Joan Crawford

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Person's maiden name:
Lucille Fay LeSueur
Extra names:
Joan Crawford, Джоан Кроуфорд, Люсиль Фэй Лесюр, Lucille Fay Le Sueur
Actor, Dancer, Model
Ferncliff Cemetery and Mausoleum

Joan Crawford (March 23, ca. 1904 – May 10, 1977), born Lucille Fay LeSueur, was an American actress in film, television and theatre.

Starting as a dancer in traveling theatrical companies before debuting as a chorine onBroadway, Crawford was signed to a motion picture contract by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayerin 1925. Initially frustrated by the size and quality of her parts, Crawford began a campaign of self-publicity and became nationally known as a flapper by the end of the 1920s. In the 1930s, Crawford's fame rivaled, and later outlasted, MGM colleaguesNorma Shearer and Greta Garbo. Crawford often played hardworking young women who find romance and success. These "rags-to-riches" stories were well received by Depression-era audiences and were popular with women. Crawford became one ofHollywood's most prominent movie stars and one of the highest paid women in the United States, but her films began losing money and by the end of the 1930s she was labeled "Box Office Poison". Two years later, she staged her comeback by starring inMildred Pierce (1945), for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress.

In 1955, she became involved with the Pepsi-Cola Company through her marriage to company Chairman Alfred Steele. After his death in 1959, Crawford was elected to fill his vacancy on the board of directors but was forcibly retired in 1973. She continued acting in film and television regularly through the 1960s, when her performances became fewer; after the release of the British horror film Trog in 1970, Crawford retired from the screen. Following a public appearance in 1974, after which unflattering photographs were published, Crawford withdrew from public life and became increasingly reclusive until her death in 1977.

Crawford married four times. Her first three marriages ended in divorce; the last ended with the death of husband Alfred Steele. She adopted five children, one of whom was reclaimed by his birth mother. Crawford's relationships with her two older children,Christina and Christopher, were acrimonious. Crawford disinherited the two and, after Crawford's death, Christina wrote a "tell-all" memoir, Mommie Dearest, in which she alleged a lifelong pattern of physical and emotional abuse perpetrated by Crawford.

Joan Crawford was voted the tenth greatest female star in the history of American cinema by the American Film Institute.

Early life

Crawford was born Lucille Fay LeSueur in San Antonio, Texas, the third child of Thomas E. LeSueur (January 21, 1868 – January 1, 1938), a laundry laborer of English and French Huguenot ancestry and Anna Bell Johnson (November 29, 1884 ?? – August 15, 1958), Texas-born, of Swedish and Irish descent. Her elder siblings were Daisy (ƒ 1902), who died before Lucille's birth, and Hal LeSueur. Thomas LeSueur abandoned the family a few months before Crawford's birth but reappeared in Abilene, Texas in 1930 as a 62-year-old construction laborer on the George R. Davis House, built in Prairie School architecture. 

Crawford's mother subsequently married Henry J. Cassin (born c. 1867 – died October 25, 1922; this marriage is listed in census records as Crawford's mother's first marriage, calling into question whether Thomas LeSueur and Anna Bell Johnson were ever legally wed.) The family lived in Lawton, Oklahoma, where Cassin, a minor empresario, ran the Ramsey Opera House. Cassin had presented performers as diverse as Anna Pavlova and Eva Tanguay during his career. Crawford was unaware that Cassin, whom she called "Daddy", was not her biological father until her brother Hal told her. Lucille preferred the nickname "Billie" as a child and she loved watching vaudevilleacts perform on the stage of her stepfather's theatre. The instability of her family life affected her education and her schooling never formally progressed beyond elementary school.

Her ambition was to be a dancer. However, one day, in an attempt to escape piano lessons to play with friends, she leaped from the front porch of her home and cut her foot deeply on a broken milk bottle. She had three operations and was unable to attend elementary school for 18 months. She eventually fully recovered and returned to dancing. Cassin was accused of embezzlement and although acquitted in court, was blacklisted in Lawton, and the family moved to Kansas City, Missouri around 1916. Cassin was first listed in the City Directory in 1917, living at 403 East Ninth Street. A Catholic, Cassin placed Crawford at St. Agnes Academy in Kansas City. Later, after her mother and stepfather broke up, she stayed on at St. Agnes as a work student. She then went to Rockingham Academy, also as a work student. She later claimed the headmaster's wife there beat her and forged her grades to hide the fact that young Lucille spent far more time working, primarily cooking and cleaning, rather than being able to study academically. While attending Rockingham she began dating and had her first serious relationship, with a trumpet player named Ray Sterling, who reportedly inspired her to begin challenging herself academically. In 1922, she registered at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, giving her year of birth as 1906. She attended Stephens for only four months before withdrawing after she realized she was not prepared for college.

Death and legacy

On May 8, 1977, Crawford gave away her beloved Shih Tzu "Princess Lotus Blossom", which she was too weak to care for properly. Crawford died two days later at her New York apartment from a heart attack, while also reportedly ill with pancreatic cancer. A funeral was held at Campbell Funeral Home, New York, on May 13, 1977. In her will, which was signed October 28, 1976, Crawford bequeathed to her two youngest children, Cindy and Cathy, $77,500 each from her $2,000,000 estate. She explicitly disinherited the two eldest, Christina and Christopher, writing "It is my intention to make no provision herein for my son Christopher or my daughter Christina for reasons which are well known to them." The disposition of the remainder of the estate was not disclosed.

