Joan Crawford

Born Mar 23, 1905

Joan Crawford, born Lucille Fay LeSueur, was an American actress in film, television and theatre. Starting as a dancer in traveling theatrical companies before debuting on Broadway, Crawford was signed to a motion picture contract by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1925. Initially frustrated by the size and quality of her parts, Crawford began a campaign of self-publicity and became nationally known as a flapper by the end of the 1920s.… Read More

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Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Joan Crawford.


1904 Birth Crawford was born Lucille Fay LeSueur in San Antonio, Texas, on March 23; the year is disputed, with 1904, 1905, and 1906 the most likely estimates, all cited in varying sources, the third child of Thomas E. LeSueur (died January 1, 1938), a laundry laborer, and Anna Bell Johnson (died August 15, 1958), neither of whose years of birth can be conclusively established. … Read More


1922 18 Years Old In 1922, she registered at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, giving her year of birth as 1906. … Read More


1924 20 Years Old 1 More Event
Under the name Lucille LeSueur, Crawford began dancing in the choruses of traveling revues and was spotted dancing in Detroit by producer Jacob J. Shubert. Shubert put her in the chorus line for his 1924 show, Innocent Eyes, at the Winter Garden Theatre on Broadway in New York City. While appearing in Innocent Eyes Crawford met a saxophone player named James Welton. The two were allegedly married in 1924 and lived together for several months, although this supposed marriage was never mentioned in later life by Crawford. … Read More
Beginning her career as a dancer in travelling theatrical companies, before debuting as a chorus girl on Broadway, Crawford signed a motion picture contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1925. … Read More
1926 - 1928 3 More Events
1929 25 Years Old 1 More Event
F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote of Crawford: On June 3, 1929, Crawford married Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. at Saint Malachy's Roman Catholic Church (known as "The Actors' Chapel" due to its proximity to Broadway theatres) in Manhattan, although neither was Catholic. … Read More
1930 26 Years Old Thomas LeSueur abandoned the family a few months before Crawford's birth but reappeared in Abilene, Texas, in 1930 as a reportedly 62-year-old construction laborer. … Read More
In 1931, MGM cast Crawford in five films. … Read More
1932 28 Years Old Despite the failure of Rain, in 1932 the publishing of the first "Top Ten Money Making Stars Poll" placed Crawford third in popularity at the box office, behind only Marie Dressler and Janet Gaynor. … Read More
1933 29 Years Old In May 1933, Crawford divorced Fairbanks. … Read More


1935 - 1938 3 More Events
1939 35 Years Old 1 More Event
Before and during their marriage, Crawford worked to promote Tone's Hollywood career, but Tone was ultimately not interested in being a movie star and Crawford eventually wearied of the effort. After Tone reportedly began drinking and becoming physically abusive, she filed for divorce, which was granted in 1939. … Read More
1940 36 Years Old Crawford adopted her first child, a daughter, in 1940. … Read More
1942 38 Years Old She married actor Phillip Terry on July 21, 1942 after a six-month courtship. … Read More
1943 39 Years Old 1 More Event
After eighteen years, Crawford's contract with MGM was terminated by mutual consent on June 29, 1943. … Read More


1944 - 1946 2 More Events
1947 43 Years Old Crawford adopted two more children in 1947, identical twins whom she named Cindy and Cathy. … Read More
1950 46 Years Old Crawford and Steele met at a party in 1950 when Steele was an executive at PepsiCo. … Read More
1952 48 Years Old After her Academy Award nominated performance in 1952's Sudden Fear, Crawford continued to work steadily throughout the rest of the decade.


1954 50 Years Old In 1954, she starred in Johnny Guitar, a camp western film, co-starring Sterling Hayden and Mercedes McCambridge. … Read More
1955 51 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1955, she became involved with the Pepsi-Cola Company through her marriage to company Chairman Alfred Steele.
1959 55 Years Old After his death in 1959, Crawford was elected to fill his vacancy on the board of directors but was forcibly retired in 1973. … Read More
1960 56 Years Old …  Upon her death there were found in her apartment photographs of John F. Kennedy, for whom she had reportedly voted in the 1960 presidential election.


1965 - 1969 4 More Events
She made a cameo appearance as herself in the first episode of the situation comedy The Tim Conway Show, which aired on January 30, 1970. … Read More
1971 - 1973 2 More Events
1974 70 Years Old 1 More Event
Her last public appearance was September 23, 1974, at a party honoring her old friend Rosalind Russell at New York's Rainbow Room. … Read More
1976 72 Years Old In her will, which was signed October 28, 1976, Crawford bequeathed to her two youngest children, Cindy and Cathy, $77,500 each from her $2,000,000 estate. … Read More
1977 73 Years Old 1 More Event
On May 8, 1977, Crawford gave away her beloved Shih Tzu, "Princess Lotus Blossom," being too weak to care for it. She died two days later at her New York apartment from a heart attack. A funeral was held at Campbell Funeral Home, New York, on May 13, 1977.
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