​​The Joan Crawford Chronicle


  • ​​​​​​1978​
Unknown Date: Joan's former houseman, Charles Grant, completes his unpublished manuscript entitled "Unzip Me, Mister Grant." The manuscript chornicle's Grant's employment with Joan from 1963 until 1973.

​​January 19: An auction consisting of Joan's costume jewelry is held at the Plaza Art Gallery auction house in Manhattan, New York.

February 15: A pre-auction exhibit of Joan's personally property is displayed from 9:00 am - 12:00 pm at the Plaza Art Gallery auction house in Manhattan, New York.
February 16: An auction of Joan's personal property begins at 12:00 pm at the Plaza Art Gallery auction house in Manhattan, New York.​​ The auction is attended by over 400 people, and grosses $42,850.

March 1: An auction of Joan's jewelry is held at Christie's East in Manhattan, New York.

May 4: Christie's East in Manhattan, New York holds an auction of Chinese ceramics, hardstones, and art work. Among the 282-lot auction, are items from Joan's estate.​​

June: It's reported Anne Bancroft will portray Joan in the film version of Christina Crawford's manuscript ​"Mother of The Year" (later titled "Mommie Dearest"). Filming is slated to begin in late 1978. When asked by husband Mel Brooks "Aren't you afraid people will hate you playing Joan Crawford?" Anne answered "Did they hate 'Mrs. Robinson'?" ​It's also reported that Christina Crawford will write the film's screenplay. ​​(Christina's screenplay is ultimately rejected by producer Frank Yablans, and Bancroft is replaced i the role with Faye Dunaway)​

July: The title of Christina Crawford's manuscript "Mother of The Year" is changed to "Mommie Dearest."​​

August 3: Barry Norman hosts a 50-minutes documentary film about Joan on the BBC in England. The documentary is part of the ​"Hollywood Greats" series.

September 4: An article written by Christina Crawford entitled "Mommie Dearest" appears in New York Magazine.​​ The article is a short account of the book "Mommie Dearest."

September 29-30: Christie's East in Manhattan, New York holds an auction of Chinese snuff bottles and chess sets, which includes items from Joan's estate.​​

October: Christina Crawford's memoir, "Mommie Dearest", is published by ​​William Morrow & Co.

October 20: Christina Crawford completes her screenplay for the film version of "Mommie Dearest." Christina's screenplay is ultimately rejected by the film's producer, Frank Yablans.​ As is Christina's second screenplay.

October 30: Christina Crawford appears on the NBC television show "The Today Show" to discuss her book "Mommie Dearest."

​November: Bob Thomas' biography on Joan, entitled simply "Joan Crawford," is published by Simon & Schuster.​​​​ The original working title of Thomas' biography was "Joan Crawford: The Dark Side of A Star."

November 8: ​​Christina Crawford appears on the television talk show "The Phil Donahue Show" to promote "Mommie Dearest."​​​​

November 9: Christina Crawford appears on the television show "Twin Cities Today" in Minneapolis, Minnesota to promote "Mommie Dearest."

November 11: Christina Crawford appears on the NBC television show "The Tomorrow Show" on promote her book "Mommie Dearest."

November 27: A letter Joan had written to Judy Garland sells for $750.00 in an auction of Garland's possessions in Beverly Hills, California. The auction items are submitted by Garland's former husband, Sid Luft.​​

December 18: Bob Thomas, appears on the NBC television show "The Today Show" to discuss his biography on Joan.​​

December 29: Christina Crawford appears on the television talk show "The Mike Douglas Show" to promote "Mommie Dearest."​ During Christina's appearance, Mike Douglas surprises Christina on camera with a letter written to him by Christina's sister, Cathy LaLonde, which denounces "Mommie Dearest." Also appearing on this episode are; co-host Gavin MacLeod, Andy Williams, Patrick MacNee, Patti MacLeod and Jeff Kutash.​

  • 1979
​​April 19: Christina Crawford appears on John Seigenthaler's "A Word On Words" in Nashville, Tennessee to promote "Mommie Dearest."

