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Above: Joan Crawford with her fourth husband, Al Steele, and her two daughters, Cindy and Cathy.

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

May 2006

May 31, 2006

Dear Casey,

Good evening! I was so pleased to discover this web-site. I've been an admirer of your grandmother for a good many years now, and am happy to know that at this time she is regaining her stature among the film-going public. Like many others, I came to know of Joan through the back door, so to speak, by reading Mommie Dearest. I remember reading the book when I was just a kid, and being totally shocked by it, thinking what kind of a person could this be? But there was an indefinable something about Joan that completely caught my attention, and shortly thereafter I began to read more about her, and watch her movies on the late show (this, before the days of Turner Classic Movies!). And I grew to admire and appreciate Joans work and personality more and more. (In many ways she reminds me of my own hard-working, strong-willed grandmother, who would never hesitate to speak her mind.) I do believe Christinas book has been a sort of double-edged sword. While it ridiculed Joan, I think in the end it really has served to keep Joan in the public attention in a way that few other stars from Hollywoods golden age have attained. There are only a handful of actresses from that time period that have remained absolute icons, and Joan is among them.

There is undoubtedly a good deal of exaggeration and misrepresentation in Christinas account of her life with her mother. Perhaps a great deal of the problem was due to the simple fact that Joan and Christina had incompatible personalities. You know how it is, there are just certain people you meet in life that irritate youthey might not be bad people in any way, but they simply rub you the wrong way. I think that is how Joan and Christina wereno matter what the other did, they just drove each other crazy. And that, along with Christinas rebellious nature, spelled disaster. Its too bad when this happens between a parent and child, but thats just the way things work out sometimes. I am so pleased that youve come forward with your own thoughts on your grandmother; I really do think that her reputation as both a star and remarkable woman are on the mend.

Ive read quite a few accounts of Joans life, by this time, and something has occurred to me. Have you or any member of your family ever considered the idea that Joan may have suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder? Ive never seen the idea mentioned with any specificity in any account that Ive read, but it appears all the pieces fit---this would perfectly explain much of what could seem to be extreme behaviour on Joans part. (I have a good friend who has several family members with this problem, and have heard a good many examples of the varied ways in which the symptoms manifest themselves.) The disorder really does make life difficult for those who have it, in ways that the rest of us can hardly imagine. I dont know if this problem was even recognised back in the twenties through the forties, or when it became known to the medical community. If Joan did have this problem, its a shame that she wasn't living during a time when people knew more about it, since today there's a great deal that can be done to help those with this disorder.

No offence meant, in bringing up this idea! It's just a problem of brain chemistry that some people have, some dont---no stigma attached to it at all. But I was curious as to whether the idea had occurred specifically to any of your family members.

Sorry to be so wordy here---please keep up the good work!

Cheers!

Fred Learn
Pennsylvania

PS---Ah, I have relatives in the Allentown area, though Im seldom in that part of the state anymore---small world!




June 4 2006

Hello Fred!

Welcome to the website and thanks for the questions and comments.

Your observation that Mommie Dearest has allowed Joan to remain in the spotlight, now, going on thirty years after her death is on target. Christina's double edged sword called Mommie Dearest has resulted in Joan Crawford being one of the most recognized Hollywood stars, ever.

An entirely new generation has grown up reading or seeing Mommie Dearest and have become Joan fans. If Christina intended to bury her mother, she failed miserably.

Your thoughts about Christina and Joan colliding is on target also. I consider my grandmother to be a strict parent (who wasn't in the 1940's and 1950's?) who was also a single mother working in the cutthroat film industry. Christina was a rebellious, possibly jealous daughter of a screen legend. It was a volatile mix from the beginning and Mommie Dearest was the resulting explosion.

Just over a year ago, I began my journey to resurrect my grandmother's reputation. Doing so will help me reconcile my life, as well as my grandmother's contributions to Hollywood and her devotion to her family.

Joan may have very well had obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Her cleanliness habits are world renowned, no thanks to the detail provided by Christina in Mommie Dearest. Joan's exacting nature, as expressed in "My Way of Life" tells more. If she were alive now, Joan would be taking an anti-OCD medication, as well as getting therapy. Times they do change!

