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Above: Joan Crawford was known as "JoJo" to her grandchildren.

Ask Casey

I am honored to introduce Joan Crawford's grandson, Casey LaLonde to the Legendary Joan Crawford site. This page is devoted to the fans of Joan Crawford and her endless devotion to her fans. Casey has been kind enough to accept questions from Joan Crawford fans. This is truly a great addition to this website and a tribute to Joan Crawford. Her legacy of corresponding with her fans is being carried on through her grandson. Thank you Casey for giving the fans a second chapter in the Crawford legacy.

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Below is an introduction to Casey LaLonde and his memories of his grandmother, Joan Crawford.

Childhood memories are sometimes fleeting images of family at the dinner table, holiday celebrations or just a quiet, rainy Sunday afternoon. My earliest memories outside of my parents and sister were of my grandmother. A strong, independent woman who lived in New York City, the most exciting place in the world.

As my family lived in eastern Pennsylvania, near Allentown, our trip to the city would take about two hours by car. Driving through the Lincoln Tunnel was always a treat. It was scary and fascinating driving through an underground and underwater tunnel to see my grandmother.

The grandmotherly figure that answered the door was dressed in a housecoat and soft house slippers. She wore makeup that accentuated her features, but not overdone. I learned later in life that she wore several different wigs to maintain her fabulous good looks.

My memories were like those of other children visiting their grandmother's house. A welcoming hello, hug and kiss. "Would you like some lunch and something to drink?" was almost always the first thing she asked.

As usual, a Pepsi to drink. Nothing like an ice cold Pepsi in a bottle on a hot summer day.

Upon reflection of my grandmother's life, she left nothing to chance. That included her resistance to being called "grandmother," "grandma" or any of the many names children bestow on grandparents. She preferred a self-created nickname, "JoJo." It was a natural nickname, derived from her first name. It rolls off the tongue and was easy for a child to remember and master.

To me, JoJo was a loving and caring grandmother who lived in exciting New York City. To the rest of the world, she was Joan Crawford. Yes, The Joan Crawford, star of over eighty films and dozens of television appearances. Oscar winner, Pepsi diplomat and grandmother.

I knew her during her last years and while she was in failing health. But did she still shine! There was a spark even I as a child could see in her eyes. The same eyes that dazzled in "Rain" and "Mildred Pierce."

I came to be on March 16, 1972, son of Jerome LaLonde and Cathy (Crawford) LaLonde. My mother and father met in Alexandria Bay, New York, home to the lovely vacation spot known as the Thousand Islands. My sister, Carla, was born in October 1970. We moved soon south to Pennsylvania after I was born to a suburb of Allentown, where my father had just landed a new job.

My early family life was nothing out of the ordinary. No international travel, no extravagant lifestyle. Just a normal suburban family.

And the many visits to New York City to see JoJo.

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I remember walking with my family in Chinatown and to the many delis and bakeries in my grandmother's neighborhood. By this time, JoJo had moved into Apartment 22-H of Imperial House on East 69th Street. The well-known Architectural Digest photo shoot is how I remember the apartment. Lots of green and yellow furniture. I still have the small footstools, still clad in their green leather.

JoJo passed away on May 10, 1977. Gone too soon. I was just over five years old. Her death cast a pall over my family's house. My mother was devastated over JoJo's death.

My sister and I did not attend the funeral. I cannot recall ever meeting Aunt Christina or Uncle Christopher. Aunt Cindy and my mother were always close, as they were fraternal twins and best friends growing up.

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The years following JoJo's death were punctuated with the publication of "Mommie Dearest" by Aunt Christina. My mother appeared on Good Morning America in May 1981 to defend her mother. I realized that day that JoJo was a tremendous Hollywood star because my classmates and teachers interrupted the morning's lessons to watch the broadcast. That also marked the day I began keeping the name of my grandmother a secret. I had a belly full of Mommie Dearest jokes. No one but my closest friends I grew up with knew who I was. To most other classmates, teachers and neighbors, I was just another suburban kid.

My parents separated in 1984. It was the summer after 7th grade. Dad left. Mom worked and raised the kids in the house they built after JoJo died.

I attended Northern Lehigh High School in Slatington, Pennsylvania, a sleepy northern suburb of Allentown. I did well in school, graduated from Penn State University in 1994 and then pursued a Masters Degree from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia.

While at Penn State, I met Heather, the love of my life. We married in 1995 and now live and work in the Philadelphia suburbs. We travel extensively and are film fanatics. Our favorite Joan Crawford films are "A Woman's Face," "Rain" and any movie teaming Joan and Clark Gable.

I made my first public speaking appearance, after over 30 years in seclusion, in September 2005 at The Castro Theater in San Francisco. The Castro was running a Joan vs. Bette Davis film series and I was invited to speak. I had a wonderful time and I witnessed first hand the intense following my grandmother still has to this day. The theater showed "Mildred Pierce," "Johnny Guitar" and "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane" on the big screen, as they were intended to be seen.

Send a letter to Joan Crawford's grandson - Casey LaLonde

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As 2007 marks the 30th anniversary of JoJo's death, I am endeavoring to rebuild her reputation as a stellar Hollywood actress, businesswoman and most of all, loving mother and grandmother. I welcome your letters and questions about my late grandmother, Joan Crawford. My grandmother wrote thousands of letters and always found the time to respond to her loving fans. I would love to carry on that tradition in some way.

Please post and submit your question below. I will respond to you as quickly as I can. All letters will be posted to the website so please check back to the Legendary Joan Crawford website often. I look forward to hearing from you.

Casey LaLonde

Email Address:
Name:
Location:
Your Question to Casey:
  

Letters from Fans

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August 2009

Hello Casey!

I am an avid Pepsi collector. I purchased a huge photo collection of Joan and Alfred Steele on a Pepsi tour.{Middle East, Africa, July 22 to Sept 16 1957}It looks to me that this was her personal album All the photos are captioned and their personal invitations, press releases and itineraries of the tour are included. The reason why I am writing is that I think this was Mrs Crawfords. The photo collection is very descriptive of the tour and every detail is explained. My question to you is I would like to verify this someway. Maybe some one you know would have a recollection of this item . I know it was offered for sale at Smythe Auction House New York It`s listed seller was anonymous.Please any information is appreciated I am a big fan of Joan and Alfred.

P.S, Joan received an award from Pepsi called a pally award Do you know the whereabout of this item?

Leonard Vigna
Chicago Illinois


August 2009

Dear Leonard,

Thanks for the letter and welcome!

I was doing some personal research on my grandmother's history and her time with Pepsi and found this interesting historical presentation, featuring Joan!

http://pepsiusa.com/downloads/PepsiLegacy_Book.pdf

I am very interested in seeing this photo album. Is it possible to snap some photos of the album and forward them to me? I would love to see this album and try to authenticate it for you.

Joan was very careful about documenting her travels and this sounds like it was indeed her record of her travels with husband Al Steele.

Joan did indeed receive the 6th Annual "Pally" Award, conferred upon PepsiCo employees.

I believe my mom still has the Pally Award, but I would have to check. I recall the award being in my house as a child, but that has been some time!

Thanks for the letter and please do forward those photos!

Best,
Casey

August 2009

Hello Casey!

I too read Mommie Dearest. It wasn't too hard to see that it was terribly biased. After reading it I became intrigued and sought out additional information. In the local library I found two books written by Joan Crawford. One was an advise type book about marriage and how to keep a home for your husband. I'm not too sure about the second but I think it was a biography (it was 30 years ago). They were both old books when I read them. I can't remember the names of them. Do you know anything about either of them? I would like to try to find them for my collection.

Thank you for your the time you contribute to your grandmothers fans.

Gregg Ratzloff
Kansas City


August 2009

Dear Leonard,

Thanks for the letter and welcome!

My grandmother wrote two books during her life. The first was A Portrait of Joan: The Autobiography of Joan Crawford. This was published in 1963 and is a nice read. It chronicles Joan's upbringing, her move to Hollywood and her legendary career. It has some good photos from most points in her life. This book is available new and used on Amazon and used on Ebay.

The second and more interesting (in my opinion) of her books, My Way of Life, published in 1971, is a lifestyle how-to book based on Joan's life. I find some of the advice rather funny, including keeping a refrigerator by the bed! This book is out of print, so you will have to hunt down a copy (get the hardcover) on Ebay or through a book-reseller. I picked up a signed copy on Ebay for around $100.

Both books are must-haves for any Joan fan or memorabilia collector.

Thanks for the letter and please write again!

Best,
Casey

August 2009

Hi Casey!

Do you know where I can find reference to or anything about your Grandmothers Dolls? I have tried and all I can seem to come up with is dolls people have made to resemble her. Never mentioning that she herself collected GOOD dolls. I have been a fan way before the untrue Mommie Dearest book. Although I have read it and watched the movie. To tell you the truth if a child is bought a $300 dress and they throw it around maybe a good coat hanger would change their attitude. Only kidding and that didn't happen anyhow and everyone should know it. I have collected magazines and things from the early years of her career and just love Sadie. Even the silent pictures are great and I just watched her on the Lucy Show again. I was born 2 months before you and when she passed away we were about the same age. I wish you had the chance to really know her and I would have loved to have been born earlier just to have a few drinks with her and talk. I am glad to see that!

Family has taken an interest in her legacy. I know relatives of Doris Kenyon and they do nothing. Thanks for your time.

Mike
Missouri


August 2009

Dear Mike,

Thank you for the letter and kind words.

I believe the era of Christina destroying my grandmother's memory may finally be near its end.

Joan's doll collection was apparently quite famous and was extensive. As Joan was notorious for throwing things away, very few or none of her collection remains.

I echo your comments. I wish I was just a few years older so I could sit down with a cocktail and have a great talk with her about her life, classic Hollywood and what it was like to work with some of the most renowned actors, actresses, directors and crew members.

It is literally a full-time job to maintain the estate of a deceased star, therefore I understand how some families let the responsibilities slide . . . However, I will not. My grandmother's life and career were too important to let her memory and achievements just fade away.

Thanks for the letter and please write again!

Best,
Casey

August 2009

Hi Casey!