Mid-May: Bob Thomas, engages in a promotional tour for the paperback edition of his biography of Joan.

June: "Crawford: The Last Years" by Carl Johnes is published by Dell Publishing.

June 28: Christina Crawford appears on the television talk show "The Steve Edwards Show" in Los Angeles, California.​​

Summer: Joan's daughter, Cathy LaLonde, begins preparations for a biography about her mother. Ultimately, the book never materializes.

July 6: Christina Crawford appears on the television talk show "The Merv Griffin Show." Also appearing on the episode is psychologist Dr. Joyce Brothers.

July 13: A settlement is reached in the legal objection to probate Joan's will by Christina and Christopher Crawford. A tax-free settlement of $55,000 is accepted by Christina and Christopher from Joan's estate.​ Christina later claimed that she gave the entire amount to her brother, which was $27,000 after deducting legal fees.
     ​Christina and Christopher had filed the objection to Joan's will being probated in November of 1977 on the claim that at the time Joan executed her will, she was an alcoholic, not of sound mind and had been inappropriately influenced by their sister, Cathy LaLonde, and her husband Jerome.

October: The paperback edition of "Mommie Dearest" is published by Berkley Books.

November 21: Christina Crawford appears on the television talk show "2's Company," on WMAR-TV in Baltimore, Maryland. 

  • 1980​​​ 
​​​March: Darinka Papich meets with Joan's interior designer, Carleton Varney, for lunch at 21 in Manhattan, New York. During the lunch, Darinka tells Varney about Joan's final days. (Source: Carleton Varney)

July: "Conversations With Joan Crawford" by Roy Newquist is published by​ Citadel Press. The authenticity of the book has become a question of concern and controversy.

December: Faye Dunaway signs her contact to portray Joan in the film version of Christina Crawford's memoir "Mommie Dearest."

  • 1981
January: Production begins on the film "Mommie Dearest."​​​​​

February 14: Christina Crawford appears on the television show "Your New Day," which is hosted by Vidal Sassoon. ​​

July: The rock band "Blue Oyster Cult" releases the song "Joan Crawford (Has Risen From The Grave)" on their album ​"Fire of Unknown Origin."​​

September 18: The film "Mommie Dearest" is released nationally in America. The film is heavily criticized by critics, and denounced by Christina Crawford.​​

December 1: Christina Crawford appears on "A.M. Chicago" in Chicago, Illinois. ​​

December 7: Christina Crawford appears on the NBC television show "The Today Show" with Jane Pauley to promote her novel "Black Widow," and her recent stroke.

December 9: Christina Crawford appears on the late-night television talk show "Tomorrow Coast To Coast," with host Tom Snyder. 

December 11: Christina Crawford promotes her book "Black Widow" on Connie Martinson's show on Theta cable channel 12 in Los Angeles, California.

December 18: Christina Crawford appears on the show "Hour Magazine," with host Gary Collins. 

  • 1982
January 29: Christina Crawford appears on the television talk show "Charlie Rose Show."

August 18: Christina Crawford appears the NBC show "The Today Day," with Jane Pauley.

Fall: The biography "Jazz Baby," by David Huston, is published by St. Martin's Press.​​​​

November 26: Christina Crawford appears on the CBS talk show "Signature," with host Gregory Jackson. ​​

  • 1983
June 23: "Joan Crawford: The Ultimate Star," by Alexander Walker, is published by Harper & Row.​​​

  • 1984
Summer: Joan's daughter, Cathy LaLonde, separates from her husband, Jerome LaLonde.​​​​

  • 1985
(Unknown date): Joan's "Man Friday" during the 1960's and friend, Charles Grant,​​​​ unsuccessfully attempts to publish his manuscript, "Unzip Me, Mr. Grant," which details his employment with Joan from 1963 - 1973.

  • 1986
February 13: Joan's daughter, Christina, files for divorce from her second husband, David Koontz.

