Do you have any of your grandmother's personal belongs? If so, what is your favorite?
Thank you for the very interesting question!
I have many of my grandmother's belongings. All are treasured links to her, handed down from her directly or following
her death through my mom Cathy.
Books were so very important to my grandmother. I believe her lack of educational opportunities through her young life
reinforced the importance of reading and self-motivated learning. She had an impressive library filled with books across the
spectrum from classic literature and art to contemporary (1960's and 1970's) pop fiction from the likes of Jacqueline Susann.
I have many of her books in my own library today.
Possibly one of the most important Joan possessions I have are a set of foot stools that I believe were designed by Joan's
friend William "Billy" Haines back in the 1930's. As you know, Mr. Haines was a rising Hollywood leading man who
left the business in the early 1930's under pressure from MGM because he was openly gay. Joan and Billie became lifelong
friends and he became a sought after interior decorator.
The chairs followed my grandmother from her Brentwood mansion to her apartment homes in New York City. The small chairs
are a reminder to me of classic Hollywood and Joan's life in Hollywood and New York City. Just imagine who sat on those chairs!
Thanks for the great question and please write again!
I just wanted to say that you exemplify a new and different type of relative of a Golden Age Star.
You remind me of Mr. Michael Merrill, the son of Bette Davis, who speaks well of his mother, and knowledgably about her
work. He has a life of his own, and yet he takes the time to participate in documentaries and biographies in a manner that
is respectful toward his mother.
You gentlemen are "point men" for these ladies, and your loyalty and pleasantness are very gratifying for those
of us who love the vintage stars.
Also, each time a relative of one of these stars speaks up in a gentlemanly, knowledgable way, one has to think, "Well,
she must have done something right - look at him!"
Thank you very much for the letter and welcome!
I was so pleased to read your letter. It has been a pleasure to correspond with fans like yourself who value a different
perspective on my grandmother's life and career. Michael Merrill loved and supported his mother, much to the chagrin of Bette's
main detractor, her daughter B.D. Hyman.
In my opinion, it is always easier to go negative. Christina did quite a job on my grandmother, as did B.D. with Bette
Davis. People like Mr. Merrill and I don't sensationalize our families, we just celebrate their places in Hollywood history.
I like to think that we go positive because there are so many interesting stories and highlights from the lives and careers
of these two Hollywood legends.
I also appreciate being called a "gentleman!"
Thanks again for the wonderful letter and please write again!
I just read on your site that your Aunt Cindy passed away. What month did she pass away? Was she ill? I pray your Mom,
you and Cindy's children are coping well and can take peace in remembering the happy times with Cindy. Do you think your
Mom will make peace with Christina now that it is only the two of them left?
Thanks so much Casey for creating this site for Joan's fans.
Best regards, and sorry for your loss.
Highlands Ranch, Colorado
Thank you very much for the condolences. I have been answering directly to those who write in with condolence letters
and have decided to not have them published. I am sure you can understand.
Cindy had contracted Hepatitis some time ago and was awaiting a liver transplant. Her health just became too fragile
and she passed away peacefully. She had been at Baylor Hospital for about the last four months or so, surrounded by her family.
It is my opinion that for my Aunt Christina to make amends with my mother, Christina would have to recant the entire book
and claims made against Joan. That just isn't going to happen . . . so a reconciliation is unlikely.
Thanks again for the kind words. Cindy's obituary may be viewed here: