Joan Crawford Net Worth

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Joan Crawford net worth was
$20 Million

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Joan Crawford Net Worth $20 Million Dollars

Joan Crawford Net Worth: Joan Crawford was an American performer who had a net worth of $20 million. Crawford started out as a dancer and stage chorine (chorus girl). She worked on Broadway and signed a motion picture handle Metro Goldwyn Mayer in 1925. She became one of Hollywood’s hottest performers plus among the best paid women in America. Crawford wed Pepsi-Cola Company Chairman Alfred Steele in 1955 but he passed away in 1959. Joan took over for his responsibilities but was made to retire in 1973. The American Film Institute named her the tenth finest female star in the annals of American film. Crawford had over 100 performing credits to her name and her last part came in the TV series The Sixth Sense in 1972. She also did some work as a writer and producer. She was nominated for two other Oscars for The Best Actress in a Leading Character in addition to winning a Cecil B. DeMille Award from the Golden Globes in 1970. Crawford was given a star on the Motion Picture Walk of Fame in 1960 at 1752 Vine Street.

Quick Facts

Birth date: 23rd March 1904 in San Antonio, Texas
Death date: 10th May 1977 in New York City, New York
Birth place: San Antonio, Texas, USA
Height:1.6 m
Education:Stephens College
Spouse:Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. Franchot Tone Phillip Terry Alfred Steele died (divorced), Vin Scully
Children:Christina Crawford, Christopher Crawford, Cynthia Crawford, Cathy Crawford
Parents:Anna Bell Johnson, Thomas E. LeSueur
Siblings:Hal LeSueur
Awards:Oscar Award for Best Actress, Hollywood Walk of Fame (1960)
Nominations:Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture – Drama, BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actress
Movies:Mildred Pierce
TV shows:The Secret Storm, Journey to the Unknown, General Electric Theater, Caesar's Hour, MGM: When the Lion Roars, ABC's Nightlife