  • 1988
July: "Crawford's Men," by Jane Ellen Wayne, is published by Prentice Hall​​​​.

September 28: Christina Crawford appears on the television show "Good Morning America." ​Other guests appearing on this episode are actress Jacqueline Bisset and actor George C. Scott.​​

October 7: The autobiography "Survivor," by Christina Crawford, is published. ​The book details Christina's life after publishing "Mommie Dearest."

October 25: Christina Crawford appears on the television talk show "Larry King Live." Christina's segment follows the appearance of former child star Shirley Temple Black.​

  • 1989
January 24: Christina Crawford appears on the television talk show "Sally Jessy Raphael."

​November: "Bette & Joan: The Divine Feud," by Shaun Considine, is published.

  • 1991
February 18: A made-for-television remake of "What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?" airs on ABC starring sisters Vanessa and Lynn Redgrave.​

  • 1992
April 27: Christina Crawford speaks at the Mid Atlantic National Rehabilitation Conference ​​​​in Wilmington, Delaware. During Christina's speech, she states that her 1981 stroke was caused directly by Joan, due to an incident in 1953 when Joan attempted to strangle her. Christina elaborates that she began having migraine headaches at age 15 due to the strangling, which had caused damage to her carotid artery, and contends that the un-diagnosed damage to the artery resulted in her stroke in 1981.

  • 1993
May 5: J.W. Jordan, the biological father of Joan's adopted twin daughters, Cindy and Cathy, passes away at age 69 in Jackson, Tennessee. Jordan was a retired highway worker. Cindy and Cathy had found, and connected, with their biological father prior to his death.​

June 19:​​​​
An auction consisting of 21 lots of Joan's personally-owned possessions is held at Christie's Auction House in Manhattan, New York. The items are auctioned by Joan's daughter, Cathy LaLonde. The major items sold at the auction (and the selling price) include: 
  • ​Joan's 1946 'Best Actress' Academy Award for "Mildred Pierce" ($68,500.00)
  • Personal letters and photographs ($8,280.00)
  • Several articles of clothing (Selling price unknown)
  • Monogrammed paper napkins ($747.00)
  • Six scarves ($2,530.00)
  • Gloves and handkerchiefs ($805.00)
  • An autographed photo to Joan from Judy Garland ($2,185.00)
  • ​Joan's personal script for "Mildred Pierce" ($7,475.00)​

  • 1995
March 31: "Joan Crawford: The Last Word," by Fred Lawrence Guiles, is published by Birch Lane Press​​​​.

  • 1996
September 30: The documentary "Joan Crawford: Always The Star" airs on the A&E channel.​​​

  • 1997
July 19: Joan's daughter, Cathy LaLonde, auctions several of Joan's personal property items at Wlazelek's Auction Gallery​​​​​​ in Macungie, Pennsylvania. The items include personalized stationery, costume jewelry, numerous pieces of Steuben glass, sterling silver from Tiffany's and Cartier, ashtrays, a couple of salad bowls, publicity photographs, fur hats and a gold dress with matching the turban, belt and gloves.​ The gold dress sells for $170. A beaded cocktail purse sells for $49, and the hats ranged from $10 to $42. An art deco cake server sells for $530. Two handfuls of cheese knives sells for $210. A sterling silver carving knife and fork sells for $400, and a Steuben glass owl figurine sells for $220.​

December: Christina Crawford makes a two-night special appearance at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco, California. The appearances are to promote the twentieth anniversary edition of Christina's memoir "Mommie Dearest."

Mid-December: Christina Crawford publishes the twentieth anniversary edition of her memoir "Mommie Dearest."​​ Christina publishes the book via her own publishing company, Seven Springs Press.

  • 1998
January: Christina Crawford officially releases a twentieth anniversary edition of "Mommie Dearest," which includes new content which had previously been edited from her 600-page manuscript by William Morrow. The re-release is published by Christina's own publishing company, Seven Springs Press. Christina had previously purchased all rights to the book from the prior publisher, William Morrow & Co.

