The Life of Joan Crawford
By Donald Spoto
William Morrow, Hardcover, 9780061856006, 352pp.
Publication Date: November 1, 2010
List Price: $25.99*
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Joan Crawford was one of the most incandescent film stars of all time, yet she was also one of the most misunderstood. In this brilliantly researched, thoughtful, and intimate biography, bestselling author Donald Spoto goes beyond the popular caricaturethe abusive, unstable mother portrayed in her adopted daughter Christina Crawfords memoir, Mommie Dearestto give us a three-dimensional portrait of a very human woman, her dazzling career, and her extraordinarily dramatic life and times.
Based on new archival information and exclusive interviews, and written with Spotos keen eye for detail, Possessed offers a fascinating portrait of a courageous, highly sexed, and ambitious woman whose strength and drive made her a forerunner in the fledgling film business. From her hardscrabble childhood in Texas to her early days as a dancer in postWorld War I New York to her rise to stardom, Spoto traces Crawfords fifty years of memorable performances in classics like Rain, The Women, Mildred Pierce, and Sudden Fear, which are as startling and vivid today as when they were filmed.
In Possessed, Spoto goes behind the myths to examine the rise and fall of the studio system; Crawfords four marriages; her passionate thirty year, on-and-off-again affair with Clark Gable; her friendships and rivalries with other stars; her powerful desire to become a mother; the truth behind the scathing stories in her daughter Christinas memoir; and her final years as a widow battling cancer. Spoto explores Crawfords achievements as an actress, her work with Hollywoods great directors (Frank Borzage, George Cukor, Otto Preminger) and actors (Henry Fonda, James Stewart, Spencer Tracy, John Barrymore), and later, her role as a highly effective executive on the board of directors of Pepsi-Cola.
Illuminating and entertaining, Possessed is the definitive biography of this remarkable woman and true legend of film.
Donald Spoto has written two dozen bestselling biographies of film and theater starsamong them Grace Kelly, Alfred Hitchcock, Tennessee Williams, Ingrid Bergman, and Marilyn Monroe. Born in Westchester County, near New York City, he now lives in Denmark.