Interesting Facts

1According to Joan, "You manufacture toys. You don't manufacture stars" (cited in 'A Tribute to Joan Crawford', in Film Fan Monthly # 138, December 1972).
2Profiled in the book "Johnny Mack Brown's Saddle Gals" by Bobby Copeland.
3She considered This Woman Is Dangerous (1952) to be the worst film she ever starred in.
4The death of her fourth husband, Alfred Steele, devastated her financially as well as emotionally. After he died it was discovered that he had borrowed money from Pepsi-Cola against his future salary, and when he passed away she was left with massive debts to cover. Her dire financial situation is one of the main reasons--aside from the fact that she simply loved working--for the increasingly lackluster projects she signed on for in her later career.
5During filming of her episode of Night Gallery (1969), its director, the then-unknown Steven Spielberg, presented her with the gift of a single red rose in a Pepsi-Cola bottle. At the time, she was still a member of the soft drink giant's board of directors.
6During her time on the Pepsi-Cola board of directors, whenever she and the current president of Coca-Cola happened to be in the same restaurant at the same time, each of them would send the other a bottle of the other's product.
7Appeared alongside Diane Baker in three films: The Best of Everything (1959), Della (1964) and Strait-Jacket (1964). In the latter two, she played Baker's mother.
8At the Academy Awards presentation for 1961 (1962), Crawford presented Maximilian Schell with his "Best Actor" Oscar; the following year, Schell, as presenter of the "Best Actress" award, presented the Oscar to Crawford, who was accepting for absent winner Anne Bancroft.
9In his autobiography, Jackie Cooper claims he had an affair with Crawford when he was her teenage neighbor.
10In 1934, Crawford contacted the doctor who had performed her dental and facial operations in 1928, William Branch, for which there were follow-up procedures in 1932 and 1933. She asked him to help her develop a program through which she would underwrite the hospital bills for destitute patients who had once worked in any capacity in the film industry. These people would receive all necessary treatment at the Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital, where she endowed many rooms and a surgical suite. All the bills were sent to her and promptly and privately paid for, without referring them to her business manager. The arrangement was made on condition that her name not be used, and that she receive no credit or publicity for her charitable work in any way. Years later, when her donations were discovered and she was publicly praised, Crawford feigned ignorance of the entire enterprise. According to a confidential hospital report made in 1939, "In the two years after 1937, more than 390 major surgeries were completed. Joan Crawford paid the bills, she never knew the people for whom she was paying, and she didn't care.".
11Paramount was the one major studio Crawford never made a film for, although she came very close. In early 1953 she was in talks to star as Sylvia Merril in the Irving Asher production of "Lisbon", an international spy tale adapted from a short story by 'Martin Rackin' (qv(. However, the film was shelved when after several rewrites Asher and Crawford weren't sure about the strength of the script. She and director Nicholas Ray (who had been hired to direct "Lisbon") both went on to film the 1954 western Johnny Guitar (1954) for Republic Pictures. It was Republic that ended up making Lisbon (1956) with Maureen O'Hara playing Sylvia Merril.
12Was the 26th actress to receive an Academy Award; she won the Best Actress Oscar for Mildred Pierce (1945) at The 18th Academy Awards on March 7, 1946.
13Is one of 14 Best Actress Oscar winners to have not accepted their Academy Award in person, Crawford's being for Mildred Pierce (1945). The others are Katharine Hepburn, Claudette Colbert, Judy Holliday, Vivien Leigh, Anna Magnani, Ingrid Bergman, Sophia Loren, Anne Bancroft, Patricia Neal, Elizabeth Taylor, Maggie Smith, Glenda Jackson and Ellen Burstyn.
14She was a fan of the TV show Bewitched (1964).
15Her favorite actress was Agnes Moorehead.
16Was considered for the role of Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind (1939).
17In January 2014, she was honored as Turner Classic Movies Star of the Month.
18Release of the book, "Joan Crawford: Hollywood Martyr" by David Bret. [2006]
19A personal friend of President Lyndon Johnson, she was attending a White House dinner on January 17, 1967, and caused quite a tabloid stir when she implied that Cathy Douglas, the recent widow of Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, failed to show "proper breeding" by not knowing how to correctly use her finger bowl.
20Her favorite musician was Glenn Miller and she especially loved his 1939 song "Moonlight Serenade".
21She once said in an interview that she and her arch-rival Bette Davis had nothing in common. In reality, they had a handful of similarities in their personal lives. They both had fathers who abandoned their families at a young age, they rose from poverty to success while breaking into films during the late 1920s and early 1930s, had siblings and mothers who milked them financially once they became famous, became Oscar-winning leading ladies, were staunch liberal Democrats and feminists, and had daughters who wrote books denouncing them as bad mothers.
22She was friends with: Van Johnson, Cesar Romero, Barbara Stanwyck, Myrna Loy, Ann Blyth, Gary Gray, Marlene Dietrich, Anita Loos, Rosalind Russell, Virginia Bruce, and George Cukor.
23The Disneyland attraction "It's A Small World" was donated to the famed theme-park courtesy of Joan. During the 1964 World's Fair, Joan, who at the time was member of the board of directors of Pepsi Cola, approached Walt Disney with the suggestion to create a ride dedicated to the children of the world. The musical boat ride was a smash hit and once the fair ended "It's A Small World" was transferred in its entirety to Disneyland and was officially reopened to park guests on May 28, 1966, with Crawford in attendance.
24Joan suffered from bacillophobia, the fear of germs.
25Her biggest pet peeve was being told by rising starlets that she was their mother's favorite actress.
26She was an active member of the Hollywood Democratic Committee and was very liberal all her life. She was a supporter of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson, Adlai Stevenson, John F. Kennedy and Jimmy Carter.
27After joining Warner Bros., she was looking for her first role at the studio. Jack L. Warner had her in mind for the role of Kathryn Mason in Conflict (1945) and sent the script for the film to her. However, after reading the script, she told her agent to tell Warner that "Joan Crawford never dies in her movies, and she never ever loses her man to anyone".
28Was in consideration for the part of Hildy Johnson in His Girl Friday (1940), but Rosalind Russell was cast instead.
29Former mother-in-law of Harvey Medlinsky.
30Her daughter Christina Crawford suffered from an ovarian cyst in 1968 while appearing on the soap opera The Secret Storm (1954). While Christina was recovering from surgery, Joan--63 years old at the time--temporarily took over Christina's role as a 28-year-old on the show. Christina wrote in her book "Mommie Dearest" that when she watched her mother's scenes on the telecast, it was obvious to her that Crawford had been drinking during the taping.
31She was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1752 Vine St.
32While touring the talk show circuit to promote What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962), Bette Davis told one interviewer that when she and Crawford were first suggested for the leads, Warner Bros. studio head Jack L. Warner replied: "I wouldn't give a plugged nickel for either of those two old broads." Recalling the story, Davis laughed at her own expense. The following day, she received a telegram from Crawford: "In future, please do not refer to me as an old broad!".
33In 1959, upon the death of her husband Alfred Steele, CEO of the Pepsi-Cola Company, she refused to give up her seat on the board of directors until her forced retirement in 1973. She earned $60,000 per year as a board member and was a tireless supporter of the product, demanding that it receive prominent placement in her films, and traveled extensively as a goodwill ambassador for the company.
34In 1933 she appeared in a Coca-Cola print advertisement. Twenty-two years later she married Pepsi-Cola board chairman Alfred Steele.
35Had once said that Clark Gable was the only man she had ever truly loved.
36Salary for 1941, $195,673.
37She was Fred Astaire's first on-screen dance partner. They appeared in Dancing Lady (1933).
38In Italy, almost all of her films were dubbed by Tina Lattanzi and in the fifties mainly by Lidia Simoneschi. She was once dubbed by Gemma Griarotti in the second dubbing of Grand Hotel (1932).
39Mentioned in thanks by Courtney Love in the liner notes of Hole's album "Celebrity Skin".
40Adopted four children. Her two oldest children, Christina Crawford and Chistopher were completely excluded from her will. The other two received the modest amount of $77,500 each out of Crawford's $2 million estate.
41Her performance as Mildred Pierce Beragon in Mildred Pierce (1945) is ranked #93 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).
42Was very close friends with William Haines and his partner Jimmy Shields from very early in her career until Haines' death. An up-and-coming actor, Haines had refused MGM's demand of a sham marriage to divert attention from his long-standing relationship with Shields. Crawford often referred to them as one of the longest, happiest marriages in Hollywood.
43Often wore shoulder pads.
44In AFI's 100 Years 100 Stars, she was ranked the #10 Female Greatest Screen Legend.
45She had English, as well as small amounts of French (the origin of her surname) and Welsh, ancestry.
46Is portrayed by Barrie Youngfellow in The Scarlett O'Hara War (1980) and by Faye Dunaway in Mommie Dearest (1981)
47She has a grandson, Casey LaLonde, by her daughter Cathy. He was born c. 1972.
48She has a granddaughter, Chrystal, from son Christopher. She has a granddaughter Carla, born c. 1970, from daughter Cathy. She has eight grandchildren altogether (four from Christopher and two each from Cindy and Cathy).
49Although she claimed her youngest daughters Cathy and Cindy were twins, most sources--including her two older children--claim they were just two babies born about a month apart. Her two older children claimed they couldn't be twins because they looked nothing alike. In the early 1990s Cathy found their birth certificate, which proved that they were indeed twins, born on January 13, 1947. The fact that they were fraternal twins, rather than identical, can account for the fact that they did not look alike. The twins eventually met their birth father and other biological relatives. They found out that their birth mother had died of kidney failure soon after birth and that their father, who had not been married to their mother, did not find out about them until after it was too late. They were sold illegally to Crawford by Tennessee Children's Home Society director Georgia Tann.
50After her husband Alfred Steele died, she continued to set a place for him at the dinner table.
51Comedic actress Betty Hutton, who lived near Crawford for a time, stated that she saw some of the abuse claimed by Joan's daughter Christina Crawford. Hutton would often encourage her own children to spend some time with "those poor children," as she felt they needed some fun in their lives.
52Was approached twice by the producers of the Airport disaster movie series. She was offered two different roles in both Airport 1975 (1974) and Airport '77 (1977), but refused.
53After being signed by MGM, someone attempted to extort money from the studio by claiming they had a pornographic film that featured a young Crawford. The attempt failed when MGM pointed out they could not definitely prove the actress in the film was Crawford. The incident was mentioned in a couple of biographies.
54She was voted the 47th Greatest Movie Star of all time by Entertainment Weekly.
55One of the original MGM contract stars from the studio's early period.
56Met her biological father only once when he visited her on the set of Chained (1934). She would never see him again.
57She was a favorite model of Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks for their early experiments in animation ("The Hand Behind the Mouse," by Leslie Iwerks).
58WAMPAS Baby of 1926
59Her popularity grew so quickly after her name was changed to Joan Crawford that two films in which she was still billed as Lucille Le Sueur: Old Clothes (1925) and The Only Thing (1925) were recalled, and the billings were altered.
60Her Oscar statuette for Mildred Pierce (1945) went on auction after her death and sold for $68,000. The auction house had predicted a top bid of $15,000.
61Her little tap dancing in The Hollywood Revue of 1929 (1929) was the first audible tap dance on the screen.
62Adopted four children: Christina Crawford, Christopher Crawford, and twins Cindy Crawford and Cathy Crawford.
63Blue Öyster Cult wrote a song about her, titled "Joan Crawford".
64Never liked the name "Crawford", saying to her friend William Haines that it sounded too much like "Crawfish". He replied that it was much better than "Cranberry," which became the nickname he used for Crawford for over 50 years.
65Adopted another son in the early 1940s, but during a magazine interview she disclosed the location of his birth, and his biological mother showed up at her Brentwood home wanting the baby back. Thinking that a fight would hurt the well-being of the child, Joan gave him back to his mother, who then sold him to another family.
66When she adopted her eldest daughter, Christina Crawford, she first named her "Joan Jr.". Baby pictures from the book "Mommie, Dearest" show baby Christina lying on a towel with "Joan, Jr." monogrammed on it. Later, for reasons that can only be speculated, Joan changed the baby's name to Christina. Joan did the same thing to her adopted son, who was named "Phillip Terry, Jr." after actor Phillip Terry, to whom she was married at the time he was adopted. After her divorce from Terry was finalized, she changed the boy's name to Christopher.
67Was dancing in a chorus line in 1925 when she was spotted by MGM and offered a screen test. Although she wanted more than anything to continue dancing, she turned down the offer at first. Another chorus girl persuaded her to try the test, however, and a few weeks later she was put under contract.
68As a child, Joan was playing in the front yard of her home in Texas when she got a large piece of glass lodged in her foot. After it was removed, doctors told her she would likely never walk again without a limp. Joan was determined to be a dancer, so she practiced walking and dancing every day for over six months until she was able to walk without pain. Not only did she make a full recovery, she also fulfilled her dream of becoming a chorus dancer.
69Adopted all of her children except Christopher Crawford while she was unmarried. Since the state of California did not allow single men and women to adopt children at that time, Joan had to search for agencies in the eastern United States. The agency in charge of the adoption of Christina was later exposed as part of a black market baby ring.
70When her daughter Christina Crawford decided to become an actress, Joan demanded that she change her last name, so it wouldn't appear that Christina was using it to further her career. Christina refused.
71During her later years, Crawford was drinking up to a quart of vodka a day.
72Drank excessively and smoked until she began practicing Christian Science, at which time she abruptly quit smoking. The amount she drank decreased substantially for decades, but then increased during the 1960s and 1970s as her career wound down and health problems increased.
73Decided to adopt children after suffering a series of miscarriages with her husbands and being told by doctors that she would never be able to have a baby.
74She was bullied and shunned at Scaritt Elementary School in Kansas City by the other students due to her poor home life (after she became a star, she answered every single piece of fan mail she received in her lifetime except those from former classmates at Scaritt). She worked with her mother in a laundry and felt that her classmates could smell the chemicals and cleaners on her. She said that her love of taking showers and being obsessed with cleanliness had begun early in life as an attempt to wash off the smell of the laundry.
75Sister of actor Hal Le Sueur.
76She always considered The Unknown (1927) a big turning point for her. She said it wasn't until working with Lon Chaney in this film that she learned the difference between standing in front of a camera and acting in front of a camera. She said that was all due to Chaney and his intense concentration, and after that experience she said she worked much harder to become a better actress.
77A 2002 TV biography revealed that her hatred of wire hangers derived from her poverty as a child and her experiences working with her mother in what must have been a grim job in a laundry.
78She disliked her "new" name and initially encouraged others to pronounce it Jo-Anne Crawford. In private, she liked to be referred to as Billie.
79"Joan Arden" was chosen as the young star's screen name after a write-in contest was held in the pages of "Movie Weekly" magazine, but a bit player came forward and said she was already using it. Mrs. Marie M. Tisdale, a crippled woman living in Albany, New York, won $500 for submitting the runner-up name "Joan Crawford".
80In her final years at MGM, Crawford was handed weak scripts in the hopes that she'd break her contract. Two films she hungered to appear in were Random Harvest (1942) and Madame Curie (1943). Both films went to bright new star Greer Garson instead, and Crawford left the studio soon after.
81Despite being a big star, Crawford really didn't appear in that many film classics. One she missed out on was From Here to Eternity (1953) in 1953. When the domineering actress insisted that her costumes be designed by Sheila O'Brien, studio head Harry Cohn replaced her with Deborah Kerr.
82Her cleanliness obsession led her to prefer showers to tubs, as she abhorred sitting in her own bathwater.
83After hearing that a plumber had used a toilet after installing it in her Brentwood home, she immediately had the fixture and pipes ripped out and replaced.
84In the early 1930s, tired of playing fun-loving flappers, she wanted to change her image. Thin lips would not do for her; she wanted big lips. Ignoring Crawford's natural lip contours, Max Factor ran a smear of color across her upper and lower lips; it was just what she wanted. To Max, the Crawford look, which became her trademark, was always "the smear". To the public it became known as "Hunter's Bow Lips". Crawford is often credited as helping to rout America's prejudice against lipstick.
85Whenever she stayed in a hotel, no matter how good or reputable it was, she always scrubbed the bathroom herself before using it.
86She was named as "the other woman" in at least two divorces.
87Her 1933 contract with MGM was so detailed and binding, it even had a clause in it indicating what time she was expected to be in bed each night.
88Was forced by MGM boss Louis B. Mayer to drop her real name Lucille LeSueur because it sounded too much like "sewer".
89She had a cleanliness obsession. She used to wash her hands every ten minutes and follow guests around her house wiping everything they touched, especially doorknobs and pieces from her china set. She would never smoke a cigarette unless she opened the pack herself, and would never use another cigarette out of that pack if someone else had touched it.
90Born at 10:00 PM.
91One-time daughter-in-law of Douglas Fairbanks. Former cousin-in-law of Lucile Fairbanks. Former niece-in-law of Robert Fairbanks.
92At the time of her death, the only photographs displayed in her apartment were of Barbara Stanwyck and President John F. Kennedy.
93Cartoonist Milton Caniff claimed he based the character of "Dragon Lady" in his popular "Terry and the Pirates" comic strip on Crawford.
94She taught director Steven Spielberg how to belch while filming their episode of Night Gallery (1969).
95After her friend Steven Spielberg hit it big, Joan sent him periodic notes of congratulations. The last one came two weeks before her death.
96She was so dedicated to her fans that she always personally responded to her fan mail by typing responses on blue paper and autographing it. A great deal of her spare time and weekends were spent doing this.
97Was asked to take over Carole Lombard 's role in They All Kissed the Bride (1942) after Lombard died in an airplane crash returning from a war bond tour. Crawford then donated all of her salary to the Red Cross, which found Lombard's body, and promptly fired her agent for taking his usual 10%.
98Interred at Ferncliff Cemetery, Hartsdale, New York, USA.
99Each time Crawford married, she changed the name of her Brentwood estate and installed all new toilet seats.
100Worked as an elevator operator at Harzfeld's Department Store in downtown Kansas City, Missouri.
101Entered Stephens College, a posh university for women in Columbia, Missouri, in 1922, but left before her first academic year was over as she felt she was not academically prepared for university.

