Joan Crawford (born Lucille Fay LeSueur; March 23, c. 1904–1908 – May 10, 1977) was an American actress. She won the 1945 Best Actress Academy Award for Mildred Pierce. She was voted the tenth greatest female star in the history of American movies by the American Film Institute.[source?]
Crawford was born in San Antonio, Texas. Her real name was Lucille Fay LeSueur. She began her career as a dancer. She moved to Hollywood in 1925. She worked in silent movies. She played hard-working young women who wanted love, romance, and glamor. She made "talkies", too. She was given the name "Joan Crawford" from a magazine contest sponsored by MGM.
Crawford won success with Letty Lynton (1932). The film is mostly remembered because of the "Letty Lynton dress". This dress was designed by Adrian. It was a white cotton organdy gown with large ruffled sleeves, puffed at the shoulder. It was with this gown that Crawford's broad shoulders began to be accentuated by costume. Macy's copied the dress in 1932, and it sold over 500,000 replicas in the United States.
Crawford was married four times. First to actor Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and then to actor Franchot Tone. Her third husband was actor Phillip Terry, and her fourth and last husband was Pepsi executive Alfred Steele. Crawford became active in the Pepsi-Cola company after Steele's death.
Crawford adopted four children: Christina, Christopher, and "the twins" Cynthia and Cathy. Christina wrote a bestselling "tell-all" biography called Mommie Dearest. This book alleged that Crawford abused her children. It was made into a movie also called Mommie Dearest.
- bio: Joan Crawford
- Leese 1991, p. 18