Joan Crawford Biographical Facts

Birth name: Lucile Fay LeSueur (also spelled “Lucille” with two “L's” after the “i”).  Following her mother's marriage to Henry Cassin in 1909, her name became "Lucile Cassin." As a child, teenager and young adult, she frequently used the name "Billie Cassin," before returning to her birth name, Lucille LeSueur, upon starting her career as a dancer in her late teens. Her name became "Joan Crawford" following her employment with MGM in 1925. "Joan Crawford" was chosen by MGM as her stage name, however, she used "Joan Crawford" as her legal name from 1925-onward.

Date of birth: March 23rd, 1906
(1904 and 1905 are also cited as birth years, with 1908 being Joan's official, and legal, year of birth. However, documentation and fact-based timelines have determined that 1906 is the correct year of birth) See this website’s birth year debunking section for complete documentation.

Parents: Anna Johnson LeSueur, mother; Thomas LeSueur, father; Henry Cassin, step-father.

Siblings: Hal LeSueur (born 09/03/1903; died May 3rd, 1963); Daisy McConnell (half-sister) (born in 1900, died November 23rd, 1904)

Adult height: 5’4 1/2 (This is according to Joan in various interviews and applications which requested biographical information)

Eye color: Blue

Natural hair color: Varied. As a child and young adult, Joan's natural hair color was auburn brown. With age, it changed to salt and pepper gray, with light brown streaks throughout. Throughout her life, Joan dyed her hair various colors, including: blonde, brunette, shades of red and strawberry blonde.

Religious affiliation: Catholic and Christian Scientist
Joan was raised a Catholic, but converted to Christian Science by the early 1940s. Joan was not always a practicing Christian Scientist during her life. She reverted deeply into Christian Science in 1975.

Political affiliation: Unknown
Contrary to popular belief, Joan did not publicly endorse any political candidate or party. There is evidence that she was personal friends with both Democratic and Republican politicians. Additionally, there is documentation that Joan privately supported Richard Nixon’s presidential campaign in 1960, 1968 and 1972. In a May 1972 interview she praised Ronald Reagan as a politician. Reagan was the then-governor of California. However, Joan typically chose to hold her political opinions to herself, thereby keeping her actual party affiliation (if she had one) private. There is a fabricated quote on the internet attributing Joan’s political affiliation as a Democrat. The quote in question has been shared among Wiki quote websites (which can be edited by anyone). There is no record, via a printed or recorded interview, of any such quote made by Joan.

Favorite color: Joan’s favorite color varied, but her favorites were: "Wedgewood blue," green and pink. Joan stated her favorite color to wear was green.

Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. (June 3rd, 1929 - May 12th, 1933) (The marriage lasted 3 years and 11 months)
Franchot Tone (October 11th, 1935 - April 11th, 1939) (The marriage lasted 3 years and 6 months)
Phillip Terry (July 21st, 1942 - May 25th,1946) (The marriage lasted 3 years and 10 months)
Alfred Steele (May 10th, 1955 - April 19th, 1959) (The marriage lasted 3 years and 11 months)

*Note: Contrary to popular belief, none of Joan's marriages passed the four-year mark. Joan's longest marriage was to Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. They divorced 21 days before their 4-year wedding anniversary. This is followed closely by Joan's marriage to Alfred Steele. Steele passed away 20 days before their 4-year marriage anniversary. Joan's shortest marriage was to Franchot Tone, lasting 3 years and 6 months.

Christina Crawford, born June 11th, 1939
Christopher Crawford, born October 15th, 1942; died September 22nd, 2006
Cathy Crawford LaLonde, born January 13th, 1947; died January 10th, 2020
Cynthia Crawford Jordan, born January 13th, 1947; died October 14th, 2007

*Note: All of Joan's children were adopted. 

Date of death: May 10th, 1977

Cause of death: According to Joan’s official death certificate, her cause of death was cardiac arrest (heart attack). However, at the time of her death, Joan was suffering from cancer (most likely pancreatic cancer based upon her health symptoms preceding her death). Therefore, Joan’s death was most likely due to heart failure, with cancer being the contributing factor.