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Why They Hate Joan Crawford

Is Crawford Hollywood's Biggest Phony?

 

originally appeared in Private Lives, March 1955

 

Private LivesForty-six years old, and as crusty as an East Side rye bread, Joan Crawford still rides high as Hollywood's most graveling personality.

Crawford stands today as the one remaining link of the glamorous high-life Hollywood of movieland's boomtime, and the more serious and professional attitude of modern Hollywood.

What does the movie community think of this one-time glamour doll? Roby Heard in the New York Journal American gave some quotes recently:

Betty Anne, wife of Sterling Hayden:

"There is nothing too bad to say about Joan Crawford. If I ever see her again, I'll probably strike her face."

A Director: "Joan Crawford's power -- her abuse of people who refuse to bow to her, her control of the casting, direction, and production of her pictures, is the disgrace of Hollywood."

Mercedes McCambridge:

"I am ashamed of myself because I have lacked the courage to tell the world what Joan Crawford really is, what she does to people in the studios. But she destroys those who oppose her."

For years, Crawford has gotten away with her knife-in-the-back behavior because fellow stars and newspaper people were afraid to attack her.

Her comments on Marilyn Monroe's skin-tight dress -- a dilly which inspired whistles which could be heard the length of Wilshire Boulevard -- was typical of her jealous reaction to rising new stars.

Marilyn showed up at a Beverly Hills hotel banquet to accept an award honoring her as an outstanding screen personality wearing an outfit which clearly showed why she got the award. Joan, according to those who sat near her, was raging with envy and jealousy. Later she told a newsman:

"Those of us in the industry were horrified at Marilyn's display.

"It was like a burlesque show. The audience yelled and shouted and Jerry Lewis, the funny guy, got up on a table and whistled. I shuddered.

"People don't like to have sex flaunted in their faces. It is bad for the kids. And women, who pick the pictures their families should see, aren't likely to take the gang to a Monroe picture."

The box office records showed that the grand old dame of films was talking through her hat!

According to one of Joan's many former housemaids, the famous star is as much a tyrant at home as she is on the movie set.

"Joan would deliberately throw the contents of her talcum box on the floor, or smash a jar of cold-cream on the wall, just for the pleasure of watching me pick it up. If there was a spot on a washbowl or floor she'd come raging out of the bathroom, sometimes stark naked, raging about the 'filth' and 'slime' I had allowed to accumulate.

"Several times, when I didn't do just what she wanted me to, Miss Crawford would make me scrub the whole floor with a small brush on my hands and knees. I would have quit right away, but the pay was good, and I needed the money."

Altogether Joan has amassed a reputation for meanness and cruelty in some quarters, that is unmatched even in Hollywood. It is difficult to find a person who will stand up for her. But those who have known her from the start feel extremely sorry for her.

"Ever since she hit the top," an old acquaintance of hers stated, "Joan has been the most miserable woman in Hollywood!"