Betty Barker
Interview Regarding "Mommie Dearest"

The following are excerpts from an unpublished 26-page interview with Betty Barker from September 24th, 1978:

Betty's thoughts on Joan:

     “I was 12 when I first met Joan. I became her full-time secretary in 1955, but I used to help her on the weekends answer her fan mail and address photo mailers for the fans. She was nice. She was kind to me. A wonderful friend. A lot of tenderness. She had many wonderful, warm and loving qualities. She could be very funny. She had a terrific sense of humor."

Regarding Joan's alcoholism:

    "I never saw Joan drunk, and I practically lived with her. She didn’t start drinking until the ‘50s. The trouble is she would drink before she would do a television show, so the public would see it, and these reporters and writers would see it."

Regarding alleged "abuse":

     "I knew when Joan scolded Christina for things that Christina had done wrong, but she has exaggerated those stories out of proportion. Christina exaggerates everything. She is psychotic. She is sick. Christina wanted to be a great actress. She wanted to be better than Joan.
     They [Joan and Christina] had their ups and downs all the time. Joan would take her back into her fold and something would happen. Christina would do something and Joan didn’t like it, and they would be apart again."

     "Joan and Alfred gave Christina a Thunderbird. She parked in on the wrong side of the street [in Manhattan], so it was towed away. They [Joan and Alfred] finally took it away from her because it was so expensive to pay for it. Christina went to Carnegie Tech in Pittsburgh. Joan paid for her college. Joan paid for Christina’s New York apartment and sent her to Sandy Meisner School for Actors for a year. Joan paid for all of it."

Regarding the rose garden:

     "Let me tell you about the rose garden. Joan had told the gardener, Les, time after time to cut the rose trees back. And when he didn’t, Joan did it herself. But in Christina’s book, she says Les said “She’s crazy. I’m going to quit.” Les continued to work for Joan happily until he died around 1958. Then, Les’ wife was the gardener. Joan felt sorry for her, and let her be the gardener until she sold the house.
     Les didn’t quit at all. Joan was good to Les and his wife."

Regarding Christopher:

    " Alfred was the one who recognized that Christopher needed psychiatric help. There was something lacking in his brain. He just couldn’t adjust. He would just be very arrogant, and he stole. He didn’t like authority. He went to lots of schools. He was expelled from a lot of them. They took him to New York and got a psychiatrist for him. Joan couldn’t keep him in school. Later Christopher wrote Joan a letter saying, “You’re right. I can’t get a job. I will have to go to night school."

Regarding June Allyson:

     In June Allyson's 1982 autobiography, which was published post-"Mommie Dearest," Allyson attempts to paint an unfavorable portrait of Joan as a mother. In her autobiography, Allyson states: "I could hardly wait to get outside. I felt like throwing up. Somehow I said goodbye to Joan. I hurried down the front path and along the sidewalk home, almost stumbling as tears blurred my vision. I never returned the luncheon invitation to Joan. I was never her friend."

     In June Allyson's February 17th, 1982 appearance on Dick Cavett's show, she stated: "I didn't know Joanie all that well. I met her a few times and I did have lunch with her at her house one time. I never went back."

     However, Allyson's 1982 claim that she "never went back" to Joan's house is debunked by Betty Barker's column entitled "Happy Family" in the March 1948 issue of "Joan Crawford Club News." In Betty's column she states: "One Saturday afternoon when we visited Joan, we found June Allyson at her home, too. June came to see the two new brunette baby daughters (but dolls!) who, incidentally, are getting so big. They wear corduroy overalls, in pinks or blues, in informal attire, and crawl all over everything. June and Joan, with Christina's help, fed the babies their food."

     This event was told by Betty shortly after it had occurred, and some 30 years prior to "Mommie Dearest" and Allyson's autobiography. This demonstrates the outright falsities in Allyson's later story, and Allyson's 1982 claim she only visited Joan's house once in 1945, and left the house in "tears" and "never went back." Joan's two twin daughters were not born until January 1947.

     Additionally, Betty cites June Allyson in her May 1954 letter to Hedda Hopper as a person Joan had befriended and helped. Click here to read that letter.