Joan Crawford


Actor
Joan Crawford

About

Also Known As
Billy Casey, Billie Cassin, Lucille Fay Le Sueur
Birth Place
San Antonio, Texas, USA
Born
March 23, 1904
Died
May 10, 1977
Cause of Death
Acute Coronary Occlusion

Biography

Joan Crawford's extraordinary career encompassed over 45 years and some 80 films. After a tough, poor childhood, she was spotted in a chorus line by MGM and signed as an ingenue in 1925. Her portrayal of a good-hearted flapper in her 21st film, "Our Dancing Daughters" (1928), made her a star. Crawford maintained this status throughout the remainder of her career, but not without setbacks...

Photos & Videos

Autumn Leaves - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Humoresque - Publicity Stills
Queen Bee - Lobby Card Set

Family & Companions

Michael Cudahy
Companion
Wealthy society figure with whom Crawford is reported to have had an affair in the 1920s.
Douglas Fairbanks Jr
Husband
Actor. Born on December 9, 1909; son of silent screen star Douglas Fairbanks; married in 1929; divorced in 1933.
Clark Gable
Companion
Actor. Born on February 1, 1901; died on November 16, 1960; known as 'The King' of Hollywood, was American film's most popular male lead of the 1930s and early 40s; reported to have had intermittent, ongoing affair with Crawford for over a 10-year period; the two appeared together in "Dance Fools Dance", "Laughing Sinners", "Possessed" (all 1931), "Dancing Lady" (1933), "Chained" (1934), "Forsaking All Others" (1935), "Love on the Run" (1937), "Strange Cargo" (1940).
Franchot Tone
Husband
Actor. Born on February 27, 1905; died on September 18, 1968; married in 1935; divorced in 1939; was one of Crawford's leading men in "Today We Live", "Dancing Lady" (both 1933), "Sadie McKee" (1934), "No More Ladies" (1935), "The Gorgeous Hussy" (1936), "Love on the Run" (typically, a film in which he "loses" Crawford to another man, here Clark Gable) and "The Bride Wore Red" (both 1937).

Bibliography

"Joan Crawford"
Stephen Harvey, Pyramid Books (1975)
"My Way of Life"
Joan Crawford (1971)
"A Portrait of Joan"
Joan Crawford and Jane Kesner Ardmore (1962)
"Joan Crawford"
Bob Thomas

Notes

There is some debate regarding the actual year of Crawford's birth. Many sources give 1906 or 1908, but 1904 is cited most often and by those references generally most reliable, although government records indicate 1908.

Crawford was one of MGM's biggest stars of the 1930s. She placed third on the first annual exhibitor's poll of top boxoffice stars in 1932, and later placed tenth in 1933, sixth in 1934, fifth in 1935 and seventh in 1936. Her boxoffice appeal plummeted for a time in the late 30s, leading her to be one of the stars dubbed "box office poison" in an exhibitors' poll. The most durable star of them all, though, Crawford, still a star three decades later, could look back at it all and laugh.

Biography

Joan Crawford's extraordinary career encompassed over 45 years and some 80 films. After a tough, poor childhood, she was spotted in a chorus line by MGM and signed as an ingenue in 1925. Her portrayal of a good-hearted flapper in her 21st film, "Our Dancing Daughters" (1928), made her a star. Crawford maintained this status throughout the remainder of her career, but not without setbacks. She successfully made the transition to sound films, her Jazz Age image being replaced by young society matrons and sincere, upwardly mobile, sometimes gritty working girls (memorably in "Grand Hotel" 1932) and her mien adopting the carefully sculptured cheekbones, broad shoulders and full mouth audiences remember her for. Her MGM films of the 1930s, though lavish and stylish, were mostly routine and superficial. Despite mature and impressive performances in "The Women" (1939) and "A Woman's Face" (1941), both directed by George Cukor, Crawford continued to be given less-than-challenging roles by the studio.

