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Legendary Joan Crawford

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November 2006

Casey,

Do you know anything about the dolls in the movie "The Last of Mrs. Cheney? Whatever happened to them? I have been a huge fan of your grandmother's since 1980. I have many of her movies.

Brenda
Guelph, Ontario




November 28, 2006

Dear Brenda,

Welcome and thanks for the interesting letter!

I have not seen The Last of Mrs. Cheney in some time. Please allow me to view the film again and come up with a hypothesis. My grandmother did have an interesting doll collection up until 1933. Neil Maciejewski has a great picture on this website of the doll collection in Joan's apartment.

Other than that tenuous connection, let me get back to you.

As the dolls were most probably part of the prop department at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the studio's backlot treasures were dismantled and sold in the late 1960's.

Thanks for the great questions!

Best,
Casey

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November 2006

Dear Casey,

I've always wondered about the following question since "Mommy Dearest" came out way, way ago. I went to see it when it was new in the theatres by the way, long ago at the age of 16, because even then I was already fascinated with your grandmother after watching "Mildred Pierce" on TV at the age of 13 with my brother. We were both on the way out to hang with our various friends, but for some reason your grandmother caught our attention and we suddenly found ourselves watching the entire movie becuase we could not leave without finding out who killed the guy, but mostly becuase your grandmother's presense commanded attention, for some reason I still can't explain. I have been a HUGE fan ever since; I've read every single thing there is to read about her, including her two autobiographies. I'm now fascintated because I've dissovered I can find old T.V. appearances online.

Anyway, sorry for the epic letter here, my question was, the house in the movie Mommie Dearest was so art deco, and I was wondering if that's how your grandmom's really looked? How big was that house? Even though I don't live too far away I've never visited it and I now know it has been renovated. Do you know?

Thanks so much,

Russell
Burbank, CA




November 27, 2006

Hi Russell,

Thanks for writing in! Please do so as often as you like.

One particular memory of something my mother said when I was a kid. She remarked after watching Mommie Dearest that Joan's actual Brentwood house looked nothing like the interior or exterior from the film. My mother specifically mentioned the gaudy staircase from the film and said how it looked nothing like that in reality.

Joan's Brentwood home has gone through several extensive renovations in the past 40 years since it was sold. If you want to see the house exterior used in Mommie Dearest, you must travel to Bel Air. My friend Scott Michaels has a some great photos of the house at www.findadeath.com. According to Scott, the house was used for the exterior for the Will Smith television show The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.

You may visit Joan's original house at 426 North Bristol Avenue in Brentwood (just don't disturb the owners!). As I said earlier, the house is nothing like 40 years ago, but still worth a visit. The Spanish style mansion was just over 8,000 square feet.

Thanks for the great letter and please write again.

Best,
Casey

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November 2006

Dear Casey,

I find it such an honor and privilege to be able to write to you. I discovered your grandmother from the movie Mommie Dearest. I think I was 13 years old at the time. I later got a copy of the book, and just about wore it out looking at all the photos in it. My parents thought I was crazy, and honestly to this day (I'm 33) my mother doesn't understand my admiration for Joan Crawford. (she sadly doesn't feel the same way I do) There just isn't any actress, that ever was, before or after, who can hold a candle to her.

I just love the Studio Era Days of Hollywood, and Joan Crawford was such a big part of that. Every time I watch one of her movies, I just feel like I've stepped back into a magical time where things will never be that way again. I couldn't ever pick a favorite film, I love them all!

So many people have already asked such great questions, and I just love that you started to do this for those of us who never got a chance to write to Joan. I really think she would be pleased. I check in often to read the new letters!

I truly do hope that stamps of Joan do come out, I surely will get as many as I can! Do you think you or your mother would be able to be part of the decision process as to choosing the photo, and what photo/time frame would you both like to see on her stamp? (I would hope the post
office wouldn't issue just one!!)

My sincere sympathies to your family on the loss of Christopher and I do hope the family can be reconciled. I would love to just give you and your family a big hug! I'm so sorry to have written such a long letter.

Thank you so much for your time.

Dawn G
Columbus OH





November 27, 2006

Dear Dawn,

Thank you for the wonderful letter! Welcome!

Like many younger fans, you learned of my grandmother through Mommie Dearest. Also like many of her fans, you moved past the book and movie to look deeper into her life and career. I am privileged to continue my grandmother's lifelong obsession to correspond with her fans.

As for the U.S. Postal Service stamp prospects, I encourage all Joan fans to write to the Postal Service and ask that she be honored with a stamp. Through the hard work of fans like you, it should not be long until a stamp is commissioned. I would love to be part of the decision making process to choose the image. There are so many images that would be perfect for a new stamp!

Thanks for the letter and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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November 2006

Dear Casey,

Thanks for mentioning my article about Joan Crawfords roots in your June column. Ive learned more details since writing that article, including the fact that I share a distant kinship to your grandmother. It seems that Joan descended from another French Huguenot, Louis Du Bois (1626-1696) of New Paltz, New York. What would have been your grandmothers reaction after learning she was a cousin to Marlon Brando? (He was also descended from the Du Bois family.) In fact, it appears that Joan has a royal bloodline through this family.

Do you have any details about your grandmothers relationship with her estranged father, Tom Le Sueur? I read that she met him only once, but Ive recently learned that his friends claimed that Joan helped him financially in his later years.

Sincerely,

James Pylant
Texas




November 27, 2006

Dear James,

Thank you very much for writing in!

I found your article fascinating and eye opening to say the least. I would love to hear more on your research, including more details about our family connection to Marlon Brando! Genealogy is fascinating and I find it intriguing that we are distantly related.

Joan's relationship with her father Tom is another important element to the family story that begs for more information. As you know, conventional wisdom on the topic is that Tom left the family shortly before Joan was born, then many years later, Tom arrived on one of Joan's Hollywood sets for a once and done meeting. Many questions to be answered.

