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The Secret World Of Christopher Crawford

The Crawfords are not as well-known as the Kardashians. However, if forced to compare the mystique they bring to the table, it wouldn't be a disgrace to compare them to the Kardashians. Without a doubt, the television show "Feud," which depicts the real-life characters Cristopher Crawford, Joan Crawford, Cristine Crawford, and the whole family, has enraged the viewers.

The drama, which is centered on the turbulent relationship between Joan Crawford and Bette Davis during the making of their 1962 film What Ever Happened to Baby Jane, has resulted in several charges and a strange personality for the classical diva herself. However, nothing is known about her five adoptive children, who have always avoided the spotlight.

Who Is Christopher Crawford?

Christopher Crawford sitting beside her mother, Joan Crawford
Christopher Crawford sitting beside her mother, Joan Crawford

It may cause confusion regarding the name "Christopher Crawford," as the Crawford family had two Christophers. To dispel any question, the one who is generating the most excitement is Joan Crawford's third kid.

Prior to his adoption, he was also known as Phillip Terry Jr. He was born on October 15, 1943. Joan and her then-husband Phillip Terry gave him the name. When the couple divorced in 1946, she renamed her son Christopher Crawford.

Considered one of the finest female actresses of Classic Hollywood Cinema, Joan frequently made headlines for her vindictive behavior toward her children, most notably when she disinherited her two children, Christina and Christopher.

The First Christopher

Joan and Philip adopted Christopher (I), who was born in April 1941, and raised him as their own. They sacrificed everything, including their lives and souls, to care for their son.

They were, however, compelled to return their child to his biological mother, who, to their surprise, expressed an interest in having him back. It has been stated that Joan was completely shattered by the occurrence and has never forgotten him throughout her life. She repeatedly highlighted adapting five children in an interview with David Frost.

The Second Christopher: His Early Days

When he was a toddler, Christopher Crawford was a shy and reserved individual. However, the day he discovered that he had been adopted, he transformed into a complete disaster. He used to isolate himself in the house, refusing to communicate with anyone, not even Joan.

He ran away from home on a number of occasions in pursuit of his biological parents. He ran away for the first time when he was seven years old. Then, when he was ten years old, he went missing for a week and slept out under the Santa Monica Pier. Later on, he said that his mother was unforgiving against him. In the past, she would strap him to the bed. At one point, she even forced him to place his hands on the hearth, which caused several blisters on the 6-foot-4-inch man's hands, he claims.

He was expelled from a number of military institutions as a result of his disruptive behavior. He was referred to as the "problem kid" of the neighborhood. Later on, he stated that he was a tough child to deal with.

During his adolescent years, he went so far as to steal a vehicle in the course of his protests. At the age of 18, he was considered arrogant and had anger control issues, which led to his decision to leave home at a young age.

Adulthood

He had a difficult existence because he fled away at such a young age. He married a waitress with whom he had his first child when he was in his twenties. In his early years, he worked as a lifeguard and lived in Miami.

With his first wife, whom he eventually divorced, he had three children. When asked about his children, he replied discreetly, "No idea." This demonstrates that he had no connection or love attachment with his children.

He served in the Vietnam War in the 1960s and later moved to Greenport, New York in the 1970s. He crammed another marriage with a woman named Gale in between all the pain of war. Chrystal was their only child.

Because his entire career has been split between being unemployed and working as a lineman in Long Island Electric, his recent flip in his fortunes can be called a typical coin flip.

Relationship With Joan

When her son addresses her mother by her initials, it doesn't take Sherlock Holmes to figure out that there is a rift between the two families. When describing his mother, he used to refer to her as “J.C.”

He did pay a visit to his foster mother in 1962, accompanied by his wife and son. But she degrades them by alleging that his child is the bastard, according to reports.

He shared this information when he went to meet his mother with his six-week-old daughter. Then she handed her back to me and exclaimed, "She doesn't look anything like you!" I told her, "Janet, she is your grandma; she is a very famous lady." She replied, "I am nobody's grandmother; I am Aunt Joan."

After that, Christopher did not see his mother again.