I know that this may seem a bit strange, but recently I was asked to design the layout and do faux finish painting at a friend's new office in Manhattan. He and his partner opened a state of the art medical facility in NYC. As I began working on the project, I had my interest in Joan Crawford renewed, and went out to purchase a book I had heard had been recently released. After reading it, i got a few more books, as well as starting to build a movie library of her films on dvd; the collections, rare films and single movies that are available. It began consuming me! i really felt that I began to understand and know her a bit, and everyday it seemed I wanted to know and experience more, as I believe her to be among the finest of all time. Now, i LOVE movies, and I LOVE to read. but, as i was working on the office, one day i had eaten lunch and been reading one of the books, and had left it on the window ledge in the spa room when an employee came in and said "OH! JOAN CRAWFORD! She was incredible! Did you know she lived right there, acrioss the street?" She pointed to IMPERIAL HOUSE, where I HAD NO IDEA Joan had lived. I mean, I had read it, but NEVER realized I was across from her building! HAD NO CLUE! Now, I HAVE to wonder if energy played a part in all of this, because when I say I was CONSUMED with a passion to know and learn and get everything on her I could, I MEAN I WAS CONSUMED! I have heard many things about people still lingering and their energy always being around, and just wondered if maybe that is what triggered this in me! LOL! As I said, I know it must sound strange, but it definitely happened, and it was a shock to me to find out what I did how I did.!

I must say too, as an abused adoptee that i definitely do NOT believe Christina Crawford's claims at all. I remember very little when I was 3, let alone exact details of conversations between adults! Also, even to see or hear her now, the ONLY thing that comes out of her is a dark, heavy negative envy. I think that she was so jealous of her mother that it poisoned her beyond return. her anger, hatred and jealousy just overpowered her and destroyed what probably could have been a very sweet relationship. I KNOW what abuse is, believe me. She, in my opinion, does not. I hope that you always hold your grandmother near in your heart. It moves me tremendously when I read of all the secretive wonderful things she did to help others, including people she never even knew. I wish that I could have known her. They do NOT make them like Joan Crawford anymore, and that is a damned shame.

Jermey Gann
New York, NY


August 2009

Dear Jermey,

Thank you for the lovely letter!

What a fantastic letter!

I would love to see how your design worked out! And right across the way from Imperial House! What a marvelous convergence of energy!

Your enthusiasm is wonderful! Keep watching her movies and reading all you can about her. There is always some new nugget of information that keeps her fans interested and coming back for more.

I concur with your thoughts on Christina! I believe jealousy played a large part in her life and it really ate away at her, especially when she was trying to land roles on television and movies. Joan's career and reputation preceded her and Christina's jealousy over her mother's success was very apparent.

Thanks for the letter and please write again!

Best,
Casey

August 2009

Hi Casey!

I have been a long time fan of your grandmother. What a beautiful and talented woman she was. Even though years ago I did see Mommie Dearest, I think most people felt compassion for your grandmother being that she opened her heart and home to her children only to have that sort of retaliation from Christina. It is wonderful that your mother and other aunt returned her love.

Keith Johnson
Santa Rosa, California


August 2009

Dear Keith,

Thank you for the lovely letter!

Fans have always found it interesting that my mother Cathy and Aunt Cindy, although several years younger than Christina, experienced such a different household. My mother especially found nothing but a loving and supportive person in Joan.

I am very happy to correspond with fans like you who have a positive view of my grandmother's career and personal life.

Thanks for the letter and please write again!

Best,
Casey

August 2009

Hi Casey!

First I'd like to make an observation about Joan and then a question to you. Like so many current fans I became a fan after Joan died. I was 15 on summer vacation reading a paperback copy of "Mommie Dearest" that belonged to someone else. I can't say the image depicted of Joan in the book made me like her, but as with so many of us, it served as a springboard to learning much more about her. Because of that, I'm not sure if "Mommie Dearest" was the complete and total devastation to Joan that your Aunt had hoped. Joan was tough and smart, and she has been quoted as saying, when asked how it felt to have negative things printed of her, " What if they never wrote about me at all?" It seems being forgotten would be much worse. And many once famous people of her time are. Joan continues to have books published solely about her and her movies are shown frequently on TCM.

I was saddened to here of the loss of your Aunt Cindy. If you don't mind! me asking, when did she pass and what happened to her?

Jane Castle
Chelmsford, MA


August 2009

Dear Jane,

Thank you for the letter and welcome!

Your comments are right on target. Many of Joan's younger fans came to her through reading Mommie Dearest or watching the "film" of the same name. Both the novel and movie did act as a springboard for an entire generation of new fans to become interested in her life and career.

I completely agree that being forgotten was a worse fate than having some negative publicity. Just think of the other high profile stars who are rarely mentioned today. Norma Shearer, John Barrymore, Lionel Barrymore, Kay Francis, Deanna Durbin - this list goes on . . . Unless you are a frequent viewer of Turner Classic Movies or one of the several classic film magazines, these once larger than life stars are not mentioned much anymore.

Joan was a devotee to the "any publicity is good publicity" school of thought. However, she also had her limits, notably in 1973 when she made her last public appearance at a party for her beloved friend Rosalind Russell. Joan just didn't think she measured up to her classic Hollywood days, so from then on, she became reclusive and met only with close friends and family. She wanted her public to retain its memory of the classic Joan Crawford.

I agree that Christina's attempt to destroy her mother through Mommie Dearest succeeded 100% in one aspect: maintaining Joan Crawford in the public eye. Since the book's publication, Joan's fan base has most likely grown, not been reduced like other Hollywood icons. This ever expanding fan base, especially among younger people, is probably the best revenge Joan could have on Christina.

And now an answer to your question. Thank you for the condolences. Aunt Cindy was fighting Hepatitis and was waiting for a liver transplant. She passed away on October 14, 2007.

Thanks for the letter and please write again!

Best,
Casey

August 2009

OH Casey!

What a wonderful job you have done in perserving Miss Crawford's reputation. I became a fan of your Grandmother's when I was 12 and so admire her beauty and grace on screen. I see her films and just do not see as the "monster" Christina describes.

OK now my questions, 1. Do you know "the reasons known to them" that Christina & Christoper were not in her will. 2. It has been rumor that Miss Crawford helped pay for Mr. Fairbanks health needs in later life, do you think that Joan always loved Douglas and timing was just not right?

Thank you so much for your time and the wonderful think you are doing by inspiring new generations to find the real JOAN CRAWFORD". PS I personal loved her real name Lucy LeSueur!

Tonya Nelson
Wichita, KS


August 2009

Dear Tonya,

Thanks for the letter and welcome!

Thank you for the lovely words!

Question #1 is easy. Simply put, Joan found out about Christina's book, Mommie Dearest. Joan valued many concepts in life: hard work, perseverance and above all LOYALTY. Joan must have felt ultimately betrayed by the daughter she raised from infancy. Christina and Christopher were close, so Joan must have assumed Christopher was in on the book as well. Whether or not that was the case is moot, as both were summarily excised from Joan's will. The several charities noted in my grandmother's will were the largest beneficiaries of the reported over $1,000,000 in cash on hand at the end of my grandmother's life.

Question #2 is a little more involved, but one slightly obscured aspect of my grandmother's life was the funding of friends (and strangers!) health care needs. I can't recall anything regarding paying for Douglass Fairbanks, Jr.'s health care, but Joan was very much financially involved in paying for others' health care.

The first public indication Joan was paying for others' health care was one of the charities awarded money from her will was for the Motion Picture Country Home and Hospital in Woodland Hills, CA. The Motion Picture Country Home and Hospital provides health care and long term residential services for retired Hollywood actors and crew members and was founded by Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin. When Joan was of sufficient financial means early in her career, she actually funded a bed in which whatever patient was using the bed, would receive free health services or surgery, paid for by Joan. As time progressed and she became more successful, she "bought" additional beds and paid for the health care for the patients.

This is just one more example of the caring person Joan was about her friends, family and colleagues in the entertainment industry. This information is diametrically opposed to the person portrayed by Christina in Mommie Dearest.

As for your last comment, maybe in a different time or place Joan and Douglass could have made their relationship work. Both were young and new stars in Hollywood. The added pressure of Joan being Mary Pickford's daughter-in-law I am sure did add lots of pressure to the relationship.

Thanks for the letter and please write again!

Best,
Casey

August 2009

Hi Casey

I just wanted to say that I think it's wonderful you still love your grandmother!

Michelle
Belleaire


August 2009

Dear Michelle,

Thank you for the wonderful thoughts!

I always love to hear such lovely things from my grandmother's fans!

Take care and please write again!

Best,
Casey

August 2009

Hi Casey

Will those of us who were unable to travel to UCLA last fall get to see your grandmother's home movies? I'd die :) Thank you for your work.

Mark
San Antonio, TX


August 2009

Dear Mark,

Thank you for the letter and welcome!

You pose a very interesting question! About 375 people were in attendance last December for the showing of my grandmother's home movies. UCLA showed the "best of" reel of about 25 minutes of the overall 1.5 to 2 hours of footage currently housed at George Eastman House. The crowd went absolutely crazy over the footage primarily because it is in beautiful FULL COLOR! Mind you, the footage was shot between 1939 and 1943, so this is some of the only color footage of my grandmother that exists. It is some striking film!

Again, the home movies have only been shown now three times since their debut in 2005 after the preservation effort by George Eastman House. I own the rights to the movies and am working on a plan to release the films to a wider audience. That said, I am hoping to have something to share with all of you soon.

One way you can see the home movies is to attend the Hollywood Ahoy! event, hosted by Sandra Stillwell this August. It is a combination Hollywood event featuring the life and work of my grandmother, as well as a showcase for the Joan Crawford doll collection by Tonner Dolls (www.tonnerdoll.com) I will be showing the home movies as part of one of the convention's nighttime activities. There are still spaces available for registration, so hurry before time runs out!

Check out Sandra's convention website at http://www.sandrastillwell.com/

Thanks for the letter and please write again!

Best,
Casey

August 2009

Hi Casey

I realize that Betty Barker was your Grandmother's personal assistant during her time in California. Did Betty relocate to New York with your Grandmother and Al Steel? When and how did Mamacita, (spl?) come to be Joan's personal assistant? Thanks so much!!!

A very loyal fan.