A memorial service was held for Crawford at All Souls' Unitarian Church on Lexington Avenue in New York on May 16, 1977, and was attended by, among others, her old Hollywood friend Myrna Loy. Another memorial service, organized by George Cukor, was held on June 24 in the Samuel Goldwyn Theater at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills. Crawford wascremated and her ashes placed in a crypt with her last husband, Alfred Steele, in Ferncliff Cemetery, Hartsdale, New York.

Crawford's hand and footprints are immortalized in the forecourt of Grauman's Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard inHollywood. She also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1750 Vine Street. Playboy listed Crawford as #84 of the "100 Sexiest Women of the 20th century" in 1999.

Mommie Dearest

In November 1978, a year and a half after Crawford's death, Christina published Mommie Dearest, which contained allegations that Crawford was emotionally and physically abusive to Christina and her brother Christopher. Many of Crawford's friends and co-workers, including Van Johnson, Ann Blyth, Marlene Dietrich, Myrna Loy, Cesar Romero, Gary Gray, Douglas Fairbanks Jr.(Crawford's first husband), and Crawford's other daughters—Cathy and Cindy—denounced the book, categorically denying any abuse. But others, including Betty Hutton, Helen Hayes, James MacArthur (Hayes' son), June Allyson, Liz Smith, Rex Reed, and Vincent Sherman stated they had witnessed abuse. Crawford's secretary, Jeri Binder Smith, confirmed Christina's account.

Bette Davis supported Christina's version, saying Christina could not have made it up. (Davis, while still alive, would later become the target of her own daughter B. D. Hyman's 1985 tell-all, My Mother's Keeper.) Mommie Dearest became a bestseller and was made into the 1981 film Mommie Dearest, starring Faye Dunaway as Crawford.

Source: wikipedia.org

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        Relation nameRelation typeBirth DateDeath dateDescription
        1Hal LeSueurHal LeSueurBrother03.09.190103.05.1963
        2Douglas Fairbanks Jr.Douglas Fairbanks Jr.Husband09.12.190907.05.2000
        3Alfred SteeleAlfred SteeleHusband24.04.190019.04.1959
        4Phillip TerryPhillip TerryHusband07.03.190923.02.1993
        5Franchot ToneFranchot ToneHusband27.02.190518.09.1968
        6Douglas FairbanksDouglas FairbanksFather in-law23.05.188312.12.1939
        7Clark  GableClark GableCivilhusband01.02.190116.11.1960
        8Louis Burt MayerLouis Burt MayerFriend04.07.188429.10.1957
        9Cesar RomeroCesar RomeroFriend15.02.190701.01.1994
        10Rosalind RussellRosalind RussellFriend04.06.190728.11.1976
        11Marilyn MonroeMarilyn MonroeFriend01.06.192605.08.1962
        12Benita HumeBenita HumeCoworker14.10.190601.11.1967
        13Walter HustonWalter HustonCoworker05.04.188307.04.1950
        14Craig StevensCraig StevensCoworker08.07.191810.05.2000
        15Mae MurrayMae MurrayCoworker10.05.188523.03.1965
        16Gertrude OlmsteadGertrude OlmsteadCoworker13.11.189718.01.1975
        17Clarence BrownClarence BrownCoworker10.05.189017.08.1987
        18Bette DavisBette DavisCoworker, Opponent05.04.190806.10.1989
        19Marlene DietrichMarlene DietrichCoworker27.12.190106.05.1992
        20Paul BernPaul BernCoworker03.12.188905.09.1932
        21Chief John Big TreeChief John Big TreeCoworker02.06.187706.07.1967
        22Jean HarlowJean HarlowCoworker03.03.191107.06.1937
        23Greta GarboGreta GarboCoworker18.09.190515.04.1990
        24Mae  WestMae WestCoworker17.08.189322.11.1980
        25Alice WhiteAlice WhiteCoworker25.08.190419.02.1983
        26Henry FondaHenry FondaCoworker16.05.190512.08.1982
        27Mary AstorMary AstorCoworker03.05.190625.09.1987
        28Irving ThalbergIrving ThalbergCoworker30.05.189914.09.1936
        29Doris DayDoris DayCoworker03.04.192213.05.2019
        30Lee PatrickLee PatrickCoworker22.11.190121.11.1982
        31Fred ClarkFred ClarkCoworker19.03.191405.12.1968
        32Donyale LunaDonyale LunaFamiliar31.08.194517.05.1979
        33Carole  LombardCarole LombardFamiliar06.10.190816.01.1942
        Greg BautzerFamiliar03.04.191126.10.1987
        35Jimmy  GreenspoonJimmy GreenspoonFamiliar07.02.194811.03.2015
        36Pearl BaileyPearl BaileyFamiliar29.03.191817.08.1990
        37Gail GilmoreGail GilmoreFamiliar04.10.193702.03.2014
        38Hope LangeHope LangeFamiliar28.11.193319.12.2003