in the 50's but does your mother have any of Joan's weddings, particularly to Al Steele on film. I'd imagine Joan would want it videotaped. That would be smashing to watch the wedding in 2006!

Always,

Jonathan Goldis
East Greenwich Rhode Island




September 30, 2006

Hi Jonathan!

Thanks for your kind comments. I feel more connected than ever to my grandmother since I started responding to her loving fans via this website.

You pose a very interesting question. Alas, no I have no information that any of my grandmother's weddings were captured on film. Joan married Al Steele at The Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas, and no videographer was present. In the last several decades, it has become normal to have weddings filmed for future enjoyment, but not so much back in the mid-1950's.

As you know, as per my grandmother's will following her death, my mother Cathy received all real property. Among her property were approximately ten film reels of varying size. The film was stored in family's basement and in 1997, I donated the film to the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York. I feared the film was deteriorating and would be lost forever. Some of the reels were home movies and other film, including, if I recall correctly, were some of her public service announcements. The reels are currently in climate controlled storage at the George Eastman House. Other than that film, nothing really exists of private home movies.

I too think it would be smashing to see wedding film of Joan and Al Steele!

Thanks again for your questions and comments. Please write again.

Best,
Casey

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September, 2006

Hello,

I've fascinated by your grandmother for many years and have seen all the films I've been able to easily locate from the usual rental locations, and also some specialty video stores here in Manhattan. Still, in looking over her lifetime body of work, there are several dozen of her movies I've never been able to locate: mostly those from '25-30, then No More Ladies, Ice Follies of 39, Daisy Kenyon, It's a Great Feeling, The Damned Don't Cry, Goodbye My Fancy, and This Woman is Dangerous

Any suggestions for resources where I might be able to locate any of these? Every time I have fallen on apreviously un-viewed one of her films, it's really an overwhelming experience to watch her talent and beauty unfold before my eyes all over again.

Thank you,

Greg Clark
New York, NY




September 30, 2006

Hello Greg,

I too am always looking for additional Joan films. For quality, I prefer DVD, but alas, not many of her films are available. Many films, although not near her entire catalog, are available on VHS format, for sale on Ebay and other sources. I strongly encourage fans to contact the various movie studios to get more films out on DVD.

I suggest you join one or more of the many Joan Crawford fan clubs available online. The groups are an excellent source of information and have become a great resource for trading Joan Crawford films.

As I have said previously, the movie studios are finally making more classic Hollywood films available in DVD format. As first run movie revenues have been falling over the past few years, the studios have looked to other sources of revenue and found that DVD sales and rentals are a nice place to make some money. Therefore, it is a sound business decision by the various studios to make more films available on DVD.

Thanks for the questions and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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September, 2006

Hi Casey!

As many others have expressed, I emphatically thank you for answering our emails!!! This really is kind of you to do - and so very exciting for the fans! I'm 34 years old and fascinated by Joan for many reasons, one of them being the fact that she actually responded to her fanmail -that really is extraordinary. In "Baby Jane," when Elvira gives Blanche the fanmail, I often think that the resulting smile was that of Joan as well as Blanche - for she must have loved getting fanmail to have the patience to read it all, let alone reply to all of it. I'm sure that task was a full time job in itself! You've said that she'd correspond with some fans for decades.

I was wondering if any of those relationships ever made the transition from "fan" to "friend?" After writing for so many years to some of these people, did she ever want to meet any of them in person?

I actually have about a million questions for you about your truly incandescent grandmother; but I'll stop there!

Again, thank you so much for responding to our emails and honoring your grandmother.

Regards,

Laurie
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania




September 30, 2006

Dear Laurie,

Thanks for the great questions. I am so happy to see people my age (I am 34 too) and younger interested in my grandmother's career and classic Hollywood.

It has been my pleasure to connect with my grandmother's many fans. I am always impressed by their knowledge and interest in her career. My work is a continuation of my grandmother's world renowned dedication to her fans and responding to her fan mail.