David Morrocco
San Diego


August 2009

Dear David,

Thank you for the letter and welcome to the best Joan Crawford website!

Betty Barker was my grandmother's confidential / personal secretary from 1955 (full-time) to 1977. As Betty was born in Los Angeles, she didn't want to relocate to New York after Joan married Al Steele. I have traveled to Los Angeles on dozens of occasions on the past few years and I have met only ONE other native-born Angeleno!

Betty maintained a "west coast" office for Joan, which worked out rather well for both Joan and Betty. Betty would travel to New York frequently. I remember visiting Betty several times after Joan passed away in 1977 when Betty would visit New York to work for other high profile Hollywood actors. Los Angeles is always in Betty's heart so she wanted to stay in her home city.

As for Mamacita (who was German, not Spanish as connoted by her Joan-given name of Mamacita), there is a famous story that Mamacita was recommended by a neighbor. Mamacita was a longtime friend and confidante of Joan until Joan's death in 1977. She served as Joan's housekeeper and secretary. Mamacita must have had some interesting times in the Crawford household!

Thanks for the questions and please write again!

Best,
Casey

June 2009

Dear Casey,

Thanks for a WONDERFUL" tribute site for Joan Crawford.  This is probably going to be a ridiculous question, but do you know where I could get a Strait Jacket movie poster?  I love all of Joan's movies, but especially love that one.  Thank you, and have a good day!

Kayleen M. Donahue

Florida

 

June 2009

Dear Kayleen,

Thank you for the letter and welcome!

Strait Jacket is one of my grandmother's more iconic later roles.  William Castle directed this 1964 horror camp-fest starring Joan and Diane Baker.  The film is a low budget shocker with several decapitations and other violence. 

Photos and movie posters showing my grandmother swinging an ax have become part of the pop culture lexicon.  As for movie posters, I would recommend eBay and www.movieposter.com. Movieposter.com has several Strait Jacket posters in stock.

Good luck on your purchase and please write again!

Best,

Casey

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June 2009

Casey,

I love the site- it is amazing.  You have talked about how your mother does not talk to Christina anymore.  Were they close at one time...it looks like Christina was the matron of honor at your parents wedding.  Does your mother ever talk about her these days?  Also, so sad to see that your mother's twin had such a hard life. It's crazy to think that someone who came from such a wealthy family would be left on welfare.  Your family has an amazing story and it is great that you are keeping up the legend of your grandmother. She was one of the best of all time.  Keep up the good work:)


Marlon

Boston


June 2009

Dear Marlon,

Thanks for the letter and welcome!

Thank you for the positive comments on the website.  Neil Maciejewksi is the creative force behind the site and he does a wonderful job!  Neil's dedication to my grandmother's memory is something to behold.

I don't believe my mother has spoken to Christina since at least Joan's funeral in 1977.  First off, given that Christina and my mother are eight years apart in age, (Christina was born in 1939 and my mom was born in 1947) there is sometimes a natural separation in families because of significant age differences.  I believe that is some of the issue here.

However, given my grandmother's difficult relationship with Christina and the subsequent publication of the old standby Mommie Dearest, my mom's patience with Christina must have been at a breaking point.  My mom felt betrayed by Christina, just as Joan probably felt.  Therefore, there has been no contact between the two since the late 1970's.

I have personally never met Christina.  She has certainly never sought me out, and I likewise.  I am not sure what I would even say to the woman!  If we were to meet, I would certainly want a documentary film crew on scene to capture the moment!  It would make a great piece of film, because no doubt I would give her lots of guff for her treatment of Joan.

So in a nutshell, no, Christina and Cathy have not been in contact for over thirty years.

Thanks for the letter and please write again!

Best,

Casey

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June 2009 

Dear Casey,

I have been "of two minds" to quote Hercule Poirot. Being well acquainted with the mental health field, while it may seem that Ms. Crawford is fabricating her childhood and many feel she is a terrible person, it is very unwise to dismiss everything she says out of hand.

This is where my questioning begins. Usually and more often than not, in every lie there is an element of truth. You yourself have indicated that Joan Crawford may have suffered from some version of OCD. These people have a tendency to become extremely overwrought and capable of violence when their world is upset. If you add to that, two children whom were unstable from birth, this can create a very volatile mixture. This is why, perhaps, that while I do not believe everything Christina Crawford wrote, (or was fictionalized in a movie); I do believe she views her upbringing very differently than her siblings. This is also true of all of us, we all view things very differently, which is why eyewitness testimony can be very unreliable.

This is where my query comes in... How can Ms Crawford's allegations be truly proven or disproven? After all, isn't it in the eyes of the beholder as to which version to believe? Also, I really don't think your Grandmother's legend was ever in danger from this "tell all" book, do you? She was a star in every sense of the word and still is today. She is such a part of "Old Hollywood"...a place that unfortunately is gone and will never be replaced.

Thanks for listening to my prattling...:)

Nina Green

Location: Raleigh, NC


June 2009 

Dear Nina,

Thank you for the very interesting letter and welcome!

I agree with you 100%.  A basic and primary question for Christina should be: why didn't she publish Mommie Dearest while Joan was still alive?  Some claim that with Joan dead, Christina finally felt free to defend herself.  I believe Christina published the book after Joan's death to escape Joan defending herself.

Bette Davis' daughter B.D. Hyman published a similar memoir while Ms. Davis was still alive.  Ms. Davis defended herself consistently and positively and the impact of Hyman's book was minimal. 

Joan didn't have a chance to defend herself and the defense from the remaining members of her family was minimal.  I was a kid at the time, but if I was an adult, I would have done every interview and television show possible to defend Joan.

However, given that Joan was dead when the book was published, it became accepted fact (at the time) that Christina's account was the accurate account by default.  Christina's (and Christopher's) experiences were boiled down and published, while the only person who could defend what happened was dead. 

I agree that Christina did (obviously) remember her childhood and life in the Joan Crawford household differently than my mother, Cathy.  Given the eight-year age difference, anything is possible.  However, I can only depend on my mother's and Aunt Cindy's wonderful memories growing up with Joan.  They have nothing but fond memories of a loving, supportive household.

Christina's assertions, therefore, cannot be proven nor disproven.  Her comments, and Mommie Dearest, should be taken as a small part of the overall record of Joan Crawford's life.  I, personally, ignore Christina's claims as she showed complete disdain for her mother by publishing a hatchet job after Joan died.  Christina should have shown a tiny bit of respect and allowed Joan to defend herself.

Finally, if it was Christina's intention to destroy her mother's memory, she was partly successful.  Joan's lifetime of dedicated work in a difficult Hollywood environment, raising four children (mostly as a single-mom) and her extensive work for various charities was almost destroyed by Christina's tell-all.  However, over the years, and as Christina's influence has waned, Joan's reputation is improving.

One interesting unintended consequence of Christina's ranting over the years was to keep Joan's memory alive and well.  Of all the old Hollywood legends, Joan is one of the most still recognized stars, in part due to Christina's attempt at destroying her memory.

Thanks for the great letter and please write again!

Best,

Casey

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June 2009 

Dear Casey,

You are doing a marvelous job with this website.  It is also wonderful that you are working to restore her reputation.  Mommy Dearest never rung true for me. Your aunt Christina was in San Francisco at a theatre in the Castro district where they were showing Joan Crawford videos, and she was joking around with some of those who came dressed as Joan.  She was holding a wire hanger, smiling, and chanting "No wire hangers!"  Anyone who has truly been abused would never, ever do this.  Your grandmother was the consummate professional and a very talented actress. She had to be both talented and ambitious, as well as a hard worker to overcome her childhood of poverty and abuse. 

I grew up in Rhode Island and when I was age 12, your grandmother came to Newport when your mother graduated from Vernon Court.  A classmate of mine's father was the president of Vernon Court, and my friend and nothing but awe and respect for your grandmother.  She remembers her having dinner in her home and remembers her to be gracious, and an interesting conversationalist. 

My favorite movie is Mildred Pierce, but I also like Whatever Happened to Baby Jane and Humoresque as well.  Last year on Joan's birthday our AMC satellite channel had a marathon of Joan's films.  Such a treat!!  Again, thank you for restoring your grandmother's reputation and setting the record straight.  She was a wonderful lady.

Thank you,

Cynthia Manchester

Location: Waterford VT


June 2009 

Dear Cynthia,

Thank you for the letter and welcome!

Thank you for the kind words.  Again, Neil Maciejewski does a fantastic job operating the world's best Joan Crawford website.

I believe more and more Joan Crawford fans and the general public are changing their perception on Christina's version of events, including the laughable Mommie Dearest.  I don't know of any other purported victims of child abuse who laugh it up quite like Christina.

My grandmother was a one of a kind Hollywood icon.  There are very few actors today with her dedication, professionalism and determination.  A few modern actors who come to mind are Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet, Sean Penn, Samuel L. Jackson and Morgan Freeman.  Still, no one matches Joan for intensity and perseverance.

My mom always had fond memories of her time at Vernon Court.  Thank you for sharing some interesting information about one of Joan's visits for graduation.  I would love to hear more details!

You have named some of my all-time Joan favorites as well.  She had such long, varied career in just about every film genre that viewers have a huge selection of films to watch and enjoy.

This year TCM did another wonderful film retrospective for my grandmother's birthday on March 23rd.  TCM has provided a treasure trove of Joan films over the years.  I can't believe, but TCM is celebrating their 15th anniversary this year.  I have been a dedicated TCM viewer almost since the first day of operation; I can't believe it has only been 15 years.  Their programming is varied, and they show lots of films that haven't been shown in decades.

Thanks for the wonderful letter and please write again!

Best,

Casey

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February 2009 

Casey,

This is not a question, but a moment that I would like to take to tell you what your grandmother has been to me. I am a mere 27 years old, but she is by far my favorite Hollywood star. She was a rock and an intricate part of the early days of the film industry. Her passion and devotion to her craft were unsurpassed. She was real! 

People say that she was the ultimate film star and I would have to agree. I never met her, she died before I was even born, but she strived to be the best that anyone had ever seen. I admire her greatly. I have spent many days and nights watching her films and reading biographies about her life. She was so, so much more that what people remember from "Mommie Dearest." What a shame that that's what people think of when you mention her name. She just wanted to be good at what she did and loved for it in return. To me she represents all that is possible with hard work and dedication. Plus, she had the face of a saint! 

