Crawford, Joan, 1908-1977

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Joan Crawford, actress.

From the description of Joan Crawford scrapbooks, 1925-1960, microform. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122517687

From the guide to the Joan Crawford scrapbooks, [microform.], 1925-1960, (The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.)

Joan Crawford was a film star whose career spanned five decades, from silent films onward, and who worked in many genres including drama, musicals, comedy, Westerns, and horror films, and who appeared on television as well. While there is some question as to the year of her birth, the actress who became known as Joan Crawford was unquestionably born under the name Lucille Le Sueur in San Antonio, Texas. Entering films in 1925, Lucille was signed by MGM Studios where her name was changed. Her films include OUR DANCING DAUGHTERS (1928), RAIN (1932), GRAND HOTEL (1932), DANCING LADY (1933) with Clark Gable and Fred Astaire, and THE WOMEN (1939). A mid-career switch to Warner Brothers brought Crawford a Best Actress Academy Award for MILDRED PIERCE in 1945. Later roles brought diminishing returns, until a comeback performance in WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? in 1962 led to a series of horror films. When Joan Crawford died in 1977 her age was given as 69, but she may have been in her early to mid 70s.

From the guide to the Letters to Joan Crawford, 1972-1976, (The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.)

Joan Crawford starred in a total of 81 films during her movie career; she won the best actress award in 1945 for the film Mildred Pierce. Joan Crawford was also active in community and business worlds and she was made a Brandeis University Fellow in 1968.

From the description of Joan Crawford Awards, 1948-1965 (Brandeis University Library). WorldCat record id: 318643593

Joan Crawford was a film star whose career spanned five decades, from silent films onward, and who worked in many genres including drama, musicals, comedy, Westerns, and horror films, and who appeared on television as well.

While there is some question as to the year of her birth, the actress who became known as Joan Crawford was unquestionably born under the name Lucille Le Sueur in San Antonio, Texas. Entering films in 1925, Lucille was signed by MGM Studios where her name was changed. Her films include OUR DANCING DAUGHTERS (1928), RAIN (1932), GRAND HOTEL (1932), DANCING LADY (1933) with Clark Gable and Fred Astaire, and THE WOMEN (1939). A mid-career switch to Warner Brothers brought Crawford a Best Actress Academy Award for MILDRED PIERCE in 1945. Later roles brought diminishing returns, until a comeback performance in WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? in 1962 led to a series of horror films. When Joan Crawford died in 1977 her age was given as 69, but she may have been in her early to mid 70s.

From the description of Letters to Joan Crawford, 1972-1976. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122531716

Joan Crawford was a film star whose career spanned five decades, from silent movies onward, and who worked in many genres including drama, comedy, musicals, Westerns, and horror films, and who appeared on television as well.

While there is some question as to the year of her birth, the actress who became famous Joan Crawford was born under the name Lucille Fay Le Sueur in San Antonio, Texas. Entering films in 1925, Lucille was signed by the MGM Studio, where her name was changed. Joan Crawford's silent film appearances include SALLY, IRENE AND MARY (1925), THE UNKNOWN (1927) opposite Lon Chaney, and OUR DANCING DAUGHTERS (1928) in which she was hailed as the quintessential "flapper" of the era. Crawford's popularity grew in such talkies as RAIN (1932), GRAND HOTEL (1932), DANCING LADY (1933) with Clark Gable and Fred Astaire, and THE WOMEN (1939). A mid-career switch to Warner Brothers brought Crawford a Best Actress Academy Award for MILDRED PIERCE in 1945. Crawford's 1955 marriage to Pepsi-Cola CEO Alfred Steele coincided with her waning movie career, although the surprise hit WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? (1962) brought new popularity in horror films. She appeared steadily on television during her later years, including a 1969 episode of NIGHT GALLERY directed by young Steven Spielberg. When Joan Crawford died in 1977 her age was given as 69, although she may have been in her early to mid 70s.

From the description of Joan Crawford papers, 1932-1976. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122531691

Joan Crawford was born Lucille LeSueur on March 23, 1908. When her mother later married Henry Cassin, a theater manager from Oklahoma, her name was changed to Billie Cassin. (As an adult, many of her friends privately continued to call her Billie.) After winning a Charleston contest at the age of 13, she became determined to be on stage. By age 19 she was in the chorus line of the Broadway show Innocent Eyes, where MGM executive Harry Rapf discovered her, and signed her to her first movie contract.

After a few minor roles under the name Lucille LeSueur, MGM sponsored a fan-magazine contest to pick out a new name for the young star. The freshly minted Joan Crawford's first big movie role was as Irene in Sally, Irene and Mary (1925), but the role that made her a star was as a flapper that literally danced on the tabletops in Our Dancing Daughters (1928).

Unlike many silent movie era stars, Crawford's transition to "talkies" was smooth and by 1932 she was starring in classics like Grand Hotel (1932) with Greta Garbo. Throughout the 1930s Crawford worked steadily for MGM in films like Letty Lynton (1932), Dancing Lady (1933), and The Gorgeous Hussy (1936) co-starring with her future husband Franchot Tone. Crawford's popularity skyrocketed in 1939 with the release of The Women, in which Crawford played the iconic role of "Crystal", the hard-boiled husband-stealing shopgirl. Despite this, by 1943 magazines were proclaiming her to be "box-office poison" and MGM seemed to agree. Crawford soon left MGM for Warner Brothers, where she snagged the title role in Mildred Pierce (1945). Her performance in Mildred Pierce earned Crawford her one and only Oscar for Best Actress.

In 1946 Warner Brothers signed Crawford to a seven-year contract at $200,000 per film, only to release her from her contract after just three years. Her 1955 marriage to Pepsi chairman and CEO Alfred Steele coincided with her waning movie career, and led to her subsequent career as a Pepsi board member and publicity executive. She continued her involvement with Pepsi even after Steele's death in 1959.

In 1962 Crawford's acting career was briefly revitalized with the release of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, which paired her with her infamous rival Bette Davis. That year Crawford also penned a memoir Portrait of Joan . The popularity of the spooky Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? led to Crawford's appearance in a series of horror films throughout the 1960s, including a 1969 episode of Night Gallery with novice director Steven Spielberg. Crawford made her final film, Trog, in 1970. The1970s saw her public appearances decrease. She died in 1977 of pancreatic cancer.

Crawford's personal life always took a backseat to her professional life. She was married five times: James Welton (1923-1924 divorced); Douglas Fairbanks, Jr (1929-1933 divorced); Franchot Tone (1935-1939 divorced); Phillip Terry (1942-1946 divorced); Alfred Steele (1955-1959 widowed). Crawford also adopted four children - Christina (adopted in 1940) and Christopher (adopted in 1944), twins Cathy and Cindy (adopted in 1947). A year after Joan Crawford's death, Christina Crawford published the tell-all book Mommie Dearest (1978). The 1981 movie adaptation of the book familiarized a whole new generation with Joan Crawford, ensuring that Crawford's reputation would live on.

