Saturday, March 23, 2013

March 23 - Joan Crawford

Actress Joan Crawford was born Lucille Fay LeSueur on March 23, ca. 1904, in San Antonio. Nicknamed Billy as a child in Oklahoma and Kansas City, she had little schooling. In the 1920s she danced in traveling revues and had a screen test; her questionable earliest films are disputed. After landing roles in MGM silent movies, she acquired her screen name (which she hated) in 1925 through a naming contest in a fan magazine. She was cast as a quintessential ‘20s “flapper,” a brash young woman in makeup who drank, smoked and flouted social and sexual norms – which made her the highest-paid actress in the United States. When her career stumbled later in the 1930s, she returned in 1945 as the star of “Mildred Pierce,” for which she won a Best Actress Oscar. She adopted five children, two of whom she disowned, including Christina, whose memoir Mommie Dearest (1978) detailed a pattern of abuse that stemmed from Crawford’s own childhood.

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