I would love to converse with you on this and many other topics as your schedule permits, so please pass along your email address to our excellent moderator Neil Maciejewski so we may continue this conversation.

Thanks for the letter and I look forward to hearing from you.

Best,
Casey

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November 2006

Casey,

I think that your grandmother had wonderfull taste, and I am in a financial position to recreate her home in Brentwood. Where could I get blue prints and home decor information?

Respectfully,

John
Hallmark




November, 27 2006

Hello John,

Welcome!

I find your letter fascinating and would love to hear more. There is a multitude of published information on the various building and decorating schemes my grandmother used at her Brentwood estate. The existing home has been remodeled so many times, it doesn't look anything like her original purchase.

Please write again with some more details and we can talk.

Thanks for the letter and do write back.

Best,
Casey

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November 2006

Casey,

I am a 27 year old fan of your grandmother and many of the REAL Hollywood Divas. When I was younger my mother and aunt
would watch Mommy Dearest. My cousin and I would watch and walk away scared of the name Joan Crawford. Just recently I watched Mommy Dearest again and really became interested in the truth ( I didn't even know the movie was based on a so called true story). Doing research I really became a fan of Joan Crawford. I love all her movies I can find! Sorry for all the rambling.

My question is about the movie, everything you see Christina's younger brother he has a leash around him and he was strapped into bed! I found this very odd and wondered why. I also found it odd that I can't find the answer to this. I am asking this question believing only 40% of the movie, of which is about Joan Crawfords movies
and awards. Is there any truth to the whole leash scenes?

Thanks,

Danielle
South Florida




November 27, 2006

Dear Danielle,

Thanks for the questions and welcome!

As for the infamous "Sleep-Tite" restraints she used on especially on Christopher, Joan is guilty. In today's view, the restraints seem odd and out of place. However, this was the early to mid-1940's. I would not consider the 1940's the premier time for child psychiatry or mental health. To defend Joan, she was doing her best as the situation presented itself.

Also, consider the recent reappearance of child leashes. I traveled all over the country and have seen parents use leashes at amusement parks, airports, parks and other public places. Barbaric? To some. Keeping a runaway child under control and out of harm's way is more important than guilty looks from strangers.

Finally, I implore you to not condemn a woman's entire life based on a single episode from her daughter's tell-all book. Remember that Joan died before the book was published and therefore unable to defend herself.

Thanks for the questions and please write again.

Best,
Casey

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November 2006

Casey,

Do you have pictures of Joan crawfords children now grown up?

Thanks,

Susan
Cincinnati




November 27, 2006

Hello Susan,

Thanks for the letter and welcome!

I have photos of my mother, Cathy, and Aunt Cindy. Regretfully, I never had the chance to meet my recently deceased Uncle Christopher, nor my Aunt Christina.

Thanks for the question and please write again.

Best,
Casey

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November 2006

Casey,

Thank you taking time to talk to Joan's fans! I am a fan even though I would have to comment on Kim's, email on the fact that the household could have been very different for the twins compared to Christina's view. I am the oldest
of nine and my parent's were very young so being the first I have some very different memories of my parents,parenting skills. I think as parents you do what you think is best and life and experiences changes your views and when you
have more children you do have chance to change some things. Kids can blow up instances because they seem very big to them when they are too young to understand. I have come to realize that yes some of the things I remember did happen but some of things were blown up by a childs very vivid perspective on life.

How old would Christina be today and does she have children? That aside, it never changed the fact that I adored your grandmother's bigger than life persona and her
acting abilities. She is top notch in my memories!

Tracy
Phoenix




November 27, 2006

Dear Tracy,

Thanks for the letter and welcome to the website.

I find your perspective refreshing and honest on the changes most families experience over a lifetime. Christina's book however, never indicates that my grandmother never changed over the years. Just the same monster, year in and year out. Could it be that Christina never grew past her own hatred of her mother?

Christina was born in 1939, so that would make her about 67 years old. She has been married three times and never had any children.

Thanks for the letter and please write again.

Best,
Casey

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November 20006

Dear Casey,

Your grandmother is such an incredible part of American History from 1928 (even though she started her career in 1925) until now.

Incidentally, from what I've read her contract was signed on my mother's birthday in January, (16th) 1925. She was and is fascinating, well after her death. It is so cool that I can email you, her grandson; you are so diplimatic and wonderful about it ALL (I have read all of your posts as well as the lovely people writing you). I am under the impression that Joan is so proud and grateful to you for everything that you have demonstrated yourself to be and everything you are as her grandson and, of course, as yourself.

I don't know how educated you are in terms of the entire hollywood history apart from your grandmother, but I'm sure you know that Joan was a stand-in for Norma in 1925 when Norma played dual roles in the movie "Lady of the Night" or something like that. Did she ever mention how she felt at that time? Did she have a gut feeling something big was in her future? Did she ever tell your mom anything like that?

I'd love to know if that were true.

Fondly,

Russ and Franc
Burbank, CA





November 27, 2006

Dear Russ,

Thank you for the lovely letter. I am sure my grandmother would be tickled pink that I am corresponding with her wonderful fans. It has been my pleasure to answer letters and make connections through this website.

Turner Classic Movies recently premiered 1925's Lady of the Night. It was my first opportunity to ever see the film, and it was quite a thrill to see my grandmother act as Norma Shearer's stand-in. As you know, Norma Shearer plays a dual role in the film and near the end of the film, both characters finally meet. We see my grandmother's back for most of the scenes, except one, where her face is seen for a split second. A great Norma Shearer vehicle, and an a tiny role, uncredited of course, for Joan Crawford.

At the time, I would suggest she was hungry for roles that were being given to Norma Shearer. No doubt she knew better roles were right around the corner. I have read several accounts that my grandmother considered The Unknown (1927) with Lon Chaney, as a milestone in her career. After The Unknown, Joan starred in Our Dancing Daughters in 1928, beginning her popular rise in Hollywood. Through her hard work, perseverance and talent, she became a Hollywood legend.

Thanks for the letter and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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November 2006

Hi Casey,

Have you talked to your Aunt Christina about her experience growing up with Joan? And did you talk to your Uncle Christopher about how they portray your grandmother totally different than your family? Do you ever wonder why they would want to get the truth as they know it out about your grandmother? How has the controversy about your grandmother affect your family?

Trina
Atlanta, GA




November 26, 2006

Hello Trina,

Welcome to the website and thanks for the questions.

I've never had the opportunity to meet, never mind ask my Aunt Christina any questions about her life with Joan. Sadly, the same for Christopher. I would welcome the opportunity to ask Christina about her life with my grandmother and the obvious differences between her and Christopher's experiences and those of my mother and Aunt Cindy.

As for the effect on my immediate family in the aftermath of Christina's book, it was devastating. My grandmother's death, understandably, had a significant effect on my mother. Then came the book, then the movie. You can understand the impact these three events had on my family.

Next year will mark the 30th anniversary of my grandmother's death. It has become my mission to restore respect for the life and career of the very complex woman we all know and love as Joan Crawford. Maybe I can undo some of the damage done over the past three decades.

Thanks for the great questions and please write again.

Best,
Casey

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November 2006

Hi Casey,

I have a question on your grandmother Joan Crawford. I am almost 11 years old...But I saw the movie made by Christina Crawford and wanted to say I thought she was mean. But my mom found this site and was reading the questions others have asked about her and found out it wasn't true.

My question is what was her 1st movie and what was the year? Also what was her favorate movie she ever played in?

Thanks
God Bless,

Corey
Florida




November 21, 2006

Hi Corey!

Thanks for writing. You are by far the youngest person to send a letter. Welcome!

You must remember that the film Mommie Dearest was an exaggerated version of my Aunt Christina's tell-all book. Christina admitted after seeing the film that the film was nothing like the book. Given that my grandmother and now Uncle Christopher are deceased, it is difficult to counter Christina's arguments. However, Christina's memories are nothing like my Aunt Cindy's or my mother's.

Now, on to something more positive. My grandmother's first "movie" was as Norma Shearer's stand in / body double for the film Lady of the Night from 1925. She was uncredited in the role.

As for her favorite film, I will give you several, as stated in Roy Norquist's Conversations with Joan. My grandmother names Susan and God (1940), A Woman's Face (1941), Strange Cargo (1940) and Autumn Leaves (1956) as some of her favorite films. These are some of my favorites too.

Corey, thanks for submitting a letter. Please write again!

Best,
Casey

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November 2006

Casey,

First and foremost, thanks for this delightful website honoring your grandmother, Joan Crawford. I was first introduced to her as a child in the 1970s. The periodic late night/Sunday morning TV broadcasts of "Rain", "The Women", "Mildred Pierce" and "...Baby Jane?" etc. really sparked my continued interest in Hollywood's golden age. I am impressed that you are restoring the public image of Ms. Crawford. The negative cloud of your aunt Christina's book did not make me love your grandmother any less than I always did. To me, she was a class act. A top shelf lady with a sense of design so lacking in many of today's box office starlets. Her George Hurrell potraits
are works of art!

Now that I given you all this praise, my question is about her appearance on Lucille Ball's TV show back in the late '60s. Did "Lucy" scold her during rehearsal? I have read the "Lucy" caused Crawford to cry after she lashed out at her over a dance sequence. The legend has it that "Lucy" cut out the dance routine altogether. Why was
"Lucy" was such a bully to Crawford?

Miles Bell
Atlanta, Georgia




November 21, 2006

Dear Miles,

Thanks for your wonderful childhood memories. I too am a child of the 1970's and have similar memories of Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons of Joan films on television. Photographer George Hurrell was a master. Hurrell's Hollywood photos are legendary and works of modern art. I still have a few negatives and original photos of my grandmother shot by Hurrell.

My grandmother's difficulties on The Lucy Show are legendary. The episode was entitled "Lucy and the Lost Star" in which Lucy and costar Vivian Vance encounter Joan Crawford at her country home and mistakenly think Joan is broke. Lucy and Vivian put on a show to raise money for Joan. Lots of dancing and fun ensues and the episode is a hit.

Information cobbled together from various sources indicates that my grandmother was drinking heavily during rehearsals and the show's filming, causing Lucille Ball to get rather irritated. Apparently, Lucy did not take too kindly to the production delays and rode my grandmother hard for the remainder of filming. There are lots of interesting bits and pieces of information on various websites and I recommend taking a look.

Thanks for the excellent slice of television trivia! Please write again.

Best,
Casey

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November 2006

Hello Casey,

My name is Nelly, I am 27 and I reside in Texas. I am a huge fan of Joan Crawford and I admire her work.

My question is: Is there a film biography on Joan Crawford's life from her traumatic adolescence to her Hollywood fame? I do not recall any film biography on her.

On a personal note, many people,usually the older generation, tell me I look like your Ms. Crawford, and I feel honored to be made such a comparison.

Thank you for this wonderful website in honor of your grandmother, Joan Crawford.

Nelly
South Texas




November 21, 2006

Hi Nelly,

Welcome to the website and thanks for the question. A Texan just like Joan!

To answer your question, other than several television documentary style biographies, most recently "Joan Crawford: The Ultimate Star" on Turner Classic Movies, no biographical dramatization has ever been produced. I would blame the lack of interest in doing a dramatic adaptation on the negative publicity stemming from my Aunt Christina's allegations in Mommie Dearest.