I'm sure that you've received many letters like this over time, but I want you to know that her life has touched mine and I will go to bat for her for the rest of my days. She is a hero to me and for that I am thankful. I am also thankful to you for taking your time to read this letter, however inconsequential it may be in the whole scheme of things. I wish you the best. Thank you for allowing the people who loved her into your world.

With Love and Admiration,

Kristin Blake

Traverse City, Michigan


February 2009 

Dear Kristin,

Thank you for the lovely letter and welcome!

Your letter is a wonderful testament to my grandmother's life and Hollywood career.  I agree with your comments completely!  Fan dedication like yours is unheard of these days.  I know that fans like you will continue to watch Joan's films, read about her and stay tuned to excellent websites like this one for years to come!

I can't say anything more but THANK YOU for your dedication to my grandmother's memory!

Thanks again and please do write again!

Best,

Casey

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February 2009 

Bonjour Casey !

Joan is one of my favorite actresses from Hollywood's "Golden Age" and I've always felt that her talent was both underrated and under appreciated by the industry, despite having one an Oscar for "Mildred Pierce". Among her other accomplishments was her being appointed to the Board of Pepsi during the 1950's after the death of Alfred Steele. It's been reported that Joan was actually fired from this position after serving many years on the board in an executive capacity, as well as successfully helping to promoting Pepsi to the No. 2 spot behind Coke.

Is there any truth to this ?

Merci Beaucoup !

Catherine

Dorleac Quebec


February 2009 

Dear Catherine,

Thank you for the letter and bienvenue!

Although nominated for the Best Actress Academy Award for Possessed (1947) and Sudden Fear (1952), in addition to her win for Mildred Pierce in 1945, Joan was definitely underrated in several other films.  Her work in A Woman's Face (1941), Humoresque (1946) and the cult classic Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962) should have at least earned her Academy Award nominations.  Her body of work over the decades is varied and incredible.

Her work for PepsiCo during her marriage to Alfred Steele in 1955 as a Pepsi Ambassador helped to elevate the company's position in the United States and around the world.  Of course Al Steele's business acumen really built PepsiCo into a world-class soft drink brand.  Joan's appointment to and work for the Pepsi Board of Directors following Al's death in 1959 was another important step Pepsi management took in order to capitalize on Joan's popularity. 

Joan was forced out of the Pepsi Board of Directors in 1973 by Don Kendall, who took over as CEO of PepsiCo in 1971.  Joan famously referred to Mr. Kendall as "Fang."  I recall my mother talking about Mr. Kendall (through Joan) as "White Fang."

Thanks for the letter and please write again!

Best,

Casey

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February 2009 

Casey,

I think that Mrs. Joan Crawford would be very proud to know that you are trying to undo what Christina did to her reputation. Your Grandmother was a wonderful person and one of the last REAL movie stars to grace the Hollywood screens. I wish I had known her in real life. She seemed to be such a marvelous person. I wish you the VERY best of luck with your quest to set the record straight regarding the film that I won't mention.

There will never be another REAL movie star because there will never be another Joan Crawford. May she rest in peace.


Wayne

Bristol, Connecticut


February 2009 

Dear Wayne,

Thank you for the letter and welcome!

Thank you for the lovely comments!  It has been a pleasure corresponding and meeting fans like you for the past four years.  I have had a wonderful time celebrating my grandmother's life and career with fans like you.

I echo your comments that Joan was one of the last Hollywood greats.  There are few, if any, modern Hollywood stars who measure up to Joan Crawford.  The star quality of today's Hollywood actresses is just not what it once was!

Thank you for the letter and please write again!

Best,

Casey

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February 2009 

Casey,

 I just dont know where to start. Your Grandmother was unique. I have seen mommie dearest and what a joke. I hope everyone knows better. I also just read ( I could not put the book down) Joan Crawford , A Biography by Bob Thomas. I think people need to read this book as it starts with her childhood and everything she went throught. She had an awful childhood but she rose from it and I am sorry to say but I think her Mom and Brother only wanted to be close to her as she became a star.

As for the abuse your Aunt wrote about. OK.. She got spanked. Children get spanked. I think Christina did the book for MONEY!!!! Your Grnadmother was not here to denfend herself. Christina planned it that way. I do NOT believe any  of Mommie Dearest. I hope people just remeber her the the great and beautiful woman and actress that she was. I am now going to go get the book Not the Girl next door. 

Thank You for keeping here memory alive


February 2009 

Dear Michelle,

Thank you for the letter and welcome to the website!

I wish you would have written more because I love your letter! You can write to me anytime!  Your thoughts about Christina and Mommie Dearest are right on target.  Very few if any fans who write to me believe Christina's assertions.  It is just a real shame that Christina threw her own dead mother under the bus to assert her claims.

I also like Bob Thomas' biography on Joan.  It is probably the first one I had ever read, other than my grandmother's autobiography published in the early 1960's.  My grandmother's troubling childhood is detailed in all of the biographies and especially in her autobiography.  It is difficult to read about her childhood as it was the worst of times.  The only relief is knowing that Joan became a loving mother and Hollywood success story.

I highly recommend Charlotte Chandler's Not the Girl Next Door.  The book provides some interesting insight into her life through Joan's own words and detailed interviews with the author.

I believe the tide is slowing turning regarding Joan's reputation for the better.  It has been thirty years since the publication of Mommie Dearest and I believe fans and the general public have moved beyond the book and movie to more critically analyze her life and career and find her much a woman of substance than Christina gives credit.

Thanks for the letter and please write again!

Best,

Casey

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February 2009 

Hi Casey,

I just wanted to let you know that a new biography of Joan titled "JOAN CRAWFORD: THE ENDURING STAR" by Peter Cowie will become available in Feb.2009. 

Keep up the marvelous work you're doing for Joan !

Catherine Dorleac

New York


February 2009 

Dear Catherine,

Thank you for the letter and welcome!

I am always excited to see a new biography published about my grandmother, hoping for some new insight into her life and career.  Peter Cowie always does a great job writing about his subjects and I hope the same for this volume on my grandmother.  I look forward it the book's publication later this month.

Thank you for the kind comments.

Thanks for the letter and please write again!

Best,

Casey

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February 2009 

Hello, Casey. 

I don't really have a question for you,but would like to applaud you for coming to your dear grandmother's defense.

Legions of fans cannot be wrong...Joan,your "JoJo" was a real star. I became interested in her after learning through the TCM network that she and I share the same March 23rd birthday. I do wonder if there is any biography you would recommend reading that would paint a fair, accurate picture of your grandmother? "Mommie Dearest" screams fiction....and sour grapes.

Keep up the good work. I wish you much success!


Kim

Butler, PA


February 2009 

Dear Kim,

Thank you for the lovely letter and welcome!

Thank you for the kind words. 

I couldn't agree more that legions of fans worldwide can't be wrong!  Joan was the Ultimate Movie Star and deserves kudos for her decades of hard work in Hollywood.

As to you comment about "sour grapes," I think you may be on to something!

Many biographies have been written over the years.  I recommend the following (in no particular order):

Not the Girl Next Door: Joan Crawford, A Personal Biography - Charlotte Chandler (2008)

Joan Crawford:  Her Life in Letters - Michelle Vogel (2005)

Joan Crawford, A Biography - Bob Thomas (1978)

My Way of Life - Joan Crawford (autobiography) (1971)

Conversations with Joan - Roy Newquist (1981)

Joan Crawford:  The Ultimate Star - Alexander Walker (1983)

A Portrait of Joan - Joan Crawford (autobiography) (1962)

These are just a few of the biographies and autobiographies available.

Have fun!

Thanks for the letter and please write again!

Best,

Casey

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February 2009 

Dear Casey,

I actually have that nickname. My initals are KC. Anyway I love your website.

All I knew about Joan Crawford was what I saw in Mommie Dearest. But then I started doing research and I watched most of her movies. One of my favs is Ice Follies of 1939. I thought she was wonderful. Her chemistry with James Stewart was great. I was wondering if you knew what her favorite movie was.

Kathleen

Arlington,VA


February 2009 

Hi Kathleen!

Thanks for the letter and welcome!

You and countless other Joan fans were first pulled into the Joan Crawford world by Mommie Dearest and the related publicity.  I am very pleased to learn that you have moved beyond the hype and learned about the real Joan Crawford.

Joan had chemistry with most of her leading men for obvious reasons.  She was a vivacious woman who lived every moment! 

Joan had a few favorites over her decades of work.  However, she was very self-aware and therefore self-critical.  She liked her work at Warner Bros. in such films as Mildred Pierce, Humoresque and Possessed.  She also liked her work at Metro, to include A Woman's Face, The Women and Grand Hotel to name but a few.

As for me, I think all her films should be seen no matter the studio or year produced.  I will even sit through a screening of Berserk! or Trog if offered or on Turner Classic Movies.

Thanks for the letter and please write again! 

Best,

Casey

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February 2009 

Casey,

I have 7 legitimate letters from Joan Crawford to a friend of mine (Dempsey Sox--who worked in a hotel in Miami and was befriended by Joan Crawford ).  The letters date from the 60's and 70's.  I also have a signed portrait-sized picture of Joan to Dempsey.  Since I am well into my sixties myself, how could I possibly sell and pass along these materials to someone who would know their meaning and value to posterity? 

Thanks, 

David Turpin

Newberry, South Carolina 29108


February 2009 

Dear David,

Thank you for the letter and welcome!

I would love to hear more about your friend Dempsey!  It is always fascinating to hear stories of how my grandmother befriend people all over the world and kept in contact with them. Most of the time by her very frequent (and famous) written correspondence. 

Now, about preserving the wonderful collection of letters given to you by Dempsey . . .

I would first suggest, if you haven't done so already, place the letters and photo into preservation quality, acid-free albums or boxes.  This will stop any potential decay.

Since you have seven letters and one photo, all sent to the same individual (Dempsey), there may be a Joan collector out there who may want all the items as a package.  I have come to know several Joan memorabilia collectors over the years and most are dedicated to preserving Joan's memory.  You may want to begin investigating selling the letters and photo as a group.