January 21: Christina Crawford appears on the CBS television talk show "The Late Late Show With Tom Snyder."​​ Also appearing on the episode is actress Jane Curtin. 

February 12: Christina Crawford appears on the television show "Access Hollywood" to promote the twentieth anniversary edition of "Mommie Dearest."

March 9: Christina Crawford hosts a live online chat in an America Online entertainment chat room beginning at 8:00 pm (EST).

April: A television movie version of Shaun Considine's book, "Bette & Joan: The Divine Feud," is planned by Boardwalk Entertainment in New York. Considine had previously sold the film rights of the book to Boardwalk Entertainment in 1989.

April 1: Christina Crawford appears at the Royal Theater in Los Angeles, California​​ with an engagement entitled "April Fools With Christina Crawford." The appearance is to promote the twentieth anniversary edition of "Mommie Dearest," and begins at 7:00 pm. The event is accompanied by questions from the audience, which is conducted by Erik Lee Priminger (son of Otto Priminger and Gypsy Rose Lee). This is followed by a screening of the 1981 film "Mommie Dearest."

April 21: Christina Crawford appears on the television show "Hard Copy."​​

May 6: Christina Crawford appears at Town Hall in Manhattan, New York. The event, which is called "Mother's Day With Christina Crawford," is to promote the twentieth anniversary edition of "Mommie Dearest." During the event, Christina is interviewed on stage by columnist Rex Reed, and later signs copies of "Mommie Dearest." Drag Queen Lypsinka also attends the event, and appears on stage, with Christina, in wardrobe and makeup to resemble Joan Crawford. ​​​

May 10: Christina Crawford attends a Mother's Day "Mommie Dearest" twentieth anniversary edition book signing and engagement at the Music Box Theater in Chicago, Illinois. ​​The event begins at 9:00 pm. Accompanying the book signing, Christina attends a 45-minute question and answer session, followed by a screening of the 1981 film "Mommie Dearest."​ Drag queen "Honey West" hosts the event, and a drag queen "Joan Crawford Look-A-Like" contest. Ticket prices are $20 per person, with a portion of the sales going to the charity "Open Hand Chicago." ​The event is sponsored by Unabridged Books of Chicago.

May 11: Christina Crawford attends a book signing of the twentieth anniversary edition of "Mommie Dearest" at Unabridged Books on North Broadway in Chicago, Illinois.​​ The book signing begins at 7:30 pm.​

July 20: Cathy LaLonde, Joan's adopted daughter, files a lawsuit in Federal court against Christina Crawford for defamation of character. The lawsuit alleges Christina had made recent public claims alleging that Lalonde and her sister, Cindy, had been purchased by Joan on the black market. The lawsuit cites ​statements made by Christina to People Magazine during a promotional tour for the twentieth anniversary edition of "Mommie Dearest." Furthermore, LaLonde's lawsuit alleges ​that Christina had claimed "They [LaLonde and her sister Cynthia Jordan] were raised as twins. She [Joan] called them twins.​ Her career need a boost and one child alone wasn't going to get her the publicity she wanted, so she got two girls who both had brown hair and brown eyes." According to the lawsuit, besides People Online, Christina had repeated it to talk show host Jim Bohannon and at four personal appearances. Additionally, Cathy's lawsuit also cites that Christina had broken the law by releasing confidential adoption information regarding the details of Lalonde's adoption. 
The lawsuit is later settled in November 1999.​

August: Joan is named the "Star of The Month" on the cable channel Turner Classic Movies (TCM). (Thanks to Alice for this information)

August 17-23: Turner Classic Movies hosts a week-long marathon of Joan Crawford films.​​

August 18: Christina Crawford attends a live chat session on Turner Classic Movies' website. ​The chat is in connection with the channel's current Joan Crawford film week.​​

September 27: Christina Crawford ​​appears on the VH1 television show "The RuPaul Show." The other guests on the episode are Gloria Gaynor and Mary Jo Buttafuoco.

