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I realized I d never finished this one and took it up again today I agree completely that this bristles with unjustified defensiveness, but at least it s well written and there were some anecdotes and insights I hadn t read elsewhere But it seems that Quirk and his co author s defense of Crawford rests simply on the contention that Christina was a spoiled brat I suspect the truth lies somewhere in the middle. (((READ EBOOK))) ↭ Joan Crawford: The Essential Biography ⇻ Joan Crawford The Essential Biography Explores The Life And Career Of One Of Hollywood S Great Dames She Was A Leading Film Personality For Than Fifty Years, From Her Beginnings As A Dancer In Silent Films Of The S, To Her Portrayals Of Working Class Shop Girls In The Depression Thirties, 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 Through Extensive Interviews, In Depth Analysis, And Evaluation Of Her Films And Performances Both Successes And Failures Lawrence J Quirk And William Schoell Present Crawford S Story As Both An Appreciation And A Reevaluation Of Her Extraordinary Life And Career Filled With New Interviews, Joan Crawford Tells The Behind The Scenes Story Of The Hollywood Icon Lawrence J Quirk Is The Author Of Many Books On Film, Including Bob Hope The Road Well Traveled William Schoell Is The Author Of Several Entertainment Related Books, Including Martini Man The Life Of Dean Martin And I thought I was a Joan Crawford apologist I am always the first person to say, and loudly, to anyone who will listen or not that Christina was an exaggerator and an ingrate, but this book has a genuine axe to grind no pun intended, Bring me the axe quoters against her At first, I was thrilled to see Joan so vociferously defended, but as I went on, it became obvious that the authors could excuse away any imperious, catty, or demanding behavior Joan exhibited Any celebrity who wrote a memoir in the post Mommie Dearest era which included a negative story about Joan only did so because she was then an easy target, anything and everything Christina said was a lie because she was envious of her mother s stardom and resentful of Joan s ultimate rescinding of financial support They even claim Joan wasn t an alcoholic, almost immediately after recounting a story in which producers of one of her later films The Caretakers or Berserk, I think ask that she refrain from sipping vodka all day to keep herself peppy Look, I love Joan Crawford unashamedly I love her movies, good and bad she was beautiful, glamorous, and loved a clean house and vodka I ve read countless biographies of her, and her life story, of a difficult childhood overcome by sheer will, is as familiar to me as my own life But there is no way she was an easy woman to be married to, work with, or be mothered by I love her despite that, and the authors one, Lawrence Quirk, knew Joan for the last 20 years or so of her life lacked a subjective eye.All that said, this book, which pays attention to her films than most Quirk was also the author of The Films of Joan Crawford, a book I keep close by my DVR , frankly portrays Joan s love life and career, even if it does sugar coat most of her professional, non sexual relationships With her penchant for control, cleanliness, and sex, she reminded me of Martha Stewart as she was depicted in Jerry Oppenheimer s unauthorized biography Just Desserts And hmmmm, isn t that interesting A biographer should never be so shamelessly biased about their subject The last chapter of this book is a poorly written, repetitive harangue aimed at Joan Crawford s adopted daughter, Christina, and her infamous 1978 memoir expose about her life with Joan, Mommie Dearest Christina s book basically destroyed the elder Crawford s post death reputation for a good few decades, but the veracity of her account has been under and scrutiny in the past decade But here s the thing all that happened between the two Crawfords can and never will truly be known by any of us, either way I suspect both parties had legit grievances No matter how close he was to Joan and I doubt it was that close , Quirk s ranting here is simply embarrassing and unprofessional Up until his diatribe, I enjoyed this book for what it was a light romp through Crawford s storied career though I generally found the reviews of Joan s films to be written in a pedestrian, puddle deep manner The title claims this as the Essential Biography of Joan Crawford and it s anything but even Donald Spoto s 2010 tome wasn t this hagiographic Someday, perhaps a good, truly impartial writer will take on Crawford s life, warts and all I d really like to read that book But for this one my final score is 2 out of 5 stars, and the second star is mostly for the excellent photos peppered throughout. wow, where to start the author s of this book did absolutely nothing to connect the dots of the many interesting things about this lady and her life for example, it makes perfect sense the she would be a total bitch, given the life that she led, so why dont they just admit it she was sexually abused by her stepdad when she was only eleven years old, and she obviously thought that the the only way to relate to straight men was sexually she didnt think she had anything to offer besides her body when her fame and looks began to wane, she began to unravel completely needless to say, the writers never explore this avenue i would still really like crawford, warts and all i do like her, warts and all i feel sorry for her she is a sympathetic person for me and i can handle the truth i look forward to reading a GOOD biography of her next and the other reviewers are spot on when they skewer the language in this book it was just funny after awhile. I watch FX Feud not to long ago about Joan Crawford and Bette Davis around the time of making the hit movie What Ever Happened To Baby Jane I had no ideaJoan Crawford Lucille LeSueur had a really hard life and she never really matured into a normal person More on that in a moment From a very early age her father left her, her mother and her brother She was sexually abused at age 11 by her step father which started her whole promiscuous behavior toward not only men but women as well Her mother kicked her out of the house and from then on she worked her ass off both horizontal as well as vertical Sex for her was seen as a means to an end and