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 16: The second, larger, auction of Joan's personal items is held at 12-noon at The Plaza Gallery in New York.​​
​ ​The auction is attended by over 400 people, and grosses $42,850, which includes $7,000 for costume jewelry alone. Among the items at this auction is a bust of Joan 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 titled "Mommie Dearest"). Filming is schedule for 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 ultimately rejected by producers, and Bancroft is replaced 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 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".

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 sells for $750.00 in an auction of Garland's possessions 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 settlement is reached in the lawsuit brought upon Joan's estate by Christina and Christopher Crawford after Joan had disinherited them in her Will. 
$55,000 is awarded to Christina and Christopher out of the estate.​ Christina later claimed that she gave the entire amount to her brother minus legal fees.

     ​Christina and Christopher had filed the lawsuit in November of 1977 to contest Joan's Will on the claim that Joan was an alcoholic, not of sound mind and was inappropriately influenced by their sister Cathy LaLonde, and her husband Jerome, when she signed her Will on October 28th, 1976.

  • 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.
​The suit alleged Christina had made recent public claims alleging that as an infant Lalonde had been purchased by Joan on the black market. 

     The lawsuit cited ​statements made by Christina to People Online Magazine during a book tour for the 20th anniversary addition of "Mommie Dearest".     
     ​Furthermore, LaLonde's lawsuit alleged ​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.

     Cathy's lawsuit also cited 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: 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, Geocitiies.

  • 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 Auction House in 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) 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) and a collection of Joan's furs ($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 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 cites the series falsely made de Havilland appear to be 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 making 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.

    Since the announcement of the appellant court's decision, de Havilland's attorney has made the statement that the lawsuit is "destined for a higher court."​


© 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