  • 1999
​November 4: Joan's adopted daughter, Cathy LaLonde, is awarded $5,000, plus court costs, for public statements Lalonde alleges Christina Crawford made about her and Cynthia Crawford Jordan in 1998. The decision comes from a panel of three arbitrators after an hour-long hearing in Philadelphia​, Pennsylvania.
Click here to read an article regarding the lawsuit and settlement.​ (See the July 20, 1998 entry for further information regarding LaLonde's lawsuit.)

  • 2000
August 16: Darinka Papich passes away. Papich was a close friend to Joan, and was with Joan when she passed away on May 10th, 1977.​​​​

August 16 (#2): Also on this date, Jane Kesner Ardmore passes away at age 88.​​ Ardmore had co-written Joan's autobiography, "A Portrait of Joan."

  • 2001
August 10: Christina Crawford appears on the CNN television talk show "Larry King Live."​​​

  • 2002
​​​March 23: "The Concluding Chapter of Crawford" website premieres online.

August 1: Tuner Classic Movies (TCM) premiers the documentary "Joan Crawford: The Ultimate Movie Star" in conjunction with TCM's salute to Joan as the channel's "Star of The Month."​​​

September 30: "Joan Crawford: The Essential Biography," by Lawrence J. Quirk, is published by the University Press of Kentucky.

  • 2006
September 22: Joan's adopted son, Christopher Crawford, passes away from Cancer.​

  • 2007
October 14: Joan's adopted daughter, Cynthia Crawford, passes away at Baylor All Saints Medical Center​ in Fort Worth, Texas while awaiting a liver transplant.

  • 2008
February: "Not The Girl Next Door," by Charlotte Chandler, is published by Simon & Schuster​​​​.

February 25: UCLA hosts a tribute to Joan Crawford in the James Bridges theater. The tribute is in connection with the recently published book "Not The Girl Next Door" by Charlotte Chandler. The tribute consists of clips from Crawford's films and a guest panel including actor Cliff Robertson and biographer Charlotte Chandler who discuss Crawford's life and career. Among those who attend the tribute is Joan's secretary, Betty Barker. 

  • 2009​​
February: "Joan Crawford: The Enduring Star," by Peter Cowie, is published by Rizzoli Publications.

Spring: "The Concluding Chapter of Crawford" website closes due to the closing of the website's webhost, Geocities.

  • 2010
July 11: "Just Joan: A Joan Crawford Appreciation" by Donna ​​Marie Nowak, is published by Bear Manor Media. (Source: Webmaster's contact with Donna Marie Nowak, 04/28/2013)​

  • 2011
December 7: An auction of Joan's personal property is auctioned by Doyle Auction House in Manhattan, New York.​​​​​ The items are auctioned by Joan's daughter, Cathy LaLonde. Cathy's daughter Carla worked with Doyle on behalf of Cathy to organize and sell the items at auction. The 80-lot auction nets a total of $135,362.00​. Among the items auctioned (and the selling price, plus buyer's premium) are; Joan's Cecil B. Demille Golden Globe Award​ ($25,000.00), 16mm film reels and ephemera from Crawford's career and personal life with numerous slides of family, vacations, etc. ($10,000.00) and a collection of Joan's furs ($8,750.00).

  • 2012
January 27: Joan's long-term secretary, Betty Barker, passes away in Los Angeles, California at age 95.

August 30: Christina Crawford debuts her one-woman show/documentary "Surviving Mommie Dearest" at the Parliament House in Orlando, Florida.​​ The show begins at 7:30 pm.​ Tickets are $25. The show consists of a Q&A with Christina Crawford, and a screening of Christina's 45-minute documentary "Surviving Mommie Dearest," which features home movie footage of Joan Crawford.​

​​September 25: Joan's Academy Award statue for Best Actress in "Mildred Pierce" is auctioned, for the second time, and sells for $426,732.00 (including buyer's premium) through Nate D. Sanders Auctions​​​.