As all fans know, Joan's incredible life story would make a fantastic rags to riches Hollywood movie. From her adverse childhood, the difficult period at Stephens College to Hollywood stardom, the real facts of her life would provide plenty of drama. Just imagine a film based on the lifelong relationship between Joan and Clark Gable. Talk about sparks flying onscreen!

Now who to play Joan and Clark?

Thanks for the great question and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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November 2006

Casey,

I just want to say this is an amazing tribute to your
grandmother, Joan Crawford. When I saw this site I was like WOW classy site, and I never knew Joan was such a knockout in her younger years,but what really made me impressed with this site is your association to the site. I mean,how many Hollywood legends have their grandsons answering letters!! Any fan of Joan Crawford would be overjoyed at this!

My question to you is, does your mother and/or your aunt know about this site and how you are answering letters from fans? Have they seen the actual site and approve of it? What do they think when they see these old pictures of them as children with your grandmother(their mother)? I would love to know their thoughts and opinions on the site and your involvement with it.

Many thanks.

Abby
Los Angeles, California




November 21, 2006

Hi Abby!

Thanks for your kind and encouraging words. It has been my pleasure to be associated with this website. All the credit goes to Neil Maciejewski for his artistic and classy website. My grandmother would be proud of his work.

My mom keeps up on what I am doing. She was overjoyed last year when author Michelle Vogel published Joan Crawford: Her Life in Letters, to which I contributed the forward. My mother is and has always been very private, so I hope my foray into the public sphere brings her some joy.

As with any child of a celebrity, it must be surreal at times to know your parent was a classic Hollywood icon loved by millions of people. As a child, my grandmother was not Joan Crawford - Hollywood Star, but just JoJo. I loved her no differently than my other friends loved their grandmothers. She did have that something special though, she was Joan Crawford.

Thanks for the fantastic questions! Please write again.

Best,
Casey

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November 2006

Casey,

I have seen the movie "Mommy Dearest" and in all honesty in the begining I had thought to myself, how awful! But then
I had came across this site and started reading all of the lovely things you say about your grandmother and the fond memories you have of her, and now I question the honesty in the film itself.

And also being let known that the book was written after her death, and also after the fact that Chrsitina and Christopher was left nothing,makes me a skeptic on the truth behind the story.

I actually wonder now if it was written out of being vendictive to discredit your grandmothers persona because they recieved no money or property in her will, a pay back on her from them so to speek.

Knowing that such a story would attract attention from all over and rack up sales benefiting them, placing cash in their hands (of course).

I've read to where you are unsure of the allegations
Christina has made against your grandmother, but my question to you is,has this thought ever crossed your mind for the reason such a story was written?

Because when family members pass (not all people) alot of people who are in the situation of gaining material things and then let down afterwards and get basically nothing, become ugly and spitefull, and will do anything to hurt each other for their own selfish gain.

Thanks for taking the time out to hear my thoughts.

Lisa
Tennessee




November 18, 2006

Hi Lisa
Thanks for the letter and your keen observations.

I have been, some may say, overly diplomatic in referring to my Aunt Christina's assertions of abuse. With my grandmother deceased now almost thirty years and with the recent death of Christopher Crawford, we will never know the truth. Christina will surely never recant what she claimed.

Your line of reasoning and skepticism of Christina's assertions are right on target. I wish Christina had the guts to publish her book while my grandmother was alive. At least Joan could have defended herself. With the book's publication following her death, it became Christina's word against a dead woman.

I have never wanted to get into a he said / she said argument with Christina. I cannot win because I was not there. My focus now is to look beyond Christina's book.

Thanks for the great letter and please write again.

Best,
Casey

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November 2006


Hi Casey,

Bless you for trying to restore your grandmother's reputation. I dearly love Joan Crawford.

I hope you will write a book. I really believe that this would once and for all counteract all the untruths and ugliness of Mommie Dearest.

Mary Ann Williams
Corpus Christi, Texas




November 18, 2006

Hi Mary Ann,

Welcome to the website and thanks for the question.

It has become my life's work to restore my grandmother's reputation. Fans like you make the endeavor fulfilling and ultimately satisfying.

Writing family a memoir would help a great deal in restoring my grandmother's reputation. It is my hope that one day our side of the family will publish a book to counteract the damage done by Christina over these long thirty years.

Thanks for the letter and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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November 2006

Casey,

Joan Crawford has been part of my life since the age of 7. I remember in 1969, my father was watching a movie on TV. I looked at the TV and saw the most exquisite, glamourous, and beautiful vision of a lady walking tragically into the ocean. I was, all at once, captivated and mesmerized. Watching one of the final scenes from "Humouresque" was the beginning of my fascination with your grandmother.

To this day, I think this is your grandmother's most textured, lyrical, and moving performances. Your grandmother was unique and her beauty, vulnerability, strength and spirit are the things that gave the world one of the finest actresses and personalities of the 20th Century.

My next experience with your grandmother was sneaking on the TV on a school night, when I was 8 or 9, to watch her comedy hit "I Live My Life" at 2AM on channel 2 (I can't believe I remember the channel) Next came the "Joan in January" tribute, the Bette/Joan festival at the Regency ! Theater in the late 70s, upward and onward. I'm sure my experience is probably not unique, but I am so excited by this website and your "Ask Casey" section. I just wanted to thank you for doing everything you can to reverse what your nut-job aunt did to damage your grandmother's reputation. Do you have any plans to do the talk show circuit, or write a book with your mom?

Once again, Thank you and God Bless!

Philip Friedman
New York




November 18, 2006

Hello Philip!

You made my day with your touching, heartfelt remembrances of growing up with Joan. I too would catch her on local television in the 1970's. Her role on the first episode of "Night Gallery" sticks in my mind as possibly my scariest early television memory. Rain, Johnny Guitar, Mildred Pierce and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane were perennial favorites on television.