In 1943 Crawford left MGM and her career took a decided upward turn after she signed with Warner Bros. the following year. In numerous Warner Bros. melodramas and "films noir," a new Crawford persona emerged: intelligent, often neurotic, powerful and sometimes ruthless, but also vulnerable and dependent. Memorable roles in "Mildred Pierce" (1945, for which she deservedly won an Oscar), "Humoresque" (1946) and "Possessed" (1947) restored and consolidated her popularity. In her nine "films noirs" for Warner Bros. and other studios, as well in most of her non-"noir" features (such as "Harriet Craig," 1950), Crawford gave expert and fully realized interpretations.

After this brief period of success, Crawford's career declined once again, and in 1952 her remarkable business acumen told her to leave Warners. She freelanced thereafter, notably for RKO in "Sudden Fear" (1952), a performance which earned Crawford her third Oscar nomination for Best Actress. She was also memorable as a female firebrand in Nicholas Ray's outrageously stylized Western, "Johnny Guitar" (1954). With the exception of "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" (1962), Crawford's performances of the 60s were mostly self-caricatures in second-rate horror films ("Berserk!" 1967, "Trog" 1970). Although these later features were poor vehicles for her talents, she was a resilient and consummate professional with an uncanny knowledge of the business of stardom who was fiercely loyal to her fans and who continued to impose the highest standards of performance upon herself. Crawford was married to actors Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and Franchot Tone and was portrayed as a cruel, violent and calculating mother by Faye Dunaway in the 1981 film, "Mommie Dearest," based on a scathing biography by her adopted daughter Christina.

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

That's Entertainment! III (1994)
MGM: When the Lion Roars (1992)
Going Hollywood: The War Years (1988)
Herself
Trog (1970)
Dr. Brockton
Berserk (1967)
Monica Rivers
The Karate Killers (1967)
I Saw What You Did (1965)
Amy Nelson
Strait-Jacket (1964)
Lucy Harbin
The Caretakers (1963)
Lucretia Terry
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)
Blanche Hudson
The Best of Everything (1959)
Amanda Farrow
The Story of Esther Costello (1957)
Margaret Landi
Autumn Leaves (1956)
Milly Weatherby
Queen Bee (1955)
Eva Phillips
Female on the Beach (1955)
Lynn Markham
Johnny Guitar (1954)
Vienna
Torch Song (1953)
Jenny Stewart
This Woman Is Dangerous (1952)
Beth Austin
Sudden Fear (1952)
Myra Hudson Blaine
Goodbye, My Fancy (1951)
Agatha Reed
Harriet Craig (1950)
Harriet Craig
The Damned Don't Cry (1950)
Ethel Whitehead, also known as Lorna Hansen Forbes
Flamingo Road (1949)
Lane Bellamy
It's a Great Feeling (1949)
Herself
Possessed (1947)
Louise Howell
Humoresque (1947)
Helen Wright
Daisy Kenyon (1947)
Daisy Kenyon
Mildred Pierce (1945)
Mildred Pierce
Hollywood Canteen (1944)
Above Suspicion (1943)
Frances Myles [also known as Mrs. Edward Smith]
Reunion in France (1942)
Michele de la Becque
They All Kissed the Bride (1942)
Margaret J. ["Maggie"] Drew
A Woman's Face (1941)
Anna Holm [also known as Ingrid Paulson]
When Ladies Meet (1941)
Mary Howard
Susan and God (1940)
Susan [Trexel]
Strange Cargo (1940)
Julie
The Women (1939)
Crystal Allen
The Ice Follies of 1939 (1939)
Mary McKay
The Shining Hour (1938)
Olivia [Maggie] Riley
Mannequin (1937)
[Jessica] Jessie Cassidy [Miller]
The Last of Mrs. Cheyney (1937)
[Mrs.] Fay Cheyney
The Bride Wore Red (1937)
Anni [Pavlovitch, also known as Anne Vivaldi]
Love on the Run (1936)
Sally Parker
The Gorgeous Hussy (1936)
[Margaret] Peggy [O'Neal] Eaton
No More Ladies (1935)
Marcia
I Live My Life (1935)
Kay [Bentley]
Forsaking All Others (1934)
Mary Clay
Chained (1934)
Diane Levering [Field]
Sadie McKee (1934)
Sadie [McKee Brennan]
Dancing Lady (1933)
Janie Barlow
Today We Live (1933)
Diana ["Ann" Boyce-Smith]
Rain (1932)
Sadie Thompson
Letty Lynton (1932)
Letty Lynton
Grand Hotel (1932)
Flaemmchen, the stenographer
Dance, Fools, Dance (1931)
Bonnie [Jordan]
Laughing Sinners (1931)
Ivy Stevens
Possessed (1931)
Marian [Martin, also known as Mrs. Moreland]
This Modern Age (1931)
Valentine [Winters]
The Stolen Jools (1931)
Our Blushing Brides (1930)
Jerry
Paid (1930)
Mary Turner
Montana Moon (1930)
Joan
The Duke Steps Out (1929)
Susie
The Hollywood Revue of 1929 (1929)
Untamed (1929)
Bingo
Our Modern Maidens (1929)
Billie
Four Walls (1928)
Frieda
The Law of the Range (1928)
Betty Dallas
West Point (1928)
Betty Channing
Rose-Marie (1928)
Rose-Marie
Our Dancing Daughters (1928)
Diana Medford
Across to Singapore (1928)
Priscilla Crowninshield
Dream of Love (1928)
Adrienne
Spring Fever (1927)
Allie Monte
The Understanding Heart (1927)
Monica Dale
Winners of the Wilderness (1927)
Renée Contrecoeur
The Taxi Dancer (1927)
Joslyn Poe
The Unknown (1927)
Estrellita
Twelve Miles Out (1927)
Jane
Paris (1926)
The girl
Tramp, Tramp, Tramp (1926)
Betty Burton
The Boob (1926)
Jane
Sally, Irene and Mary (1925)
Irene
Old Clothes (1925)
Mary Riley
The Only Thing (1925)
Young Lady Catherine

Misc. Crew (Feature Film)

Going Hollywood: The War Years (1988)
Other

Cast (Special)

The Talent Scouts Program (1960)
Guest

Cast (Short)

At Home with Joan Crawford (1953)
Herself
Screen Actors (1950)
Herself
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer 1925 Studio Tour (1925)
Herself

Misc. Crew (Short)

Joan Crawford (1962)
Archival Footage

Life Events

1916

Grew up with mother and stepfather in Lawton, Oklahoma; moved with family to Kansas City, Missouri (date approximate)

1923

Won amateur dance contest; went to Chicago and Detroit in search of dance career

1924

In chorus of New York production of "Innocent Eyes"; spotted "third from the left in the back row" by MGM producer Harry Rapf; subsequently given screen test

1925

As Miss MGM introduced trailer reel of upcoming MGM films

1925

Feature film debut (as double for Norma Shearer) in "Lady of the Night"

1925

Film acting debut in King Vidor's "Proud Flesh"

1926

Voted one of 13 WAMPAS (Western Association of Motion Picture Advertisers) "Baby Stars" along with Dolores Del Rio, Mary Astor and others

1929

After singing in the all-star "Hollywood Revue of 1929" made full-fledged sound debut in "Untamed"

1931

First teamed with Clark Gable in "Dance Fools Dance", "Laughing Sinners" and "Possessed"

1932

Made motion picture exhibitors poll of top ten box office stars

1938

Named "box office poison" by motion picture exhibitors; MGM renewed her contract nonetheless

1943

Last film for MGM for ten years, "Above Suspicion"

1944

Made cameo appearance in all-star fund-raising film, "Hollywood Canteen"

1944

Signed contract with Warner Bros. paying her slightly less but giving her script approval

1945

First starring film under Warners contract, the popular and acclaimed melodrama, "Mildred Pierce"

1952

Last film under Warner Bros. contract, "This Woman Is Dangerous"; began free-lancing

1952

Regained her star clout with successful appearance in RKO's "Sudden Fear"

1953

One-shot return to MGM to star in musical drama, "Torch Song"

1957

Played last romantic lead, "The Story of Esther Costello"

1959

Elected to board of directors of Pepsi-Cola two days after the death of husband Alfred Steele, Pepsi executive

1959

Played first supporting character role in "The Best of Everything"; still received star billing

1962

Career revived with starring role opposite Bette Davis in popular Grand Guignol semi-horror film, "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?"

1964

Co-starred opposite Diane Baker in made for TV film, "Della"

1970

Last feature film, "Trog"

Photo Collections

Autumn Leaves - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Here are a few photos taken behind-the-scenes during production of Columbia Pictures' Autumn Leaves (1956), starring Joan Crawford and Cliff Robertson.
Humoresque - Publicity Stills
Here are a few publicity stills from MGM's Humoresque (1946), starring Joan Crawford and John Garfield. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
Queen Bee - Lobby Card Set
Queen Bee - Lobby Card Set
Torch Song - Behind-the-Scenes Stills
Here are a few photos taken behind-the-scenes during production of MGM's Torch Song (1953), starring Joan Crawford and directed by Charles Walters.
Grand Hotel - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Here are a few photos taken during production of MGM's all-star film, Grand Hotel (1932).
The Gorgeous Hussy - Publicity Stills
The Gorgeous Hussy - Publicity Stills
Across to Singapore - Movie Poster
Across to Singapore - Movie Poster
A Woman's Face - Joan Crawford Publicity Stills
Here are a few stills taken of Joan Crawford, to help publicize A Woman's Face (1941), directed by George Cukor.
Female on the Beach - Movie Posters
Female on the Beach - Movie Posters
Female on the Beach - Lobby Card Set
Female on the Beach - Lobby Card Set
Female on the Beach - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Female on the Beach - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Autumn Leaves - Movie Posters
Autumn Leaves - Movie Posters
Autumn Leaves - Scene Stills
Autumn Leaves - Scene Stills
Harriet Craig - Lobby Cards
Harriet Craig - Lobby Cards
Harriet Craig - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Harriet Craig - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Harriet Craig - Publicity Stills
Harriet Craig - Publicity Stills
Harriet Craig - Movie Posters
Harriet Craig - Movie Posters
Queen Bee - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Queen Bee - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Queen Bee - Publicity Stills
Queen Bee - Publicity Stills
Queen Bee - Scene Stills
Queen Bee - Scene Stills
The Story of Esther Costello - Scene Stills
The Story of Esther Costello - Scene Stills
The Story of Esther Costello - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
The Story of Esther Costello - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
The Story of Esther Costello - Lobby Card Set
The Story of Esther Costello - Lobby Card Set
Queen Bee - Movie Posters
Queen Bee - Movie Posters
Flamingo Road - Movie Poster
Flamingo Road - Movie Poster
Harriet Craig - Scene Stills
Harriet Craig - Scene Stills
Mannequin - Behind-the-Scenes Photo
Here is a photo taken behind-the-scenes during production of Mannequin (1937), starring Joan Crawford and Spencer Tracy and directed by Frank Borzage.
Sadie McKee - Publicity Stills
Sadie McKee - Publicity Stills
The Bride Wore Red - Publicity Stills
The Bride Wore Red - Publicity Stills
Forsaking All Others - Movie Poster
Forsaking All Others - Movie Poster
They All Kissed the Bride - Movie Poster
They All Kissed the Bride - Movie Poster
Chained - Lobby Cards
Chained - Lobby Cards
The Last of Mrs. Cheyney - Lobby Card Set
The Last of Mrs. Cheyney - Lobby Card Set
Our Modern Maidens - Publicity Stills
Our Modern Maidens - Publicity Stills
Spring Fever - Movie Poster
Spring Fever - Movie Poster
Our Blushing Brides - Lobby Cards
Our Blushing Brides - Lobby Cards