That scene in Baby Jane is interesting, and I have always wondered if it was just by chance or specifically written for Joan that "Blanche" still received fan letters even many years after she left Hollywood. My grandmother always considered her fans as the number one reason for her success. That is why she maintained steady correspondence with her legions of fans for her many decades in Hollywood and following her move to New York City.

As an excellent guide to my grandmother's lifelong dedication to her fans through fan mail, please pick up a copy of Michelle Vogel's "Joan Crawford: Her Life in Letters." It was published in 2005 and is a great examination of Joan's letter writing from her entire life. The book contains many letters, photos and I wrote the Foreward. Michelle has examples of decades-long correspondence between my grandmother and her fans and is very fascinating.

Laurie, you wrote that you have many other questions. Please do not hesitate to write again!

Best,
Casey

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September, 2006

Dear Casey,

It was a pleasure to again view the film, Mildred Pierce, at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco on Friday, July 21, and especially gratifying to see Ann Blythe in person and listen to her speak of her career and her participation in the making of Mildred Pierce. Also, it was good to hear her speak so kindly and fondly of Joan Crawford. I first saw Mildred Pierce on the big screen, at the Castro Theatre, way back in 1972.

The first time I saw this film was when I was 13, in 1965, on the afternoon movie on television. My mother came home from work during the movie, took one look at the screen, and said, "That's Mildred Pierce." I was puzzled, as my mother never showed any interest in movies, movie stars, or Hollywood lore. Years later, after my mother died, I found the diaries she kept all through the 1930s and 1940s. In an entry in September of 1945 she recorded that she had seen Mildred Pierce. A few weeks later, in October, she noted that she purchased her fur coat. The coat she purchased was identical to the one Joan wears in Mildred Pierce.She still had the coat in her closet the rest of her life, and now I have it in storage. I also have photographs of my mother proudly wearing the coat in the late 1940s. Thinking back over my mother's life, I understand why the film Mildred Pierce made such a lasting impression on her. She was going through a divorce from her first husband at the time she saw this movie. At that time a divorce was an especially traumatic and shameful event. She once told me how she was shaking with fear on the day she first met my father's family, fearing they would not accept a divorcee. My mother obviously identified with the same stigma that Mildred Pierce struggled with as a divorcee.

Another theme that runs through the movie that my mother must have faced in her own life is the matter of class distinctions. Today, the lines between upper,middle and lower classes are blurred. But in 1945 people were well aware of where they fit in the social strata. My mother came from humble beginnings and, although she achieved upward mobility in her younger days, must have flinched at the scene where Veda Pierce observes with disdain that a certain woman that her father had taken up with (Mrs. Biederhoff) was "distinctly middle class." Veda also wounds her mother by telling her she has "degraded us" by working as a waitress. Clearly, the subject matter of Mildred Pierce was very timely for audiences of 1945 and is a wonderful chronicle of American society of that time. It is my favorite Joan Crawford film.

I don't have any specific question to ask you, other than to suggest you share any insight you may have concerning the role of Mildred Pierce and how your grandmother may have identified with it.

Thanks so much for sharing your memories of Joan Crawford.

Sincerely,

Dennis May
San Francisco



September 30, 2006

Dear Dennis,

Thanks for your thoughts on Mildred Pierce. The film has had an obvious positive effect on your life. The film is one of my favorites too and I was thrilled to be in the audience at The Castro Theatre to see both the film and the fantastic Ann Blyth this last July. It was one of the best events I have ever attended and Ms. Blyth is one incredible lady.

It was amazing to see and hear the fans' adoration for Ms. Blyth and for Mildred Pierce. For me, her fond memories of my grandmother were public vindication that my Aunt Christina will not have the last word on the life of Joan Crawford.

Mildred Pierce is great film noir, with intriguing melodramatic elements. By most accounts, this is Joan's best film. I could not imagine anyone else playing the role of Mildred Pierce, as it has become Joan's signature role resulting in her one and only Academy Award.

I can just imagine the script's impact when my grandmother read it after moving over to Warner Bros. studio. Joan's beginnings in poverty and her relentless efforts to improve her life resulted in her becoming one of Hollywood's most successful actresses. Similarly, Mildred Pierce experienced difficult financial times and divorce. But through hard work and perseverance she found success. The film must have struck a chord with Joan and her Oscar-worthy performance was the result.

