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caseylettersaugust2007

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August 2007

Hi Casey,

I wonder why you never met Christina and Christopher?

Also why is their account of Joan's treatment to them is one of abuse, while the twins were left in the will? What really happened?

I am 58 years old. I have always loved Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Clark Gable and all the other classic stars you see on AMC's. I'm not sitting in judgment by any means, I'm just curious to know why the adoptive children seperated.

God Bless you,I look forward to hearing your response.

Thank you in advance,

Belinda Watkins
Berkeley, Ill.




August 2007

Dear Belinda,

Thank you for the letter and welcome!

As with any normal family, disagreements and squabbles can lead to disruption and ambivalence. However, Joan Crawford's household was not your normal family. My grandmother deeply wanted a family to care for, and she succeeded in adopting four children. Mind you, this was the late 1930's and 1940's and completely unheard of for a single mother to adopt children.

Christina's infamous recounting of her life with Joan is in striking difference to the experience of the slightly younger twins, my mother Cathy and Aunt Cindy. They experienced none of the abuse reported by Christina. My mother was devastated after my grandmother's death, as she had great love and affection for Joan.

As Christina, Christopher and the twins were several years apart, that may be part of the reason for the distance. Was Christina jealous of the twins? Maybe she was jealous of the close relationship they had with their mother. Who knows?

Mind you, I was just over five years old when Joan died in 1977. I never had the chance to meet Christina and I am not so sure I would take advantage of an opportunity now, given the hurtful things she has said about my grandmother for the past thirty years. It is obvious from Joan's will that she viewed everyone as individuals and that is why Christina and Christopher were written out of the will and the twins kept in.

Thanks for the letter and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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August 2007

Dear Casey,

This is a great thing your doing, getting in touch with fans to give them an inside look, I would like to personally thank you, I find these letters a great look at Joan from the inside.

My question involves her legendary feud with Bette Davis. Many stories have been told about them, even a book written which im sure you have read. Has your mother or aunt ever mentioned anything about Bette Davis? I remember reading that they were on the set of Baby Jane so they may have a few memories.

I too collect Joan memorabillia, I have a ton of DVDs, some glossys and advertisements but my favorite item is a 36" by 50" Poster of Joan's Blackglama ad from the 60s.


Louis Prizzi
Holbrook NY




August 2007

Dear Louis,

Welcome and thanks for the letter!

I am so thrilled to receive positive feedback from my grandmother's fans! Thanks again for writing.

The infamous feud between Bette and Joan is legendary. There are many funny and biting comments made by both sides during their careers. I have read Shaun Considine's The Divine Feud and found it interesting.

I will say that although they poked each other repeatedly, the feud was more urban legend than anything. Hollywood stars continually say things about costars and others in the industry due to jealousy, work performance, etc. Both Joan and Bette were so busy with their families and private lives that other than in interviews, I doubt they spent much time fretting over each other.

I recall one story in particular my mother told me about Bette Davis and her daughter B.D. Hyman. My mother Cathy visited Joan on the set of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? and apparently B.D. was there visiting Bette. For some reason, Joan prohibited my mother and Aunt Cindy from hanging out with B.D. I recall something my mother said that Joan didn't think B.D. was a respectable girl.

My mom was also on set for the final beach scene in Baby Jane. As all fans recall from the film, it is the near the end of the story, literally for Joan, as Bette kidnaps her to the beach. Joan had some nasty, deathly looking makeup applied for the scene and my mother was scared by her appearance! My mother was all of 14 years old, so I can imagine her fright at seeing her own mother looking near death!

Baby Jane is just one of those classic films made even better by the co-stars Joan Crawford and Bette Davis. In my opinion, but Bette and Joan should have been nominated for an Academy Award . . .

I love those old Blackglama ads! They were done with such class and sophistication. I am not personally a supporter of using fur, but the ads are timeless.

Thanks for the great questions and please write again.

Best,
Casey

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August 2007

Hi Casey,

I saw a program recently on television that implied that the 426 Bristol Home was haunted and that may be why Joan had demons as Christina says in her book. Does your mom know of this?

Also, does your mom have a scrapbook of photos of her when she was little? If so, could you put some more of them on your site.

