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Joan Crawford

Joan Crawford
Crawford photographed in 1948
Personal information
Birth nameLucille Fay LeSueur
Birth dateMarch 23, 1905
Place of birthSan Antonio, Texas, U.S.
Date of deathMay 10, 1977(age 72)
Death placeNew York City, New York, U.S.
OccupationActress
Years active1925 - 1972
SpouseDouglas Fairbanks, Jr.
(1929 - 1933)
Franchot Tone
(1935 - 1939)
Phillip Terry
(1942 - 1946)
Alfred Steele
(1955 - 1959)
ChildrenChristina, born on June 11, 1939(age 77)
Christopher (1943 - 2006)
Cynthia (1947 - 2007)
Cathy, born on January 13, 1947(age 69)
RelativesThomas E. LeSueur (father, 1868 - 1938)
Anna Bell Johnson (mother, 1884 - 1958)
Hal LeSueur (brother, 1901 - 1963)

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Joan Crawford (March 23, 1905 - May 10, 1977), born Lucille Fay LeSueur, was an American actress in film, television and theatre.

Starting as a dancer in travelling theatrical companies before debuting on Broadway, Crawford was signed to a motion picture contract by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 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 rivalled MGM colleagues Norma Shearer, Greta Garbo and Jean Harlow. Crawford often played hardworking young women who find romance and financial success. These "rags-to-riches" stories were well-received by Depression-era audiences and were popular with women. Crawford became one of Hollywood'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 labelled "box office poison", along with such other actors as Greta Garbo, Katharine Hepburn and Fred Astaire.

After an absence of nearly two years from the screen, Crawford staged a comeback by starring in Mildred 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 more and more 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 Al 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.

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


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