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CinemaAngel

Reading New Bio: Possessed: The Life of Joan Crawford!

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I just bought: _Possessed: The Life of Joan Crawford_ ...... So far I'm very impressed!!!

 

 

 

 

*Possessed: The Life of Joan Crawford*

 

Donald Spoto (Author)

 

 

 

*_Product Description_*

 

 

 

Joan Crawford was one of the most incandescent film stars of all time, yet she was also one of the most misunderstood. In this brilliantly researched, thoughtful, and intimate biography, bestselling author Donald Spoto goes beyond the popular caricature?the abusive, unstable mother portrayed in her adopted daughter Christina Crawford?s memoir, Mommie Dearest?to give us a three-dimensional portrait of a very human woman, her dazzling career, and her extraordinarily dramatic life and times.

 

Based on new archival information and exclusive interviews, and written with Spoto?s keen eye for detail, Possessed offers a fascinating portrait of a courageous, highly ****, and ambitious woman whose strength and drive made her a forerunner in the fledgling film business. From her hardscrabble childhood in Texas to her early days as a dancer in post?World War I New York to her rise to stardom, Spoto traces Crawford?s fifty years of memorable performances in classics like Rain, The Women, Mildred Pierce, and Sudden Fear, which are as startling and vivid today as when they were filmed.

 

In Possessed, Spoto goes behind the myths to examine the rise and fall of the studio system; Crawford?s four marriages; her passionate thirty year, on-and-off-again affair with Clark Gable; her friendships and rivalries with other stars; her powerful desire to become a mother; the truth behind the scathing stories in her daughter Christina?s memoir; and her final years as a widow battling cancer. Spoto explores Crawford?s achievements as an actress, her work with Hollywood?s great directors (Frank Borzage, George Cukor, Otto Preminger) and actors (Henry Fonda, James Stewart, Spencer Tracy, John Barrymore), and later, her role as a highly effective executive on the board of directors of Pepsi-Cola.

 

 

Illuminating and entertaining, Possessed is the definitive biography of this remarkable woman and true legend of film.

 

 

 

 

spotopossessedcovermenu.jpg

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*Editors' Book Buzz #1: David Highfill*

 

 

 

Executive Editor David Highfill (William Morrow) talks with Virginia Stanley, Director of Library Marketing. Two stellar picks for Fall 2010: Donald Spoto's Possessed: The Life of Joan Crawford

 

 

 

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*Insist on the Truth -- Even When It's Good News*

 

 

 

Donald Spoto

October 28, 2010

 

 

 

As the author of twenty-six books, most of them biographies, I've developed a kind of motto: "The biographer is obliged to tell the truth--even when it means saying something good about someone." This is not always a popular position to stake.

 

 

Twenty years ago, for example, I began research for a life of Marilyn Monroe--the first such project authorized by her Estate, with no strings attached and unhindered access to a massive array of materials never before consulted. After conducting more than a hundred interviews and surveying an astonishing cache of primary material, something unexpected became clear. Monroe was not a dimwitted woman of easy virtue who spiraled downward into suicidal depression. She was something very different indeed from that popular misconception.

 

 

I had precisely the same experience while working on my latest book, _Possessed: The Life of Joan Crawford_. Important new material revealed a woman very different from the conventional, false image. With the possible exception of Marilyn Monroe, perhaps no movie star has been so underappreciated, misrepresented by rumor, innuendo, fabrication, unfounded allegation and rank distortion.

 

Joan Crawford was neither Joan of Arc nor an arch she-devil. She was a recognizably human and passionate woman who entertained millions; she made egregious mistakes and learned from them; and she always had a legion of friends and countless admirers. One's fame or power or influence was never the criterion for friendship with Joan, and she was on warm terms with people from every walk of life.

 

The shift in public opinion from respect to contempt began a year after her death, with the publication of a book called Mommie Dearest, which alleged that Joan was a sadistic alcoholic who took special pleasure in torturing her adopted children. That volume, remarkable as the work of a somewhat hysterical imagination, cannot be taken seriously after one has checked the facts, reviewed original documents and interviewed those who knew Joan and her children. More to the point, the author of the book has retreated from her most outlandish claims--but that, of course, is very rarely reported.