Net Worth & Salary

The Sixth Sense (1972)$2,500
Trog (1970)$50,000 (estimated)
Night Gallery (The Cemetery/Eyes/The Escape Route) (1969)$50,000
I Saw What You Did (1965)$50,000
Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964)$50,000 + 25% in profits + $5,000 in living expenses
Strait-Jacket (1964)$50,000 + 40% of profits
Strait-Jacket (1964)$50,000 + % of profits
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)$30,000 + 15% of the net profits
The Best of Everything (1959)$65,000
The Story of Esther Costello (1957)$200,000
Torch Song (1953)$125,000 (paid in 83 installments for tax purposes)
Sudden Fear (1952)40% of profits
This Woman Is Dangerous (1952)$3,205 .13 per week
Goodbye, My Fancy (1951)$3,205 .13 per week
Possessed (1947)$167,000
Humoresque (1946)$500,000
Humoresque (1946)$167,000
Mildred Pierce (1945)$167,000
They All Kissed the Bride (1942)$330,000
The Bride Wore Red (1937)$9,500 .00 per week
Love on the Run (1936)$8,500 .00 per week
The Gorgeous Hussy (1936)$8,500 .00 per week
I Live My Life (1935)$7,500 .00 per week
No More Ladies (1935)$7,500 .00 per week
Dancing Lady (1933)$5,000 .00 per week
Rain (1932)$4,000 .00 per week
Grand Hotel (1932)$3,500 .00 per week
This Modern Age (1931)$3,500 .00 per week
Laughing Sinners (1931)$3,000 .00 per week
Montana Moon (1930)$1,000 per week
Lady of the Night (1925)$75 .00 per week


1Shoulder pads
2Later in her career, her large eyebrows and "smear" lipstick
3Frequently played women put through an extensive amount of suffering
4Glamorous sense of fashion