Rain - Joan Crawford Publicity Stills
Here are a few photos of Joan Crawford in character as Sadie Thompson, taken to help publicize United Artists' Rain (1932).
Johnny Guitar - Movie Posters
Here are a few original-release movie posters from Johnny Guitar (1954), starring Joan Crawford and Sterling Hayden and directed by Nicholas Ray.
Dancing Lady - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Here are a few photos taken behind-the-scenes during production of MGM's Dancing Lady (1933), starring Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, and Fred Astaire.
Mildred Pierce - Lobby Card Set
Here is a set of Lobby Cards from Mildred Pierce (1945), starring Joan Crawford. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
No More Ladies - Joan Crawford Publicity Still
Here is a still of Joan Crawford, taken to help publicize No More Ladies (1935).
The Women - Publicity Stills
Here are a few photos taken to help publicize MGM's The Women (1939), starring Joan Crawford, Norma Shearer, and Rosalind Russell. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
When Ladies Meet - Kapralik Trade Ad
Here is a trade ad for MGM's When Ladies Meet (1941), starring Joan Crawford, Robert Taylor and Greer Garson. The art is by mixed-media caricaturist Jaques Kapralik. Trade Ads were placed by studios in industry magazines like Variety and The Hollywood Reporter.
Autumn Leaves - Lobby Card Set
Here is a set of Lobby Cards from Columbia Pictures' Autumn Leaves (1956), starring Joan Crawford and Cliff Robertson. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
Autumn Leaves - Publicity Stills
Here are a number of still taken to help publicize Columbia Pictures' Autumn Leaves (1956), starring Joan Crawford, Cliff Robertson and Vera Miles.
Possessed (1947) - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for Possessed (1947), starring Joan Crawford and Van Heflin. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
Reunion in France - Publicity Still
Here is a publicity still of Joan Crawford, taken to publicize MGM's Reunion in France (1942). Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
The Damned Don't Cry - Lobby Card Set
Here is a set of Lobby Cards from Warner Bros' The Damned Don't Cry (1950), starring Joan Crawford. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
Daisy Kenyon - Movie Posters
Here are a few original-release movie posters for Twentieth Century Fox's Daisy Kenyon (1947), starring Joan Crawford, Henry Fonda, and Dana Andrews.
The Shining Hour - Joan Crawford Publicity Stills
Here are some photos of Joan Crawford, taken to publicize the film The Shining Hour (1938).
Our Dancing Daughters - Publicity Stills
Here are a few Publicity Stills from MGM's Our Dancing Daughters (1928), starring Joan Crawford and Anita Page. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
Strange Cargo - Publicity Stills
Here are a few Publicity Stills from MGM's Strange Cargo (1940), starring Clark Gable and Joan Crawford. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, taken for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
The Women - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Here are a few photos taken behind-the-scenes during production of MGM's The Women (1939), directed by George Cukor and featuring an all-star, all-female cast.
The Women - Movie Posters
Here are a few original-release and re-issue American movie posters for MGM's The Women (1939).
The Women - Scene Stills
Here are a number of scene stills from MGM's The Women (1939), starring Norman Shearer, Joan Crawford, Rosalind Russell, Mary Boland, Paulette Goddard, and Joan Fontaine.
The Unknown - Movie Posters
Here are a few American movie posters for Tod Browning's The Unknown (1927), starring Lon Chaney and Joan Crawford.
The Unknown - Lobby Cards
Here are a few American Lobby Cards for Tod Browning's The Unknown (1927), starring Lon Chaney and Joan Crawford.
Strange Cargo - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for Strange Cargo (1940). One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
The Unknown - Scene Stills
Here are a number of scene stills from MGM's The Unknown (1927), starring Lon Chaney and Joan Crawford.
Today We Live - Joan Crawford Publicity Stills
Here are photos of Joan Crawford taken to publicize the film Today We Live (1933).