Thanks,

Tracy Costa
Highlands Ranch, Colorado



August 2007

Dear Tracy,

Thanks for writing and welcome to the website!

I too saw the show, as I wrote earlier, it was a 2005 British production called "Dead Famous: Joan Crawford." In my opinion, the show was kinda cheesy, but still entertaining. My friend Scott Michaels, who does the Dearly Departed Tour in Hollywood, sent me a copy of the show last year. It has been shown on American television a few times since.

Christina and others have made claims that Joan's Brentwood house is haunted. Some of it may be rumors and gossip, but there are reports of walls bursting into flames and the fire department not being able to find a cause of the fires. As I stated earlier, I would suggest it may be an electrical problem if nothing supernatural is occurring.

My mom lived in the house for years and I don't recall her talking about any supernatural happenings.

Neil Maciejewski, the very talented person who runs this website, is adding content all the time, so please stay tuned!

Thanks for the letter and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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August 2007

Hi Casey

I am 13 years old and am very interested in drama. I am a very big fan of your "JoJo" because she is a true actress and my inspiration to act. I am sick of so called "actors" like Lindsay Lohan who people beleive can act. But the truth is they can only act one charecter, themselves!!! That is why I appreciate your grandmother because she was a true actress who could act any part that she was given.

Now for my questions 1: What was some of the things that your grandmother and Bette Davis said about each other?

2: Just of interrest, why was it that she decided to adopt instead of having her own children?

3: How did she learn to become such a great actress?

And my last question is did she have any other interests apart from acting and dancing?

Thank you very much!

Maddii

Sydney,
Australia




August 2007

Dear Maddii,

Welcome and thanks for the letter!

Another fan from Australia! Fantastic!

In my opinion, you are right to look to classic Hollywood for inspiration on your interest in drama and acting. Today's "stars" just don't have it! Lindsey Lohan, among many other of today's stars lack the talent so apparent in classic Hollywood stars. I will take Ida Lupino, Barbara Stanwyck or Kay Francis over today's no-talent Hollywood crowd. There are very few actresses especially that are box office draws today.

As for the relationship between Bette Davis and my grandmother, I consider their "feud" mostly urban legend. They didn't necessarily like each other, but the feud was mostly a construct of the gossip columnists of the time. They were rivals, especially after Joan moved to Warners from MGM, but they had completely different acting styles and moved in different circles.

Most of the quotes from Ms. Davis or Joan were petty, barbed comments. Nothing different from today!

From Ms. Davis: "The best time I ever had with Joan Crawford was when I pushed her down the stairs in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?"

From Joan: "Bette and I work differently. Bette screams and I knit. While she screamed, I knitted a scarf that stretched clear to Malibu."

As for your second question, nothing was more important to Joan than having a family. Joan had significant problems conceiving and made the decision to adopt instead. No matter what my Aunt Christina says about her life with Joan as an adopted child, Joan was a trailblazer for single parent adoptions. She had the financial means to support a family on her own and did so.

I believe that due to Joan's rather unpleasant childhood, she wanted to create a perfect family for herself and her adopted children. She had the best intentions in doing so and provided a loving environment according to my mother and Aunt Cindy.

Thanks for the questions and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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August 2007

Hello Casey,

I often wonder if this is true or not true. I wonder if her old home in CA is a hunted house. Do you think Joan is now ghost there or someone else is?

I was reading about it at the bookstore. Hope you dont feel
upset or think I am being rude about it but people are talking about ghosts at her old home. Did Joan Crawford ever seen one at her home, I wonder....

Thank you for your time and hope to hear from ya!


Jason
Washington, DC




August 2007

Dear Jason,

Thanks for writing and welcome!

There have been stories since my grandmother sold her house at 426 North Bristol Avenue in Brentwood in the late 1950's that the house was and still is haunted. The latest information I saw on this topic was a slightly cheesy British television program called "Dead Famous: Joan Crawford." The show focuses on a particular, now deceased, famous person and travels to their favorite vacation spots and former homes.

The Joan Crawford episode focused on her Brentwood house and for some reason the Brookdale Lodge in the Santa Cruz mountains. My Aunt Christina has also made claims concerning the haunted goings-on at the Brentwood house. She has stated that she would see ghostly child apparitions occasionally in the house.

