The Joan Crawford Chronicle

1977​​



​​January: Daughter Cathy LaLonde sees Joan for the last time during a visit to Joan's New York apartment.
     Cathy reports that Joan looked "O.K." and "very beautiful".


​​​March 21: 
The AFI Lifetime Achievement Award "Tribute to Bette Davis" ceremony is televised on CBS.
     ​Joan doesn't watch the ceremony, but she is mentioned during the program by producer Joseph L. Mankiewicz.​

​​​​​​​​March 23:
 Joan's final birthday.
     For her birthday, Joan receives flowers from daughter, Christina, and is telephone by daughters Cathy and Cindy.
     Joan gives up smoking. (Source: Carleton Varney)​

March 24: Joan telephones Carl Johnes to thank him for a small gift he had sent Joan for her birthday. ​(Source: "Crawford: The Last Years")

Late April: Carl Johnes telephone​​ Joan, and finds her voice "unrecognizable". Joan tells Johnes she doesn't watch television anymore, preferring to go to bed early and read her Bible. (Source: "Crawford: The Last Years")

May 4:
Joan telephones interior decorator, Carleton Varney, and inquires about sending out two bedside tables to be relaminated, and questions how long it would take to be completed and returned.​​​ (Source: Carleton Varney)

May 6: Joan gives her pet Shih Tzu, Princess Lotus Blossom to Zora Papich, the sister of Joan's caregiver and friend, Darinka Papich.​​​​ (Source: Carleton Varney)

May 8: (Mother's Day) Joan receives flowers from Christina and is telephoned by daughters, Cathy and Cindy.
     ​Cathy reports that Joan sounded "tired" during the telephone call. This is the last time Cathy talks to Joan.

      Joan attends to some correspondence, which includes dictating three letters to Darinka Papich, one of which is to an aspiring model, and returning a script to a writer on Staten Island which had been previously sent to Joan for her consideration. (Source: Carleton Varney)​​

May 9: Darinka Papich stays with Joan for the entire day and night. (Source: Darinka Papich/Carleton Varney)

     ​While Darinka Papich is helping Joan to the toilet, Darinka says to Joan (From Darinka Papish) "I think I said something like, 'I want to pray for you​', and Joan said 'Oh, Darinka, don't do that." (Source: Darinka Papich/Carleton Varney)
​     Darinka Papich later tells Joan's daughter, Christina, about the exchange.
     ​In Christina Crawford's book "Mommie Dearest", Christina claims Joan's last words were "Dammit, don't you dare ask God to help me."

May 10: Joan passes away at around 10 A.M.​​
     ​Joan's long-time fan/friend and caregiver, Darinka Papich, is the only person with her. (Source: Carleton Varney)


  • ​​​Posthumous Dates
May 12: Joan's remains are cremated at Campbell's Funeral Home in New York.

​​
​​May 13: Joan's funeral is held at Campbell's Funeral Home in New York.

May 17: A memorial service for Joan, arranged by Pepsi-Cola, is held at All Souls Unitarian Church in New York.
     Approximately 550 people attend the  30-minute service.
     ​Anita Loos, Cliff Robertson and Geraldine Brooks give eulogies, and Pearl Bailey sings the hymn "He'll Understand"​.

May 17 (#2):​​​​ Joan's Will is read in a private meeting of Joan's heirs at the Drake Hotel in New York.
​Each heir is read the Will separately. (Sources: Carleton Varney & "Mommie Dearest" by Christina Crawford)


May 18: Joan's Will is submitted to the Manhattan Surrogate Court with a​ petition by the estate executor requesting permission to open two safe deposit boxes in Joan's name.

​​May 19: It's announced by the press that Joan's Will excludes her daughter, Christina, and son, Christopher.

May 25 - June 7: The Thalia Theater in New York holds a two-week tribute to Joan by showing eight of her films.

Summer: Darinka Papich and Carleton Varney are approached by Christina Crawford and her attorney to ask if they will testify that Joan was an alcoholic and not in her right state of mind at the time she signed her will in October 1976. Papich and Varney both refuse.
(Source: Darinka Papich/Carleton Varney)

June 2: Doris Lilly, Joan's neighbor in Imperial House, appears on "The Today Show" on NBC, and says she believes Joan committed suicide.
​​
June 14: Dore Freeman, a MGM publicist who knew Joan Crawford for 40 years, announces he is writing a book titled
​"Knowing Joan - So Well, Life Was Never Dull".

June 15: Michael Sean O'Shea, a public-relations man who was a close friend of Joan's, announces he has signed a contract with literary agent Howard Rosenstone to write a book on Joan.​​

June 20-24: WNEW-TV in New York hosts a "Joan Crawford Film Festival" week.

June 24:  A  tribute to Joan begins at 8 p.m. at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences building in Los Angeles, California, hosted by ​​George Cukor.
     ​Joan's godson, Jack Jones, sings "Everything I have Is Yours".

July 26: MGM names a building after Joan on it's Culver City studio lot. 
     Joan becomes the seventh film star to have a building named in their honor.

September 21: ​The first day of the "Bette Davis & Joan Crawford Film Festival" at the Regency Theater in Los Angeles, California breaks the house record with $4,749 for showings of "Mildred Pierce" and "Old Maid". 

October: The owner of Joan's Brentwood house, Anthony Newley,  lists the house for sale for $759,000.00

Mid-October: A two-week "Joan Crawford Festival" nets a total of ​​$11,500. (Week one:$6,500. Week two: $5,000)

November 23: It's announced that Joan's daughter, Christina, and son, Christopher, have filed a lawsuit in New York's Surrogate Court to contest Joan's Will.



​​© 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

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THE CONCLUDING CHAPTER OF CRAWFORD