Videos

Movie Clip

Woman's Face, A (1941) - This Lady Is Interested In Love Already in flashback, vast plot complexity, Melvyn Douglas as Swedish plastic surgeon Gustav is confronted with Joan Crawford as Anna, who sprained her ankle trying to escape when he interrupted her trying to blackmail his wife (Osa Massen) with love letters, intrigued by her case, in George Cukor’s A Woman’s Face, 1941.
Woman's Face, A - A Most Generous Gesture Deep in the Swedish woods, waiter (Donald Meek) serving Vera (Osa Massen) and the party of playboy Barring (Conrad Veidt) who then meets "proprietor" Anna (Joan Crawford), early in George Cukor's A Woman's Face, 1941.
Rain (1932) - I Came From Kansas Once Myself Director Lewis Milestone doing a roll call introducing W. Somerset Maugham's characters, notably Dr. MacPhail (Matt Moore), "reformer" Davidson (Walter Huston), innkeeper Horn (Guy Kibbee) and finally the star Joan Crawford as "Sadie Thompson," in Rain, 1932.
Rain (1932) - If You Gotta Repent Without her usual provocative attire, days after being persuaded by the Christian “reformer” Davidson (Walter Huston, en route in a seafaring canoe to join her) to return to San Francisco to serve time as repentance, Sadie Thompson (Joan Crawford) visits with marine O’Hara (William Gargan), himself fresh after getting out of the brig in American Samoa, who’s against the idea, in Lewis Milestone’s Rain, 1932, from the W.S. Maugham story.
Strange Cargo (1940) - You Didn't See That Saloon girl Julie (Joan Crawford), kicked off the prison island, again rejects "Pig" (Peter Lorre) but not Marfeu (Bernard Nedell), as Moll (Albert Dekker) clobbers Verne (Clark Gable) and threatens Cambreau (Ian Hunter), staging the big escape, in Frank Borzage's Strange Cargo, 1940.
Strange Cargo (1940) - Go Away Pig Joining the first scene for Joan Crawford (as entertainer "Julie"), she rejects hustler Peter Lorre (his character really is named "Pig"), then has trouble with laborer-convict Verne (Clark Gable), working the wharf at a French penal colony in Guiana, in Frank Borzage's Strange Cargo, 1940.
Possessed (1947) - We Fooled Her, Didn't We? Terrific twist from director Curtis Bernhardt, as Louise (Joan Crawford), the ex-nurse turned stepmother whom we know winds up in psychiatric care, has been in a jealous rage, when stepdaughter Carol (Geraldine Brooks), who has attracted interest from her true-love ex-boyfriend (Van Heflin) arrives, in Possessed, 1947.
Possessed (1947) - I'm Used To Difficult Patients Still in flashback constructing the events leading to her breakdown, nurse Louise (Joan Crawford), just spurned by her love interest on her day off down by the lake, is waylaid by her affluent employer Graham (Raymond Massey), whose troubled wife she cares for, early in director Curtis Bernhardt’s Possessed, 1947.
Possessed (1947) - Open, I Thought I'd Lost You Joining director Curtis Bernhardt’s intense opening, with some soundstage shots but also lots of downtown L-A and USC Medical Center, Joan Crawford as distraught nurse Louise has definite problems, in Possessed, 1947, also starring Van Heflin, from screenwriters Ranald MacDougal and Silvia Richards, and producer Jerry Wald.
Damned Don't Cry, The (1950) - Nice Piece Of Merchandise Fashion buyers, not impressed by Sandra (Jacqueline de Wit), are helpless before the hotness of the new girl Ethel (Joan Crawford), both then sent on a date by Wally (Eddie Marr), in Vincent Sherman's The Damned Don't Cry, 1950.
Damned Don't Cry, The (1950) - Etruscan Flower Pot New-to-the-game Ethel (Joan Crawford) and slick gangster Castleman (David Brian) are discussing setting up her boyfriend as a bookie, and ensuing matters, in Vincent Sherman's The Damned Don't Cry, 1950.
Damned Don't Cry, The (1950) - Rich Oil Heiress The opening scene in which first a body, then home movies of a "rich oil heiress" (Joan Crawford) who isn't, are discovered by the sheriff and deputy (Jamesson Shade, Tom Greenway), from Vincent Sherman's The Damned Don't Cry, 1950.