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/donald-spoto/insist-on-the-truth-even-_b_774999.html

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Not having yet read the book, i don't know this to be true, but I understand that one hallmark of Spoto's research is to visit the locale(s) of the subject's childhood and youth: is that true with this book? If you've read any of his other biographies, could you please tell me if it's true with them, too?

 

Thank you very much.

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I have his bio on James Dean...and yes, he did research the actor's origins in Indiana. Of course, James Dean lived such a short life, that it isn't too difficult to go all the way back to the beginning.

 

He also did a book on Spencer Tracy, but I loaned it to a friend and I can't remember how much research he did for it. I remember he concentrated a lot on Tracy's drinking problem which I didn't care for.

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@Cinema Angel:

Hey! Yeah isn't it good? (JC Biog) I liked it a lot. I think I am going to re-read it in the new year. I feel as if it may be worth while. I always catch additional tid bits when I re-read.

I liked it too though...

Who are your favorites in old movies?

-Susan

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I'll bet if Marilyn have lived ten or fifteen years longer, she likely would have won a

Nobel Prize, the only question being if it would have been in Literature, Physics,

or Medicine. Tragically, we'll never know.

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Last year I picked up "Not The Girl Next Door" the Crawford biography by Charlotte Chandler, who's written about other Hollywood subjects.

I found the writing to be very good; well balanced, objective and a good flowing narrative-I highly recommend it.

She touched on Joan's difficulty raising her children and the personality differences they had. I could just imagine the very qualities that helped Joan in her career were not well suited to raising demanding children. She was strong, independent and ambitious and expected her children to "buck up" and do the same. When they rebelled, she was at a loss of how to help or deal with them.

 

I liked how Chandler just "stated the facts" and left the reader to draw their own conclusions and opinions of Joan's life. She was a remarkable, powerful woman in her day.

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CelluloidKid quoted:

<< I've developed a kind of motto: "The biographer is obliged to tell the truth--even when it means saying something good about someone >>

 

Doesn't this statement says that Donald Spoto was already bias before he started writing the book? I doubt Joan Crawford was *possessed* as the title states.

 

If she was then those exorcist are never around when she needed them.

 

max-von-sydow.jpg

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> {quote:title=hamradio wrote:}{quote}

> CelluloidKid quoted:

> << I've developed a kind of motto: "The biographer is obliged to tell the truth--even when it means saying something good about someone >>

>

> Doesn't this statement says that Donald Spoto was already bias before he started writing the book? I doubt Joan Crawford was *possessed* as the title states.

>

> If she was then those exorcist are never around when she needed them.

 

I trust you were being facetious. If not, the title is a reference to a 1947 film Crawford made at Warners.

 

I'm not the most avid of Crawford fans, probably because she wasn't especially good at comedy, but I admit she was a good actress given the right material and deserves to be recognized as a human being, not a caricature. (If Myrna Loy, someone I respect, liked Joan, then she must have had something going for her.) Down the road I may check out this book.

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I guess much the same can be said about Bette Davis whose own daughter B.D. wrote her own "Mommie Dearest". The lives of these two stars have been so similar.

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This may be interesting, I just went though my Directv guide and on the Investigation Discovery Channel *ID* 285, the series "The Will: Family Secrets Revealed" a Joan Crawford special will be shown tonight Sunday 12:00 AM. I'll type it as its printed -

 

"Estate of Joan Crawford" Law Local (2010) Joan Crawford leaves two of her children out of her will.

 

May be worth watching. Right now they are discussing the Estate of Hank Willaim.

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Referring to "The Will: Family Secrets Revealed", they held up a Los Angeles newspaper and in big bold headlines it read

*Joan Crawford - Box Office Poisen*

 

Like to have been a fly on the ceiling when she read that. OUCH!

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