“Joan Dresses Like A Woman, But Thinks Like A Man” by Hope Strong for The Lima News, August 1st, 1965
Twenty six years and 80 movie roles later, actress Joan Crawford now “dresses like a woman but thinks like a man.”
Still Hollywood glamour girl with an aura of perfume and mystery., Miss Crawford at 57 is vital, living proof that beauty transcends age…with careful and proper maintenance.
As one of the “Come Alive” hostesses for the New York Couture Group’s fashion jaunt to the Grand Bahama Island, Joan talked freely and candidly with this reporter and some 150 other members of the U.S. fashion press.
“I fought every minute, 24 hours a day,” she said. “Movie acting is a business and I came up the hard way.” Her first starring role was in 1929 and in 1945 her portrayal of the title role in “Mildred Pierce” won an Academy Award.
Today she’s still acting and just finished making the “horror” movie, “I Saw What You Did,” but also has become a highly successful business woman as a member of the board of directors of Pepsi-Cola Co.
“Since Pepsi and Frito's merged,” she explained, “we have a $500 million corporation and I’m crazy about the business.”
The Texas-born Joan started her financial career in 1955 when she married Alfred N. Steele, Pepsi’s chairman of the board. “My theory was that a wife, whatever interests she may have, owes the greatest part of her time to her husband’s career.” She noted.
Before his death in 1959 two traveled more than 130,000 air miles for the Pepsi cause.
“I still have our cooperative apartment overlooking Central Park in New York City.” She explained, “but maintain an apartment in Hollywood.”
For her press conference, Miss Crawford wore a white roller hat, designed by her favorite milliner Emme, and a cotton-orlon print dress. “I design most of my own clothes,” she said. “I find the fabrics anywhere I can and have two Japanese girls make them.”
While the star considers "Adrian the greatest movie dress designer who ever lived, Edith Head does most of my clothes now," she commented.
"I select clothes for comfort and freedom and don’t go for high style. Reluctantly I’ve added shifts to my wardrobe but if you have a waistline, why not show it! Unless you care slim as a reed, you can’t wear the empire line without looking pregnant,” Miss Crawford said.
The reddish blonde asserted, “My gams are pretty good but I never have gone for clothes above the knees. No dress should ride up when you sit.”Much of fashion today she rejects. “You can’t tell the boys from the girls now,” she claimed. “And bikinis are all right if you have no belly.”
She wears slacks only in the privacy of her own home or in the tropics.
Miss Crawford avoids that middle-age spread by a rigorous daily beauty routine which includes exercise – “although, I still can’t stand on my head,” – massages, facials, watching her selection of foods, rising at 6:30 a.m. and retiring at 10:30 to 11p.m.
“I never eat bread, butter, potatoes or dessert,” she confided. “In fact, I try to leave the table a little hungry especially if I’m watching the poundage.”
In her three days at the elegant Lucayan beach hotel at Freeport, Joan was running on the beach at 7:30 a.m. daily
“Actually,” she said. “I’m a beautiful cook-the best in the world. I do it for all of my friends. I haven’t hired a cook in 11 years.”
Although she has remained true to the 1930s open toe, open heel shoes, Miss Crawford is up-to-date in other accessories.
“I bought my other head in a box,” she said. She also wears false eyelashes.
The new youth dance featured at discotheques do not bother the star.
“In my time we did the Charleston and Black Bottom. The Frug’s no different except maybe we were in a cleaner atmosphere and didn’t stay up quite so late.
The mother of four adopted children, she confesses to worrying “ a little about their activities and the way they dress.”
As she explained, “My twin girls follow the crowd, too. Of course it’s not the parents fault. The kids slip by us before we’ve seen how they look.”
Miss Crawford admits movie stars “were spoiled rotten in filmdom’s heyday. When the girl next door came in, most women lost their glamour.”
“Glamour, as defined by Joan, “come basically from cleanliness and tidiness in body and mind.”