1You know, I was terrified of flying until Alfred talked me out of it.
2[on Elizabeth Taylor] Miss Taylor is a spoiled, indulgent child, a blemish on public decency.
3[on The Gorgeous Hussy (1936)] I had read the criticisms of me and my movies and they were discerning. They said that Crawford needs a new deal, and they asked if I was doomed to explore forever the emotional misfortunes of the super-sexed modern young woman. And so, to break away from the pattern, I wanted to do "The Gorgeous Hussy". [David O. Selznick] laughed at me: "You can't do a costume picture. You're too modern". But I begged and begged and begged, and so they let me do it. I was totally miscast.
4[on returning to MGM to work on Torch Song (1953)] It was like a homecoming. I loved doing that film. It gave me a chance to dance again. All the right elements were there. It was a field day for an actress, particularly one who'd reached a certain age. They don't write pictures like this anymore, do they?
5[on William Haines and his partner, Jimmie Shields] The happiest married couple I ever knew.
6[on Queen Bee (1955)] I had a chance to play the total bitch, a worse bitch than I had played in The Women (1939) - and for a solid ninety minutes, too. I ended up hating myself, honestly feeling that in my death scene I was getting precisely what I deserved.
7[on acting] One of the scary things is the effects a really heavy or demanding role will have on your personal life. During The Women (1939), I'm afraid I was as much of a bitch offscreen as I was on. Elizabeth Taylor said that she actually became Martha [in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) in private life, with rather disastrous consequences. I can understand that. I always wondered how Charlton Heston acted offscreen while he was playing Moses.
8[on This Woman Is Dangerous (1952)] I must have been awfully hungry. The kids were in school, the house had a mortgage. And so I did this awful picture that had a shoddy story, a cliché script and no direction to speak of. The thing just blundered along. I suppose I could have made it better, but it was one of those times when I was so disgusted with everything that I just shrugged and went along with it. It was the worst picture I ever made.
9[on This Woman Is Dangerous (1952)] At the moment when I needed a blockbuster, my next picture could easily have been my swan song. It was the type of improbable corn that had gone out with Adrian's shoulder pads.
10[on Possessed (1947)] I worked harder on it than on any other picture. Don't let anyone tell you it's easy to play a madwoman, particularly a psychotic. It was a heavy, heavy picture, not very pleasant, and I was emotionally and physically exhausted when we finished shooting.
11[on Mildred Pierce (1945)] The character I played was a composite of the characters I'd always played, and there were a few elements from my own personality and character, too. In a way, I think I was getting ready for "Mildred Pierce" when I was a kid, waiting on tables and cooking. But there was not a single Crawford mannerism in my performance. I sailed into [it] with all the gusto I'd been saving for three years. The role was a delight to me, because it rescued me from what was known at MGM as the Joan Crawford formula. I had become so hidden in clothes and sets that nobody could tell whether I had talent or not.
12[on being dubbed "box-office poison in 1938] Box-office poison? Mr.Mayer [MGM chief Louis B. Mayer] always asserted that the studio had built Stage 22, Stage 24 and the Irving Thalberg Building, brick by brick, from the income on my pictures.
13Everything clicked on Autumn Leaves (1956). The cast was perfect, the script was good, and I think Bob [director Robert Aldrich] handled everything well. I really think Cliff [Cliff Robertson] did a stupendous job; another actor might have been spitting out his lines and chewing the scenery, but he avoided that trap. I think the movie on a whole was a lot better than some of the romantic movies I did in the past. It did all right at the box office, but somehow it just never became better known. It was eclipsed by the picture I did with Bette Davis.
14[The Story of Esther Costello (1957)] It was one hell of a demanding role and I played it in my own pitch, the way I thought it should be played, and I was right. The complexities of the part were staggering and I have nothing but very fond memories of it--plus the usual nagging question, why the hell didn't more pictures like this come along? Why did I get stuck in freak shows?
15[on why she declined Airport '77 (1977)] I wanted Joel McCrea to play opposite me, and anyway, they actually asked me to fly out there with only one week's notice! Why, that is hardly enough time for makeup tests or rehearsals . . . and when I asked about costume fittings, they said they wanted me to wear my own clothes!
16The Democratic party is one that I've always observed. I have struggled greatly in life from the day I was born and I am honored to be a part of something that focuses on working-class citizens and molds them into a proud specimen. Mr. Roosevelt [Franklin D. Roosevelt] and Mr. Kennedy [John F. Kennedy] have done so much in that regard for the two generations they've won over during their career course.
17[on The Women (1939)] It was like a fucking zoo at times. If you let down your guard for one moment you would have been eaten alive.
18[on filming the bath scene in The Women (1939)] It took ten hours to shoot. The suds lasted only fifteen minutes under the hot lights. Once, the water began to leak out and the crew had to toss me a towel to clothe myself. It could have been so embarrassing.
19While making Possessed (1947), I wept each morning on my drive to the studio, and I wept all the way back home. I found it impossible to sleep at night, so I'd lie in bed contemplating the future. I fear it with all my heart and soul even as I fear the dark.
20I used to wash my hands every ten minutes. I couldn't step out of the house unless I had gloves on. I wouldn't smoke a cigarette unless I opened the pack myself, and I would never use another cigarette out of that pack if someone else had touched it.
21[on her son, Christopher Crawford] I remember most clearly when a teenage Christopher spat in my face. He said, "I hate you". It's pretty hard to overlook that. I couldn't.
22[on What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962) and whether she hid weights on her body so that Bette Davis would have a hard time lifting her off the bed when she takes her out of the house for their trip to the beach] Weights! And have Bette tell everyone I was as heavy as an elephant. Absolutely not. I may not have made it as easy for her to lift me out of the bed as I could have, at least at first, but when you're a pro you get over any animosity you may feel and help your fellow player out. It simply didn't happen.
23I absolutely will not allow anyone to call me grandmother. They can call me Auntie Joan, Dee-Dee, Cho-Cho, anything but grandmother. It pushes a woman almost to the grave.
24[on Planet of the Apes (1968)] Sure, I'd play an ape if they asked me. Maurice Evans did.
25[commenting on her final days at Warner Brothers] They were grooming Doris Day to take over the top spot. [Jack L. Warner] asked me to play her sister in one picture [Storm Warning (1951)]. I said, "Come on, Jack. No one could ever believe that I would have Doris Day for a sister".