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

Best,
Casey

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May 29, 2006

Dear Casey,

Hello, My name is Paula Rizner and I am 34yrs old. I came to know your grandmother through the whole Mommy Dearest release. Since then I have been a big fan of hers. I own several of her films and have books on her.

I have always felt that whether or not the incidents took place between your grandmother and her two children Christina and Christopher, it was something that should have been kept between the family. To tarnish her reputation after she was gone I think was quite cruel. Despite the movie I have strong feelings toward your grandmother in the sense of her talent and what she brought to the world during her career. I am thankful she chose to be an actress and to share her dreams with us.

I think she is and will always be a true Hollywood Icon. What I love about her most was the sophistication and drive she brought to the screen. There were many others actresses in her day but she stands alone in this. When there were Blonde Bombshells and have naked woman making it in the movies it was your grandmother that stood with regal beauty and sophistication that some of the others actresses didn't possess. I am very proud to say that I am a Joan Crawford fan and will remain.

I think it's absolutely wonderful that you have decided to stand up for her and help in bettering her reputation. My hat's off to you. As much as I admire her I am even just as overwhelmed to be writing to you. Because to know you are related to her makes me feel honored to have this opportunity to speak with you. I wish you continued success in your endeavor's and hope your grandmother is remembered for who she truly was. A woman, A mother, A grandmother, A friend and a Hollywood Actress. She was a classy lady and this is how I choose to remember her.

Thank you for your time.

God Bless,

Paula Rizner
Bloomington, Illinois

Ps. I have a Yahoo website dedicated to Joan Crawford if you ever want to check it out here is the address. It is quite new.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/JoanCrawfordTheActress




June 4, 2006

Dear Paula,

Thank you for your lovely comments! It is my honor to connect with my grandmother's fans and share my insights into her life and career.

My biggest complaint with my Aunt Christina is that she published her book after her mother died. Joan couldn't defend herself from the grave, so Christina won that round.

I find comfort to know so many people begin as Joan fans by reading or watching Mommie Dearest, then actually do the research and become REAL Joan fans, no matter what Christina claimed.

I agree with you completely, there are few actresses today who match the intensity and screen magic of Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Katharine Hepburn or even Norma Shearer. I may be slightly biased, but most of today's actresses do not measure up to the golden age of Hollywood.

Thank you for starting a Joan fan website. Joan would be honored . . .

Thanks again for the great comments and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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May 27, 2006

Dear Casey,

How do you do? I was wondering if your mother has any memories of being on the set of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? Could you ask her?

Also, I know this is a trifle nosey but I was wondering what your mother did with her inheritance and how long it lasted her? Also, why dont you get in touch with Hal (Joan's brothers) daughter?

Thank you!

Jonathan Goldis
East Greenwich, Rhode Island




May 29, 2006

Hello Jonathan,

Thanks for the great questions.

Since coming out of my self-imposed exile, there is little I will not talk about.

Two stories in particular stick in my memory about my mother, Cathy's, visit to the "Baby Jane" set. My mother was about fifteen at the time and she visited the set when she could.

The first story is that when Joan was in full death makeup for the final gripping scene of the film when Bette Davis, excuse me, Baby Jane, has obviously gone insane and has taken Blanche (Joan) to the beach. My mother went to Joan's dressing room and found her in that horrifying makeup and it scared her silly!

The second story is more interesting. I recall my mother telling me that Joan did not want my mother to hang around with Bette Davis' daughter B.D. My mother and B.D. were the same age and it was a natural they might want to hang around together, especially at the "Baby Jane" movie set. Joan just did not want it to happen.

I need to get more juicy details from my mother!

As for my mother's inheritance, as stated in Joan's will a super majority of her cash went to various charities, including the American Heart Association, American Lung Association and the very important Motion Picture Country Home and Hospital that takes care of retired Hollywood actors and crew members. Joan was also generous with her friends and long time personal assistant Betty Barker.

My Aunt Christina and Uncle Christopher were famously written out of the will.