I find it comforting and amazing that my grandmother had such a positive, life long effect on you and her legions of fans. Through this website and personal appearances, I have come to know many wonderful fans like yourself. Slowly and surely, I am undoing at least some of the damage done by Christina. It may take the rest of the my life, but with fans like you, it will be a rewarding experience.

Thanks for the questions and please write again.

Best,
Casey

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November 2006

Hello Casey,

I thought I would drop you another line and tell you that I just read the book Joan Crawford her life in letters. It was a wonderful book I recommend it to everyone. I have asked some people that knew your grandmother what she was really like and I am so glad to report that she was always a lady at all times. She always had something nice to say to everyone.

Now, I am a little nosey at times so I had to ask what your "aunt" Christina was like. Well, I had one person tell me a story it was long so I will just say this person said she was very spoiled and acted very demanding. For some reason she thought she was better than other people. My only wish is that you or your mother would please come out with a book and tell the truth about you grandmother. The truth is long overdue. Good wishes for you and your family!

Robyne
Scottsdale,AZ




November 18, 2006

Hi Robyne,

I love letters like yours! Keep them coming.

It is fabulous to hear first hand accounts of interactions with my grandmother. She had such a great reputation for meeting her fans in public no matter the location. Never mind her lifelong commitment to answering her fan mail.

I am very pleased you enjoyed Michelle Vogel's Joan Crawford: Her Life in Letters. The book's collection of letters and photos is amazing!

As for Aunt Christina, I have never had the pleasure of meeting her. I would love to hear more about your friend's interaction with her.

A book by "our" side of the family is long overdue. A realistic and honest approach would bring balance to the arguments posed by Christina. I too would love to see such a book published.

Thanks for the questions and please write again.

Best,
Casey

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November 2006

Casey,

First off I wanted to say how much of a fan I am of Joan Crawford. It must have been amazing to have known such a beauty and talent. My question for you is. I have read a number of books on Joan and wanted to know how much of what they say is true? And what are your feeling to what everyone who has written a book on her are? I find her to have been a once in a life time kind of person and really just want to know what she was like and about her life. If you could write me back that would be wonderful.

Thank you!

Kristina
Vancouver, Washington




November 18, 2006

Dear Kristina,

Thanks for the questions and welcome!

I have read just about every biography published about my grandmother. I personally like hearing the details directly from the source, so I encourage you to read Conversations with Joan Crawford by Roy Newquist, finally published shortly after her death in 1980. I had not read the book in many years, so I picked up a copy. Given the book was published 26 years ago, there are some factual errors, but nothing to discourage me from reading the book. I find my grandmother's perspectives interesting and insightful to her character and beliefs.

I also recommend Joan's autobiography, A Portrait of Joan and Alexander Walker's Joan Crawford: The Ultimate Star. All biographies have their strengths and weaknesses. If a fact or assertion made by an author puzzles you, research the topic. There are many credible sources for information, including this website. Use them to fact check and you will feel more assured you are getting the truth.

Thanks for the questions and please write again.

Best,
Casey

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November 16, 2006

Casey,

It is truly delightful to see so many happy pictures of your mother and aunt with your grandmother. I have not seen every available photo of your grandmother but it seems these are very new images.

Best of luck with portraying the best side of Joan Crawford, it's obvious you do it with a lot of love.I know this is a Joan Crawford website but how about a photo of your family.

Vincent Astor
Memphis,TN





November 16, 2006

Dear Vincent,

Thank you for kind words.

Memphis is a pretty cool town. My mother and I spent some time there trying to locate her and my Aunt Cindy's biological family back in 1989 - 90.

Seeing just some of the thousands of my grandmother's images is still amazing to me. Neil, the wonderful architect of this website, has a remarkable collection of photos that he uses on the site. I come across photos all the time that I have never seen before.

As for a photo of my small family, I will check with my darling wife Heather and our two black cats Colette and Oliver.

Thanks for the questions and please write again.

Best,
Casey

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November 16, 2006

Hi Casey,

Thanks again for taking all these questions. My question is have you heard anymore information about a second box set, such as what titles they will be, etc. Also have you been approached to do any special features? Maybe a commentary or even just an interview sharing stories about your memories of Joan?

Thanks again!

Matt York
Toronto, Canada





November 16, 2006

Hi Matt,

Welcome to the website and thanks for the questions.

Rumor has it, Warner Bros. is working on a second box set for release sometime next year. Both Bette Davis' box sets and my grandmother's first box set sold very well, so do expect a second and hopefully more.

With DVD players now in a majority of homes, the rental and purchase markets are huge. The studios have caught on, releasing more and more classics along with current films.

I have not been contacted to participate, but plan to reach out to Warner Bros. next week.

As soon as news breaks on the new box set, I will send it along.

Thanks for the questions and stay tuned!

Best,
Casey

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November 15, 2006

Hi Casey,

Where is Joan's oscar for Mildred Pierce?

Steven Horine
San Francisco, California





November 16, 2006

Hello Steven,

Thanks for writing in and welcome to the website.

The whereabouts of Joan's Oscar for Mildred Pierce is currently unknown. It was sold at auction in 1993 by my mother. My recollection from the sale was that a person of Middle Eastern descent purchased the Oscar. To my knowledge, it has not been seen since the sale.

I am always on the lookout for the Oscar and if anyone viewing this website has any information on its whereabouts, please contact me. One of my life's goals is to purchase the Oscar and return it to the Academy with the stipulation that it be put on public display at all times so Joan's fans may view it.

Thanks for the question and please write again.