she had an insatiable appetite Oozing sex appeal at a young age she made her way Hollywood and slept with everyone adopting the attitude much like a man As she climbed the Hollywood ladder and made a name for herself her mother and brother returned to her life to leech money from her 4 husbands later and 2 biological children and 2 adopted twins later she was still supporting her mother and brother but also her children as well Though the twins went on with their lives, Joan s oldest did not and continued to be supported by Joan for much of their lives To the point of Joan downsizing when she got to be too old for Hollywood but still managed to pay her 2 first born s way until she cut them off and Mommy Dearest soon followed much to the dismay of many associates and close friends of Joan s.Joan Crawford was beautiful and had this amazing drive to pull out of her station and rise to become a quite famous Though the road was tough she continued to make movies However, it appeared that Joan was constantly searching for that father figure, love and security she never had as a family Thinking that sex got what you needed, it often ended just the same, alone She reflected back while making an autobiography that she wouldn t change a thing and she went well into her 70 s thinking she would still like to get between the sheet with actors Wow On to Bette Davis. This is a biography that follows some of Joan Crawford s films and mentions events that occurred during the time of filming, this is not a detailed biography Saying this it is not a bad read and does give some insight on the actress As others stated there is an agenda against Christina, which is understandable because I do think her claims is exaggerated, and that does show through If looking for something in depth I would suggest a different book but if you are looking for basic information then give this book a try. This book has a promising setup, but a slow second act However, once you get past Joan s dull early films and her return to MGM, events become intriguing I think the author concentrates too much on Joan herself and neglects the people she worked with They have mentions, but there are no details, which is waste because working relies so much on relationships There are few moments such as the fun practical jokes of Margaret Sullavan, but little else Quirk also is a bit unbelievable by dismissing the claims of other actresses I DO believe that Joan recited a distressed monologue on stage as Esther Williams claimed Esther didn t intend to be cruel, her relay was a cautionary tale, that warned Esther that stardom is temporary I speak from experience from the production side of the industry Hollywood makes you think you are the greatest person in the world while you are still making money for them, then they chew you up and spit you out The shock is devastating to the ego Actually, it s just business, for it s the tastes of the audience that dictates a star s or technique s in my case hand drawn animation longevity and Joan s audience had aged and abandoned her The middle aged and elderly don t go out much, thus so went Joan s audience who aged as she has So, yes, Mr Quirk, I believe Joan, thinking she was alone cried out Why have you stopped coming to my movies , and so on to a projected imaginary audience on the sound stage of Torch Song Wouldn t you Quirk is a bit better later in the book when Whatever Happened to Baby Jane was highlighted for he concentrated on how a star must take the reigns of her career and promote HERSELF if she is to survive This is very good advice for anyone in mid career or past their peak who must reinvent themselves Many Americans are experiencing obsolescence as functionary jobs are outsourced or mechanized, so this part of the book resonated with me Nadirs are necessary for story telling and we do strange things in our despair Let Joan have some faults and stop excusing them, Mr Quirk This way we ll cheer for her so when she meets her obstacles head on and triumphs Ashanti If you are looking for an in depth biography on Joan Crawford s life and that alone, this book is not for you Rather than rehashing her life s story, as has been reported in several other books, the authors of this book made this of a filmography dissecting Crawford s movies and the stages in her personal and professional lives when she made them I considered it fascinating reading starting with her early silent movie roles, as Lucille LeSueur, to her breakout role as Diana in Our Dancing Daughters, to her many shopgirl roles at MGM During this period, the authors point out that Crawford herself was first living her fairy tale marriage to Douglas Fairbanks, Jr Her roles shifted slightly with the disintegration of that marriage, and her subsequent marriage to Franchot Tone, a serious stage and film actor MGM s reluctance to put her in serious roles, led her to the title of Box Office Poison and to the Warner s lot, where her women s movies coincided with the landmark of her fourth decade As she aged, her films became serious, dramatic, female in trouble , until she fell into the horror movie cycle, a fate shared with Bette Davis For the most part, I thought this was a fascinating look at the incomparable Crawford Nothing too earth shattering revealed here Just a fresh, new look at her movies and the timing with which they were made A bonus for Crawford fans. I ve read five Crawford biographies and find it impossible to rate one higher than the others Inescapably, many details are rehashed across all of them This one I liked, not much or less than the others I ve read However, if I were recommending which ones to include in your coverage there are so many , this would make my list.Joan became such a contentious biographical topic in the aftermath of Mommie Dearest that her apologists closed ranks and, understandably, became hyper defensive, rallying to restore her good name to such an extent that they sounded at times to collectively lose objectivity That s fine, any intelligent reader can see past this, we feel the passion of the authors which makes for good reading in itself.I like to make my own mind up about the subjects of biographies and usually can That Joan Crawford was no saint becomes clear enough after covering a few biographies, that she was no monster either is also clear She was a fascinating woman and a great, great star.