Joan Crawford with Christopher, Christine, and the twins
Joan Crawford with Christopher, Christine, and the twins

Who Is Joan Crawford?

It has been more than four decades since Joan Crawford passed away, but she is still regarded as one of the most iconic stars to emerge from Hollywood's Golden Age. For the most part, her cinematic career lasted from 1925 through 1970, and she was usually top-billed and wrapped in elegance during that time.

Crawford won an Academy Award for her performance in Mildred Pierce, despite varied reviews of her acting ability. She also worked extremely hard to establish herself as an actress and celebrity in her own right. Unfortunately, she is perhaps as well known as "Mommy Dearest," the purportedly abusive parent in her adopted daughter's memoir and the 1981 film version starring Faye Dunaway, which were both released in 1981. Here are ten fascinating facts about the actress's tangled personal and professional life.

Her True Age Is Currently Unclear

Despite the fact that Joan Crawford (née Lucille LeSueur) was born on March 23, no birth certificate exists to prove it, everyone accepts that she was born on that date. The year, on the other hand, is another story. Crawford has always stated that she was born in 1908, which would position her at the age of 16 when she was signed to a contract with MGM in January 1925. Other sources, such as IMDb, state that she was born in 1905, while others state that she was born in 1904, which biographer Donald Spoto says is implausible because her brother Harold was born in September 1903, according to Spoto. Despite the fact that the year 1906 appears to be the most likely year of Crawford's birth, there is still no clear proof.

She Was Found While Singing In A Chorus

Growing up primarily impoverished in San Antonio, Texas, Lawton, Oklahoma, and Kansas City, Missouri, Lucille saw poverty everywhere she went. When Joan was a child, her father abandoned the family around the time of the girl's birth, and her mother took in laundry to make ends meet – a situation that may have contributed to Joan's lifelong fear of wire hangers. With the arrival of a new stepfather came the introduction of a new given name: Billie Cassin. As early as 1922, Billie was winning Charleston competitions in Kansas City, and she soon moved on to Chicago and finally New York, where she performed on Broadway. MGM producer Harry Rapf noticed her in the chorus of 1924's The Passing Show and offered her a contract after she passed a screen test.

Her New Name Was Chosen In A Public Contest

MGM president Louis B. Mayer saw potential in the new contract player, but not as Lucille LeSueur or Billie Cassin, and picked her new name in a public contest. The winner of a $1,000 public renaming contest seemed to please everyone except the bearer of the name, who thought it sounded like "crawfish." Crawford Cranberry was a nickname given to her by her good friend and sometime co-star William Haines.

Crawford Was A Rosy-cheeked Redhead

Isn't she huge on screen? The woman's eyes and mouth were huge and vibrant, although she was just 5' 3”. The role transformed the complexion and hair color. Since Crawford wasn't colorized until Torch Song (1953), her image had achieved a level of artificiality that made her real hair color irrelevant.

Her Romance With Clark Gable

Audrey Crawford remained close to Clark Gable despite her four husbands — actors Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Franchot Tone, and Phillip Terry, and Pepsi-Cola president Alfred Steele. Gable and Crawford co-starred in eight films together, and they allegedly had an affair for decades. When Gable's wife Carole Lombard died in a 1942 aircraft crash, Crawford took over her role in the film They All Kissed the Bride and gave her money to the American Red Cross.

She Got Her Kids From Illegal Baby Brokers

Joan Crawford with her four kids
Joan Crawford with her four kids

Crawford adopted three children as a single parent, which was illegal in California. Illegally adopting Christina from a young unwed woman in Hollywood, she took her to New York and then Nevada for legalization. Crawford's son was adopted when she married Phillip Terry. Originally named Phillip Terry II, he was rechristened Christopher Crawford after his parents divorced.

She Had Been Dubbed "Box-office Poison"

However, despite consistently ranking among the Top Ten Money-Making Stars in the early to mid-1930s, Crawford was branded "box-office poison" by the Independent Theatre Owners Association of America in 1938, along with Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, and Katharine Hepburn, who were also among those labeled "box-office poison." Joan's fame was temporarily tarnished by a string of mediocre roles, but she was always adept at bouncing back from setbacks.