My mother and Aunt Cindy were bequeathed $77,500 each, distributed over time as required by the will. Each of the four grandchildren received $5,000, although we had to wait until we were 21 years old to received the money. I used my inheritance to help pay for college.

As my father left the family when I was 12, my mother's inheritance was used to support the family, as my father didn't contribute much of anything.

I think it would be great to get in touch with Hal's daughter Joan. That would be a great family reunion!

Thanks for the questions Jonathan and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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May 26, 2006

Hey Casey!

I met your grandmother in 1973 and she blew me away with kindness. I collect film. I have many (over 25) of Joan's movies on film. If I could arrange a festival, would you come?

Ed
Watertown, CT



May 29, 2006

Dear Ed,

I love hearing stories about chance meetings by fans with my grandmother. Where did you meet her? I love details! Please tell more.

A Joan Crawford Film Retrospective is long overdue. If you could arrange a festival, would I come? Of course! Most of her films have not been on the big screen in a very long time.

Let's talk . . .

Best,
Casey

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May 26, 2006

Dear Casey,

In your letter dated May 12, you mentioned The Golden Globe Awards using the plural. I understand your grandmother won a Cecil B DeMille Golden Globe in 68. Were there other nominees or was this a special award? What other Globes did she win? Were they sold or are they still in your mother's possession?

Thanks,

Danny
San Francisco



May 29, 2006

Hello Danny,

Thanks for the questions.

She was presented with a special Cecil B. DeMille Golden Globe in 1970. It is the Golden Globe awarded by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment. Others who have been presented with the award include Judy Garland, Alfred Hitchcock, Lucille Ball, Sydney Poitier, Sophia Loren and Sean Connery. This year's winner was Anthony Hopkins.

The award is not given every year, but at the discretion of the Foreign Press Association.

To my knowledge, the Golden Globe is still in my mother's possession. It is interesting, because the Cecil B. DeMille award was slightly different from the other Golden Globes because (at least the older awards) had a small womanly figure on top of the award. That little figurine kept breaking when I was a kid because it was so fragile. I am sure the HFPA has changed the award in the meantime.

Thanks for the questions and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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May 25, 2006

Hey Casey,

First of all, I'd just like to sincerely thank you for what you're doing for Joan's memory. She truly deserves to be remembered as the beautiful star that she was, and not as 'Mommie Dearest'.

My question to you is: Did Joan ever talk to you about her experiences working on different movies, or did she not talk to you about her career? If she did, though, were there certain films that she seemed more proud of than others? I'd just love to know which of her roles she most enjoyed, because it would make me feel closer to her.

Thank you very much!

Brigitte
Toronto, Canada



May 29, 2006

Hello Brigitte,

Thank you for your question and your kind thoughts.

Regrettably, I was only five when my grandmother passed away. I was more interested in playing in her New York City apartment than listening to the adults talk. I would give anything to relive those years with her as an adult, instead of as a little kid.

However, there were not many roles she did not enjoy portraying. Please discount the later "Berserk" and "Trog" era. For the most part, she enjoyed her time at Metro, especially as she worked with some of the greatest leading men of all time including Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, Robert Taylor and Robert Montgomery.

I believe "Letty Lynton" (1932) was one of her early favorites. As Joan is famously quoted, "If there is ever a Joan Crawford retrospective, I hope they show this movie." "Letty" is also one of my favorite pre-production code Hollywood films. Neil Maciejewski, editor of this fabulous Joan website, sent me a copy over a year ago. Neil has copies available, since due to legal troubles, the film cannot be released commercially.

Her work for Warner Bros., following her release from Metro was also a period of great artistic achievement for my grandmother. He Oscar winning role as "Mildred Pierce" and her roles in "Humoresque" and "Possessed" were also enriching and rewarding.

Even her later dramatic work in "Flamingo Road," "Autumn Leaves" and "Sudden Fear" was outstanding.

Although beset by a feud with Mercedes McCambridge "Johnny Guitar" has become a classic western. Even though sources say that Sterling Hayden didn't like my grandmother on a personal basis, I still love his films. And I have a new appreciation of the film, after seeing it on the big screen at The Castro Theatre last September. A packed theater of Joan fans applauded endlessly at the end of the film.