From the guide to the Joan Crawford papers, 1932-1976, (The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Focus on Women. [Show nos. 1-438]. [videorecording] / Produced in the studios of Cox Cable New York. Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Preston, Robert, 1913-1987. Robert Preston collection, 1920-1991. Boston University. School of Medicine
referencedIn Vincent Price Papers, 1883-1992, (bulk 1932-1992) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Frank Farrell Papers, 1897-1988, (bulk 1945-1975) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Farrell, Frank, 1912-1983. Papers of Frank Farrell, 1897-1988 (bulk 1945-1975). Library of Congress
referencedIn C. D. Jackson Papers. 1933 - 1989. Photographs
creatorOf Ray, Nicholas, 1911-1979. Johnny Guitar / Nicholas Ray, réal. ; Roy Chanslor, aut. adapté ; Philip Yordan, scénario ; Victor Young, comp. ; Joan Crawford, Sterling Hayden, Mercedes Mc Cambridge... [et al.], act. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
creatorOf Ray, Nicholas, 1911-1979. Johnny Guitar / Nicholas Ray, réal. ; Roy Chanslor, aut. adapté ; Philip Yordan, scénario ; Victor Young, comp. ; Joan Crawford, Sterling Hayden, Mercedes Mc Cambridge... [et al.], act. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
referencedIn Cain, James M. (James Mallahan), 1892-1977. Papers of James M. Cain, 1901-1978 (bulk 1925-1978). Library of Congress
creatorOf Swanson, Gloria. Papers. Series I. Correspondence, 1907-1983. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Smith, Carleton, 1910-1984. Papers, 1929-1978. Indiana University
creatorOf Joan Crawford scrapbooks, [microform.], 1925-1960 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
creatorOf Cousins, Margaret, 1905-1996. Papers, 1921-1973. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Bob Bailey Studios. Bob Bailey Studios photographic archive, 1932-1998. University of Texas Libraries, University of Texas Libraries
referencedIn Margaret Cousins Papers TXRC91-A12., 1921-73 Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
creatorOf Letters to Joan Crawford, 1972-1976 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
referencedIn James M. Cain Papers, 1901-1978, (bulk 1925-1978) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
creatorOf Crawford, Joan, 1908-1977. Autograph letter signed, dated : [New York] to Dailey Paskman, 1959 June 16. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Crawford, Joan, 1908-1977. Letters to Joan Crawford, 1972-1976. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Crawford, Joan, 1908-1977. Joan Crawford scrapbooks, 1925-1960, microform. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Dorothy Kilgallen papers and scrapbooks, 1936-1965 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
creatorOf Crawford, Joan, 1908-1977. Correspondence. New York Public Libraries for the Performing Arts, Dance Collection
creatorOf Schulberg, Budd. Papers, 1913-2007. Dartmouth College Library
creatorOf Crawford, Joan, 1908-1977. Joan Crawford papers, 1932-1976. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Moorehead, Agnes, 1906-1974. Papers, 1923-1974. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
referencedIn Turney, Catherine. Papers of Catherine Turney, 1761-1998 (bulk 1934-1985). Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
referencedIn Wortman, Denys, 1887-1958. Denys Wortman papers, 1887-1980. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. AIR FORCE ASSOCIATION BALL, NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
creatorOf Morehouse, Ward, 1898-1966. Ward Morehouse papers, 1877-1966 bulk (1924-1966). New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Loos, Anita, 1893-1981. Anita Loos collection, 1926-1975. Boston University. School of Medicine
referencedIn The Harold Rome Papers, 1873-1988 (inclusive) Irving S. Gilmore Music Library, Yale University
referencedIn Rome, Harold, 1908-1993. The Harold Rome papers, 1873-1988 (inclusive). Yale University, Music Library
referencedIn Ward Morehouse papers, 1877-1966, 1924-1966 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
referencedIn Fox Movietone News Collection. 1957 - 1963. Motion Picture Newsreel Films. 1957 - 1963. Movietone News, Vol. 45, No. 35
referencedIn Bob Bailey Studios Photographic Archive 2004-167., ca. 1932-1998 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin .
referencedIn Rome, Harold, 1908-1993. The Harold Rome papers, 1873-1988 (inclusive). Yale University, Music Library
referencedIn Johnson, Albert J. Albert J. Johnson photograph collection [graphic]. UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf Crawford, Joan, 1908-1977. Letter to Director, Board of Governors, and staff, Los Angeles County Museum, 1953 June 20. Natural History Museum Los Angeles County Foundation, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
referencedIn John Eldon Thayer collection of motion picture memorabilia, 1916-1979. Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University.
