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Home | Films | Cast-aphrocies | Biography | Photos | Ask Casey | Crawford's Children | Crawford's Men | Radio Days | Television | Joan's Homes | Letters | Facts & Myths | Press/Media Contact

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December 2006

Casey,

I have been obssessed with your grandmouther since the age of ten, Iam now 47 the only thing I don't know for sure is if she was a democrate or republican? My guess is that during the 1930's and 1940's she was a democrate but may have changed to republican later when she became involved in the bussiness wourld around the time she was married to Alfred Steele, also, have you ever seen the ceramic mask of your grandmother from back in the early 80's? I have one. If you haven't let me know and I'll send you a picture of it.

Thanks Tom her most obssessed fan.

Tom Sperduti
Buffalo, New York 14224




December 2006

Hi Tom!

Thanks for the great question!

I would agree with you that as a young woman, my grandmother probably was just a little liberal and as she grew older, became more conservative. That may be too simple, though. All people have a core set of beliefs and principles and my grandmother was never one to publicly proclaim her support of candidates or causes, other than her wonderful charity work for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and The Jimmy Fund.

For example, her interview for the Town Hall show in 1973, she decries the women's liberation movement. My grandmother's views on current events may be less a strictly dogmatic adherence to a political position and more viewing topics through her own life experience. Why would she make fun of women's liberation supporters? She probably had no use for the concept because she believed she had already liberated herself. She didn't need a social movement to tell her how to live her life.

So back to the original question of liberal and conservative? Joan Crawford was far too complex to simply say democrat or republican.

I would love to see a photo of the ceramic mask!

Thanks for the questions and your devotion to my grandmother's memory.

Best,
Casey

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December 2006

Hi Casey,

I wrote you a letter recently which isn't yet published, saying i'd like to see your grandmother in TRAMP TRAMP TRAMP with comic legend Harry Langdon. In the UK many great actresses, like Kay Walsh, started their careers working in films with top comics like George Formby. I'm also interested in actresses like Joan, who started their careers in silents, but were even more successful in talkies. she must have seen many changes in the world both on and off the screen from the Jazz age of the 20s
through to the swinging 60s. I think to of Lillian Gish, who started 10yrs earlier than Joan. Think of the changes she saw!


Stuart Thomson
Dundee, Scotland




December 2006

Hello Stuart!

Thanks for the letter and welcome!

I have had the opportunity to watch Tramp, Tramp, Tramp recently. Harry Langdon is incredible! Watching my grandmother is also another added treat. The film is now available as part of the three DVD box set, Harry Langdon: The Forgotten Clown. The box set includes Tramp, Tramp, Tramp, Long Pants and Strong Man. It is currently available at the Amazon.co.uk site. I highly recommend it for Langdon's wonderful silent era acting and of course my grandmother's turn in Tramp, Tramp, Tramp.

The changes seen by actors, crew members and the studio employees from the first silent films through the early talkies and into the post World War II era have been incredible. From technological advances, the rise and fall of the classic Hollywood studio system, the implementation of the Hayes Code and the advent of the home video and DVD rental market.

The changes were frightening to some and invigorating to others. Consider the failure of some silent film stars to become successful in talking pictures. John Gilbert, for example, was one of the greatest silent film stars who did not find great success in talking films. Gilbert died at such an early age, I always wonder if he could have been more successful in talking pictures if given the opportunity.

Thanks for the great questions and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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December 2006

Hi Casey,

What a treat. It has been a while since I've looked at any of my alltime favorites websites and came across this. I'ts just so nice to read all this, I never knew. Anyway, besides the fact that she was so fascinating and that all of her movies are great in they're own right, my question is this. I was watching Our Dancing Daughters last night and wondered if that story I read once was true about the fact that she was so overwhelmed with how popular that movie was, that being her first real breakthrough role, she went theater hopping to take pictures of the marquee. I always thought that was so cool.

Thanks, and again, thank you for putting really positive vibes out here for her fans. Lord knows with all that Mommie Dearest stuff that this is so refreshing.


Chris Dahlson
Huntington Beach Ca




December 2006

Dear Chris,

I am very happy you found this website! Welcome!

