The Joan Crawford Chronicle


  • ​​​​​​1978​
​​January 19: The first auction of Joan's personally-owned possessions is held at The Plaza Gallery in New York.

February 15: A pre-auction exhibit of Joan's personally owned items is displayed from 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM at The Plaza Gallery in New York.
February 17: The second, larger, auction of Joan's personal items is held at The Plaza Gallery in New York.​​ ​The auction is attended by over 400 people, and grosses $42,850. Bringing in $7,000 for costume jewelry alone.
     Items at this auction include Joan's bust, sculpted by ​artist Yucca Salamunich in 1940.

March 1: An auction of Joan's personally-owned items is held at Christies Auction House in New York.

June: It's reported Anne Bancroft will portray Joan in a feature-film version of Christina Crawford's manuscript
​"Mother Of The Year" (later retitled "Mommie Dearest"). Scheduled to begin filming 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 Christina Crawford will write the script.
​(Christina's script is later rejected by producers, and Bancroft is ultimately replaced with Faye Dunaway)​

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

August 3: A 50-minute documentary on Joan airs on the BBC in England. Barry Norman hosts the documentary, which is part of the ​"Hollywood Greats" documentary series.

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

October: "Mommie Dearest" is published by ​​William Morrow & Co.

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

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

November 11: Christina Crawford appears on "The Tomorrow Show" on NBC to discuss her book "Mommie Dearest".​​

November 27: A letter Joan had written to Judy Garland sales for $750.00 at an auction of Judy Garland's possessions which were offered at auction in Beverly Hills, California by Garland's former husband, Sid Luft.​​

December 18: Joan biographer, Bob Thomas, appears on "The Today Show" on NBC to discuss his book "Joan Crawford: A Biography".​​

  • 1979
​​Mid-May: Joan biographer, Bob Thomas, does a promotional tour for the paperback edition of his book "Joan Crawford: A Biography".

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

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

July 13: A court settlement is reached in the lawsuit brought by Christina and Christopher Crawford against Joan's estate. $55,000 is awarded to Christina and Christopher out of the estate.​
     In November 1977, Christina and Christopher filed the lawsuit to contest Joan's Will after discovering Joan had disinherited them.​

  • 1980​​
​​​March: Darinka Papich meets with Joan's interior designer, Carleton Varney, for lunch at 21 in New York.
​During the lunch, Darinka tells Varney about Joan's final days in May 1977. (Source: Carleton Varney)

July: "Conversations With Joan Crawford" by Roy Newquist is published by​ Citadel Press.

December: Faye Dunaway is signed by producer Frank Yablans to portray Joan in the film "Mommie Dearest".​​

  • 1981
January: Filming begins on "Mommie Dearest".​​​​​

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: "Mommie Dearest" is released nationwide in theaters.​​

  • 1982

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

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

  • 1985
(Unknown date): Joan's "Man Friday" during the 1960's and friend, Charles Grant,​​​​ unsuccessfully attempts to publish his autobiography of his life with Joan in the 1960's and 1970's entitled "Unzip Me, Mr. Grant".

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

  • 1989
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 ​​with sister Vanessa and Lynn Redgrave.​

  • 1993
June 19:​​​​An auction consisting of 21 lots Joan's personally-owned possessions is held at Christies Auction House in New York.
     The items are being auctioned by Joan's daughter, Cathy LaLonde.

          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 personally-owned items at Wlazelek's Auction Gallery​​​​​​ in Macungie, Pennsylvania.
      The items included 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 sold for $170. A beaded cocktail purse brought $49. The hats ranged from $10 to $42.
​An art deco cake server sold for $530. Two handfuls of cheese knives sold for $210. A sterling silver carving knife and fork sold for $400, and a Steuben glass owl figurine sold for $220.​

  • 1998
April: A TV-movie version of Shaun Considine's book "Bette & Joan: The Divine Feud" is planned by Boardwalk Entertainment in New York, to whom Considine had previously sold the book's film rights.

Mid-July: Cathy LaLonde, Joan's adopted daughter, files a lawsuit against Christina Crawford for defamation of character by claiming Lolonde was bought on the black market, and breaking the law by releasing confidential adoption information regarding the details of Lalonde's adoption by Joan.​​

     The lawsuit follows statements made by Christina Crawford to People Online Magazine during a book tour for the 20th anniversary addition of "Mommie Dearest".
     LaLonde's lawsuit alleged ​Christina 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."
      Besides People Online, Christina repeated it to talk show host Jim Bohannon and at four personal appearances.

     The lawsuit is later settled in November 1999.​

August: Turner Classic Movies (TCM) names Joan the "Star Of The Month" on their channel. (* Thanks to Alice for this information contribution)

  • 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 a one-hour hearing in Philadelphia​, Pennsylvania.
     Click here to read an article regarding the lawsuit and settlement.​

     ​(See the Mid-July 1998 entry for further information regarding LaLonde's lawsuit)

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

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

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

August 1: Tuner Classic Movies (TCM) premiers the documentary "Joan Crawford: The Ultimate Movie Star".
     TCM salutes Joan as August's "Star Of The Month".​​​

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

  • 2007
October 14: Joan's daughter, Cynthia Crawford Jordan, 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​​​​.

  • 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.​​

  • 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 personally-owned items is auctioned by Doyle in New York.​​​​​ The items are auctioned by Joan's daughter, Cathy LaLonde. Cathy's daughter Carla worked Doyle to organize and sell the items for auction.
     The 80 lot auction nets a total of $135,362.00​.
     Among the items auctioned (and the selling price, plus buyer's premium) is; 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), Joan's furs collection ($8,750.00).

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

  • 2014

April 14: Joan Crawford researcher and biographer ("Bette & Joan: The Divine Feud") John "Shaun" Considine passes away.
Considine was a supporter of "The Concluding Chapter Of Crawford", and biographer of several celebrities. ​​​​​

  • 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 the film productions of "What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?" and "Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte".
     Many elements used in the show were sourced (uncredited) from "The Concluding Chapter of Crawford".​

     On June 30th, 2017 actress Olivia de Havilland filed a lawsuit against FX due to her portrayal within the series. 


© 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