26[after seeing Greta Garbo for the first time on the MGM lot] My knees went weak. She was breathtaking. If ever I thought of becoming a lesbian, that was it.
27I hate this fucking picture [What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)], but I need the money, and if it goes over I'll get a nice percentage of the profits.
28I had always known what I wanted, and that was beauty . . . in every form . . . a beautiful house, beautiful man, a beautiful life and image. I was ambitious to get the money which would attain all that for me.
29[To Spencer Tracy, made up with curled hair for Captains Courageous (1937)] Oh, my God, it's Harpo Marx!
30[on the red carpet treatment Norma Shearer attracted at MGM] What do you expect? She sleeps with the boss [Shearer's husband Irving Thalberg was production head of MGM].
31[on her children Christina Crawford and Christopher Crawford] You know the troubles I've had with my two older children. I can't understand why it turned out so badly. I tried to give them everything. I loved them and tried to keep them near me, even when they didn't return my love. Well, I couldn't make them love me, but they could have shown some respect. I couldn't insist on love, but I could insist on respect.
32[on Bette Davis]: There was one thing where Bette was one up on me. She'd had a baby, a child of her own. I wanted one, and Bette was so lucky to have been able to have her own daughter.
33[on Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964) (1973)] I still get chills when I think of the treachery that Miss Davis [Bette Davis] indulged in on that movie, but I refused to ever let anger or hate enter my heart.
34When television killed comedy and love stories, the movie makers went in slugging. They offered the downbeat, the degenerate as competition. This seems to me to be a sad campaign for Hollywood to use to combat box office disaster.
35[The 1930s] Hollywood was capable of hurting me so much. The things about Hollywood that could hurt me (when I first came) can't touch me now. I suddenly decided that they shouldn't hurt me--that was all.
36[on The David Frost Show (1969), (1970)] I feel that if you have one ounce of good sense and one good friend, you'll never have to go to a psychiatrist.
37Franchot [Franchot Tone] was an extremely loving, intelligent, considerate man, but he was also very haunted. He was one hell of a fine actor, but he loved the theatre and despised Hollywood. He very seldom got the parts he deserved, and I think this bugged him a lot. I wasn't as nice to him, as considerate, as I should have been. I was extremely busy during those years, and I didn't realize that his insecurities and dissatisfactions ran so deeply. His sex life diminished considerably, which didn't help matters, and there finally came a time when we only had things to argue about, not to talk about, and after hundreds of running arguments and a few physical rows we decided to call it quits. I missed him a lot, for a long, long time. He was so mature and stimulating. I think I can safely say that the break-up was another career casualty. If I'd tried a little harder - who knows.
38Sensitive husbands don't like second billing. I don't believe Franchot [Franchot Tone] ever for a moment resented the fact that I was a star. Possibly he resented Hollywood's refusal to let him forget it. There was never a doubt in my mind that his talent was greater than mine.
39When we were making [What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)], Bette [Bette Davis] admitted to me she was "absolutely smitten" with Franchot [Franchot Tone], who had made Dangerous (1935) with her, but Franchot and I were already very much involved. That proves that Bette did have some good taste in men. Franchot said he thought Bette was a good actress, but he never thought of her as a woman. Our marriage didn't last, but we had some wonderful years. I wouldn't give them back for anything, and we remained friends as long as he lived.
40Be afraid of nothing.
41[commenting on sex in films] I find suggestion a hell of a lot more provocative than explicit detail. You didn't see [Clark Gable] and [Vivien Leigh] rolling around in bed in Gone with the Wind (1939), but you saw that shit-eating grin on her face the next morning and you knew damned well she'd gotten properly laid . . . In my fallen-woman roles . . . nobody saw me do the actual falling . . . but they knew I'd fallen, and when it happened again--well, they got the point, and maybe the pornography that went on inside their heads was better than the actual thing would have been on screen. Censorship was a pain in the ass--when it was moral or political--but in the long run, considering what I see now, I think it served a purpose. Marlon Brando . . . Oh, what was the film [Ultimo tango a Parigi (1972)] . . . anyway the nude scene. He's at least 40 pounds overweight, and I think the only sex appeal he has would be to a meat packer. That's art? The emphasis seems to be on the seamier side of real life, as though we should be more interested in what happened in the bathroom and the bedroom instead of living room, kitchen and office. The perspective is crazy. If we think about our lives, and divide time into the portions spent on making a living, eating, talking, reading, being entertained by TV or movies or radio or theater or whatever, and having sex, I think we'd find sex coming out on the short end of the stick. Unless you're a whore it doesn't give you the wherewithal to survive. Good God, isn't it more fun doing it or imagining it than watching it? . . . I know I sound like some sort of old Puritan, but I still think back to "Gone with the Wind", and that morning scene with Scarlett O'Hara. It was a hell of a lot more sexually stimulating than a glimpse of fat Marlon Brando.
42[on Judy Garland] Over the years I've heard and read so many stories about the way Judy Garland was so badly treated at Metro she ended up a mess. I did not know her well, but after watching her in action a few times I didn't want to know her well. I think her problems were caused by the fact that she was a spoiled, indulgent, selfish brat--plus a stage mother who had to be something of a monster, and a few husbands whose egos absolutely dominated hers. There were times when I felt sorry for Judy, but there were more times when I thought, "For Christ's sake, get off your ass!" . . . but when she put her mind to it, she was good. And I mean damned good. Even in her silly pictures she came off.
43[on Bette Davis and The Star (1952)] Of course I had heard she was supposed to be playing me, but I didn't believe it. Did you see the picture? It couldn't possibly be me. Bette looked so old, and so dreadfully overweight.
44[on Bette Davis] So I had no great beginnings in legitimate theater, but what the hell had she become if not a movie star? With all her little gestures with the cigarette, the clipped speech, the big eyes, the deadpan? I was just as much an actress as she was, even though I wasn't trained for the stage.
45[on Bette Davis and Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964)] I have always believed in the Christian ethic, to forgive and forget. I looked forward to working with Bette again. I had no idea of the extent of her hate, and that she planned to destroy me.
46[on Bette Davis] She has a cult, and what the hell is a cult except a gang of rebels without a cause. I have fans. There's a big difference.
47[on Bette Davis and What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)] Sure, she stole some of my big scenes, but the funny thing is, when I see the movie again, she stole them because she looked like a parody of herself, and I still looked like something of a star.