For obvious artistic reasons, she was less than thrilled with her later work. She was unable to retire quietly, so she made the choice to continue working.

Overall, she was very proud of her entire career.

Thanks for the great question and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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May 23, 2006

Hello Casey,

I want to just say that Joan Crawford has brought tears to my eyes with her movies and her beauty. I have been infatuated with her for a few years now and continue to every day.

Tracy
Long Island ,NY.




May 25, 2006

Hello Tracy,

Thank you for your wonderful thoughts and for sharing your warm memories. The outpouring of love and memories causes me great joy. I am always interested in how fans came to know my grandmother, whether through her films or personal appearances.


Thanks again!


Best,
Casey

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May 23, 2006

Casey,

After seeing the movie, "Mommie Dearest," I couldn't imagine my birth mother giving me up and ending up in that enviroment. I was wondering if after Joan's death, did her children ever search for their birth mother's? I also wonder how the birth mother's felt after watching the movie, "Mommie Dearest."

Amita




May 25, 2006

Hello Amita,

Thank you for the question.

Your question is interesting, because in order for your premise to be valid, you must believe Christina Crawford's account of her life with her mother, Joan Crawford. I have no first hand knowledge of Christina's claimed abuse, so I will not comment. The only person who may refute her claims is dead, namely Joan Crawford.

As a reminder, Joan fully adopted and raised four children. Christina, Christopher, Cathy and Cindy. Cathy and Cindy were at least seven years youngerr than Christina, and never experienced the terrifying abuse as Christina claimed to have occurred to her.

As to your point about the birth mother, I know only of my biological grandmother, who died seven days after giving birth to the fraternal twins. In the summer of 1947, Joan adopted the twins from the Tennessee Children's Home, an orphanage operating with legal and illegal adoptions.

I prefer my mother and Aunt Cindy being adopted and raised by Joan, rather than remaining orphans or possibly split up for adoption purposes. Cathy and Cindy have nothing but loving memories of their mother.

Thank you for your question.

Best,
Casey

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May 16, 2006

Dear Casey,

I just found out about Joan this year when I saw Grand Hotel and she is just too much. I am crazy about her and want to see more of her movies but there just don't seem to be too many out there. Are any of her early movies available in any format? I have seen pictures from "The Taxi Dancer" and "The Understanding Heart" and "Tramp Tramp Tramp" and they look amazing. Have you seen these movies? Are they good? Even if they aren't I must see them. Can any light be shed on this subject?

I am a sailor out on deployment at the moment and I've got to tell you, thanks to the almost violent following of Joan Crawford from the...how should I put this..."alternative lifestyle" communities, I get some pretty evil looks from my shipmates, but like I say, she is just too much.

Thanks for your correspondences to all the fans.

David Bjorkman
USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72)




May 18, 2006

Hello David!

Welcome! You have my deepest thanks for serving our country. Thank you for your comments and questions.

I have seen many of her early films, including many silent films like "Across to Singapore" "Montana Moon" and "The Unknown" with the unforgettable master, Lon Chaney. Even if the films are considered lousy by critics, watch them anyway! There is nothing like watching my grandmother's silent film acting with her big eyes and pouty lips.

I am working to get more of her films released on DVD so fans like you can sample her work across the years. "Dancing Lady" (1933) is due on DVD on June 20th. My personal favorite, from the many times I saw it on TV as a kid, "Johnny Guitar" is due to be released in July of this year. There are Joan collectors out there who have copies of many films. Some have them on DVD which is great.

In 1999, the American Film Institute named Joan as the #10 female star in Hollywood history. Most men find her sexy, confident and strong. Tell your shipmates to sit down and watch some of her films. They will become fans too!

Thanks for the great questions!

Best,
Casey

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May 15th 2006

Hello Casey,

Thank you for this site!

I always loved your grandma and I find it very sad and ungrateful this attack after her death; it's coward to run down someone who cannot defend themself. So, I like your effort to revive Joan's honor and I'm happy to see that many people are not influenced by defamations or, at least, they are open to the her side of the reality.

