​​The Joan Crawford Chronicle

1974​​



​​January:
Joan's maid,"Mamacita," leaves her employment and moves in with her daughter's family in Long Island, New York. Mamacita tells her family that she's "tired of things being thrown at her." ​(Source: Webmaster's interview with Mamacita's grandson Mark Flatman in 2002 and 2017) Mamacita gives Joan a resignation letter informing her that she was returning to Germany due to health reasons, however, would be open to returning to work for her at a later time.​​ ​

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​Early January: After MGM press agent Dore Freeman, and the entire MGM press department, is let go by the studio, Joan calls Freeman to cheer him up and wish him well, telling him "Don't live in the past." Joan had assisted Freeman to be hired by the studio 35 years prior.

February: Joan receives a series of death threats over the telephone. Joan reports the calls to the police. The FBI also investigates and places a surveillance man in Joan's apartment building. The authorities theorize the caller was not serious, and the calls were made in connection with Union disagreements PepsiCo. had with a Rheingold Beer brewery plant in Brooklyn. On February 1st, PepsiCo. closed the plant, laying off 1,200 workers, citing the plant was not profitable. Joan takes the threats very seriously and has a series of locks and alarms installed in her apartment.

February 9: Joan is sketched by artist Don Bachardy in her Imperial House apartment. ​​The sketch is to be featured in Bachardy's upcoming Manhattan art exhibit, however, following his sketching of Joan's portrait, she signs it with such a large signature and personal message that Bachardy did not feel it was appropriate to display in his exhibit. Later, Barccardy receives calls from some of Joan's friends who are angry he did not include Joan's sketch in his exhibit.


March 15: Joan sends a congratulatory telegram to actor Marty Allen at a Founder's Day dinner presented by the Pittsburgh Press Club, which is saluting Allen.​​

March 31: It's reported in the press that Joan will co-star in John Springer's musical film "Follies.​Joan had previously denied this, and cited it as being a rumor.​​

April 14: Easter Sunday, Joan is visited by Pepsi-Cola executive Al Goetz, and his wife and family. When they arrive at Joan's apartment, she rushes them in, saying the FBI is watching her apartment, and that an alarm will be triggered if her front door is open for too long.

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April 19: Joan signs a three-year contract (April 19th, 1974 - April 18th, 1977) with the William Morris agency to represent her in feature films.

Early May: Joan's secretary, Betty Barker, visits New York for sixteen days. During her visit, Joan treats her to dinner at Casa Brasil, along with publicist Michael O'Shea and advertising executive Peter Rogers​​. Joan also takes Barker on a drive to Purchase, New York, and to seven theatrical plays in the New York area. During her visit, Barker is treated to several lunches and dinners cooked by Joan in her Imperial House apartment.

May 24: Joan has a dental prophylaxis and dental X-rays ​taken. (Prophylaxis is a cleaning procedure performed to thoroughly clean the teeth after a periodontal treatment is completed).
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May 30: Joan is invited to the New York premiere of "That's Entertainment" on this date. However, Joan declines citing previous Pepsi-Cola commitments.
​Among the other guests invited are; Lena Home, Mickey Rooney, Ann Miller, Van Johnson and Vincent Minnelli.


June: Joan is invited to attend a celebrity benefit. Other guests invited are; Doris Duke, Carol Channing, Jane Powell, John Wayne. Jacqueline Susann, Sammy Davis Jr, and Alice Faye.

June 19: It's announced that Joan will be a model at a Blackgama charity fashion show in November 1974.​​ Other celebrities scheduled to model at the fashion show include; Bridget Bardot, Diana Ross, Liza Minelli and Carol Channing ​.

July 10: Joan has a dental prophylaxis and dental X-rays ​taken in preparation for her upcoming dental surgery.

July 17: Joan is admitted into Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan, New York in preparation for dental surgery. 

July 18: Joan has five back teeth removed due to periodontal disease. ​​

July 19: Joan is released from Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan, New York.

September 10: Joan is visited by former-secretary Florence Walsh. Walsh had been Joan's secretary furnished by Pepsi-Cola, and had discontinued working
​for Joan the previous year. Joan's friend, and restaurant owner, Dona Helma makes the women lunch, which consists of crab meat and black beans.​​​


September 16: Publicist John Springer announces, via guest invitations, that Joan will be the hostess for a ​​book publication party held at Manhattan's Rainbow Room. The book is Springer's own publication, "They Had faces Then." According to Joan, the announcement comes prior to her agreeing to act as the party's hostess.