With my grandmother living in such meager conditions for most of her childhood, her Hollywood success must have been incredible. To go from a hoofer in the chorus line to leading actress was quite a feat. She was overwhelmed by her success in Our Dancing Daughters in 1928 and became a true Hollywood star. To answer your question, it is true that she would travel around to snap photos of her name in lights on various theater marquees. She was able to do that until her fans began to recognize her in the street. No more casual trips to movie theaters!

Thank you so much for you kind words. My Aunt Christina has spent thirty years vilifying my grandmother. Time for a new perspective!

Thanks again for the question and warm thoughts. Please write again.

Best,
Casey

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December 2006

Hi Casey,

I would like to know the true date of your grandmother's birth, 1904 or 1905. My friend and I are debating this. Also, my question is considering the movie, Mommie Dearest. I feel that most of it was not factual, since even the book contradicts the movie. Is there any truth in anything Christina wrote? I greatly admire your grandmother's devotion to her fans, that is something lacking in stars today.

Regards,

Jason
West Virginia




December 2006

Hi Jason,

Thanks for the question and welcome.

I have a good friend in Los Angeles who has done extensive research, traveled to San Antonio, Texas and Oklahoma, and believes that she was born in 1906. His position is supported by the evidence he has discovered and I agree with his assessment. However, things like birth certificates and other documents were done so differently back then - we are talking one hundred years ago!

As for the film version of Mommie Dearest, even Christina agrees the film does not even closely resemble the book. I think the over the top campiness of the film has worked to its benefit, however, and in doing so has enshrined the film as a cult classic. It also garnered five "Razzie" awards in 1982, including Worst Picture and Worst Actress award for Faye Dunaway. Ms. Dunaway's over the top performance as a caricature of my grandmother propelled the film into camp territory and beyond.

Other than sharing the same title, the book and film are completely different vehicles.

As to whether Christina is telling the truth, she is only person left on the earth who knows that for certain. Joan has been dead for thirty years and Christopher passed away recently. My mother and Aunt Cindy were eight years older than Christina and never experienced anything like her reported abuse in the household.

Thanks for the question and please write again.

Best,
Casey

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December 2006

Hi, Casey!

Here's a question I'll bet no one has asked you as of yet. I remember back in the early 1990's, I saw two of your cousins (Christopher's daughters) on "The Maury Povitch Show." On the show, they were entreating their father to get in touch with them. It was actually moving and I got a little teary-eyed at how desperately they were begging their father not to cut them and the rest of their family out of his life.

I was wondering: have any of his children sought to make contact with your family or the family of your mother's twin? I really hope so, because I think family contact is precisely what they need -- or, at least, what they needed on the TV show I saw.

The best of Christmas wishes to you and your family!


Katherine Connella
Hollywood, California




December 2006

Dear Katherine,

Thanks for the question and welcome!

You have asked an interesting question. On several occasions, I have told fans and friends of seeing my cousins on some talk show, pleading for their father (Christopher) to get in touch with them. I have never been able to pin down the time frame, because it was around my senior year in high school or early colleges, so make it 1989 to 1992.

Because of this website, I had the chance to meet, via email my cousin Janit Crawford Haney. She is a lovely person and very open to discussing life with her father. As for Christopher's other children, nothing yet . . .

Thanks for the question and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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December 2006

Hi Casey,

I was able to catch you at the Castro Theater last summer and I was wondering do you have any information on your grandmother's forthcoming dvd set? Warner Bros said Flamingo Road was being restored, but they didn't any exact release date or any other titles being included. If you could provide me and my other fans of your grandma with any tidbits, it would be most appreciated. Personally, I think the perferct set would consist of Flamingo Road, Sadie McKee, Strange Cargo, A Womans Face, and Mannequin.

Cordially,

Corey Clark
Oakland, CA




December 2006

Hi Corey,

Thanks for the questions and welcome to the website!

The Castro Theater event was a big thrill for me. It was my first public appearance to talk about my grandmother and the theater staff, especially Bill Longen, made me feel welcome and comfortable. The fans that turned out were fantastic and I would love to do more public appearances.