I always wanted to know about your mom and aunts relationship with their mother, now, it's clear. Photos speaks volumes for the tenderness and interplay between them. Reading the book "A Portrait of Joan," I understood their mother had loved her children very much, but she had a special complicity with Cathy and Cindy. Anyway, J.C was a mother very advanced for her time; her ideas about adoption and children's emancipation and independence are very good.

Now, a question: Why was Joan working so much for muscular distrophy association? (I saw she left a lot of money and she participated on many telethons). Well, she was very sesitive on human problems, but I want to know if she had a special cause about this infirmity.

Many thanks again.

The photos with Cathy and Cindy are lovely, they are very sweet girls.

God bless you!

Kathleen
Athens (Greece)




May 18, 2006

Hello Kathleen,

Thank you for the warm comments and questions! I believe you are the first fan to write from the lovely nation of Greece. Welcome!

I agree with you. My mother Cathy and Aunt Cindy's relationship with their mother was much different than that of Christina and Christopher. Cathy and Cindy's loving remembrances of their mother is something to behold.

My grandmother was a pioneer in many aspects of modern American life, including adopting and raising children as a single mother. Not to say women around the world have not been raising children alone since the beginning of time!

Joan's Hollywood career, status and money obviously helped with the adoptions. However, she proved that a single mother could provide the loving, stable home all children deserve.

As for her connection to the Muscular Dystrophy cause, my grandmother participated in campaigns with the Easter Seals, the American Cancer Society and the Muscular Dystrophy Association. She starred in commercials for these causes over the years, as well as made an appearance on the Jerry Lewis MDA telethon in 1968.

As evident in her will, Joan was generous with organizations such as the American Cancer Society, the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the American Heart Association. She used her celebrity status to raise awareness of health issues, especially those affecting children.

To my knowledge, no member of the family had Muscular Dystrophy. Jerry Lewis has done a marvelous job of getting stars involved in the annual MDA telethon, as it is a grand cause. It was probably just Joan's way of giving back to society.

Kathleen, thank you for the questions and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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May 6, 2006

Hi Casey,

Kudos to you for coming out and defending your grandmother...I am sure your mom and aunt had their reasons for not being very vocal about defending your mother but maybe they were just waiting for you to grow upand do it your self!

My question to you though is this, I still don't understand why your mother or aunt auctioned the "Oscar" and kept the other awards...why didn't they give the "Oscar" to you...was it for monetary reasons that they had it auctioned? Did they not understand the history of their mom's "Oscar"? I am not judging, I realize bills have to be paid etc...

Thanks!

Mallolry
San Francisco




May 12, 2006

Hello Mallory,

Thanks for the question and lovely thoughts. It was time I stood up to defend my grandmother. Thanks for the support!

The question comes down to money. My grandmother made a conscious decision to not give her entire estate to her children. I believe she instilled an independence in her children (at least my mother and Aunt Cindy - I cannot speak for Christina or Christopher). That may be why she only granted the $77,500 to my mother and aunt. She also bequeathed $5,000 to her four grandchildren by Cathy and Cindy. The $5,000 over time turned into $10,000 and I used my inheritance for college (Penn State grad).

My grandmother was very generous with her friends, longtime personal secretary Betty Barker, and many charities, including the excellent Motion Picture County Home & Hospital in Woodland Hills, CA.

Therefore, most of my mother's inheritance came as furniture, odds & ends, her book collection (of which have many volumes today), the Oscar and Golden Globe award. It was during a difficult period in my mother's life that she put the Oscar and many other Hollywood collectible items up for auction with Christie's in 1993. I actually got a call at Penn State from my wife's mother saying she saw the Christie's auction publicized on Entertainment Tonight or similar show. I didn't know what was going on until I went home for break.

Not to get too melodramatic, but my father left the family in 1984, when I was twelve. He left my mother to raise my sister and me by herself with no spousal support. It was difficult, but we persevered through the actions of my mother, whether I agree with them or not.

It is now my life's goal to buy back the Oscar and return it to the family's possession. I just need it to surface again after these past thirteen years.

