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November 2007

Do you have any of your grandmother's personal belongs? If so, what is your favorite?



November 2007

Dear Christine,

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!



November 2007


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!"


November 2007

Dear Samantha,

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!



October 2007


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.


Tracy Costa
Highlands Ranch, Colorado

November 2007

Dear Tracy,

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: