|Date of Birth||23 March 1906, San Antonio, Texas, USA|
|Date of Death||10 May 1977, New York City, New York, USA (heart attack)|
|Birth Name||Lucille Fay LeSueur|
|Height||5' 3" (1.6 m)|
Mini Bio (2)
Lucille LeSueur's parents separated before she was born. By age 16 she had three different stepfathers, one of whom (a vaudeville theater manager) had given her the name Billie Cassin. By 1915 she, her brother Hal and their mother lived in Kansas City, and Billie worked in a laundry with her mother and also as a menial to pay school tuition. Winning an amateur dance contest in 1923 led to chorus work in Chicago, Detroit and New York. On New Year's Day of 1925 she left for Hollywood. Before her second picture, a Photoplay contest led to the name Joan Crawford. With Our Dancing Daughters (1928) she became a star. She had a string of successes playing socialites or rags-to-riches shop girls, most notably as Crystal Allen in The Women (1939). She stayed with MGM for 18 years, signing with Warners in 1943. Mildred Pierce (1945) was a defining role and won her an Oscar.
After more than 70 films, she married Alfred Steele, chairman of the board of the Pepsi-Cola Co., a company with which she remained as a board member and spokesman after her husband's fatal heart attack in 1959. In 1972 when the company's executives saw no further use for her, they pushed her out. After that, she referred to the CEO as "Fang".
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962) brought new careers to both Crawford and Bette Davis in 1962--although the two despised each other--but the ensuing roles were neither numerous nor flattering. Horrified by a photo taken of her in 1974, she retired completely, devoting herself to Christian Science and the increasing use of vodka. Her four adopted children received little from her $2-million estate: $77,500 each for Cathy and Cindy, nothing for Christopher or Christina Crawford "for reasons best known to them".
- IMDb Mini Biography By: Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
By the time Lucille Fay LeSueur was born -- on March 23, 1905, in San Antonio, Texas -- her parents had separated, and by the time she was a teenager, she'd had three stepfathers.
It wasn't an easy life; Crawford worked a variety of menial jobs. She was a good dancer, though, and -- perhaps seeing dance as her ticket to a career in show business -- she entered several contests, one of which landed her a spot in a chorus line. Before long, she was dancing in big Midwestern and East Coast cities.
After almost two years, she packed her bags and moved to Hollywood. Crawford was determined to succeed, and shortly after arriving she got her first bit part, as a showgirl in Pretty Ladies (1925). Three films quickly followed; although the roles weren't much to speak of, she continued toiling. Throughout 1927 and early 1928, she was cast in small parts, but that ended with the role of Diana Medford in Our Dancing Daughters (1928), which elevated her to star status.
Crawford had cleared the first big hurdle; now came the second, in the form of talkies. Many stars of the silents saw their careers evaporate, either because their voices weren't particularly pleasant or because their voices, pleasing enough, didn't match the public's expectations (for example, some fans felt that John Gilbert's tenor didn't quite match his very masculine persona).
But Crawford wasn't felled by sound. Her first talkie, Untamed (1929), was a success. As the 1930s progressed, Crawford became one of the biggest stars at MGM. She was in top form in films such as Grand Hotel (1932), Sadie McKee (1934), No More Ladies (1935), and Love on the Run (1936); movie patrons were enthralled, and studio executives were satisfied.
By the early 1940s, MGM was no longer giving her plum roles; newcomers had arrived in Hollywood, and the public wanted to see them. Crawford left MGM for rival Warner Bros., and in 1945 she landed the role of a lifetime. Mildred Pierce (1945) gave her an opportunity to show her range as an actress, and her performance as a woman driven to give her daughter everything garnered Crawford her first, and only, Oscar for Best Actress.
The following year she appeared with John Garfield in the well-received Humoresque (1946). In 1947, she appeared as Louise Graham in Possessed (1947); again she was nominated for a Best Actress from the Academy, but she lost to Loretta Young in The Farmer's Daughter (1947).
Crawford continued to choose her roles carefully, and in 1952 she was nominated for a third time, for her depiction of Myra Hudson in Sudden Fear (1952). This time the coveted Oscar went to Shirley Booth, for Come Back, Little Sheba (1952).
Crawford's career slowed after that; she appeared in minor roles until 1962, when she and Bette Davis co-starred in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962). Their longstanding rivalry may have helped fuel their phenomenally vitriolic and well-received performances. (Earlier in their careers, Davis said of Crawford, "She's slept with every male star at MGM except Lassie," and Crawford said of Davis, "I don't hate [her] even though the press wants me to. I resent her. I don't see how she built a career out of a set of mannerisms instead of real acting ability. Take away the pop eyes, the cigarette, and those funny clipped words, and what have you got? She's phony, but I guess the public really likes that".)
Crawford's final appearance on the silver screen was in a flop called Trog (1970). Turning to vodka more and more, she was hardly seen afterward. On May 10, 1977, Joan died of cancer in New York City. She was 72 years old. She had disinherited her adopted daughter Christina and son Christopher; the former wrote a tell-all book called "Mommie Dearest", published in 1978. The book cast Crawford in a negative light and was cause for much debate, particularly among her friends and acquaintances, including Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Crawford's first husband. (In 1981, 'Faye Dunaway' starred in _Mommie Dearest (1981)' which did well at the box office.)
Crawford is interred in the same mausoleum as fellow MGM star Judy Garland, in Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: Denny Jackson, with assistance from Copy Editor
|Alfred Steele||(14 January 1956 - 6 April 1959) (his death)|
|Phillip Terry||(21 July 1942 - 25 April 1946) (divorced) (1 child)|
|Franchot Tone||(11 October 1935 - 11 April 1939) (divorced)|
|Douglas Fairbanks Jr.||(3 June 1929 - 12 May 1933) (divorced)|
Trade Mark (2)
Personal Quotes (77)
|Lady of the Night (1925)||$75 .00 per week|
|Montana Moon (1930)||$1,000 per week|
|Laughing Sinners (1931)||$3,000 .00 per week|
|This Modern Age (1931)||$3,500 .00 per week|
|Grand Hotel (1932)||$3,500 .00 per week|
|Rain (1932)||$4,000 .00 per week|
|Dancing Lady (1933)||$5,000 .00 per week|
|No More Ladies (1935)||$7,500 .00 per week|
|I Live My Life (1935)||$7,500 .00 per week|
|The Gorgeous Hussy (1936)||$8,500 .00 per week|
|Love on the Run (1936)||$8,500 .00 per week|
|The Bride Wore Red (1937)||$9,500 .00 per week|
|They All Kissed the Bride (1942)||$330,000|
|Mildred Pierce (1945)||$167,000|
|Goodbye, My Fancy (1951)||$3,205 .13 per week|
|This Woman Is Dangerous (1952)||$3,205 .13 per week|
|Sudden Fear (1952)||40% of profits|
|Torch Song (1953)||$125,000 (paid in 83 installments for tax purposes)|
|The Story of Esther Costello (1957)||$200,000|
|The Best of Everything (1959)||$65,000|
|What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)||$30,000 + 15% of the net profits|
|Strait-Jacket (1964)||$50,000 + % of profits|
|Strait-Jacket (1964)||$50,000 + 40% of profits|
|Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964)||$50,000 + 25% in profits + $5,000 in living expenses|
|I Saw What You Did (1965)||$50,000|
|Night Gallery (1969)||$50,000|
|Trog (1970)||$50,000 (estimated)|
|The Sixth Sense (1972)||$2,500|