48[on Bette Davis during the filming of Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964)] She acted like [What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)] was a one-woman show after they nominated her [for an Academy Award as Best Actress]. What was I supposed to do, let her hog all the glory, act like I hadn't even been in the movie? She got the nomination. I didn't begrudge her that, but it would have been nice if she'd been a little gracious in interviews and given me a little credit. I would have done it for her.
49[on Greta Garbo] To this day I deplore the fact that she is unable to share herself with the world. What a waste! . . . If only she hadn't been so afraid, she wouldn't today be a lonely stranger on Fifth Avenue, fleeing before recognition.
50[on Greta Garbo] She's let herself go all to hell. She walks along the sidewalk and runs across the street through the cars when somebody notices her, like an animal, a furtive rodent. It's a wonder anybody notices her--she looks like a bag lady. I heard that she's simply stopped bathing.
51[commenting on the remake of The Women (1939), The Opposite Sex (1956)] It's ridiculous. Norma [Norma Shearer] and I might not ever have been bosom buddies, but we towered compared to those pygmies in the remake!
52[on director George Cukor] Mr. Cukor is a hard task-master, a fine director and he took me over the coals giving me the roughest time I have ever had. And I am eternally grateful.
53[on working with Bette Davis in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962) at Legendary Ladies of the Movies, Town Hall (1973)] It was one of the greatest challenges I ever had. [pauses to allow the laughter from the audience to taper off] I meant that kindly. Bette is of a different temperament than I. Bette had to yell every morning. I just sat and knitted. I knitted a scarf from Hollywood to Malibu.
54If you're going to be a star, you have to look like a star, and I never go out unless I look like Joan Crawford the movie star. If you want to see the girl next door, go next door.
55If you've earned a position, be proud of it. Don't hide it. I want to be recognized. When I hear people say, "Joan Crawford!" I turn around and say, "Hi! How are you?"
56Hollywood is like life, you face it with the sum total of your equipment.
57I love playing bitches. There's a lot of bitch in every woman--a lot in every man.
58[speaking to director George Cukor after learning of Marilyn Monroe's death] You're right. She was cheap, and an exhibitionist. She was never professional, and that irritated the hell out of people. But for God's sake, she needed help. She had all these people on her payroll. Where the hell were they when she needed them? Why in the hell did she have to die alone?
59If I can't be me, I don't want to be anybody. I was born that way.
60I'd like to think every director I've worked with has fallen in love with me; I know Dorothy Arzner did.
61Of all the actresses . . . to me, only Faye Dunaway has the talent and the class and the courage it takes to make a real star.
62There was a saying around MGM: "Norma Shearer got the productions, Greta Garbo supplied the art, and Joan Crawford made the money to pay for both".
63Not that anyone cares, but there's a right and wrong way to clean a house.
64Send me flowers while I'm alive. They won't do me a damn bit of good after I'm dead.
65[speaking of Marilyn Monroe] Look, there's nothing wrong with my tits, but I don't go around throwing them in people's faces!
66Recently I heard a "wise guy" story that I had a party at my home for 25 men. It's an interesting story, but I don't know 25 men I'd want to invite to a party.
67You have to be self-reliant and strong to survive in this town. Otherwise you will be destroyed.
68Women's Lib? Poor little things. They always look so unhappy. Have you noticed how bitter their faces are?
69[regarding the ongoing feud between Joan and her daughter Christina Crawford] Mother-and-daughter feuds make for reams in print; they also make for reams of inaccuracies: the greatest inaccuracy is the feud itself. It takes two to feud and I'm not one of them. I only wish the best for Tina.
70I think the most important thing a woman can have -- next to talent, of course, is -- her hairdresser.
71Nobody can imitate me. You can always see impersonations of Katharine Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe. But not me. Because I've always drawn on myself only.
72Love is fire. But whether it is going to warm your hearth or burn down your house, you can never tell.
73I hate being asked to discuss those dreadful horror pictures I made the mistake of starring in. They were all just so disappointing to me, I really had high expectations for some of them. I thought that William Castle and I did our best on Strait-Jacket (1964) but the script was ludicrous and unbelievable and that destroyed that picture. I even thought that Berserk (1967) would be good but that was one of the worst of the lot. The other one William Castle and I did [I Saw What You Did (1965)] was the most wretched of them all and I just wasn't good at playing an over-the-hill nymphomaniac. Ha! Then came Trog (1970). Now you can understand why I retired from making motion pictures. Incidentally, I think at that point in my career I was doing my best work on television. Della was a good television role for me, and I really liked working on that pilot episode of Night Gallery: Night Gallery (The Cemetery/Eyes/The Escape Route) (1969) with young Steven Spielberg. He did a great job and I am very satisfied with my performance on that show. Funny, every time a reporter asks me about my horror pictures they never talk about that one, and it's the only one I liked!
74I realized one morning that Trog (1970) was going to be my last picture. I had to be up early for the shoot and when I looked outside at the beautiful morning sky I felt that it was time to say goodbye. I think that may have been a prophetic thought because when I arrived on the set that morning the director told me that due to budget cuts we would wrap up filming today. The last shot of that film was a one-take and it was a very emotional moment for me. When I was walking up that hill towards the sunset I was flooded with memories of the last 50 years, and when the director yelled cut I just kept on walking. That for me was the perfect way to end my film career; however, the audiences who had to sit through that picture may feel differently.
75If I weren't a Christian Scientist, and I saw Trog (1970) advertised on a marquee across the street, I'd think I'd contemplate suicide.
76[regarding the films she made after What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)] They were all terrible, even the few I thought might be good. I made them because I needed the money or because I was bored or both. I hope they have been exhibited and withdrawn and are never heard from again.
77If you start watching the oldies, you're in trouble. I feel ancient if Grand Hotel (1932) or The Bride Wore Red (1937) comes on. I have a sneaking regard for Mildred Pierce (1945), but the others do nothing for me.
78[In The Women (1939)] Norma Shearer made me change my costume sixteen times because every one was prettier than hers. I love to play bitches and she helped me in this part.
79I need sex for a clear complexion, but I'd rather do it for love.


