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May 11, 1977 - Image 5

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Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1977-05-11

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Page Five

Wednesday, Moy 1 1,1977

THE MICHIGAN DAL.Y

Wane nsI I May1 17H C AN fPgF

I

_._,.

Screen star Crawford dies

By DAVID KEEPS
and Wire Service Reports
JOAN CRAWFORD, 69, elegant
veteran of 80 motion pictures,
died at 10 a.m. yesterday in her
Manhattan apartment, after suf-
fering a cardiac arrest.
Crawford's lawyer, Edward S.
Cowan said the attack was sud-
den and unexpected, as she had
never been treated for a heart
disease. "It's the end of an era,
and a legend," he said..
Crawford's charmed life reads
remarkably like a Cinderella
tale. Born Lucille LeSueur in
San Antonio, Texas on March 23,
1908, she described her first
home as_"a drab little place on
the wrong side of the tracks."
SOME TWENTY years later,
then the wife of Douglas Fair-
banks, Jr., she secured a foot-
hold in Hollywood in the haly-
con days of silent films, soon to
become one of MGM's highest
grossing stars and the inhabi-
tant of a 27 room mansion.
Her parents divorced when
she was only a few weeks old,
and her mother married a the-
atre owner in Oklahoma, where
Joan decided she wanted to be-
come a dancer. Btt dancing
lessons were an impossibility, as
were any prospects of a formal
public school education.
"I never went beyond the
sixth grade," she once told an
interviewer, and began work-
scrubbing floors - at age nine.
She used forged high school rec-
ords to enroll at Stephens Col-
lege in Missouri, but had to
leave because she was "unpre-
pared" for college level study.
RETURNING to her new fam-
ily home in Kansas City, Mo.
she realized her childhood am-
bition by landing a job as a
night club chorine, tripping the
boards through Chicago and De-
troit, where she was discovered
for a Broadway show, "Innocent
Eyes." She was signed shortly
thereafter by MGM and sent to
Hollywood to await assignments.

ironically troe to life, playing a
chorus girl in the 1926 film
Pretty Ladies with Zasu Pitts
and Lilyan Tashman.
Crawford, always character-
ized as a woman of near-manic
enerev, was not content to let
her film career evolve naturally
-she had to mold it herself.
And, in her early career, she
snent many off-nights between
picttres competing against and
often beating another Hollywood
newcomer, Carole Lombard, in
Charleston contests at Holly-
wood's Cocoanut Grove.
CRAWFORD'S energetic danc-
ing won her a flurry of roles
laving high-spirited, high-hem-
lined flappers in the last days
of the Roaring 20s. She was even
described by author F. Scott
Fitzgerald. who chronicled that
era, as the epitome of the
flanper."-
She made her initial splash in
the talkies playing shopgirls in
films entitled Paid and Possess-
ed, and was a frequent co-star
and romantic "item" with Clark
Gable, though she married an-
other MGM player, Franchot
Tone.
At the age of 36, with 14 years
behind her, the blue-eyed Craw-
ford left MGM, canceling - her
ironclad contract, with nothing
more than a one-picture deal
with Warner Brothers. It took
her nearly two,years to find a
suitable vehicle, but she snatch-
ed an Academy Award for her
patience and her portrayal of a
hardworking mother who is be-
trayed by her spoiled daughter
in Mildred Pierce in 1945.
Throughout her career, she
devised screen images and char-
a cters to keep the public inter-
STRUTTIN
6"1 c-u~~cm A2 99sss
95595

ested in her, including a brief
stint as a blonde with a huge
painted mouth, and a string of
unsympathetic roles in the late
forties and fifties with titles like
This Woman Is Dangerous and
The Damned Don't Cry.
IN THE 1960's she teamed suc-
cessfully with Bette Davis in
Whatever Happened To Baby
Jane on-screen, and off-screen
became a director of the Pepsi
Cola Corporation, succeeding
her late, and'fourth husband,
Alfred Steele.
Crawford was both gracious
and grateful to those who helped
her shape her formidable 50
year career. She once sent a
wire to a fan magazine reviewer
who had singled her out in one
of her lesser pictures, Paris,
pledging to hel him, if ever he
needed her. Though the writer
threw the cable away, Crawford
kept her promise some 25 years
later-offering money and em-
ployment when he was desper-
ate for both. Even at the heigth
of her fame she answered all
her fan letters individually, and
always sent word of her arrivals
at Grand Central Station, so that
she could meet her throngs of
admirers.
The late star once said, "I
never go out on the street unless
I hope and anticipate and wish
and pray that I'll be recog-
nized!"
And though Miss Crawford will
be cremated, according to her
request, her celluloid image will
be recognized, and appreciated,
eternally.
Florence
sends
its love
a
MITTO WITH A
DOLPHIN
lei rnado da incis mvo
Andea del Vsrroc hio
Oten caled Florences
most popular sculpture
Direct from
D) toit's sister e i cv
thanks to the
Renaissance
(ster lartnrsh'lit
ALSO FIVE OTHER
EXHIBITIONS
Det troit Collects Aricas rt
Titian and the
Venetian Woidcut
Art of the Voodcut
New Italian ,Wing with
tRnais-aic Maters
Show (through NMy s)
ALL FREE
Now l.throg ?sat a"
The Detroit
Institute of Arts
11ata -lit c pan.
9:31 a~m. - >3o pnm

AP Photo
Crawford
Joan Crawford made 80 films and confessed to watching
them on late night TV, saying, "A friend dropped by want-
ing to talk. I told her 'Shut up! I'm watching myself in
'Flamingo Road' and I find it enchanting.'"
Second H it Week
Shows Today At
1:00-3:05-5:10-7:15-9:20
T"n,9 All Seats $1.25 Till 5:00
Pt~
231 NsouthstateNow Showing
Complte Showins
Todov t1:00-2:55-
4:45-6:40-8:30
All Seats $1.25 Till 5:00
SIDNEY POWIER BILL COSBY
Shown At: PG Shown At
1 :00-4:45-8:30 2:55-6:40-Late
BOX OFFICE CLOSES AT 9:00
Ends Soon
Shows Today A
1-3-5-7-9 Open 12:45
All Seats $1.25 Till 5:00
ACADEMY AWARD WINNER
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
r au
HARLAN COUNTY U.S.A.
Produced and Oirted by Sorbora Kopple PrincpoI Cinematography HartPorry
- irector of Editng Nancy Bo ker Rated PG

la
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