As for the next Joan boxed set, I have been quietly inquiring with Warner Bros. as to the next release. The first set did well, and with so many Joan films not currently available, it would be a sure hit. If anyone hears any news on this subject, please drop me a line. As soon as I have anything official, I will pass along the information.

Your choices for the next boxed set are perfect!

Thanks again for the question and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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December 2006

Hi Casey,

I am curious as to why the movie, "Mommie Dearest," had no reference to you and your sister,prior to seeking this site I had no idea there were more children, and from what I gather the family is devided for what ever reason. Could you please expand on this?


Kris
Fort Dodge, Iowa



December 2006


Hi Kris,

Thanks for the question and welcome!

Ultimately, Joan adopted (permanently) four children: Christina, Christopher, Cathy and Cindy. My mother, Cathy and her fraternal twin Cindy, were adopted in 1947, some eight years after Christina's birth and adoption.

Christina (and her publisher) knew that any disparaging remarks towards my mother or Aunt Cindy would have been met with legal action. Therefore, they appear little in the book Mommie Dearest and not at all in the film version.

For many years after the book and film were released, most people who did not know of my grandmother prior to the publicity of Mommie Dearest assumed there were only two children. That is the funny thing about the book and film: with all the glare on my grandmother, they completely ignored the fact that two other siblings were in the same household following Christina's eighth birthday.

As for the divided family, think of it no differently as any family who has disagreements following the death of a family member. As my wife Heather always says, births, marriages and funerals brings out the intrigue in some families. Add to the mix a legendary Hollywood star, purported physical abuse and a tell-all book and you have recipe for disaster. My mother was first devastated by the death of her mother, then within a year Mommie Dearest was published. Imagine a sibling writing an international best seller about your mother the monster. It destroyed the family and will never be right again.

I apologize if this was a bit harsh, but I believe in honesty when dealing with my family.

Thanks for the letter and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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December 2006

Dear Casey,

Let me be among the many voices to express how excited I am about the upcoming book on your grandmother's various media appearances--many, many hours of which I have eagerly until Proven Guilty.' Or I recall some televised conversations, when she mentions that she had intended to star in 'Return to Peyton Place'! Now that is one I am sorry we missed.

I have not written since your gracious reply to me a few months ago, but I find now that I have two rather unrelated questions for you: first, have you yet heard the 1940 radio drama _Everyman's Theater_: "Two"?--it is apparently the tale of two post atomic war survivors, and is one of the few radio appearances of Joan's I have yet to find, and should dearly love to get my ears on it.

Secondly, have you ever considered--or should I say, have you been able to convince your mother--to write a book from her own perspective? It is certainly something that would be welcomed by many, and would not be without its advantages in many different ways. I'm sure there would be a number of volunteers for editing/assisting/ghost writing (that is a not-too-subtle-hint :) !), if she should ever come to that decision. In my opinion, it is a long overdue work.

When I think about it (I don't mean to presume), I hope your mom knows how much your efforts mean to us and how proud she should be of you. We who cherish your grandmother's memory, enjoy her entire ouevre (whether or not Joan liked any given performance, we love them all!), and admire all facets of her humanity, both public and private, both flawed and flawless (like the rest of us huamn beings)--we all say, "Thank you, Casey."

With eternal admiration and gratitude,

Daniel James Thornton
Toronto

PS: Joan would be proud of you too. Your diligence in responding to our various queries and accolades can only be matched by her own legendary sense of duty when it came to correspondence!




December 2006

Dear Daniel,

Thank you very much for your heartfelt letter! The letters keep coming in and the questions get more interesting each day.

I am deeply grateful to Michelle Vogel and Neil Maciejewski for writing what shall be a wonderful book about my grandmother. Their hard work and dedication to my grandmother's memory and reputation are clearly evident in the book and their work inspires me every day.

Hollywood's inner workings have always fascinated me, especially the "what ifs" of casting, director choices and studio support of certain films. Reading The Hollywood Reporter and Variety show just how fickle Hollywood can be. Films come and go with passing fancy of producers, directors, actors and studio management. I highly recommend Shoot Out by Peter Bart and Peter Guber. The book provides a great insight into just how (or not) films go from the initial pitch to production and beyond.