Trailer

Susan and God - (Original Trailer) A flighty socialite neglects her family to promote a new religious group in Susan and God (1940) starring Joan Crawford, directed by George Cukor.
Hollywood Canteen -- (Original Trailer) Half of Hollywood pitches in to help a serviceman and a starlet find love at the Hollywood Canteen (1944)
Story of Esther Costello, The - (Original Trailer) A bitter divorcee (Joan Crawford) works to educate a deaf and blind girl in The Story of Esther Costello (1957).
Torch Song - (Original Trailer) Joan Crawford suffers while she sings after she falls for a blind pianist in Torch Song (1953).
Strait-Jacket - (Original Trailer) It's been 20 years since Lucy Harbin (Joan Crawford) murdered her husband with an axe. Is she through cutting her family down to size? Get the Strait-Jacket (1964).
Daisy Kenyon - (Original Trailer) On the rebound from a married man, Joan Crawford marries a veteran, just as her lover becomes available in Otto Preminger's Daisy Kenyon (1947).
Berserk - (Original Trailer) When Joan Crawford cracks the whip, a circus makes murder the main attraction in Berserk (1967).
Mildred Pierce -- (Original Trailer) A woman turns herself into a business tycoon to win her selfish daughter a place in society in Mildred Pierce (1945) starring Joan Crawford in an Oscar-winning role.
Grand Hotel - (Re-issue Trailer) Guests at a posh Berlin hotel struggle through scandal and heartache in Grand Hotel (1932) starring Greta Garbo.
Women, The - (Original Trailer) A happily married woman (Norma Shearer) lets her catty friends talk her into divorce when her husband has an affair with shopgirl Joan Crawford in The Women (1939), directed by George Cukor.
Flamingo Road -- (Original Trailer) A stranded carnival dancer (Joan Crawford) takes on a corrupt political boss when she marries into small-town society in Flamingo Road (1949).
When Ladies Meet (1941) - (Original Trailer) A female novelist doesn't realize her new friend is the wife whose husband she's trying to steal in When Ladies Meet (1941).

Hosted Intro

Family

Thomas LeSuer
Father
Separated from Crawford's mother before her birth.
Anna LeSueur
Mother
Henry Cassin
Step-Father
Theater owner.
Hal LeSueur
Brother
Older.
Christina Crawford
Daughter
Author, actor. Adopted; wrote "Mommie Dearest" in 1978 which portrayed Crawford as a monstrous mother.
Christopher Terry
Son
Adopted.
Catharine Crawford
Daughter
Adopted; twin of Cynthia; married name Lalonde.
Cynthia Jordan Crawford
Daughter
Adopted; twin of Cathy.