September 18: Joan donates a gown she wore in "Dancing Lady" to be worn by a model at the "Screen Smart Set" fashion show benefit luncheon at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. With donating the gown, Joan instructs that it is to be worn by a good looking model with a floor-length mink coat and a diamond necklace. Costumer designer Edith Head coordinated and commentates the fashion show; during which actress Ginger Rogers is presented the "Heart of Hollywood" award. Additionally, at the luncheon, Cher Bono models a dress by designer Bob Mackie. The luncheon raises $10,000 for the Motion Picture Fund. ​

September 18 (#2): After Joan is announced, against her consent, to be the hostess of a book publication party at New York's Rainbow Room on September 23rd, ​she instructs her secretary, Betty Barker, to decline any requests for appearances by saying she is in Europe. ​(Source: "Crawford: The Last Years" by Carl Johnes)

September 23: Joan hosts a book publication party for John Springer's book "They Had Faces Then" at the Rainbow Room atop the RCA building in Manhattan, New York. Rosalind Russell is the party's guest of honor. Shortly after greeting the arriving guests, Joan leaves the party abruptly, with guests later wondering why she had left. This is to be Joan's final public appearance at a notable public event.

     Several versions exist as to the events surrounding Joan abruptly leasing the party at The Rainbow Room.​​​ Springer's version of the events differs from that of Joan, and her close friends.
  •      According to Crawford biographer Charlotte Chandler, John Springer told her that Joan offered to host the book party and was later upset that Springer asked Rosalind Russell to co-hostess. ​(Source: Charlotte Chandler's biography "Not The Girl Next Door")
  •      According to news reports quoting Joan the week following the party, Joan was announced as hostess before John Springer had asked her.
         ​"The press agent-author of the book announced I'd be hostess before asking me.​​ I went along so's not to embarrass Roz." 
    ​(Source: Quote from Joan in a Jack O'Brian article dated October 1st, 1974)​​​ 
  • ​(In an October 15th, 1974 letter to Joan from her friend, Jeanine Basinger, Basinger responds to an obvious comment Joan had made to her in writing regarding the Rainbow Room party and Springer.​​ The content appears to confirm the story of Springer publicly announcing Joan as the hostess of the Rainbow Room party before receiving her response to the request.

    Basinger writes: "I am deeply shocked at what was done to you regarding the Springer event. What nerve! How does he keep clients if this is how he operates? I just can't believe sometimes how insensitive people are to one another...how greedy for things to be done FOR THEM...and how lacking they are about returning these small favors."​​

September 24-27: Following Joan's distaste for how she looks in photographs taken of her at the Rainbow Room book publication party on September 23rd, she cancels all public appearances for the remainder of the year. (Source: "Joan Crawford" by Bob Thomas)

October 21: Joan has lunch in her apartment with her daughter, Cathy, and son in law, Jerome LaLonde.

​October 25: Joan declines an invitation to appear on this date as the guest of honor at the National Bottler's Convention in San Francisco, California.
​(Source: "Joan Crawford: A Biography" By Bob Thomas)
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November: Joan meets with British producer​​ Charles Castle and views a private screening of Castle's "This is Noel," an autobiographical film on Noel Coward.
Castle brings the film to the US to be viewed by Joan, Merle Oberon, Raymond Massey, Barbara Rush and Larry Hagman.
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November 15: Joan had previously canceled a scheduled appearance for this date to be a model at the Children To Children Foundation benefit given by the Mental Retardation Institute of New York. The event is held at the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan, New York. Among the models are; Ruby Keeler, Paulette Goddard, Alexis Smith and Raquel Welch.​​

December: Due to 1974 being the last year Pepsi agrees to finance the expense of Joan's mail postage, she sends out her final Christmas greetings to the thousands of recipients who are on her Christmas greetings list. ​In the greeting, Joan explains that she will be devoting the time she spends on Christmas greetings to help charities.  Joan's friend at Columbia Pictures, Carl Johnes, writes the greeting's message, and it is touched-up by Columbia proof reader, Phillip Anaslone. (Source: "Crawford: The Last Years" by Carl Johnes)​

December 10: Joan blacks out and falls in her apartment, causing her to badly injure her eye and face. After blacking out, Joan lays on the floor alone and unconscious for an unknown period of time. Joan would later claim the fall was attributed to medication she was taking for a cold, however, following the fall, Joan stops drinking alcohol. ​​​

December 17: It's reported Joan has canceled a scheduled Pepsi-Cola ​​function due to a black eye she sustained after a fall. 

Mid-December: A Long Island newspaper columnist ​ writes about Joan's bruised face, implying the bruising is due to cosmetic surgery. Joan is angered by the false claim, and attempts to seek out the columnist. (Source: "Crawford: The Last Years" by Carl Johnes)​

December 18: It's reported Joan is interested in participating in an autobiographical​ film and book with British producer Charles Castle. Castle would later publish the book "Joan Crawford: The Raging Star" after Joan's death, claiming, falsely, that the book was authorized by Joan. Joan's estate would later file a claim against Castle and the book's publisher for claiming the biography was "authorized" by Joan when it was not.​​​


© All original Joan Crawford research and original text herein is property of Webmaster Bryan Johnson and is copyright protected by the United States ​Copyright Act of 1976. Copyright © Bryan Johnson

THE CONCLUDING CHAPTER OF CRAWFORD