As for that incredible fur coat she wears . . . It is amazing!

Thanks for your wonderful memories of your mother and the impact of Mildred Pierce on you and your family.

Please write again.

Best,
Casey

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September, 2006

Casey,

I recently bought a Joan Crawford DVD collection, but surely there must be demand for other boxed sets. With so many great Crawford films, you should encourage the movie studios to release more boxed sets. Who owns therights to the Joan Crawford library of films?

As I live in Palm Springs, there is a great history of legendary Hollywood Stars who used to come here for vacation or had a home here. There are many stories of Miss Crawford's trips to Palm Springs-some may be true, others legend. But there is still the old Hollywood allure here. perhaps you should organize mini-Joan Crawford film festivals in cities such as Palm Springs. The Annual Palm Springs Film Noir event might be a perfect event to suggest a Joan Crawford focus next year!.

Best of luck to you.

Rick Rockhill
Palm Springs CA




September 30, 2006

Hello Rick,

Thanks for the questions.

It appears the Hollywood studios have finally realized that with DVD technology, film buffs and people who just like movies are eager to have more films released on this format. It seems like every month a new classic DVD boxed-set is released. Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Clark Gable and John Wayne are the latest stars to have sets released. There is a definite market for these types of boxed set releases and I am glad that Hollywood is responding.

As my grandmother worked for most of her career at MGM and Warner Bros., they control most of her films. MGM is now owned by Sony, and they have made it public that they want to release more of their classic film catalog. As you know, Warner Bros. released the first Joan Crawford boxed set last year, to much acclaim. I understand Warner Bros. plans a second boxed set next year, so stay tuned!

Your observations on Palm Springs are right on target. Palm Springs served as a vacation destination for many Hollywood icons. Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra and my grandmother all vacationed or lived in Palm Springs at one point or another during their Hollywood careers. I read an interesting article in the UK's The Independent newspaper on Hollywood's influence on architecture in Palm Springs (Internet link: http://tinyurl.com/z5ekm). Sinatra's custom-built Palm Springs home was used in my grandmother's film The Damned Don't Cry in 1950.

I have never had the opportunity to attend the Palm Springs Film Noir Festival, but that would provide a great venue to have a mini-Joan Crawford festival. There are many Joan movies that are available from film archives, such as UCLA and the studios that could be shown on the big screen. Something to consider for a future film festival!

Thanks for the questions and please write again.

Best,
Casey

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September, 2006

Hi Casey,

So glad you're here!

Do you know anything specifically about the legal possibility of getting "Letty Lynton" on DVD? I know it was pulled from theaters during it's initial release due to a plagarism lawsuit; I wonder if that is still binding--will "Letty Lynton" remain in bondage forever? It would be a shame for people not to see it, as I think the scene where she poisons her ex-lover (or, more specifically, allows him to unwittingly poison himself) is really one of herfinest screen moments. I would love to know if you've seen it, what you think and if you know anything about the legal issues in getting it out there.

Thanks!

Scott
West Hollywood





September 30, 2006

Hi Scott,

Thanks for the questions on one of my favorite Joan films, Letty Lynton. The case went all the way to the United States Supreme Court and effectively shelved the film. The authors of a play on which Lynton is based, sued and won some of the film's profits. More importantly, however, is the fact that Lynton will never be available for viewing by the public and may never be duplicated or released on DVD.

Non-commercial copies are available on this website and other sources. I have a copy of the film and love it, but it is in dire need of restoration. The court case has essentially doomed this magnificent film to being lost forever. The only way to save the film is to make arrangements with the heirs of the authors who originally took Lynton's film studio to court and buy the rights to the play, allowing the film to then exist legally.

Letty Lynton is a wonderful pre-Production Code film and should be considered one of my grandmother's best films. The amazing costumes and most importantly, the intriguing storyline, make Lynton a must see film!

I have been considering contacting the authors' heirs and inquire what ransom I would have to offer to save this excellent film.