Best,
Casey

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November 13, 2006

Hi Casey,

What a great website!! Joan is one of my favorites esp. the 30's and early 40's movies. My question involves David Bret's new book on Joan "Hollywood Martyr". What is your opinion? I thought it was the worst researched and written book on Joan ever{and I have read many}. It is second to "Mommie Dearest" in its lies and distortions. I am sick of reading about Joan's supposed bed partners and feuds. Any more info on your book - I am looking forward to the definitive Joan book from someone that actually knew and loved her-the good and the bad.

Also do you know the real reason TCM can not show "Letty Lynton?" It is the only early Joan movie I did not see. Thanks for your time and hope to read your book as soon as it is released.

Mary Ann
Bethlehem Pa.




November 13, 2006

Hello Mary Ann,

Welcome to the website and thanks for the questions.

From what I have heard of David Bret's book, it is full of scandal and gossip that in no way sheds new or more interesting light on my grandmother's life and career. Just another poor example of autobiography published to make a buck. I support your position that the book is the second worst ever!

As for Letty Lynton, the film is currently locked away and it is not allowed to be commercially distributed due to legal action taken in the 1940's by the authors. The case was heard by the United States Supreme Court and the court found that Metro essentially stole the story from the authors. The Court ordered Metro to pay a settlement to the authors and until the copyright runs out, the film will never be seen.

Letty is one of my favorite early Joan films. I especially like the pre-Production Code films like Letty in that the characters do not adhere to established moral codes, but act more human. Joan literally gets away with murder and then marries her true love, played by Robert Montgomery. The production is exquisite, with incredible sets and costumes. The film is in dire need of restoration and I consider it to be a lost classic.

You may order a copy of Letty from this website.

Thanks for the questions and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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November 8, 2006

Casey,

Did Joan and Ann Blyth get along well while shooting Mildred Pierce?

Larry
NJ




November 13, 2006

Hello Larry,

Thank you for the wonderful question!

I had the pleasure of meeting Ann Blyth this summer at San Francisco. She did an appearance at The Castro Theatre and was interviewed after a showing of Mildred Pierce. Ms. Blyth had nothing but wonderful things to say about my grandmother during the interview. I expected nothing less, because Ms. Blyth did a short segment for Turner Classic Movies several years ago in which she described her time on the set during the filming of Mildred Pierce in glowing terms.

Eddie Muller attempted several times to have Ms. Blyth gossip about her many costars over the years. She countered his questions magnificently each time and gave heartfelt answers about her experiences. No gossip, only her real memories of the people she worked with in Hollywood.

I applaud Ann Blyth for her honesty and sharing her insightful memories of Hollywood.

Thanks for the question and please write again.

Best,
Casey

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November 6, 2006

Hi Casey,

I really enjoyed reading your comments on this site! I'm a huge JC fan and I was wondering if JC's estate gets royalties from any of her old movies...I know that VHS and DVD's weren't out when she would have signed contracts for percentages but I was just wondering if this something you have to go after or is it covered by old contracts? Sorry, I'm really not trying to be intrustive...just wondering.... It would seem unfair if she wouldn't since I'm sure all the tapes and DVDs bring in millions of dollars for the studios!

Also I was wondering if you and your family officially license JC and her image...I'd love to see some official memorabilia come out like all the Marilyn and Elvis items!

Take Care,

Thanks for responding!

Carson Baxter
St. Louis





November 13, 2006

Hi Carson,

Thanks for the interesting questions!

You are not be intrusive at all. As you know, licensing of Hollywood stars images and other marketing opportunities is big business. Not so much in earlier decades. However, with VHS players and now DVD technology, the home video market is huge. This is something not thought of even 30 years ago.

My grandmother's will was a relatively solid document for the time. It made certain bequests on charitable organizations, including the American Cancer Society, among others, as well as for my family. The intent was to distribute her estate on the basis stated as stated in the will. Any future earnings were not really mentioned, again because there was no market for home video or image licensing.

As you know, my grandmother, in lieu of taking a larger up front salary, did take a percentage of certain films' box office. These were her later films, after leaving Metro and Warner Bros. Her estate still receives royalties to this date, and are distributed among the various charities to which she donated a bulk of her estate.

There is currently no image management or active licensing procedure. I see her image on post cards, stationery or other knick-knacks in little shops all over the country. Most other living and deceased Hollywood stars carefully manage their images and license the image very carefully. There are many fun products that could be licensed!

I will comment more on this topic in the near future.

Thanks for the great question and please write again.

Best,
Casey

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November 6, 2006

Hi Casey,

Not really a question, but a heartfelt thank you for what you're doing to for your grandmother. As a life long Joan fan (I even snuck into the Brentwood house while it was being renovated a couple years ago) I am glad you are working to reverse the damage from your Aunt Christina. My best to you and your family and to your Mom. I just relocated to Richmond and would love to hear from you sometime.

Signed,

Chris Wilmore
Richmond, VA





November 13, 2006

Dear Chris,

Thanks for writing in. Good for you for sneaking into Joan's Brentwood house! My friend Scott and I were about to do the same thing last year, but there were too many workers around remodeling the house.

Along with people like you and Neil Maciejewski, the creative force behind this website, and author Michelle Vogel, we are all working hard to restore my grandmother's reputation. Joan's fans will be the ultimate judge of her life and career. I believe the tide is slowly turning away from my Aunt Christina's perspective to more fully embrace my grandmother's life and career.

On your move to Richmond, my wife and I spent three fun years living there while I pursued my Master's degree. It is a great Southern city with lots to do, great museums and first class restaurants. I suggest you check out the Virginia Historical Society and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

Our favorite Richmond restaurant is Mamma Zu' in the Oregon Hill section of the city. Some of the best Italian food outside of Philly or New York. It is our first stop when we visit.

Thanks for writing and please do so again!