Companions

Michael Cudahy
Companion
Wealthy society figure with whom Crawford is reported to have had an affair in the 1920s.
Douglas Fairbanks Jr
Husband
Actor. Born on December 9, 1909; son of silent screen star Douglas Fairbanks; married in 1929; divorced in 1933.
Clark Gable
Companion
Actor. Born on February 1, 1901; died on November 16, 1960; known as 'The King' of Hollywood, was American film's most popular male lead of the 1930s and early 40s; reported to have had intermittent, ongoing affair with Crawford for over a 10-year period; the two appeared together in "Dance Fools Dance", "Laughing Sinners", "Possessed" (all 1931), "Dancing Lady" (1933), "Chained" (1934), "Forsaking All Others" (1935), "Love on the Run" (1937), "Strange Cargo" (1940).
Franchot Tone
Husband
Actor. Born on February 27, 1905; died on September 18, 1968; married in 1935; divorced in 1939; was one of Crawford's leading men in "Today We Live", "Dancing Lady" (both 1933), "Sadie McKee" (1934), "No More Ladies" (1935), "The Gorgeous Hussy" (1936), "Love on the Run" (typically, a film in which he "loses" Crawford to another man, here Clark Gable) and "The Bride Wore Red" (both 1937).
Edward Norris
Companion
Actor. Was simultaneously involved with Crawford and actress Hedy Lamarr.
Philip Terry
Husband
Actor. Born in 1909; died on February 23, 1993; married in 1942; divorced in 1946; perhaps best remembered for his role as Ray Milland's brother in "The Lost Weekend" (1945).
Greg Bautzer
Companion
Lawyer. Had affair in late 1940s.
Alfred Steele
Husband
Board chairman of Pepsi-Cola. Married 1956 until his death from a heart attack in 1959; Crawford would later describe her years with Steele as the most fulfilling of her life.

Bibliography

"Joan Crawford"
Stephen Harvey, Pyramid Books (1975)
"My Way of Life"
Joan Crawford (1971)
"A Portrait of Joan"
Joan Crawford and Jane Kesner Ardmore (1962)
"Joan Crawford"
Bob Thomas
"Mommie Dearest"
Christina Crawford

Notes

There is some debate regarding the actual year of Crawford's birth. Many sources give 1906 or 1908, but 1904 is cited most often and by those references generally most reliable, although government records indicate 1908.

Crawford was one of MGM's biggest stars of the 1930s. She placed third on the first annual exhibitor's poll of top boxoffice stars in 1932, and later placed tenth in 1933, sixth in 1934, fifth in 1935 and seventh in 1936. Her boxoffice appeal plummeted for a time in the late 30s, leading her to be one of the stars dubbed "box office poison" in an exhibitors' poll. The most durable star of them all, though, Crawford, still a star three decades later, could look back at it all and laugh.

Referring to the trendsetting makeup styles Crawford initiated in the early 1930s, which replaced the genteel prettiness of the 20s with a more sculptured, mature look, Crawford remarked, "Everybody imitated my fuller mouth, my darker eyebrows. But I wouldn't copy anybody. If I can't be me, I don't want to be anybody. I was born that way." --quoted in "Halliwell's Filmgoer's Companion", 9th edition

"The most important thing a woman can have, next to her talent of course, is her hairdresser" --Joan Crawford

"The best time I ever had with her was when I pushed her downstairs in 'Baby Jane'." --Bette Davis, referring to a scene that does not appear in the final film, quoted in "Halliwell's Filmgoer's Companion", 9th edition

"I never go out unless I look like Joan Crawford the movie star. If you want to see the girl next door, go next door." --quote attributed to Crawford

"Inactivity is one of the great indignities of life. The need to work is always there, bugging me." --Joan Crawford

"I tried to be a good listener. I decided that was what she wanted all along--not so much a friend as an audience." --June Allyson on Crawford, quoted in "Halliwell's Filmgoer's Companion, 9th edition

"She's slept with every male star at MGM except Lassie." --quote attributed to Bette Davis

"Bette and I work differently. Bette screams and I knit. While she screamed, I knitted a scarf that stretched clear to Malibu." --Joan Crawford on working with Bette Davis at a 1973 NYC appearance

"As a human being, Miss Crawford is a great actress." --quote attributed to Nicholas Ray, director of "Johnny Guitar" (1954)

She was elected a fellow of Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusets

Designated as the first "Woman of the Year" by the United Service Organizations of New York for her qualities as "an actress, an executive, humanitarian" (1965).