Thanks for the great film history question! Please write again.

Best,
Casey

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Septermber 2006

Dear Casey,

I have been a big fan of Joan since I was very young. I first read Mommie Dearest when I was 13, and even then I smelled a rat. The twins were barely mentioned, which I thought was really odd. I realize now that Tina obviously left out the twins in order to strengthen her case against Joan. But I don't believe that your mother or Aunt Cynthia ever really countered Christina's book in an effective way.

I know that they have stated repeatedly that Joan was not abusive to the children, and I know they are both private people. However, what are their memories? What is their version of growing up with the great JC as their mother. Did they ever play with other movie star children like Liza Minnelli and Mia Farrow? What was it like having a mother who was also the Queen of Pepsi Cola and Hollywood?

Joan was already a legend when you mother was growing up.Were they ever teased or treated differently in school because of it? Did they rely on each other for love and support growing up? How did their lives change when Alfred Steele come into the picture? Was he the closest thing to a father they ever knew?

What was it like on the set of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. What were their memories of the great feud of Joan vs. Bette? It must have been hell for Joan to work with Bette Davis! There is so much I learned from reading your remembrances, which were very descriptive, specific and rang of truth. But you were only five when she died. The twins knew who for 30 years! If they really want to fight back effectively to restore Joan's memory, they need to come clean about what they remember. Fans of Joan want to know!

Sincerely,

Lisa
Stockton, CA




September 30, 2006

Dear Lisa,

Thanks for the questions and observations.

One of my biggest regrets is that my side of the family did not present a more vigorous defense of Joan. Once Christina released Mommie Dearest, followed by the film, it devastated my mother Cathy. The only public defense by my mother was on ABC's Good Morning America in 1981. I was nine years old and remember staying home from elementary school to watch the live broadcast.

My mother was never a person seeking publicity unlike Christina, but her defense of Joan was heartfelt. During the interview with David Hartman, she stated, ''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.

That interview is now 25 years old and that is why I am out in the public answering questions and defending my grandmother's reputation.

You have asked some excellent questions to which I have no answer. I plan to forward your questions to my mother to shed some light on the topics. I will publish the responses as soon as I am able.

As for Al Steele's relationship with my mother, she frequently always talked about him in a loving way and I believe she considered him her first and only father figure. It was such a shame that he passed away in 1959. Al and Joan would have been happily married well into their old age.

Thanks for your excellent and exhaustive questions. Look for additional responses in the near future.

Best,
Casey

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September, 2006

Casey,

I'm a big fan of your grandmother, and I want to know when my favorite movie of hers will be put on DVD. It's "Our Dancing Daughters." My 2nd favorite is "Dancing Lady," and I bought that the day it came out last month.

Norberto M. Morales III
West Hills, CA




September 30, 2006

Hello Norberto!

Thanks for the question. I too love the pairing of Joan and Clark Gable in Dancing Lady. I was thrilled to see Dancing Lady released on DVD for the first time this year. Our Dancing Daughters, however, is not currently available on DVD and was released on VHS back in 1996. At every opportunity, I lobby to have even more Joan Crawford films released on DVD.

As DVD players have become very inexpensive, the major film studios have raced to provide content, including the release of their film catalogs. I encourage you and other film fans to contact the studios to lobby for the release of even more classic films to DVD.

Thanks for the question Norberto! Please write again.

Best,
Casey

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September 5, 2006

Casey,

I would like to start off with a "Hello" and a congratulations for this site and all your work to bring Ms. Crawford back to the good side. My question is three fold. I have read many things about Joan Crawford but have never read Mommie Dearest (I have seen the movie).

My first question was lightly touched on both in this site and in your responses and in other sites and sources but none ever really gives an answer to. We all know what Christina believes, but why (in your opinion) was Christopher ousted along with her?

I have come from a very abusive background myself, I could write a book too, yet my younger brother (10 years my junior) never experienced 1/20th of what I did. People change and learn from mistakes. I would like to say that I am a fan of Joans because of this. Her amazing career yet also her obvious ability to grow as a person and parent. If half of what Christina writes is true, then to go from this to a loving parent to your mother what a human being to make such a personal triumph and learn from mistakes made!