Best,
Casey

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November 5, 2006

Dearest Casey,

I'd also like to add that I think you are absolutely awesome to respond to all of these emails. You are a chip off the old block and Joan, I'm more than sure, is so incredibly proud of you.

Russell
Burbank, CA




November 13, 2006

Hi Russell,

Thank you for the kind words. It would be the least my grandmother would expect of me! Interacting with Joan fans around the world is such a pleasure. I am proud to continue my grandmother's dedication and connection to her fans.

Best,
Casey

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November 4, 2006

Hi Casey,

Just wanted to say I heard about Christopher Crawford's passing. How sad and so sorry for your loss. Had you ever met Christopher and was he close to any of your family? Will you go to the funeral?

Again, I am so sorry for your loss. Hope things are going well for you. Did watch "Possessed" for the first time the other night and it was quite good. Such a different role for Joan. As always though she reigns supreme in my
eyes.

Again thanks for being so open to Joan's fans this way she will always be remembered. I appreciate you alot!

Paula
Bloomington, Illinois




November 9, 2006

Dear Paula,

I too was saddened to learn of Christopher's passing. I regret never having the opportunity to meet him, and I further regret the destruction of the family after my grandmother's death. Christopher's death was not made public until several days after his death and it floated around message boards and other websites as rumor for several days more, therefore I did not have the opportunity to attend the funeral. I regret not attending.

As to your other comments, both versions of Possessed (1931 and 1947) are excellent. Although the stories are very different, and the '31 version has Clark Gable instead of Van Heflin in the '47 version. Same name, much different films, but excellent films.

I love corresponding with my grandmother's fans to keep the letters coming!

Best,
Casey

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November 3, 2006

Dear Casey,

I am so glad that I found this website. I am a huge fan of you grandmothers. I've loved her movies since I was about 6 years old. My grandmother said I was an old soul. Every Sunday after church there would be the sunday afternoon movie, they ran classic movies and I remember Joan
Crawford. This was 1976.

I just wanted to know if you knew why Christina wrote the book Mommie Dearest and besides money what did she hope to gain? And what erver happen to Christopher?

Thank you

Andrea Webber
Kelso, Wa





November 9, 2006

Hi Andrea,

Welcome and thanks for the questions.

I am so happy to see fans with a lifelong interest in my grandmother's career. As a child like you in the 1970's, the only time I would see my grandmother's movies was Sunday afternoon or on the Saturday night late show. Now with DVD's and Turner Classic Movies, my grandmother's films are more accessible than ever.

As for my Aunt Christina's motivations on writing Mommie Dearest, her stated reasons include exposing my grandmother's reported abuse and enlightening the public about child abuse. Add in the monetary compensation and you have her apparent reasoning for the book.

And as you know by now, my Uncle Christopher passed away on September 22, 2006. I never had the occasion to meet or know the man. One of my greatest regrets about the publication of Mommie Dearest and the trouble following my grandmother's death was the schism created for the family. I never knew my Uncle's family, but was recently contacted by my cousin Janit through this website. I am looking forward to someday meeting my extended family.

Thanks for the questions and please write again.

Best,
Casey

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November 3, 2006

Casey,

PS: Oh yeah one more thing. How did she stay in such great shape. What was her diet and exersie regime like?

Andrea
Kelso Wa




November 9, 2006

Hello Andrea,

I love your questions! Please keep them coming.

My grandmother enjoyed a thin figure and never had an ounce of fat on her bones. She maintained her wonderful figure over her entire career. I suggest she exercised often and ate little. In some of her earlier films, her character would have toast and coffee for breakfast and nothing else until dinner. Call it living during the Depression or just "dieting." Not healthy, but it kept her slim and petite.

Thanks for the question and write again soon!

Best,
Casey

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November 2, 2006

Dear Casey,

I think your grandmother was a remarkable woman. She overcame obstacles and was clearly driven in her craft. I think she is a person who defines what it means to rise above adversity and prevail in a society where it is clear that she was ahead of her time. I admire her independence and no holds barred attitude toward anyone or anything that stifled her in any way.

As a straight woman in her twenties, I must tell you that I was first introduced to your grandmother in the film, Mommie Dearest. I must admit, my first thought after seeing the film was, who the hell is this crazy women? It wasnt until I saw the film Mildred Pierce that I was aware that your grandmother was an actual person with a seemingly loving and caring soul. I have since viewed a documentary that validated my belief.

Turner Classic Movies is my favorite network. My question is, since this next year will mark the thirtieth anniversary of your grandmothers death, are you, your mother, or her twin sister going to plan any kind of tribute to Joan? If not, you should contact that network and inform them that they should pay tribute to your grandmother. After all, she defines Hollywood, its beginnings, its transformation, and its every foundation for what it means to be a star!

Thank you for participating in preserving your grandmothers memory!

Sincerely,
Elsa
San Diego, CA




November 9, 2006

Hello Elsa,

Welcome and thanks for the great letter!

Like many fans, you discovered my grandmother through the mother of all camp films Mommie Dearest. But you had the interest to look past the campy send up of my grandmother's life and look for the real person behind Faye Dunaway's crazy makeup.

Turner Classic Movies has been the leader in showing classic films to an ever growing audience. I love Robert Osborne's commentary before and after the films and Ben Mankiewicz interesting thoughts on the weekend films. TCM produces quality documentaries and truly cares about classic film.

And to your last question, the thirtieth anniversary of my grandmother's death is next year. I cannot believe it has been thirty years. I plan to lobby TCM for a special day of remembrance, highlighting my grandmother's greatest films. In addition, author Michelle Vogel and Neil Maciejewski will be releasing their new "Joan Crawford: A Filmography" in Spring 2007. I am proud to be a part of their book project.

Thanks for your wonderful questions and please write again.

