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Joan Crawford’s Daughter Once Called the Star ‘Close to Being a Totally Manufactured Person’

Gaone Pule
Feb 27, 2022
08:20 P.M.
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Joan Crawford's eldest daughter Christina Crawford wrote a tell-all memoir about her mother and accused her of trying to kill her. Christina revealed the Hollywood starlet was an abusive parent.

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Joan Crawford was an American actress who started as a dancer in show business traveling in theatrical companies before hitting the big time on Broadway.  

Despite being a sought-after Hollywood darling, her daughter Christina Crawford said otherwise in terms of her real-life character. Here are the details of Joan's personal life, abusive tactics, and career. 

American actress Joan Crawford posing with her adopted daughter Christina, donning matching outfits in June 1944. / Source: Getty Images

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JOAN'S ABUSIVENESS TOWARDS CHRISTINA  

Joan was barren and resorted to adopting five kids to start her own family. She adopted daughter Christina in 1940 son Christopher in 1942, but soon got claimed by his birth mother. Joan adopted her second son, also named Christopher, in 1943, and twin girls Cathy and Cindy in 1947. 

Christina shocked the world in 1978 when she launched the first tell-all celebrity memoir titled "Mommie Dearest." She accused her mother, Joan, of being a cruel and abusive alcoholic in the book.   

In May 2008, Christina had an exclusive interview with The Guardian where she got candid about her painful childhood. The author shared she was 13 years old when she realized her mom did not love her.

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Joan Crawford and her seven year old daughter, Christina, dressed up identical Easter bonnets. / Source: Getty Images

Christina, 82, recalled a time during that period when Joan grabbed her by the throat, punched her in the face, and 

slammed

her head against the floor: 

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“You never forget that. It was up close and personal. She came from this far from my face, and you could see it in her eyes, you can see if someone is trying to kill you.” 

Christina stated that what Joan wanted was fans and puppies, not human beings, referring to her and her siblings.

Joan Crawford posing with her adopted daughter Christina next to a fireplace in June 1944. / Source: Getty Images

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The actress said that was the last time she suffered abuse at the hands of her mother merely because she told herself that if it were to happen again, she would defend herself: 

“That was the last time we had any physical violence because I knew that if it happened again. I would do everything in my power to protect myself.” 

But the attacks were far from over because Joan struck again when she attacked her child when she thought Christina was making a pass at her spouse, Alfred Steele.  

Dancer Joan Crawford with her daughter Christina during her piano lesson on July 25, 1947. / Source: Getty Images

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She said if her mother had acted that way towards her today, they would have arrested her for attempted murder, but due to lack of child protective laws at the time, Joan got away with her unacceptable behavior: 

“She would have been in jail! She would’ve been hauled off to jail for attempted murder.” 

The California native noted: "She was close to being a manufactured person as I've ever met."

Christina Crawford speaks about "Joan Crawford: The Ultimate Movie Star" film during the Turner Broadcasting in 2002. / Source: Getty Images

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JOAN'S TWIN DAUGHTERS DISPUTE THE CLAIMS 

Even though Christina has her version of events, her twin sisters beg to differ and seem to have had a completely different experience with their mother. One of Joan's grandchildren, Casey, revealed this about mom Cathy and aunt Cindy: 

“My mother and my aunt Cindy, to their dying day, felt nothing but love for their mother. They never experienced any abuse. It was a loving and caring household, and Joan was always very supportive of them.” 

Joan Crawford walking down the platform of London's Paddington Station with her adopted twin daughters, Cynthia (right) and Cathy. / Source: Getty Images

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The twins supposedly never experienced the abuse and beatings Christina said she went through. Cathy, who died at age 73 in January 2020, said Joan balanced discipline with dedication and affection: 

“My twin sister and I used to crawl into bed with her in the morning. And I always liked riding with her on our holiday trips to Carmel. I would snuggle up to her while she drove.” 

Joan Crawford pictured with her 13-year-old daughters Cathy and Cindy at Idlewild Airport. / Source: Getty Images

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JOAN'S PASSING & HER GOLDEN AGE CAREER 

Joan died of a heart attack on May 10, 1977, in New York City, leaving behind a multifaceted film legacy. The Oscar-winning actress was known for movies such as "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" and "Mildred Pierce." 

She kicked off her career as a dancer, having entered several contests, one of which landed her a spot in a chorus line. Two years later, she moved to Hollywood to get a foot in the door.  

Academy Award winning actress Joan Crawford photographed while seated on a couch in 1940. / Source: Getty Images

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Joan starred in three films after that, and through 1927 and early 1928, she got cast in minor roles. Her most significant role yet was her portrayal of Diana Medford in "Our Dancing Daughters" (1928). 

Joan was born Lucille Fay LeSueur in San Antonio, Texas, on March 23, 1905. Her parents separated before she arrived in the world. The "Johnny Guitar" star overcame an impoverished childhood to become one of the most paid women in the showbiz Golden Age. 

Hollywood starlet Joan Crawford smiling while holding her Academy Award on March 9 in 1946. / Source: Getty Images

Her career spanned five decades, and she won a 1945 Best Actress Academy Award for her role in "Mildred Pierce." Joan used her wealth to adopt and raise children, an act of kindness lauded in many magazine articles.   

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