Friday, February 17, 2006

Joan Crawford The Diva of them all Pt. I

Joan Crawford was not an actress; she was a movie star. The distinction is a crucial one - she infrequently appeared in superior films, and her work was rarely distinguished regardless of the material, yet she enjoyed one of the most successful and longest-lived careers in cinema history. Glamorous and over-the-top, stardom was seemingly Crawford's birthright - everything about her, from her rags-to-riches story to her constant struggles to remain in the spotlight, made her ideal fodder for the Hollywood myth factory. Even in death she remained a high-profile figure thanks to the publication of her daughter's infamous tell-all book, an outrageous film biography and numerous revelations of a her private life. Ultimately, Crawford was melodrama incarnate, a wide-eyed, delirious prima donna whose story endures as a definitive portrait of motion-picture fame, determination and relentless ambition.

Did you know??

  • There was a saying around M-G-M -- Shearer got the productions, Garbo supplied the art, and Joan Crawford made the money to pay for both
  • Joan Crawford has had the longest career on the screen of anyone who ever worked before the camera. Mary Astor made her screen d├ębut in September 1921 and retired from the screen in March 1965 and was therefore technically on the screen longer than Joan Crawford, but in roles of diminished importance.

  • When she went to England in the mid-sixties to film "Berserk" she was welcomed by the British press as "Her Serene Crawfordship."
  • Someone once commented "Joan, that red hat makes you look radiant." She replied "Why the f*** do you think I wear it!"
  • Her poodle, Cliquot, usually ate white meat of chicken, ground sirloin, ice cream and ginger ale. He wore custom made jackets from Hammacher Schlemmer. They were red with black velvet collars with "CC" on them. They had heart-shaped pockets with Kleenex in them in case he had to blow his nose. And he had a rhinestone collar for evening.

  • She insisted on her dishes being scalded before she used them-- although, being a perpetual dieter, she rarely had more than black coffee and soda crackers (spread with mustard) for lunch.
  • Her Oscar for "Mildred Pierce" went on auction after her death and sold for $68,000. The auction house had predicted a top bid of $15,000.
  • Made some sex films back in the Twenties, most notably a silent one-reeler tantalisingly entitled 'The Casting Couch'. It is alleged that after she became famous MGM shelled out over half a million dollars in an attempt to buy up every surviving copy of the film. When one possessor of some nude shots refused to part with them, his house was burned down three weeks later, himself being a casualty as well as the pics.
  • When "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane" was finished, Bette Davis referred to Joan and herself as "we two old broads." Joan sent Bette a note on her traditional blue stationery: "Dear Miss Davis. Please do not continue to refer to me as an old broad. Sincerely, Joan Crawford."

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