All Joan Crawford pictures »

Won Awards

Won awards

Won awards

YearAwardCeremonyNominationMovieAward shared with
2005OFTA Film Hall of FameOnline Film & Television AssociationActing
1970Cecil B. DeMille AwardGolden Globes, USA
1960Star on the Walk of FameWalk of FameMotion PictureOn 8 February 1960. At 1752 Vine Street.
1954Golden LaurelLaurel AwardsTop Female Musical PerformanceTorch Song (1953)
1953Golden LaurelLaurel AwardsBest Dramatic Performance, FemaleSudden Fear (1952)
1946OscarAcademy Awards, USABest Actress in a Leading RoleMildred Pierce (1945)
1946Golden AppleGolden Apple AwardsMost Cooperative Actress
1945Golden AppleGolden Apple AwardsMost Cooperative Actress
1945NBR AwardNational Board of Review, USABest ActressMildred Pierce (1945)

Nominated Awards

Nominated awards

Nominated awards

YearAwardCeremonyNominationMovieAward shared with
1966Golden LaurelLaurel AwardsFemale Star15th place.
1964BAFTA Film AwardBAFTA AwardsBest Foreign ActressWhat Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)
1955Cecil B. DeMille AwardGolden Globes, USA
1953OscarAcademy Awards, USABest Actress in a Leading RoleSudden Fear (1952)
1953Golden GlobeGolden Globes, USABest Actress - DramaSudden Fear (1952)
1948OscarAcademy Awards, USABest Actress in a Leading RolePossessed (1947)

2nd Place Awards

2nd place awards

2nd place awards

YearAwardCeremonyNominationMovieAward shared with
1946NYFCC AwardNew York Film Critics Circle AwardsBest ActressMildred Pierce (1945)




The Sixth Sense1972TV SeriesJoan Fairchild
Trog1970Dr. Brockton
The Virginian1970TV SeriesStephanie White
Night Gallery1969TV SeriesMiss Claudia Menlo
Journey to Midnight1968Hostess (scenes deleted)
The Secret Storm1968TV SeriesJoan Borman Kane
The Lucy Show1968TV SeriesJoan Crawford
Berserk1967Monica Rivers
The Man from U.N.C.L.E.1967TV SeriesAmanda True
I Saw What You Did1965Amy Nelson
Della1964Della Chappell
Strait-Jacket1964Lucy Harbin
Route 661963TV SeriesMorgan Harper
The Caretakers1963Lucretia Terry
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?1962Blanche Hudson
The Foxes1961TV MovieMillicent Fox
Zane Grey Theater1959-1961TV SeriesSarah / Melanie Davidson Hobbes / Stella Faring
The Best of Everything1959Amanda Farrow
The Joseph Cotten Show: On Trial1959TV SeriesRuth
Woman on the Run1959TV MovieSusan Conrad
General Electric Theater1954-1959TV SeriesAnn Howard / Ruth Marshall / Mary Andrews
The Story of Esther Costello1957Margaret Landi
Autumn Leaves1956Millicent Wetherby
Queen Bee1955Eva Phillips
Female on the Beach1955Lynn Markham
Johnny Guitar1954Vienna
Torch Song1953Jenny Stewart
The Revlon Mirror Theater1953TV SeriesMargaret Hughes
Sudden Fear1952Myra Hudson
This Woman Is Dangerous1952Elizabeth 'Beth' Austin
Goodbye, My Fancy1951Agatha Reed
Harriet Craig1950Harriet Craig
The Damned Don't Cry1950Ethel Whitehead / Lorna Hansen Forbes
It's a Great Feeling1949Joan Crawford (uncredited)
Flamingo Road1949Lane Bellamy
Daisy Kenyon1947Daisy Kenyon
Possessed1947Louise Howell
Humoresque1946Helen Wright
Mildred Pierce1945Mildred Pierce
Hollywood Canteen1944Joan Crawford
Above Suspicion1943Frances Myles
Reunion in France1942Michele de la Becque
They All Kissed the Bride1942Margaret J. 'M.J.' Drew
When Ladies Meet1941Mary Howard
A Woman's Face1941Anna Holm
Susan and God1940Susan
Strange Cargo1940Julie
The Women1939Crystal Allen
The Ice Follies of 19391939Mary McKay
The Shining Hour1938Olivia Riley
Mannequin1937Jessie Cassidy
The Bride Wore Red1937Anni Pavlovitch
Screen Snapshots Series 16, No. 121937Documentary shortJoan Crawford
The Last of Mrs. Cheyney1937Fay Cheyney
Love on the Run1936Sally Parker
The Gorgeous Hussy1936Peggy Eaton
I Live My Life1935Kay Bentley
No More Ladies1935Marcia
Forsaking All Others1934Mary Clay
Chained1934Diane Lovering
Sadie McKee1934Sadie McKee Brennan
Dancing Lady1933Janie Barlow
Today We Live1933Diana
Rain1932Sadie Thompson
Letty Lynton1932Letty Lynton
Grand Hotel1932/IFlaemmchen - the Stenographer
This Modern Age1931Valentine 'Val' Winters
Laughing Sinners1931Ivy 'Bunny' Stevens
The Stolen Jools1931ShortJoan Crawford
Dance, Fools, Dance1931Bonnie
Great Day1930
Paid1930Mary Turner
Our Blushing Brides1930Jerry March