November 1: Christina Crawford ​'s one-woman show/documentary "Surviving Mommie Dearest" is performed at the San Marco theater in Jacksonville, Florida.

November 30: Christina Crawford screens the documentary "Surviving Mommie Dearest" in the grand ballroom in the Rampart Casio in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Following the screening is a Q&A session, and a meet in greet for VIP ticket holders. ​General admission tickets are $20. VIP tickets are $30.

  • 2013
March 23: "The Concluding Chapter of Crawford" website is re-launched online after a four year absence.​​​​

May 8-12: Christina Crawford's one-woman show/documentary "Surviving Mommie Dearest" is performed at the Snapple Theater in Manhattan, New York. 
November 20-22: Christina Crawford's one-woman show/documentary "Surviving Mommie Dearest" is performed at St. Luke's Theater in Manhattan, New York. ​​

November 23: Christina Crawford's one-woman show/documentary "Surviving Mommie Dearest" is performed at Sacred Heart University in the Edgerton Center for The Performing Arts​ in Fairfield, Connecticut.

  • 2014
April 14: Joan Crawford researcher and biographer ("Bette & Joan: The Divine Feud") John "Shaun" Considine passes away. Considine was a supporter of this website, and upon his death bequeathed his Joan Crawford research to the website's Webmaster.

  • 2017
March 5: FX premieres an eight-part mini-series entitled "Feud: Bette & Joan" which focuses on the rivalry between Joan and Bette Davis. The series details in particular with the film productions of "What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?" and "Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte." Among other sources, several key elements used within the show were sourced from "The Concluding Chapter of Crawford," without credit.

June 30: Actress Olivia de Havilland files a lawsuit in Los Angeles, California against FX for defamation ​​​​​of character for her portrayal by Catherine Zeta-Jones in the series "Feud: Bette & Joan." The lawsuit alleges the series falsely presented de Havilland as a "gossip" by portraying her as having participated in a fictitious 1978 interview regarding Joan and Bette Davis' alleged feud. The lawsuit further cites de Havilland's portrayal in "Feud" had her use of the term "bitch" twice when describing her sister, actress Joan Fontaine,​ and made reference to Frank Sinatra being an alcoholic. Olivia de Havilland denies ever having made such statements.
     FX later asked the court to strike de Havilland's claims from going to trial under California's anti-SLAPP law, which is a state law designed to terminate what is deemed to be frivolous suits arising from First Amendment protected activity, such as free speech.​​ 
     On​ September 29, 2017, Los Angeles Judge Holly Kendig ruled that de Havilland's claims had enough merit to not be barred by California's anti-SLAPP law. FX later appealed this ruling by Judge Kendig.
     ​On March 20th, 2018 an oral arguments hearing was
scheduled at the University of Southern California before the Los Angeles Appellant Court. The decision by the three appellant court ​judges on March 26th, 2018 was in favor of FX, thus barring de Havilland's lawsuit from moving forward to trail.

    Following the announcement of the appellant court's decision, de Havilland's attorney made the statement that the lawsuit is "destined for a higher court," and is appealed the hearing's decision to the California Supreme Court. California's Supreme Court declined to review the case, and de Havilland's attorneys submitted the lawsuit to the United States Supreme Court for review. 
In early January 2019 the United States Supreme Court reject's Olivia de Havilland's petition to review her appeal​.

November 21: Christina Crawford publishes an updated fortieth anniversary edition of "Mommie Dearest" through Open Road Media. The updated edition includes additional content from the original manuscript and contains recent photos of Christina. ​​​

  • 2019
June 10: Christina Crawford premieres a musical version of her memoir "Mommie Dearest" at the Birdland Jazz Club and Dinner Theater in New York City.​​​

  • 2020

January 10: Joan's adopted daughter, Cathy Crawford LaLonde, passes away three days before her 73rd birthday. Her death is following a six-year battle with lung cancer.​​​


© 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