Best,
Casey

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November 2, 2006

Hi Casey,

What a joy to find your website. I have been looking for something like this for over a year. My question is this. In 1978 we bought a ring from Roberts Art and Auction Galleries in Lake Worth Florida. It is a platinum ring with a 1ct emerald and a 1ct diamond with 12 baquette diamonds. Along with the appraisal it came with a letter stating this was once the property of the late Joan Crawford. I have been looking at pictures of her but have not seen this ring on her. Does your mother have any idea who gave her the ring or where it came from.

Marlene




November 9, 2006

Hi Marlene,

Great question! Could you possibly send a picture of the ring to Neil Maciejewski (jcrawford1904@yahoo.com) so I may take a look? I could imagine my grandmother having many fine pieces of jewelry over her lifetime and this ring sounds exquisite. Feel free to send a picture and I will try to identify it.

Thanks and I look forward to the photo.

Best,
Casey

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November 1, 2006

Casey,

I have read alot about the family turmoil and was wondering what ever happened to the older boy Chris? Does he have
children and are they around and do you keep in contact with them?

Brad
New Mexico





November 9, 2006

Hello Brad,

Thanks for the timely question.

As you probably know by now, Christopher Crawford passed away on September 22, 2006. Due to the family turmoil following my grandmother's death in 1977, the family essentially split in two. Due to my grandmother's famous provision from her will, "It is my intention to make no provision herein for my son Christopher or my daughter Christina for reasons which are well known to them," Christina and Christopher split away from the family. Soon after, Mommie Dearest was published and that ended any chance of knowing my Aunt and Uncle.

Recently, my Uncle's daughter from his first marriage, Janit, contacted me through this website. I continue to correspond with her and learn about her life with Christopher. I look forward to continuing to learn about him and his life.

Thanks for the question and please write again.

Best,
Casey

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November 1, 2006

Casey,

Big fan of your grandmas, I was wondering I know your mother was young but did you ever hear anything from your mother about Joan and Clark Gable? I always thought it was an intresting story about there affair...

Thanks and wonderful site!

Laura
Chicago




November 8, 2006

Hi Laura,

The lifelong love affair between Joan and Clark Gable is legendary. Last year, my wife and I met with Betty Barker, Joan's longtime personal secretary. We asked what Clark Gable was like in person and Betty kind of blushed and said he was the most handsome man and when he entered a room, all eyes turned to him.

I always wondered why they never married, but I think their relationship was fiery and intermittent. Marriage would probably have ruined their relationship.

Their affair continued for many years, off and on through the decades. Joan was devastated when she learned of Clark's death in 1960 shortly after finishing the film The Misfits.

Thanks for the questions and please write again.

Best,
Casey

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November 1, 2006

Casey,

Can you tell me Joan used to sleep in an area called the slepping porch on 420 Bristol Drive...where was this located upstairs...did it face the backyard or side. Are you able to get the house plans as this is facinating stuff.The plans from the house in the 50's would be great.

Paul
Austria




November 8, 2006

Dear Paul,

Thanks for writing and welcome!

Again, I cannot express my thanks to Joan fans around the world for writing in.

I believe this is one of the first architectural questions. Joan's home at 426 North Bristol Avenue in Brentwood fascinates me. I have visited the house on several occasions over the past few years, but was never able to gain access. I am hoping to do so in the next few months. Although the house has been renovated many times over the years, it appears some of the original elements of the home remain.

The idea of a sleeping porch on the rear of the home is fascinating! On my next visit to LA, I may investigate if the city has copies of blueprints from the homes renovations. Talk about a collector's item!

Thanks for the very interesting questions and please write again.

Best,
Casey

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November 1, 2006

Casey,

I am wondering is the building your grandma last lived in still exist?I heard it was torn down? Is this true? Also you said you had her stools.Do you have any other of her personal items.

Great what you are doing.I think she would be happy.

Regards,

Robert
Baltimore




November 8, 2006

Hello Robert,

Thanks for the questions and welcome!

Joan's last residence at Imperial House at 155 E. 68th Street in Manhattan is still there and the one-bedroom apartments go for a cool $1,500,000. The apartment building is in a great Upper East Side location, near Hunter College, about four blocks from Central Park and just east of Park Avenue.

I am thankful to have my memories and several precious mementos of my grandmother's life. I indeed do have a set of green leather clad stools. Thanks to my friends Scott, Steve and Harry in LA, they recognized the stools as the artful work of Joan's longtime friend and fantastically talented once actor and then interior designer Billy Haines. Several years ago, my mother Cathy gave me an original painting by Margaret Keane. Joan had a little something for Keane's big eyed children art.

I cherish these and other things because of the wonderful memories they bring.

Thank you for your warm comments and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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October 2006

Dear Casey,

I have a great respect for the work of your grandmother. I read that she had a difficult childhood. It must be tough for a child to go through what I read she went through. It is remarkable of Joan to be self educated, as she shares in her autobiography and the interview on the latest edition of JANE. What is your dearest memory of her? A special moment spent together or just a fun episode of your life with her?

Thank you for answering to all my questions.

Best wishes,

Simone
England




October 2006

Hello Simone!

Thanks for the warm thoughts and questions. I am continually amazed by my grandmother's wonderful fans across the globe!

Like many of her generation, work came first, school second. Joan's trials and tribulations growing up made her the ambitious and successful woman she became. She overcame a rough childhood and learned nothing was free and that hard work was the path to achievement.

My fondest memories are not unlike those of millions of other grandchildren. When I was a child, it was normal for Joan to prepare lunch for me when my family visited her in New York City. As an adult, I look back with such amazement that Hollywood legend Joan Crawford would care to make lunch for a five year old child. But that is how I remember her, as a loving grandmother always looking to take care of me.

Your questions bring back such wonderful memories for me. Thank You!

Best,
Casey

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