Thanks for the question and please write again!


Best,
Casey

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May 5, 2006

Hi Casey,

What book did you get the "Box Office Figures" of Joan Crawford's films of the 20s and 30s?

You see, I collect 'Box Office Figures' of films of the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s. I do have the 'Box Office Figures' of the films that are

listed below:

"Rain"(1932)
"The Gorgeous Hussy"(1936)
"The Shining Hour"(1938)
"The Ice Follies of 1939"
"The Women"(1939)
"Strange Cargo"(1940)
"Susan and God"(1940)
"Mildred Pierce"(1945)
"Humoresque"(1946)
"Possessed"(1947)
"Flamingo Road"(1949)
"The Damned Don't Cry"(1950)
"Goodbye My Fancy"(1951)

Thank you!

Ritchie
Brooklyn, New York



May 12, 2006

Hello Ritchie.

Thanks for the question.

I have BO numbers for a few of her more successful earlier films, but it is by no means a complete list:

"Our Dancing Daughters" (1928) $1,099,000
"Our Modern Maidens" (1929) $ 857,000
"Our Blushing Brides" (1930) $1,211,000
"Paid" (1932) $1,231,000
"Dance, Fools, Dance" (1931) $1,268,000
"Possessed" (1931) $1,522,000
"Grand Hotel" (1932) $2,954,000
"Letty Lynton" (1932) $1,172,000
"Dancing Lady" (1933) $2,406,000
"The Gorgeous Hussy" (1936) $2,019,000
"Love on the Run" (1936) $1,862,000

Just imagine, just in these eleven films, Joan helped bring in $17,601,000 in box office receipts. In 2006 dollars that would equal $190,173,577!

Thanks for your question!

Best,
Casey

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May 4, 2006

Hi Casey,

Was there ever a Joan Crawford exibit or aution? Are there any plans for one in the future?

I'm a huge fan!

Thanks Casey. Hope to hear from you soon.

James Muro
NYC



May 12, 2006

Hello James,

Thanks for the question.

In fact, several large scale auctions have taken place since my grandmother's death.

The first was following her death on February 16, 1978. The New York Times reported that over 400 people got inside the Plaza Galleries at 406 East 79th Street for the auction and many more waited on the street, hoping to get in. Many items were sold, but most of the furniture, furs, jewelry and other Hollywood memories, including her Oscar and Golden Globe awards were not sold.

The second auction took place in 1993. More details to come in a follow up question later on. My mother, Cathy, decided to auction most of her mother's Hollywood memorabilia, including the Oscar. Some of the other items included a collection of congratulations telegrams for her Oscar win in 1945.

A third auction took place in July, 1997. My mother sold more Joan memorabilia and mementos. My wife, Heather, and I were just about to leave the Lehigh Valley area for Richmond, VA so I could attend graduate school. I read about the auction in the local newspaper . . .

Since then, the hot Joan auctions have been on Ebay. Literally thousands of Joan items are on Ebay at a given time. No large scale auctions have occurred since 1997 and none will again I suppose, unless a collector decides to sell everything. I am still waiting for the Oscar to resurface . . . It has not been seen since 1993.

Thanks for the question and write again!

Best,
Casey

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May 3, 2006

Hi Casey,

I am a decorative artist who has just come from a meeting at 426 North Bristol Avenue. I am being comissioned, by the interior designer who is redecorating the structure, to execute some very beautiful and tasteful trompe l'oeil. Being a long-time admirer of Joan Crawford, I was afraid that nothing would remain of her reigning days in Brentwood. You will be very happy to know that much actually remains intact. I think that your Grandmother would approve of the alterations. After all, she practically invented re-invention.

Sammy Beam
Hollywood, CA




May 3, 2006

Hello Sammy,

I would do just about anything to get inside the house. It must be a thrill to be working in Joan's longtime Brentwood mansion!

She indeed invented re-invention. Some say Madonna is the queen of re-invention. I like to say Joan mastered the art of re-invention 25 years before Madonna was born!

I am happy to know some of her touches are still intact.