Purportedly, subsequent owners of the house reported that a spot on the wall above the former location of my grandmother's bed would burst into flame. This is entirely hearsay but apparently reported to the fire department. There was no logical reason for the fire, but I would suggest it was an electrical problem . . .

According to the "Dead Famous" episode, an owner in the early 1990's had the house exorcised and few if any supernatural events occurred thereafter.

Thanks for the question and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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August 2007

Hello Casey,

I have been a fan of your grandmother's for many years but I can't seem to find any GOOD biographies on her. I was so excited when I heard that the book by David Brent was coming out but when it did it got such HORRIBLE reviews that I dared not buy it. (There is the one by Bob Thomas
that I would love to get but sadly it is out of print.)

Do you know if any upcoming biographies will be coming out soon? Thanks so much of taking the time to answer our letters!

Melinda
Georgia




August 2007

Dear Melinda,

Thanks for contacting me and welcome to the website!

Many biographies have been written over the years, to include the latest bit from David Brent. I haven't had the chance, nor the inclination to read Brent's work, mostly because he claims my grandmother worked as a prostitute. Nevertheless, in my opinion a really good, satisfying biography has never been written.

You can go a few different directions with Joan-related books. If you haven't done so already, begin with Joan's autobiography "A Portrait of Joan" (1962), followed by the now cult classic "My Way of Life" (1971). Both offer interesting autobiographical insights with "My Way of Life" being more like a psychological examination than straight autobiography. Another of my favorites is Roy Newquist's "Conversations with Joan Crawford" (1981). The book is a collection of interviews Newquist had with my grandmother over the years. Intriguing, as it catches her later in life and more likely to be honest about a myriad of subjects.

If you can get a copy of Bob Thomas' Joan Crawford, a Biography, please do so. It is a pretty well rounded biography, but nothing extraordinary.

Lawrence Quirk's 2002 book, "Joan Crawford, The Essential Biography," in my opinion focuses too much on her sexual liaisons and does not delve deeply enough into the other facets of her life and career.

As I wrote earlier, there has never been the end and be all Joan Crawford biography. One key component to a great biography would be cooperation from my mother Cathy and Aunt Cindy. Their story has never been told and would make an excellent foundation for a real Joan Crawford biography.

Thanks for the letter and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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August 2007

Hi Casey,

My brother is the biggest Joan Crawford fan I know he has everything she has ever done on DVD and lots of her VHS - to him she is the most talented and beautiful actress there was.

Do you think they will release "Female on the Beach" anytime soon? That is one he is really wanting.

Thank you!

Stephanie
Dallas TX



August 2007

Dear Stephanie,

Thanks for the letter and welcome!

I haven't seen "Female on the Beach" in several years. Although not one of my real favorites, it is still a fun melodrama. Jeff Chandler and Joan, I think, work really well together.

Last night, my wife and I started watching "Harriet Craig," from Turner Classic Movie's Summer Under the Stars day long marathon of Joan films from August 3rd. Right before the movie, TCM advertised the Esther Williams DVD package. Our thoughts went directly to Jeff Chandler and how we could really go for a viewing of "Female on the Beach!"

The film is not currently available on DVD, so stay tuned to TCM for upcoming showings. Also, check Amazon.com and this website for upcoming DVD release information.

Please give my deepest regards and thanks to your brother and tell him to write me too!

Thanks again.

Best,
Casey

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August 2007

Hello Casey,

My name is Millicent, but my friends call me Millie. I'm 34 years old,and use a wheelchair due to being born with cerebral Palsy. I first became aware of your Grandmother through Mommie Dearest, but I hasten to add that for me, the book never rang true in the first place. I'm truly
sorry that your family has had to endure such heartache at your Aunt Christina's hands. Perhaps through your efforts her good name will finally be cleared. I truly hope so.

Love, Millicent/Millie Tirk
Champlin, Minnesota



August 2007

Dear Millie,

Thank you so very much for writing to me! Webmaster Neil Maciejewski does a fantastic job and makes my small contribution so easy.

I am pleased you see past "Mommie Dearest." Joan's life and career were extraordinary and I learn something new almost every day! With Turner Classic Movies and DVD technology at the forefront, more and more of Joan's work may be seen. With other Internet technology such as YouTube, her other work and interviews are being released. Very exciting for fans and family alike!

