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Joan Crawford was an Oscar-winning actress, dancer and executive. She was known for films like Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? and Mildred Pierce.
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Though garnering a series of notable roles, by the late 1950s, Crawford's career had grown quiet, only to be revitalized yet again with the 1962 horror classic Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, co-starring with Bette Davis. Crawford subsequently starred in several other thrillers and did television work. She also penned the 1971 memoir My Way of Life.
Joan Crawford died of a heart attack on May 10, 1977, in New York City,
leaving a multifaceted film legacy that would inspire analysis for years to come.
Crawford was married four times, with three marriages to actors, one of whom was Douglas Fairbanks Jr. In 1956, she wed Alfred Steele, chairman of Pepsi-Cola. After his death in 1959, Crawford joined Pepsi's board of directors—becoming the first woman to do so—and went on to work as a spokesperson on behalf of the company.
Crawford adopted four children, one of whom, Christina, wrote the 1978 memoir Mommie Dearest, in which she writes of enduring highly erratic and abusive behavior from her mother during childhood. The book was adapted into a 1981 film starring Faye Dunaway as Crawford.
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