Second question, Christina says in three interviews that I have read that your mother and fraternal sister, were nothing more than Joan needed more publicity and one baby wouldnt do it so she adopted two girls born of the same age with brown hair and brown eyes. And called them twins. There is nothing twinish about them. These statements imply your Mother and her sister are not even biologically related let alone twins. Do you know of this statement? If so, Have the sisters made any attempt to prove their bond?

Last question, I have read many many references to Joan's rigorous beauty regimes. I never have read anything about what these were that made them so over the top. Could you give us some examples?

Thanks.

Michalene Tilley
Elizabethtown, PA





September 6, 2006

Hello Michalene,

Thanks for the interesting questions. My grandmother's life is an open book, and your questions are both very interesting and probing.

I will never speak for my Aunt Christina or Uncle Christopher. Their experiences are all their own and the only other person who could provide a different perspective has been dead for thirty years. I believe my grandmother removed Christina and Christopher from her will was because she viewed them as allies against her. Again, we all know Christina's story, so that is where I leave the issue.

Christina's charges that her mother "needed" another baby for publicity or some other reason is nonsense. In my opinion, the thing my grandmother wanted most was a stable and loving family. She had neither growing up, so it was now in her power to achieve this.

If Joan were a 35 year old single mother / actress today and she adopted one, two or three children she would be named Angelina Jolie or Nicole Kidman. She was a trailblazer back in the late 1930's and then 1940's by adopting children as a single mom. Society changes over time, and her actions sixty years ago made it more acceptable for single moms to adopt.

As for Christina's claims that my mother, Cathy, and her fraternal twin sister Cindy were not related are flat out wrong. Joan adopted Cathy and Cindy following the death of their biological mother in Tennessee in 1947. My mother and I traveled several times to Memphis in 1990 and after a lengthy process found their birth family. Christina has made the claim several times and my mother finally sued Christina and the suit was settled out of court. Christina has not made the claim since.

As for your final question about my grandmother's intensive beauty regimens, she took care of herself like any Hollywood star of her caliber. She did pamper herself, but it was to keep her skin bright and her eyes clear for the camera and her audience and fans. She always made a point to look her best when going out on the town, but her beauty secrets are no more extreme than anything today.

Thanks for the questions and please write again.

Best,
Casey

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September 5, 2006

Dear Casey,

Just wanted to say that your grandmother was a beautiful woman and I love her movies... but then I would rather watch any Joan Crawford, John Wayne,Heoburn/Tracy movie now than anything made in the past year. Your grandmotheradded class to Hollywood. I never read Mommie Dearest and, probably, never will. From what I understand, she was a great business woman also...about 15-16 years ago, I meet a gentleman where I was working and was telling him that me and my fiancee' had watched Mommie Dearest the night before.... he quickly cut me off with "It's not true!" Here, this gentleman, I forget his name, worked at the George Washington Motor Lodge in Allentown and meet your grandmother when she would come to the Pepsi Center in this area. He worked their after he graduated from high school and was the guy who would get what she needed (cigerettes, soft drinks, etc...) He said she was they most sweetest woman he had ever meet and she remembered him each time she came into town. Like I said, I don't remember his name, but that's what got me started in reading more about Miss Crawford. Sorry to go on... just wanted to say Joan Crawford will always be a star in my eyes.

I do have a question though, does your mother have any photos of you and your grandmother together, or any photos of her in her later years to share? Thank you for letting me tell you that story and taking the time to answer questions about Miss Crawford for everyone.

Jay
Allentown, PA




September 6, 2006

Hi Jay!

It is always a thrill to get letters from my old stomping grounds in Allentown. My wife and I attended a concert at the Great Allentown Fair just last week! I certainly remember the George Washington Motor Lodge.

I am continually amazed at how many people my grandmother met while touring or opening Pepsi plants across the globe. She really enjoyed visiting the bottling plants and nearby communities during her tours. The fond remembrances of your friend fill me with such joy!