referencedIn Matter, Herbert, 1907-1984. Herbert Matter papers, circa 1937-1984. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Focus on Women. Videotapes, 1983-1993 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Collection. 1937 - 1937. Motion Picture Film. 1937 - 1937. THE ROMANCE OF CELLULOID National Archives at College Park
creatorOf Curtiz, Michael, 1888-1962. Le roman de Mildred Pierce / Michael Curtiz, réal. ; James M. Cain, aut. adapté ; Ranald MacDougall, scénario ; Max Steiner, comp. ; Joan Crawford, Jack Carson, Zachary Scott... [et al.], act. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
referencedIn Wilson, Robert D. (Robert Dohonian), 1914-. Robert D. Wilson photograph collection. U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center
referencedIn Joan Crawford collection, [19--?-ongoing]. Museum of Performance & Design
creatorOf Joan Crawford papers, 1932-1976 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
referencedIn Herbert Matter papers, ca. 1937-1984 Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
referencedIn Price, Vincent, 1911-1993. Papers of Vincent Price, 1883-1992 (bulk 1932-1992). Library of Congress
creatorOf Crawford, Joan, 1908-1977. Miscellaneous manuscripts. New York Public Libraries for the Performing Arts, Dance Collection
referencedIn New York Shakespeare Festival records. Series VI: Development Office, 1954-1989 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
referencedIn Price, Vincent, 1911-1993. Papers, 1883-1992 (bulk 1932-1992). Library of Congress
referencedIn Smith, H. Allen (Harry Allen), 1907-1976. Harry Allen Smith papers, 1930-1976. Southern Illinois University, Morris Library
referencedIn Brookhouser, Frank, 1912-1975. Papers, 1929-1975. Temple University Libraries, Paley Library
creatorOf Crawford, Joan, 1908-1977. Joan Crawford Awards, 1948-1965 Brandeis University Library
referencedIn Blanding, Don, 1894-1957. Don Blanding collection, 1920-1949. Museum of the Great Plains
creatorOf Crawford, Joan, 1908-1977. Correspondence with Marian Anderson, 1964-1965. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Paramount Pictures, Inc., Collection. 1951 - 1951. Motion Picture Newsreel Films. 10/1941 - 3/1957. PARAMOUNT NEWS [APR. 12]
referencedIn Vernon Court Junior College collection, 1964-1971, undated Newport Historical Society
referencedIn Paramount Pictures, Inc., Collection. 1951 - 1951. Motion Picture Newsreel Films. 10/1941 - 3/1957. PARAMOUNT NEWS [SEPT. 24] National Archives at College Park
referencedIn Kilgallen, Dorothy. Dorothy Kilgallen papers and scrapbooks, 1936-1965. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Fitzgerald, F. Scott (Francis Scott), 1896-1940. Papers of Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald [manuscript] 1915-1935 (1971). University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Crawford, Joan : [miscellaneous ephemeral material]. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library
referencedIn Paramount Pictures, Inc., Collection. 1951 - 1951. Motion Picture Newsreel Films. 10/1941 - 3/1957. PARAMOUNT NEWS [MAR. 16]
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Bailey (Bob) Studios corporateBody
associatedWith Blanding, Don, 1894-1957. person
associatedWith Bob Bailey Studios. corporateBody
associatedWith Brandeis University. corporateBody
associatedWith Brookhouser, Frank, 1912-1975. person
associatedWith Burke, Billie, 1885-1970. person
correspondedWith Cain, James M. (James Mallahan), 1892-1977. person
associatedWith Cousins, Margaret, 1905- person
correspondedWith Farrell, Frank, 1912-1983. person
associatedWith Fitzgerald, F. Scott (Francis Scott), 1896-1940. person
associatedWith Harold Rome person
associatedWith Head, Edith. person
associatedWith Johnson, Albert J. person
associatedWith Kilgallen, Dorothy. person
correspondedWith Loos, Anita, 1893-1981. person
associatedWith Los Angeles County Museum. corporateBody
associatedWith Mack, Ruth J. person
associatedWith Matter, Herbert, 1907-1984. person
associatedWith Moorehead, Agnes, 1906-1974. person
associatedWith Morehouse, Ward, 1898-1966. person
associatedWith New York Shakespeare Festival corporateBody
associatedWith Papp, Joseph person
associatedWith Paskman, Dailey, person
associatedWith Pepsi-Cola Company. corporateBody
correspondedWith Preston, Robert, 1913-1987. person
associatedWith Price, Vincent, 1911-1993. person
associatedWith Reagan, Nancy, 1923- person
associatedWith Roebling, Mary G. person
associatedWith Rome, Harold, 1908-1993. person
associatedWith Schulberg, Budd. person
correspondedWith Smith, Carleton, 1910-1984. person
correspondedWith Smith, H. Allen (Harry Allen), 1907-1976. person
associatedWith Swanson, Gloria. person
associatedWith Thayer, John Eldon, 1899-1980 person
associatedWith Turney, Catherine. person
associatedWith Vernon Court Junior College corporateBody
associatedWith Wilson, Robert D. (Robert Dohonian), 1914- person
associatedWith Wortman, Denys, 1887-1958. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
United States
United States
Subject
Motion picture actors and actresses
Actresses
Motion picture actors and actresses--United States
Occupation
Actors
Function

Person

Birth 1908-03-23

Death 1977-05-10

Americans

English

Information

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