I suggest you peruse this website, as well as Turner Classic Movies advertisements and do other Internet searches. Understanding that you want the items preserved is very noble and there just may be a collector out there who may be able to help.

I hope these suggestions have helped!

Thanks again for the letter and best wishes in finding a new home for those wonderful letters and photo.

Best,

Casey

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February 2009 

Dear Casey,

Did you  know, we have a restaurant here in Toronto  one of your grandmother's famous movies Mildred Pierce. The address is 85 Hanna Avenue Tel  416 - 588 5695.  Great restaurant!

Lincoln Moran

Toronto , Ontario , Canada


February 2009 

Hi Lincoln!

Thanks for the letter and welcome to the best Joan Crawford website!

I found the restaurant online some time ago and I would love to visit!  Toronto is a great city, so having a restaurant of Mildred's caliber gives me one more reason to visit.

The restaurant's mission statement sounds very much like Mildred's statements in the movie about wanting to serve great food and good prices!

I will definitely visit Mildred's the next time I am in Toronto!

Thanks for the letter and please write again!

Best,

Casey

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February 2009 

Dear Casey,

I read the Mommie Dearest book and saw the movie many times. I gather that Christina did't get any help during her adult years. You can grow up with six siblings in a house and each one can tell you a different story about the way they were treated. I pray for your family that if she did write the book for greed that she will be forgiven someday. I think your grandmother was a great actress.  

I also believe that she loved her children dearly to work so hard to keep a roof over their heads and to send them to good schools.  So after all this my question to you is will you write a book to reach out to your aunt and if so how you begin this journey.

Andrea

Poughkeepsie New york


February 2009 

Dear Andrea,

Thank you for the the letter and welcome!

Thank you very much for your spirited defense of Joan!  I can't comment on the lack of "help" Christina may or may not have received as an adult.  She obviously saw a need to somehow get back at Joan for all the rotten things she thought Joan did to her over the years. 

I still find it amazing as to the clarity of memories Christina had since very early childhood . . .

There are still some naysayers out there who do not believe Joan loved her children.  I believe Joan loved each and every one of her children and did her best to provide a safe, loving household.  Joan did the best she could under the circumstances and I believe it came down to a struggle of personalities between Joan, Christina and Christopher. 

My mother Cathy and her twin Cindy have always defended Joan.  She provided a loving, supportive home environment and they loved her unconditionally.

Others have also suggested I contact Christina.  I have no intention of doing so.  Christina is so burned up by her rage against Joan that I doubt I would have anything of interest to say to her.  The family was torn apart by Joan's death.  That is now thirty-two years ago.  Time is fleeting, but I doubt there will be any type of reconciliation at this late date.

Thanks for the letter and please write again!

Best,

Casey

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February 2009 

Hi Casey,

On screen, Joan always looked ten feet tall, but I've read in several sources that she was actually a very petite woman.

What was her real height ?

Thanks so much,

Heather Menei

Cape May, N.J.

 

February 2009 

Dear Heather,

Thank you for the question and welcome to the website!  Cape May is one of my favorite Jersey shore locations!

I get this question often because Joan projects such a strong, vibrant image onscreen.  She was an actually average height of 5' 5".  Most sources vary her height between 5' 4" and 5' 5".  There are times when she looks six feet tall, especially when acting opposite with the very petite Ann Blyth (5' 2") in Mildred Pierce.  However, when Joan is paired with someone of significant height, such as Clark Gable (6' 1"), she looks tiny!

I remember her as very petite when my family and I would visit her in Manhattan, but then again, I was a little kid so my sense of proportion was not quite right!

Thanks for the question and please write again!

Best,

Casey

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February 2009 

Casey,

 Do you have any information about how Joans beauty regimen? I have read numerous articles about her attention to detail, so I would love to know how what her daily beauty routines were.

Jay

California

 

February 2009 

Dear Jay,

Thank you for the letter and welcome!

This, I believe, is the first in depth question regarding Joan's beauty regimen.  All Joan fans know that she was always impeccably dressed and wore makeup for all occasions.  This was true for her entire adult life, especially after arriving in Hollywood.

The best and most definitive account of her makeup regimen may be found in Joan's 1971 book My Way of Life.  I recently picked up a great condition used, hardcover, signed copy of the book on Ebay for around $200.  The book is out of print (sadly), so you will most likely pay between $50 and $100 for an unsigned paperback and over $100 for an unsigned hardcover edition.

The book is a very interesting account of Joan's everyday life, from cooking to dinner parties to her makeup and wardrobe choices.  This is a must-have book for any true Joan fan. 

Now, back to your question.  My Way of Life provides significant details on her beauty regimen.  I quote liberally from the book, and again, I do recommend picking up a copy at a local used bookstore, Ebay, or your local library.

Part Two of My Way of Life - "Looking the Part" goes into detail about everything from wardrobe, jewelry, fragrance, fitness, posture, diets, etc.  There is a whole chapter designated to face and hair.

“A Program for a Glowing Face and Lovely Hair”

"For Screen Make-Up" Joan recommends using petrolatum oil (2 coats) to remove screen makeup.

She also scrubs with soap and water and a good heavy washcloth, to quote, “And I really scrub.”

"Street Make-Up" Joan recommends a good cleansing cream with a set of brushes that vibrate followed by moisture cream.

Joan was a big user of rosewater and glycerin all over the body for moisturizer.

She used many commercial products but wasn’t devoted exclusively to any particular brand.  She states, “ My real devotion is to old-fashion formulas and to natural foods and oils.”

Masques - Joan used mayonnaise, but not store bought.  She wasn’t sure what ingredients were used.  I don't believe food labels back then had to list ingredients like labels today. Joan made her own mayonnaise recipe that included “whole eggs, olive or peanut oil and lemon juice (Omit the salt and pepper!)” Sounds like the recipe from the Escoffier cookbook!

Also used pureed vegetables and pureed fruits as "masques."

Make-up - Joan stated that she preferred the "natural touch."

Eye Make-up - Joan states, “I never wear shadow of any kind.  I use liner, mascara, and very delicate false eyelashes.”  “Finally, I brush my brows.”

Hair Care - She colored her hair and had baby fine hair.  Joan includes some interesting notes:  “Teasing and back-combing is bad.”  “Hair spray is sheer poison.”  “Besides being unromantic, hair spray is the cause of respiratory problems."  When Joan came down with pneumonia while she was doing a film, the first thing the doctors asked was, “Do you use hair spray?”  When she has to be sprayed for television, she goes out into the hallway, covers her face and holds her breath.  Joan would only use hair spray when on television.

Joan also used homemade recipes for “feeding the hair”. Homemade mayo, raw eggs, hot oil. 

There are many more Joan Crawford tips in My Way of Life, so again, I highly recommend purchasing a copy!

Thanks for the very interesting question and please do write again!

Best

Casey

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January 2009 

Mr Lalonde just got through; looking at your page about your Grand Mother, the woman I like to Miss Hollywood Joan Crawford.  I've been a fan of hers for years.  I personally own about 50 of her 80 movies.  I can only pray that one day Christina will retract all the lies she wrote about, and bring Joan's GOOD name back where it belongs.  Once again Thank You for being there for us TRUE Joan fans. 

Have a GR8 New Year and GOD BLESS. 

Michael De Vaul

Syracuse, New York

 

January 2009 

Dear Michael,

Thank you for the kind words and Happy Holidays!

I can't tell you how many times I have driven through Syracuse!  My family vacationed in the 1000 Islands for many years and we would stop in Syracuse or Cortland for a rest stop or a bite to eat.  My father was born in Clayton in the 40's and my sister and I were born in Alexandria Bay in the 70's.  It was a great vacation destination!

Now, back to your question . . .  Given Christina has literally built her life and career around destroying her mother's good name, there is ZERO chance she will renounce her charges.  I have had many questions recently about Christina publishing yet another version of Mommie Dearest.  According to website Paperbackswap.com, the "new" version is as such: "For this 30th Anniversary edition of the classic the author has written a new Preface, new Afterword and provided additional photos never before included. It is from the original manuscript and nearly one hundred pages longer than the 1978 edition to detail more of Christina's adult life and career."  Exactly where is Christina coming up with new information 30 YEARS after Joan passed away?  Who knows!

The "new" version is available through Seven Springs Press, coincidentally, Christina's own self-publishing imprint.  I guess she couldn't find a publisher . . .

Thanks again for your wonderful comments and please write again!

Best,

Casey

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January 2009 

Dear Casey,

I have a question that I will put out there, back in the 80's when I was a kid watching "I think it was a Donahue show" they were discussing that Crawford and Fairbanks had one illegitimate child that was covered up and so put he was placed up for adoption "I Think in Montana". My question is do you know anything about this show or any other details that might give better insight into this mystery.

Thank you,

Joseph

California

 

January 2009 

Dear Joseph,

Thank you for the letter and Happy Holidays!

This is an intriguing question, however, I have never heard of an illegitimate Crawford / Fairbanks child.  Joan would have been overjoyed to have a child, as she suffered from several miscarriages in her early married life.  Given her desire to have children, I strongly doubt she and Douglas would have given up their child for adoption. 

For the time line, Joan married Douglas on June 3, 1929.  Joan worked constantly in Hollywood since 1925, and she filmed at least ten movies between 1928 and 1929.  I am sure someone in the press would have noticed Joan pregnant during this time period.  Also, given that this child would now be in their 80's, I would suspect someone knowledgeable about the pregnancy would have come forward before now.

Thanks for the intriguing question and please write again!

Best,

Casey

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December 2008 

Casey,

I think it's wonderful what you are doing by setting the record straight. I think your grandmother would br proud of you. She was such a talented actress and she was so beautiful.I think she was beautiful all her life.

I don't know if someone has already asked you this question but did your grandmother ever send you birthday cards and give you a birthday gift?

Also did you ever go to her house for Christmas?

Thank you for all you do for your wonderful grandmother.

Melissa Staats
Kansas


December 2008 

Dear Melissa,

Thank you for the warm comments and welcome to the website!

Christmas was always a special time in my family.  We did take Christmas time trips to Manhattan to see my grandmother.  New York City is always a magical place during Christmas time with all the store windows dressed for the holidays.

