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  • Published: 1 April 2011
  • ISBN: 9781407088112
  • Imprint: Cornerstone Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 368

Possessed

The Life of Joan Crawford




Donald Spoto probes behind the lurid headlines to bring us Joan Crawford, the private person as well as the movie legend.

‘I’ve been protected by studio publicity men most of my life, so in some ways I’m a goddam image, not a person. I was a commodity, a piece of property… I felt an overwhelming obligation to my career, and so I was an actress first, a wife second. I worked almost constantly, and even when I wasn’t working, there was that image thing of looking like a star, conducting myself like a star. I just went ahead like a bulldozer. I was a very selfish woman.’

Joan Crawford was a complex, contradictory, driven human being, but not the alcoholic, sadistic monster depicted in the notorious book, Mommie Dearest, which appeared a year after her death.

In some ways, Donald Spoto’s Possessed is the ultimate Hollywood book – about a young woman, poor, abandoned by her father, but determined at all costs to succeed . Born in Texas, Lucille Fay LeSueur escaped destitution by becoming a popular dancer and then managed to make the decisive leap that transformed her into a luminous, unique star of the screen. She became Joan Crawford.

There were many important men in her life, not least Clark Gable, with whom she appeared in eight pictures and with whom she conducted a thirty-year affair. She was married four times, once to the debonair Douglas Fairbanks Jr, unaware that he had failed to discontinue his relationship with Marlene Dietrich.

Dancer, dramatic actress, businesswoman, corporate executive with Pepsi-Cola, Joan Crawford during her lifetime (1906 – 1977) was rarely out of the news. With the use of only recently opened archives and personal papers, Donald Spoto probes behind the lurid headlines to bring us Joan Crawford, the private person as well as the movie legend.

  • Published: 1 April 2011
  • ISBN: 9781407088112
  • Imprint: Cornerstone Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 368

About the author

Donald Spoto

Donald Spoto was born near New York City in 1941 and received his PhD degree from Fordham University in 1970. He is the author of 27 books, including internationally bestselling biographies of Alfred Hitchcock, Tennessee Williams, Marlene Dietrich, Marilyn Monroe and Ingrid Bergman. He is married to the Danish school administrator and artist Ole Flemming Larsen. They live in a quiet village an hour's drive from Copenhagen.

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Praise for Possessed

Spoto tells her story movingly and well

Sunday Express

Spoto was a close friend of Kelly's, so this is as definitive a biography as we will ever get

S, Sunday Express magazine

Drawing on previously unpublished conversations, Spoto explores how Kelly changed Hollywood

Harpers Bazaar

Kelly's life as told here reveals a gentler Donald Spoto than we're used to: his friendship with the star has ensured a generosity of judgement throughout...Some may yearn for a less sympathetic portrait, but it's hard to imagine that any subsequent biography could do such consummate justice to her life and career

The Times

Spoto turns a fresh eye on the well-known story bringing it alive for a new generation of readers

Wales on Sunday

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