Thank you for the kind words and please take care!

Please write again!

Best,
Casey

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August 2007

Casey,

I must say the photo of latter-day Joan standing in front of her youthful portrait was wonderful-- she was an extraordinary beauty, young AND old!

What do you make of the quote by Helen Hayes: "Joan tried to be all things to all people, but I wish she hadn't tried to be a mother."

Henriette
Daly City, CA



August 2007

Dear Henriette,

Welcome and thanks for the letter.

No matter what age, my grandmother always kept her beautiful looks! I too love that photo and could not agree with you more.

Although friends for decades, Helen Hayes appears to have been at least slightly critical of the way Joan raised Christina. I believe her comments were focused on Christina and Christopher but not about my mother Cathy and Aunt Cindy. Christina, Christopher and Joan were destined for some type of collision, based on their personalities. I believe Helen Hayes could see this situation and made her comments based on her experience.

Helen's comment is interesting, because I believe Joan tried to be everything to everyone, for better or worse.

Thanks for the letter and please write again!

Best,
Casey

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August 2007

Hi Casey,

No question. My mom was Joan's hairstylist for many years and just wanted to say...my time spent with Joan was wonderful. I was lucky enough to have her cook breakfast for me and my mom in palm springs MANY years ago. I will always remember her as a great woman. I have some letters she wrote when my children were born....she had a way with those letters!!

Thanks for being here to clear up that nasty "Mommie Dearest."

Chic
Los Angeles, CA




August 2007

Dear Chic,

Thank you very much for contacting me! Welcome!

I love to hear stories about people and their interactions with my grandmother. As her career spanned so many decades, she came into contact with literally tens of thousands of people, including your mother!

It brings me joy to learn that you had such great experiences with Joan. Her kindness to friends and coworkers was legendary and you experienced this first hand. Can you imagine Hollywood stars cooking breakfast personally today? Unheard of!

Joan's letter writing is famous and I am so pleased that she included your family in her regular correspondence.

Thank you for the lovely memories!

Please write again!

Best,
Casey

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August 2007

Hello Casey,

I am a huge fan of Joan Crawford. She just had such presence and power for a woman of that era that continues on today. Yes, my and my husband's favorite movie is Mildred Pierce also. Although, love all of her work and look forward to any movie she starred and always embellished that is Tivo'd in our home. Joan would surely love the Tivo creation, I wonder?

Although I read the book and seen the movie Mommie Dearest, I cannot understand why Christina would portray her mother in such a horrific fashion after her passing. I am sure it is a sore subject amongst your family, but doesn't seem normal to do so and seem to stay out of the public eye after doing so. It is not believable that only one child recalls such bitterness.

Joan Crawford to me was a courageous woman, talented, business smart, street smart, caring, and selfless to welcome beautiful children into her life that completed her. More importantly, the gift to be a mother.

Love your site, I enjoy the beautiful pics and the wonderful memories of a great lady. She is an icon that I believe too many of our young actresses today should take note.

Thank you again for keeping her spirit alive and sharing the memories with us fans. Your JoJo is surely proud of you and smiling down on you for your love and respect.

Sincerely,

Annette
Redding, CA




August 2007

Dear Annette,

Thanks for the letter and welcome!

I too love my Tivo and I know Joan would have loved to have one! With the advent of Turner Classic Movies my Tivo records constantly. This Friday, August 3rd, is the TCM "Summer Under the Stars" day dedicated to my grandmother. I just love how TCM honors her and the multitude of classic Hollywood stars all year long.

As for Christina, I would never put myself in her shoes. Her very public hateful memories of her life with Joan don't correlate with my mother and Aunt Cindy's fond memories of their mother. I choose to believe my mom's account of life with Joan.

Thanks for the wonderful comments about the website. My personal thanks to Neil Maciejewski for making this happen!

With all the recent bad news about "young" Hollywood - Lindsey Lohan, et al, today's stars would do no harm by emulating the work ethic of classic Hollywood stars like Joan. The thing my grandmother dislike most were unprofessional actors!

Annette, thanks for the letter and please write again!

Best,
Casey