One of my biggest regrets about my grandmother is that I was not able to spend more time with her. I believe she was already in failing health when we would visit her in New York City, so we never took any pictures. Not having any photos is not a huge disappointment for me, as I have my fond and loving memories.

Take care Jay and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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September 5, 2006

Hi Casey,

Firstly, I would like to take the opportunity to thank you for this amazing thing you're doing for your grandmother's reputation and to set the record straight after all this time.

I'm 32 years old myself and I am another person who first discovered Joan Crawford through the Mommie Dearest movie. I remember watching it and thinking, how could any of this possibly be true? It just seemed like something out of a camp nightmare!

Anyway, this prompted me to immediately find out more about the real Joan Crawford and her films and I can still remember how relieved I was to discover how amazing she was and still continues to be after all these years. It makes me smile to think of all the new Joan Crawford fans that have been created through the very thing that Christina hoped would ruin her mother's reputation!

It's really difficult to choose favourite films because she was so lovely and vibrant in everything she did that even the films she disliked are much better because she just happened to be in them. I love "Mildred Pierce" of course and "Humoresque" is one of my all time favourite films because I am a professional musician and everyone I've ever shown that film absolutely loves it and always asks to see more. I haven't seen too many of her early films because they're not easy to get a hold of but anything she was in with Clark Gable is just brilliant. Their onscreen chemistry was just incredible to watch and beats anything in filmmaking today. "A Woman's Face" is also brilliant. The way her character transforms herself physically and emotionally throughout the story is absolutely compelling to watch.

Anyway, sorry for talking so much! I suppose I should actually ask you a question ;-) As I am a musician I have always wondered what kind of classical music Joan Crawford liked to listen to? I have heard her mention that she studied opera for 9 years (I play in an opera orchestra) and that she used to listen to different kinds of music before certain scenes to get her in the mood. What sort of music did she have in her record collection? Also, does your mother remember any time where Joan introduced them to certain pieces of music etc...?

Thanks for listening to my questions and for giving me the chance to ask them. Joan Crawford is the best and it is such a great thing you are doing. I'm sure that she would be very proud of you!

Love and best wishes,

Janet
Scotland




September 6, 2006

Hello Janet!

Greetings from America.

Thank you for the questions and lovely thoughts. I love how the Internet connects people from all over the world!

You share a common experience of many fans: discovering Joan Crawford through Mommie Dearest. I am overjoyed when I listen to stories like yours, that you ventured past that film to discover the real Joan Crawford. Your thoughts are on target, as many new die hard Joan fans were exposed to her legacy through my Aunt Christina's hurtful book and campy film. Isn't it ironic?

Your choice of favorite films mirrors my own tastes. I just love her during the Warner Bros. era, with Mildred Pierce and Humoresque. As you are musician, I can imagine how John Garfield's performance in Humoresque made the film even more enjoyable.

I am sure Joan's music tastes moved with the decades. She loved classic and jazz music and we had many of her vinyl albums (yes vinyl albums). There were even some old 78's in her collection. In this digital age, it is incredible how technology has changed!

Thanks for the questions and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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September 1, 2006

Dear Casey,

You have been so kind to all of us answering our questions. I was wondering if you could tell me how old Betty Barker is? She must be in her 80's by now? I am suprised she is not on any of Joan's documentaries...does she not like to give interviews?

You wrote to me before that your grandmother told the twins on the set of Jane not talk to talk to Bette Davis daughter(which was probably a smart thing considering how she turned out). If you get a chance could you call your mother and ask her why?

Also, I wonder how badly Bette Davis treated Joan on the set of Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte? Did your mother ever tell you anything Joan said about what little film they shot? I think Joan's final films are a lot of fun. They may not be Mildred Pierce but people watched them and are still watching them for her...did Joan ever tell your mother why she made them or what she thought of them? I know she said she did them for money and she was a little bored in "Conversations with Joan Crawford". Have you read the book? it shows how complex and deep Joan was.

Thank you again Casey for your time and kindness in restoring your grandmothers reputation and continuing on with her fan mail...in a sense!

Always,

Jonathan
East Greenwich RI




September 1, 2006

Hello Jonathan,

Thanks for the questions.