I plan to be in Los Angeles this summer . . . Maybe the owner would permit me a quick look inside? I had to ask!

Thanks for the great information. Please write again!

Best,
Casey

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May, 3 2006

Dear Casey,

This is so wonderful how you are restoring your grandmothers reputation! Do you think that if you wrote a biography and used interviews from Betty Barker, your mother, and many of Joan's old friends that are still alive, if you think it would get published? I know that publishers typically just want dirt and lies because it sells better. What are the chances of you publishing it? I think it would be wonderful if you did.

My other question is do you think that there is any truth to "Mommie Dearest"? Vincent Sherman told a story on the TCM documentary about her being cruel to Christopher. Others have come forth and said she was a tyrrant (Johnny Guitar co-star Sterling hayden and Mercedes Mccambridge, June Allyson).

My other question is, has your mother or aunt ever told you why Joan did not get along with Christina and Christopher. Joan surely must have told them something about their problems.

Thank you so much!

Jonathan Goldis
East Greenwich, Rhode Island




May 3, 2006

Hello Jonathan,

If a well written, extensively researched biography were written, using interviews with Betty Barker, my mother and Aunt Cindy, it certainly would be picked up by a publisher. I believe it would be a strong seller because "Mommie Dearest" has always been considered the last word on Joan's life. Many other biographies have been written but generally rehash the same material. My mother, Aunt Cindy and Betty Barker have truly never given their unexpurgated side of Joan's life.

Remember, next year marks thirty (!) years since my grandmother's death. The last interview my mother gave was in 1981. I was nine!

It is time for redemption.

As for my grandmother being a tyrant, she was a strong-willed woman in a man's world. She was a single mother most of the time, providing a home to two, then a total of four children. This was the 1940's and 50's!

The feud between Mercedes McCambridge and my grandmother on the "Johnny Guitar" set is legendary. So Joan didn't get along with everybody, who does?

My mother and Aunt Cindy's relationship with Joan was loving. They admit she was strict, but this was the 1940's and 50's. Show me a parent who was not strict during this time period. It is disingenuous to place 2006 perceptions of family and parenting skills on a single mother living and working in 1940's Hollywood.

As to why Christopher and Christina did not get along with their adoptive mother, Christina has already had her say in "Mommie Dearest." However, in my opinion, Christina never truly gets to the heart of the matter in her relationship with Joan. It was more of a tell-all character assassination attempt in which Christina just gives countless episodes of perceived abuse. No real soul searching, just examples of why Joan Crawford was a bad person.

It is time for others to come forward and finally defend Joan Crawford, thirty years after her death.

Thanks for the questions and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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May 3, 2006

Dear Casey,

I think it is truly a lovely tribute to your grandmother, Joan Crawford, to continue her legacy of correspondence with fans.

My question has to do with Joan Crawford and music. Do you know what kind of music she liked, or what artists she liked to listen to? I have read much about her book collection. Did she also have a record collection? I have read in assorted books that she was a fan of Bing Crosby's in the 1930s, but have heard nothing else. In Conversations with Joan Crawford, she mentions the song "Have I Stayed Too Long at the Fair." I think it would be interesting to learn what other songs or artists Joan listened to.

Do Cindy and Cathy remember anything perhaps?

Thank you!

Jonathon
Lansing, Michigan




May 3, 2006

Hello Jonathon,

What a fantastic question! These are the kinds of questions that intrigue me and other fans. Questions about contemporary likes and dislikes of stars is fascinating. Too often, my grandmother's biographers focus solely on her love life and films. What happened in an average day in the life of Joan Crawford?

Why was it that she had an ever expanding book collection? A great research topic. My grandmother was an avid collector of books and I have many of her books in my own library today. I believe her love of books came directly from childhood, quite possibly because the very absence of books in her early life.

As for her music tastes, she was a product of her times. She did indeed like Bing Crosby and other singers of the 1930's and 40's. I believe as she grew older, into the 1950's, 60's and beyond she may not have like the new music. Just like millions of other older Americans, she just longed for swing, jazz and Bing Crosby crooning.

Thanks for the question and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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