My grandmother always took special care of her grandchildren.  I still have many of my childhood gifts. One of my most cherished items is a small child's rocking chair that has a needlepoint animal design for the seat. No doubt Joan did the needlepoint herself, as she loved to crochet and do needlepoint and cross stitch.  One would never think that the legendary actress Joan Crawford would be such a fan of arts and crafts!

Thanks for the great letter and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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December 2008 

Dear Casey, 

It is ironic that at this very moment I am watching Mommie Dearest. I really feel the movie is over exaggerated. I am sure your grandmother had her ups and downs but I refuse to believe that she had outbursts of that sort as portrayed in the movie. 

I have so many questions but I will try and limit myself to three:

1. Did your mother attend her funeral?
2. What does your mother remember most about her?
3. Do you believe that she had hidden personal and childhood issues?

I think Joan Crawford was a wonderful actress and mother. I can only hope that you will continue to restore her image and give her fans a positive result for the future. Thank you for your time and devotion to your grandmother's memory.

Sincerely, 

Alisa
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma


December 2008 

Dear Alisa,

Thank you for the letter and welcome to the website!

I concur with your statement that you think Mommie Dearest is over exaggerated.  Just a little. 

My grandmother was a very complex woman with some issues.  I suggest she was borderline OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) due to her cleanliness issues and need for order.  She had a very traumatic childhood and never had a very stable upbringing.  She and her family moved around frequently, so she never really had roots in the community.  Possibly the most traumatic experience was her mother (and Joan) living and working in a laundry.  This experience alone may have had a significant effect on her emotional well being.

Remember, Joan was born in 1906 (or 1908 if you believe her), so mental health counseling was not the norm, as it is today.  I think that answers your question # 3.

My mother did in fact attend Joan's funeral in 1977. 

My mother, Cathy, has extremely fond memories of Joan.  My mother and her fraternal twin, Cindy, were adopted in 1947.  Cindy talks lovingly about life with Joan in the TCM documentary Joan Crawford: The Ultimate Star, released in 2002.  Although about nine years apart, my mother discounts Christina's account of life in the Joan Crawford household. 

My mother's reaction to Joan's death in 1977 was pure devastation.   She loved Joan so much and to lose her at the young age of sixty-nine was very hard for my mother.  The love between mother and daughter was obvious.

I am sure you have more questions, so please send them!

Thanks and please write again.

Best,
Casey

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December 2008 

Casey,

I watched the movie Mommie Dearest again. I was still shocked in the actions of Miss Crawford in her life. I am sure that her actions to her kids where not as what was displayed in the movie. I got to a point of the movie I just said that it was child abuse.... Can you tell me if the movie was true or parts of this movie made up?

Thanks Sir,

Howard
Temecula, CA


December 2008

Dear Howard,

Thanks for the letter and welcome.

It has never been my intention nor desire to call my Aunt Christina a liar for her portrayal of my grandmother in the book Mommie Dearest nor the film of the same name.  It is her version of events during her life with Joan Crawford, legendary Hollywood icon.  I fault Christina for publishing the book after my grandmother's death.  Publishing the book before her death would have left Christina open to a response by Joan, thereby potentially nullifying the book's intent, that was to destroy her mother's memory as an actor, mother, friend and businesswoman. 

I have said repeatedly that the only family members' opinions I trust are those of my mother Cathy and my Aunt Cindy, now deceased.  Christina should have had the guts to publish the book prior to Joan's death, at least Joan could have responded . . .

Take the movie for what it is: a campy caricature of Joan Crawford.  I implore you to look beyond the book and movie and discover the real Joan Crawford, loving mother, friend, grandmother and colleague to countless legendary Hollywood stars.

Thanks for the letter and please write again.

Best,
Casey

December 2008 

Casey,

I've watched the movie Mommie Dearest several times since its first release....I'm 37 now and am really glad to have found this web site...I would hate to know that this lady has been falsely accused of doing something that she didn't do.  I just wanted you to know that this web site made me think of how people can actually be liars...to watch the movie..I really believed it but again I have changed my mind due to this site.

Thanks,

Lucy
Athens, TX


December 2008 

Dear Lucy,

Thank you for the wonderful letter and welcome!

I am so pleased to read your comments and interest beyond Mommie Dearest.  So many newer Joan Crawford fans follow this route.  They watch Mommie Dearest for the campy absurdity, then investigate Joan's life and career beyond the infamous book and movie. 

Beyond the damage done to my grandmother's reputation, I find it repugnant that Christina chose to release the book and subsequent movie AFTER my grandmother's death.  The least Christina could have done was to give her mother a chance to respond.  Bette Davis' daughter B.D. pulled the same shenanigans, but Bette was still alive and responded in kind.  Ms. Davis' reputation didn't suffer a bit, because she had the chance to respond to her daughter's accusations.

My thanks to Neil Maciejewski, creator of this website and fans across the globe for seeing past Christina's version of events!

Thanks for the letter and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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December 2008 

Casey, 

This may be of little interest to the site at large, but as I am a knitter I wonder if any of Mrs. Crawford's knitted items survive. Are there pictures?  I would love to see her work as I imagine it impeccable!  

Thank you so much for your time. Your grandmother was beautiful - gorgeous, really and so talented

Gleanne Marie


December 2008 

Dear Gleanne Marie,

Thank you for the letter and welcome to the website!

No question is of little importance or interest!   My grandmother's habit of knitting and doing needlepoint and cross stitch is legendary.  She knitted as a past time, while filming such classics as The Women and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane.  As you can imagine, while working on a film set is glamorous, it is most times tedious with much down time between takes.  Knitting was Joan's way to occupy herself between takes.

I don't have any knitted items that my grandmother did, but I do have my child's rocking chair with the cross stitch.  As I have said previously, it is one of my treasured childhood gifts.

Thanks for the letter and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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December 2008 

Dear Casey,

What a wonderful job you are doing at restoring your Grandmother's memory.  Its very sad that her reputation was trashed by Christina and Christopher.  My understanding of it is that Ms Crawford had high expectations of them, in particular because of the advantages that were given to them and clearly she wanted them to not be spoilt hollywood children, I don't for one minute belive the Mommie Dearest revelations.  

At least she had Cathy and Cynthia so her experience of motherhood was sharing the love of your mother and her sister. Carry on the good work, your beloved JoJo would be very proud of you.

Very best wishes,

Libby B
London, UK


December 2008 

Dear Libby,

Thanks for the wonderful supportive comments and welcome!

As you know, Joan filmed The Story of Esther Costello in the UK.  She had a special place in her heart for her UK fans.  I am always pleased to receive letters from overseas, especially London, one of my favorite cities in the world!

It is my life's duty to restore my grandmother's reputation as a loving mother, grandmother, friend and colleague.  Christina's version of events has been the only game in town for much too long and it is time for a change!  Through a complete examination and celebration of her life and career, the tide is slowly changing for a more reasonable approach to Joan's life.

My best wishes to you during this holiday season!

Thank you and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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December 2008 

Casey,

I only wanted to say that Joan is my favorite performer to watch. I own many of her films and never tire of them. Sadly there has never been anyone like her and I doubt there ever will be. I am a a painter, and I did my first portrait, and it is of course, of Joan. if you would like to see it, my website is www.newyorkcityartist.net

I hope you enjoy it, and hope that you and your family have a wonderful holiday season!

Kind Regards,

Anthony Watson
New York, NY


December 2008

Dear Anthony,

Thank for the letter and welcome!

I couldn't agree with you more!  There are very few stars today who even come close to the Hollywood legends of the 30's, 40's and 50's.  Bette Davis, Norma Shearer, Kay Francis, Rosalind Russell, Barbara Stanwyck, Myrna Loy and of course, Joan Crawford have no competition today!

You have a very interesting and wonderful artistic style!  I love the Joan portrait! 

My best wishes to you and yours during this holiday season!

Best,
Casey

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December 2008 

Hi Casey,

Did you know that in 1971 your grandmother signed her name and put her handprints in cement outside a theatre in New York City? The theater is located at 80 St. Marks Place near First Avenue down town.

Here is a link if you would like to see the cement. http://www.forgotten-ny.com/STREET%20SCENES/ST%20MARKS/sidewalk.html

Yours,

Ken Mensing
Rockville Centre

December 2008 

Dear Ken,

Thanks for the letter and welcome!

I am always surprised with the wonderful letters I receive.  Yours is no different, because I had no idea about my grandmother's hand prints and signature in cement at Theatre 80!  I will have to make a visit to the East Village soon to see her legendary signature in cement!

This is coincidental, because I was just in Hollywood and made my usual visit to Grauman's Chinese Theater to see my grandmother's cement contribution to film history.

Even in 1971, Joan still had her trademarked signature!

Thanks for the letter and new destination!

Best,
Casey

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November 2008 

Dear Casey,

I am a 23 year old FAN of your grandmother. I have been really learning about your grandmother. I am glad that there is someone who stll wants to carry on your grandmothers honor. I admire your grandmother and wish I was around to see her instead of photographic memories. I have so many questions to ask due to all the research I been doing, but I cant pick just one!!

Here are my questions:

1. Was Joan Crawford into Politics?
2. I see alot of black and white pictures of her, what was her hair and eye color?
3.Was she the type of Grandmother to bake cookies and read bedtimes stories?

Thanks

Teresa Chivon Bacon
Washington, DC



November 2008

Dear Teresa,

Thanks for the very interesting letter and welcome!

Thank you also for the wonderful comments. 

Your questions are interesting and have not really been asked before, so here goes!

As for politics, I believe my grandmother was moderate.  It is difficult to place her in a modern political context of Democrat / Republican, liberal / conservative construct.  Let's look at her social life:  She was married / divorced three times and once widowed.  She had legendary gay friends, such as William Haines (and by extension - this is my assertion - defended gay rights), she adopted and raised four children most of the time as a single mom.  She continued a decades long affair with Clark Gable.  At the same, she raised her children (at least my mother and Aunt Cindy) to be kind, self-sufficient and respectful.  You have raised a fascinating question that deserves more research!