Betty Barker was my grandmother's personal / confidential secretary from 1955 until Joan's death in 1977. As with most Hollywood stars of the day and even more so today, a trusted assistant is vital. Joan regarded Betty as a friend and confidant.

I have had the pleasure to know Betty my entire life. In fact, I still call her Aunt Betty, as she is a treasured member of my family. As my family never traveled to Los Angeles when I was a child, most of my contact with Betty was via telephone and lots of mail correspondence. In the past several years, I have been visiting Los Angeles frequently to visit friends and explore the city. I always visit with Betty and ask lots of questions about Hollywood.

Betty has never granted any on-screen interviews because I believe she took her position as confidential secretary as just that, confidential.

She is a remarkable lady and I wouldn't want to hurt her by revealing her age, but she is a born, raised and life-long resident of Los Angeles. Betty remembers the expansive orange groves and the fledgling film industry. She is one of the last of her generation . . .

As for Bette's daughter on the Baby Jane set, I believe Joan did not like the way she was behaving, so she didn't want the twins hanging around with her.

Your question about Hush Hush, Sweet Charlotte is worthy of more investigation. That entire episode is fascinating for me, because I wonder how much more of a hit Charlotte would have been with my grandmother instead of Olivia de Havilland. Do not get me wrong, I loved Ms. de Havilland as an actress and in this role, but there is always the "what if . . ."

Joan's final films are fun, but definitely not Mildred Pierce. However, Joan was working and still making money after decades in the industry. Simply put, she made the films to continue working and put food on the table. As I watch Strait Jacket or Berserk, I see a woman who is willing to take on sub par film roles to continue working in the industry she grew up in and loved so much.

I have read Conversations with Joan and find it fascinating. Anytime I can learn more about my grandmother's life in her own words is like having her near me again.

Thanks for the questions and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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September 1, 2006

Hi Casey,

I just want you to know I lived in Allentown, PA for a while also.

My mother worked for William Morris years ago and she said your grandmother was one of the nicest people in this world. I have been a Joan fan for a long time. I am glad someone is attempting to clean up all the damage Christina did. By the way most people do not abelieve a word she says. She is very sick she needs help.

Best Wishes,

Robyne
Scottsdale, AZ



September 1, 2006

Dear Robyne,

Thank you so much for the kind words!

Your mother must have shared some interesting stories about the stars at William Morris! It is personally satisfying and I am grateful to hear positive stories about my grandmother after so many years of negativity brought on by my Aunt Christina's book.

Thanks again and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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September 1, 2006

Hello Casey,

I'm happy to see you here and available for questions about your amazing Jojo. I have only one question: I'm hearing rumors from a fairly reliable source that there are 1 or more books in the process of a biographical nature. I also heard family input is heavy on this one to 1. keep it authentic and 2. help to mend Joan's reputation.If this is true, I'm overjoyed.

I have an embarrassingly large collection of Joan Crawford memorabilia. Joan was the ultimate star.

Thank you in advance for taking time out to answer her fan mail.

Sincerely,

Jeremy C. Triggs
Los Angeles, CA




September 3, 2006

Hello Jeremy,

Thanks for the questions!

It has been my pleasure to speak with and correspond with my grandmother's wonderful fans.

Your information on upcoming Joan books is correct. Tentatively scheduled for publication next spring is "Joan Crawford: A Life on Film." Author Michelle Vogel has penned a new Joan Crawford filmography that examines her 80+ films from her silent days to the campy end with Trog. The filmography will have many rare photos, some of which have never been seen in print. Neil Maciejewski, host of this excellent website, is contributing the photos, writing the captions and doing the layout.

I have contributed my thoughts and reviews for many of the films, so Joan's family is represented. The book has interesting trivia, box office receipts and other fascinating information. In my opinion, the book is an examination of my grandmother's career seen through the lens of her films. This is a must have for any Joan Crawford fan or film buff.

As for your Joan Crawford memorabilia collection, there is nothing embarrassing about a large collection. It just shows me that you are a big fan!

Thanks for the questions and please write again.

Best,
Casey

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