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Joan Crawford: The Essential Biography

Narrated by: Jim Bratton
Length: 11 hrs and 27 mins
4 out of 5 stars (9 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Joan Crawford was a leading film personality for more than 50 years, from her beginnings as a dancer in silent films of the 1920s, to her portrayals of working-class shop girls in the Depression '30s, to her Oscar-winning performances in classic films such as Mildred Pierce. Crawford's legacy has become somewhat tarnished in the wake of her daughter Christina's memoir, Mommie Dearest, which turned her into a national joke. 

Today, many picture Crawford only as a wire hanger-wielding shrew rather than the personification of Hollywood glamour. This new biography of Crawford sets the record straight, going beyond the gossip to find the truth about the legendary actress. The authors knew Crawford well and conducted scores of interviews with her and many of her friends and co-stars, including Frank Capra, George Cukor, Nicholas Ray, and Sidney Greenstreet. Far from a whitewash, Crawford was indeed a colorful and difficult character. Joan Crawford corrects many lies and tells the story of one of Hollywood's most influential stars, complete with on-set anecdotes and other movie lore.

The book is published by The University Press of Kentucky.

©2002 The University Press of Kentucky (P)2018 Redwood Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"A thoroughgoing, evenhanded review of Crawford's life and work… neither academic nor gossipy but rather confessional, as if they are eager to set the record straight." (Library Journal)

"An expert overview of the temperamental diva's career." (Film Review

"Expert.... The woman who emerges from these pages was tough, demanding, self-obsessed, horny, generous, and loyal." (Bay Area Reporter)

What members say

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    4 out of 5 stars

Four stars, not Five

I would have given the book five stars, but I happen to believe that Christina Crawford is telling the truth about her child abuse. So did much of Hollywood. Both authors practically called her a liar. However, other than their smear on Christina and her adopted brother Christopher, I appreciated the text describing Joan's career and life. She needed this kind of attention because she deserves a critical look at her life, movies and times.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Must buy

I’m glad this was released on audio book. It balances most the stories about Joan out there. Thank you.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Kerrie
  • 08-13-18

Biased towards Joan

I've read a number of books about Joan ... including Mommie Dearest. While this book has great info about Joan's films, there is no doubt that the authors were definitely not objective in their writing. They were friends of Joan's who wanted to present her in a kinder light than what has gone before. Was she a star? Of course! Was she an accomplished actress? Definitely! Did Christina exaggerate? Probably! Joan's early life and her promiscuity is well documented. She was certainly not the only actress to gain favour via the "casting couch" but her talent saw her through. Her personal life, her marriages and the four children she adopted are a different story. I don't think anyone will ever know the whole truth which is probably somewhere between Mommie Dearest and this book.