The "what ifs" for my grandmother's films and television appearances are very interesting. What if she would have passed on Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? or been able to film Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte? Who would have played Mildred Pierce instead of my grandmother? The ripple effect of literally dozens of decisions by the studio chiefs on down can create an incredibly positive energy or a disaster.

Joan would have been great in Return to Peyton Place!

I have never come across a recording of "Two." It sounds fascinating. I will keep my ears open for the recording. If any fan reading this letter has a copy, let us know.

As for your second query, it is a constant question I receive through this website. I am hopeful that my mother and Aunt Cindy at some point will consent to writing a book. There are many professional authors who would jump at the chance to get their side of Joan's story down on paper. Time will tell.

I can't thank you enough for the warm thoughts expressed in your letter. It has been a privilege to correspond and connect with my grandmother's fans.

Thanks for the wonderful letter and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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December 2006

Hey Casey,

Great to see that you are carrying on with the fans and sharing info.

My question is. Would your Mother be able to answer some of the geographic questions about 430 Bristol Ave Brentwood having lived there?

The sleeping porch is a great first start ie where exactly was it? I believe it might be where the 3 windows are above the back porch as Christina stated that Joan use to open the blinds when she awoke in the morning and they could see them from the yard.

A lot of fans are fascinated by the house and the layout and would love to know more.

Thanks and again well done.

Gavin
London




December 2006

Dear Gavin,

Welcome to the website and thanks for the letter!

Joan's house at 426 North Bristol Avenue in Brentwood is indeed legendary. I just returned from a visit to Los Angeles two weeks ago and I always make it a point to do a drive-by. The house has been undergoing renovations for the past two years. It is finally near completion, as the attached photo shows. It is a far cry from my grandmother's home, even in the 1950's. It has a more Mediterranean feel to it now. Those familiar with the home remember the white brick front entrance. That is all gone now.

You are correct about the patio. It is (was) on the direct back of the house, under the three windows, leading to the pool. What a great location for a quiet drink or a place to snuggle after dark!

I am trying to locate a copy of New Movie magazine from December 1931. The magazine has a full article on the house and its architecture. This is a great starting point for fans interested in the 426 N. Bristol Avenue house and its neat architecture.

Gavin, thanks for the great questions and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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December 2006

Dear Casey,

This site is amazing and your contribution to it is priceless. I am an extremely keen admirer of Joan Crawford and have been since I was 10 years old, best part of my 34 years existing on this planet. She is simply is the best, better then all the rest, Im braking out in song as I type. The question: Why havent your mother, Aunt Cindy and yourself sat down and wrote a book counter attacking Christinas tell all book? It would be such a wonderful thing to see published and it would certainly help restore Joan Crawford reputation. I know there is so much that has been written about JC, but a book coming straight form her two other daughters would be priceless to Crawford fans. Maybe the release of Christina's book brought on to much anguish and the pass is left best in the pass?

Thanks again Casey and look forward to reading your input into Neil's book.

I wish you and your family a safe and wonderful Christmas.


Regards and take care,

John
Sydney, Australia




December 2006

Dear John,

Thanks for the letter and best wishes to you and your family during this holiday season! My grandmother has many wonderful fans in Australia and I am pleased to hear from you.

You have asked a timeless question regarding my family. Since my Aunt Christina's publication of Mommie Dearest and the subsequent movie, my family has been decidedly quiet on the subject. I love my family and this is not an indictment of their silence.

I too remained silent for all my 34 years. My family just was not ready for the tidal wave of negative publicity following the book and movie. In order to counter the Christina Crawford machine, my family should have probably hired a publicist. However, that was just not possible at the time.

As it has been almost thirty years since my grandmother's death and the subsequent publication of Mommie Dearest, a book directly attacking Christina's perspective is, in my opinion, a waste of paper. What would be more appropriate is a book from the perspective of my mother Cathy and Aunt Cindy. Their book would provide a counterbalance to Christina's experience. As my mother and Aunt Cindy are eight years younger than Christina, this approach would counteract any claims of "they did not know what Christina experienced." The book should present their life experiences with Joan Crawford from 1947 to 1977.

I think the book would be an instant hit with Crawford fans and the general public, as their life with Joan has never been fully explored.

Thanks for the great question and happy holidays to you and your family!


Best,
Casey

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