Your second question is easy to answer, she had naturally dark red hair, lots (I mean lots) of cute tiny freckles and blue eyes!  The incredible makeup and hair departments at the  various Hollywood studios did a remarkable job of changing her hair color and hiding her freckles.  Joan had striking features, but the black and white photos and film of the 1920's through late 1940's don't do justice to her fiery red hair and dazzling blue eyes.

Your last question is very close to my heart.  She was in fact a grandmother who loved to bake cookies and take care of her grandchildren.  I visited New York City often as a child and she would always open her home and heart to me.  She loved being a grandmother!

Thanks for the letter and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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November 2008 

Dear Mr. LaLonde,

I commend your active participation in this website.  It's one of the best I've found over many years and your insight is invaluable.  Thank you for providing so much information.

I don't recall the exact date I became a Joan Crawford fan, but I know it was in the 1970s and will never forget it was late on a Saturday night watching the 1947 version of Possessed on TV.  I was mesmerized by your grandmother's performance, as I still am today when I watch the film again (she was robbed of another Oscar that year).  After seeing Possessed, I began seeking information on her career and making a point to view some of her other films.  My personal favorites in addition to Possessed are Autumn Leaves, Sudden Fear, and Queen Bee.

I've read many, many books about your grandmother over the years---including all the ones she authored---and one of my prized possessions is an autographed copy of her 1962 autobiography.  I enjoyed immensely Michelle Vogel's book and have just purchased Not the Girl Next Door.  I don't recall ever having come across information about your grandmother's relationship with Mr. Steele's children.  Do you know if they had contact over the years following his death?

Thank you again for your committment to your grandmother's many, many fans.

Robert Hastings
Memphis, TN


November 2008

Dear Robert,

Thank you for writing and welcome!

I have similar memories as you, watching Joan's films on late night television.  I don't recall watching Possessed, but definitely saw Mildred Pierce and the ubiquitous Rain on the New York television channels WPIX Channel 11 and WWOR Channel 9. Fond childhood memories.

I am very pleased you continued your investigation of Joan's career.  It is always a joy to read how fans begin by catching one of her movies show on television then they watch another and another . . . until they are full-fledged Joan Crawford fans!

My grandmother's two books, one being her autobiography and the other My Way of Life, are definitely books to own.  I am very pleased you have an autographed edition of her autobiography.  I find My Way of Life to be a fascinating look into her private life.  It is truly one of the first "lifestyle" books and provides insight into a woman's life who has achieved great success and wants to enjoy herself.

As for your last question, I recall as a child that my mother, Cathy had some contact with Alfred Steele's son.  I don't remember any contact between them during my later elementary school or teenage years.

Thanks for the questions and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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November 2008 

Hello Casey, 

I'm 17 years old and I love Joan so much. I have a whole wall with all my Joan stuff. I think she was the best and always will be. I wish more than anything I could have met her. By the way does your mom have things from Joan?

Thanks!

Chastine Bright
Location: Ohio


November 2008

Dear Chastine,

Thank you for the letter and welcome to the best Joan Crawford website!

Thank you for the lovely comments!  It is always exciting to receive comments from young people interested in my grandmother's life and career.  My grandmother's place in the larger world of popular culture makes her an easy topic to study because of the abundance of books, films on DVD and documentaries.

As for your last question, my mother, Cathy, received a bulk of her mother's physical belongings following Joan's death in 1977.  Virtually all of Joan's furniture and other belongings came to my house when I was a child.  I have many personal mementos, gifts and other belongings from my grandmother's last apartment.  I have many treasured books "From the Library of Joan Crawford" in my personal library at home.

Thanks for the questions and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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November 2008 

Hello Casey, 

I think it is wonderful for you to connect with your grandmother's fans the way you do, and a big thank you to Neil for a place for you to do so.  I just finished reading Joan Crawford the Essential Biography by Lawrence Quirk & William Schoell.  I was a little disappointed in the book as it doesn't really get into who Joan was as a person.  A great source for synopsis and reviews of all her movies though.  When I finished the book, I started looking on the net for other books about her and found this website.  In reading some of the other letters, I found it interesting that there was a claim that Joan had an affair with Marilyn Monroe.  In the book that I just finished reading, it seemed that Joan didn't like Marilyn at all.  Although she respected her as an actress, she thought that Marilyn flaunted her sexuality way too much.

I wanted to ask if there was any one person that you or your mother remember as being Joan's 'BBF'?  Did she have anyone that she just 'hung out' with and shared her life with?

Boo Henderson
Location: Magnolia, TX


November 2008

Dear Boo,

Thanks for the letter and welcome to the website!

I read Lawrence Quirk's Joan Crawford: The Essential Biography on a trip back from Las Vegas in 2002.  I concur with your assertion that the book does not delve too deeply into my grandmother as a person.  It is a good source for filmography information, however.

The information regarding a purported affair between Joan and Marilyn Monroe has been discounted, due to uncorroborated evidence.  I now also disavow any relationship between my grandmother and Marilyn until new, more solid information is introduced.  There are enough myths floating around about Joan so I don't want to encourage more!  The information about a possible one night relationship between Joan and Marilyn was interesting when presented, but since there is no substantive backup to the claims, I just have to disavow it.

As for your last question, four names come to mind immediately. Barbara Stanwyck, Pearl Bailey, Myrna Loy, William Haines, Cesar Romero and Franchot Tone. All were great friends of my grandmother at different points in her life.  She valued their friendship and they hers.

Thanks for the letter and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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November 2008

Dear Casey,

I am a big fan of your grandmother and loved all of her movies. My favorites are Mildred Pierce and Humoresque. Could you tell me what your grandmother's favorite roles were?

Paul


November 2008

Dear Paul,
Thank you for the letter and welcome!

Your favorite films also happen to be some of my grandmother's favorites!  Mildred Pierce and Humoresque are two of Joan's finest films, along with Possessed (1947).  This trio of films forms the backbone of Joan's work at Warner Bros., following her departure from Metro in 1943.

It's natural that Joan thought her role as Mildred Pierce was one of her best and favorites.  The role won her the Academy Award and the respect of her peers and colleagues in Hollywood. Mildred Pierce is one of my favorites as well, given the film-noir feel, excellent cast and direction by Michael Curtiz.

Some of her other favorite roles were as Esther Costello in The Story of Esther Costello (1957), Daisy Kenyon in Daisy Kenyon (1947), Anna Holm in A Woman's Face (1941) and Flaemmchen in Grand Hotel (1932).  I recommend you screen all of these films to see Joan's range over a variety of roles through the course of her career.

Thank you for the letter and please write again!

Best,
Casey

November 2008

Dear Casey,

I have to ask you a personal question that has been a large topic of conversation in a yahoo message board called The Best of Everything. I am a member of this group and many of the discussions have been about how you are making money off of Joan Crawford through websites, interviews and most recently the Tonner Doll. Is this true? The group members seem to believe that you are only involved with your grandmother, Joan Crawford, for financial gain. Could you shed some light on this?

I'd appreciate an honest answer.

Anonymous



November 2008

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for the letter. I never shied away from answering any questions posed by a Joan fan through this website.

I have never taken a fee for any interview, appearance or anything else to do with my grandmother. The Legendary Joan Crawford website does no advertising and I have no financial stake in its operation. I contribute to this excellent website purely out of the wonderful experience of corresponding with my grandmother's fans, like yourself.

Conversely, over the past four years, I have probably spent $15,000 to $20,000 of my own hard earned money on travel to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Rochester and other locations. As for the tiny amount of dollars I will receive from the doll company, it will be allocated for future travel to film festivals, appearances and other travel related to restoring my grandmother's good name.

Through your letter, I sense there is much concern about me at your message board. I strongly suggest that the message board members and moderator focus on the real issue at hand: continued exploration of Joan Crawford's stunning life and career.

Thanks for the concern and please do write again.

Best,
Casey

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October 2008

Dear Casey,

Does your mom and aunt believe Christina's book is filled with lies? Did your grandmother put your mom and aunt in her will?

Your family has an amazing history; your grandmother was so talented!! Is anyone else in your family in the acting business?

I look forward to hearing from you and perhaps that you will post more family photos.

Thank you,

Kelly
New York



October 2008

Dear Kelly,

Thank you for the letter and welcome to the best Joan Crawford site on the Internet!

My mother Cathy and my Aunt Cindy have always steadfastly defended my grandmother's memory. My mother was devastated following Joan's death. The publication of Mommie Dearest, followed by the campy and over the top film version just added fuel to the fire. My mother and Aunt Cindy have always repudiated Christina's perceptions of the Joan Crawford household.

My mother and Aunt Cindy were the prime beneficiaries of my grandmother's will. Each of the four grandchildren also received some inheritance, as well as several of Joan's close friends. Joan also gave a significant portion of her estate to many well-known charities, again, showing her deep charitable commitments.

No one else from the family is in the entertainment biz, but I have always been interested in producing films.

Thanks for your letter and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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October 2008

Hello Casey,

It is wonderful to hear another voice in reference to your grandmother. It's regrettable that her name has become linked with that notorious book. She should be remembered and respected as the persevering and talented star she truly was. Thank you so much for being brave enough to come forward and claim her as your own after so much turmoil. She will always hold a place in my heart as well.

Best wishes,

Jonathan
Orlando, Florida


October 2008

Dear Jonathan,

Thank for the lovely letter and welcome!

Your kind words fill me with joy. I have been working for the past years to help correct some of the damage done by Christina. My grandmother deserved a more respectful legacy than Mommie Dearest represents. With the help of fans like you, we are assured success in reestablishing Joan's reputation as an incredibly talented actress and devoted mother and grandmother.

Thanks for the wonderful letter and please do write again!

Best,
Casey

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October 2008

Hi Casey,

I've so enjoyed your Grandmothers work. I've never quite believed the whole " Mommie Dearest" thing. Why is it your Mother and Aunt are never even mentioned in the film? That said, makes it even more evident the whole film is a falsity.

My question pertains to your Grandmother's relationship with Bette Davis. Why did they not get along? Did they ever put aside their differences and become friends?


Lori Schaefer
Minnesota



October 2008

Dear Lori,

Thank you for the letter and welcome!

Thank you for the questions about Mommie Dearest. To put it simply, if my mother or Aunt Cindy would have been portrayed in Mommie Dearest, it would have been grounds for a lawsuit. Christina and the film's producers knew this and rightly excluded any reference to the rest of the family during shooting. It was the correct (I won't say "right thing to do" in any reference to Christina or that ghastly movie) legal move, as a lawsuit may have ended up scuttling the project or at least holding up production or distribution.

My mother or Aunt Cindy could have easily claimed slander, as they were not public people and deserved at least a modicum of privacy.

As for the apparent Joan / Bette feud, I personally believe there were many perceived wrongdoings by both parties that led to an almost lifelong dislike for each other. They were competitors and two huge fish in the Hollywood pond. However, I do believe the media (of the time) may have extrapolated and exaggerated some of the incidents and ill feelings between the two. Today, celebrity feuds are very common, stoked by gossip mags like OK!, US Weekly and by websites like TMZ. Times were different when Joan and Bette lived in Hollywood, but not THAT much different.

Thanks for the letter and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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October 2008

Dear Casey,

A couple of weeks ago I went to Los Angeles and had a chance to drive by your Grandmother's house on 426 N. Bristol in Brentwood. It still looks the same as the last home photo on this website. I wish they left it as it was when your Grandmother owned it.

I read an article today from the Los Angeles Times dated 9/18/2008 that the house is up for sale. It states that Leeza Gibbons has the house on the Market for $7,395,000. The house was listed since December 2006. The article in the LA Times states it is set behind gates and sits up a long driveway on more than an acre that includes landscaped gardens. The 11,137 square-foot Mediterranean was built in 1926 and was once owned by Joan Crawford. Leeza Gibbons remodeled the home which has carved moldings, hardwood floors and lots of stone and wrought iron. The main house has seven bedrooms and eight bathrooms in three stories. It also has a detached guest house.

Is there anyway that you or one of your fans would be able to view the house now and add it to this website? Or do you know of another website that we can take a virtual tour of the home? I'm sure we would all love to see it.
It was amazing for me to see it and just drive around her old neighborhood where she spent so much of her life. I just love her so much.

Thanks so much.
You're the Best!!!!

David Morrocco
San Diego, CA



October 2008

Dear David,

Thank you for the letter and welcome!

When in LA, I usually do a drive-by of my grandmother's house in Brentwood. I have seen the home's transformation over the past four years. As you saw, it is now a Mediterranean style home like many others in Los Angeles. Nothing spectacular, but still Joan Crawford's home for many years in Hollywood.

Rumors swirled on its current owner and Leeza Gibbons was mentioned. However, Ms. Gibbons does own a Hollywood Hills mansion owned by my grandmother in the 1920's. That home is for sale at $7,395,000 price. This home is located at 1760 Courtney Avenue. The following link takes you to the home for sale: http://guests.themls.com/profile_page.cfm?mls=08-313811&tab=search&p=7&t=1

Ms. Gibbons' home is a gorgeous Spanish style manse with a pool and loads of space!

Now, back to Joan's home in Brentwood. I would love to get inside and take a look. Apparently, the new owner made significant changes, but still kept some of the original interior design.

Thanks for the letter and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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October 2008

Casey,

I always believed the Mommie Dearest story to be true until I started to do my own research and NOW I KNOW IT IS A LIE. I feel bad for your grandma getting a bad rap.

My question did your grandmother leave them out of
her will cause of how they acted?? She only says they know why.. I think Christina is trying to get back at her for her being a problem child meaning Christina.

Tina
Washington State



October 2008

Dear Tina,

Thanks for the letter and welcome!

I have written extensively on the supposition that Joan excluded Christina and Christopher from her will due to Christina writing a tell-all memoir of her life with Joan. As most people do, Joan took the betrayal very hard and found her retribution through excluding both Christina and Christopher from her will. It is the added language of " . . . for reasons which are well known to them" that adds some punch to Joan's will.

Charlotte Chandler's recent book Not the Girl Next Door: Joan Crawford, a Personal Biography, sheds some light on the issue. Ms. Chandler states that Joan knew exactly what Christina was up to and the will was changed to reflect her betrayal.

I don't think it was Christina's cumulative behavior that caused Joan to exclude her from the will. I believe it was the final, back breaking betrayal that caused the issue.

Thanks for the letter and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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October 2008

Dear Casey,

I have always been fascinated by the fact that Joan Crawford had in her apartment paintings by the 'big eyed'
60's artist Margare Keane. I think perhaps even portraits. I remember reading Jerry Lewis also had a stylized family portrait done, but I have never seen one of Miss Crawford.

You may know Margaret Keene proved in court she was
actually the artist of all her famous big eyed works, street urchins etc, and not her then husband Walter who for years took the credit. Do you remember seeing any of the paintings Miss Crawford owned, or where I could search for an image of them? I have books/articles showing the various home interiors, but no luck yet.

Many thanks!

Robert R.
Melbourne Australia



October 2008

Dear Robert,

Thank you for the letter and welcome!

My grandmother owned several Margaret Keane "big eyed" oil paintings. They were all the rage in the 1960's and 70's and still have many fans worldwide. Not only do I remember the paintings, I have one hanging in my home! My mother gave me the painting when I got married and hung in my grandmother's apartment in New York City until her death in 1977.

The painting I have is one of a small child and cat looking over a wooden fence. It is one of my prized possessions and hangs in one of our guest bedrooms. The painting is full of childhood memories for me!

My grandmother never had a family portrait done, but it would have made for a very interesting family heirloom!

I was fascinated that Margaret Keane's husband took credit for all those many paintings. I have visited San Francisco many times over the past several years and always wanted to visit the Margaret Keane gallery. It is located at 3040 Larkin Street (across the street from Ghiardelli Square). I passed by a few times, but the hours were by appointment. Anyone interested in Keane's "big eyed" art should check out the gallery.

I will snap a photo of the painting and have Neil Maciejewski post it with this letter.

Thanks for the letter and please do write again!

Best,
Casey

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October 2008

Casey,

When I was a kid I used to watch The Lucy Show all the time. One episode that always stuck with me was when Lucy & Vivian Vance (I think) are going around collecting money for some charity or other. They happen upon Joan Crawford's house. The comedy crux of the episode is that Lucy thinks Joan is broke because her house is completely empty and she answers the door in rather unflattering clothes. Lucy then decides she is going to collect money to help Ms Crawford who is obviously (to Lucy) down on her luck.

In the end, it is all a misunderstanding as Joan has sent everything (furniture, rugs, etc.) out to be cleaned and she herself has been cleaning hence the less than glamorous attire she wears when answering the door for Lucy. OK... typical Lucy silliness, but then years latter I see Mommy Dearest and all this stuff about her being nuts about things being cleaned. I not suggesting she was nuts or anything, but was she ... a little more concerned than most about things being clean?

Understand I am not making a negative judgment about your grandmother. I realize that she didn't write the episode of Lucy and maybe it is just a strange coincidence. She did work hard and was in amazing movies so I cant help think that somehow her need for that hard work and perfection that need for organization and cleanliness made its way into the show because that was something that was known about her.

Do you think there was an element of truth to that whole clean freak aspect of her personality, and if so, do you think that relates to her less than glamorous upbringing?

Kindest Regards,


Matthew Hurst
Los Angeles, CA



October 2008

Dear Matthew,

Thank you for the letter and welcome to the world's best Joan Crawford website!

I also love The Lucy Show "Lucy and the Lost Star" (1965-1966 season) episode in which Lucy misunderstands that Joan is down on her luck. It is a classic sit-com misconception / misunderstanding episode. All is well in the end, only after the misunderstanding leads to many shenanigans.

This is also the famous episode where Joan and Lucy apparently did not get along very well during filming. According to IMDB.com, Lucy claimed Joan was drinking all the time and could not remember her lines. Gloria Swanson was apparently supposed to star in the episode but was unable. Swanson's guest starring role would have been a fun homage to Sunset Boulevard. In my opinion, it was Lucy's show and whatever Lucy wanted, Lucy got. She wanted Joan to be a perfect guest host and Joan just didn't match Lucy's requirements.

It was an interesting coincidence (or maybe not) that Lucy showed Joan cleaning her home so comprehensively. My grandmother had obvious (potentially Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)) cleaning issues. That is not an attack on my grandmother but an observation. She did like things tidy, to say the least!

If possible and scientifically accurate, I think it would be more than interesting to have a clinical psychiatrist do a complete study of my grandmother. Her rather unpleasant upbringing had an obvious impact on her life, including her cleanliness tendencies.

Thanks for the letter and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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October 2008

Casey!

I have no question, only a quick comment. I have always loved your grandmother, her films, her glamour. I am currently reading HER LIFE IN LETTERS. I have turned sooo many people on to her legacy, and none believe that she was as hateful as Christina, BRING ME THE AX, Crawford says. I'm in my forties, and believe you me, I got swatted good more than once. But then it was not CHILD ABUSE, but simply the old way of rearing children. I have no scars, emotionally or physically. And since even MYRNA LOY wanted to slap her for her unprofessional behaviour on the stage play BAREFOOT IN THE PARK....MYRNA LOY?! Thank you for keeping your Grandmother's good name in tact. We love her. And I always will.

Cheers!

Craig Curtis
Bellingham, WA

PS: Do you think JC actually did know about the upcoming salacious book before she died, hence changing the will? Charlotte (oh, hell, I forget her last name...HOLLYWOOD MARTYR) seems to remember conversations about it at lunch. CHANDLER! That's it. I loved JC when I was a kid, and I love her as a middle aged adult. You are a shining example of a grandson.



October 2008

Dear Craig,

Thank you for the letter and welcome!

Thank you for the lovely comments. I am very pleased you are enjoying Michelle Vogel's Joan Crawford: Her Life in Letters. The book is a wonderful exploration of my grandmother's dedication to her family and friends through an examination her constant correspondence. The book examines letters through her entire life and career, providing interesting insight.

I am convinced Joan knew about the upcoming book. Charlotte Chandler provides some interesting information in her recently released book Not the Girl Next Door: Joan Crawford, A Personal Biography. It is pretty clear Joan knew not only that the book was in the works, but some of its substance. This must have been devastating for Joan, as loyalty was one of her hallmarks.

Thank you again for the wonderful comments and please do write again!

Best,
Casey

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