In 'Mildred Pierce,' She Was Accused Of Wearing Shoulder Pads

Following her departure from MGM, Crawford auditioned for and was cast in the title role of Mildred Pierce at Warner Bros. On the first day of production, her director, Michael Curtiz, became upset by what he considered to be shoulder pads and reportedly ripped Joan's dress at the neckline — revealing bare, if unusually broad, shoulders beneath the garment's sleeves. On the plus side, Curtiz was successful in guiding his broad-shouldered star to an Academy Award.

On Set, She Had A Falling Out With Mercedes McCambridge

You know you've seen Johnny Guitar if you remember the outstanding scenes that highlight the rivalry between the two actresses: Crawford and Mercedes McCambridge. The alcohol-fueled dispute spilled over onto the film's Arizona set: suffice it to say that McCambridge's clothes were thrown across the highway outside the actresses' motel at one point. The notorious Crawford-Bette Davis feud that erupted during the filming of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? was, on the other hand, revealed to be a publicity stunt.

Later In Life, She Converted To Christianity And Became A Christian Scientist

In 1970, after the mediocre shocker Trog, she made many B-level TV appearances and settled into a comfortable life in her New York City apartment. She converted to Christian Science and, according to other accounts, gave up drinking altogether. It was because of her faith that she resisted rigorous cancer treatment, which ultimately resulted in her death on May 10, 1977, at the age of 69, 71, 72, or 73, depending on who you ask. She didn't have much money when she left, but her twins were taken care of, as were a number of charitable organizations. Christina and Christopher, on the other hand, were not so lucky.

Joan Crawford’s Death

Joan Crawford died on May 10, 1977, in her bedroom on Manhattan's Upper East Side. According to the newspapers, she died of a heart attack, a coronary occlusion. That was what she desired, "not a discussion of my internal organs." Her poor health may have precipitated the heart attack.

Her obituary appeared on the front page of The New York Times on March 23, 1908. No one recognized her place in film history more than Crawford herself: "Miss Crawford was the ideal superstar—the pinnacle of eternal allure who symbolized the ambitions and disappointments of American women for decades."

Crawford's wishes were followed, and her ashes were interred in an urn in Ferncliff Cemetery in Westchester County, New York, alongside her previous husband, Alfred Steele. Campbell's Funeral Home in New York City conducted the funeral. Among those present were Myrna Loy, Joan's longest-standing friend, Van Johnson and Brian Aherne, Andy Warhol, John Springer, and Joan's four children: Christina, 37; Christopher, 33; and the twins, Cindy and Cathy, 30.

A memorial service was held at All Souls Unitarian Church on May 17. Eulogies were read by Anita Loos, Geraldine Brooks, Cliff Robertson, and George Cukor, who directed Crawford in four films and described her as "the ideal cinema star." He praised her intelligence, vitality, willpower, and beauty. He remarked what he always said about her in some form or another: "The camera saw a side of her that no flesh-and-blood lover has ever seen."

Why Was Christopher Crawford Strapped To His Bed?

Christopher Crawford, Joan Crawford, and Cristina Crawford smiling while walking
Christopher Crawford, Joan Crawford, and Cristina Crawford smiling while walking

In Christina's memory, she grew up in the midst of her mother's dramatic mood swings, who would alternate between purchasing her extravagant party costumes and whipping her so hard with a hairbrush that the hairbrush snapped in half.

“At first, I sobbed, but then I didn't. The only thing I had left was the ability to remain silent”, she said. To prevent him from walking to the toilet at night, she recalls her brother Christopher was harnessed into bed.

Is she convinced Joan Crawford adored her? “Perhaps in the beginning, but I believe she was not a healthy person. If most of what she did occur today, that woman would be arrested and detained.”

Why was there no intervention? “No one did anything about it, and that was the worst thing that could have happened! Because everybody was aware. Our employees, certain neighbors... However, she was a star, they had jobs they didn't want to lose, and in the end, there was no hired help left due to her notoriously tough working conditions. People were no longer being sent by the agency.”

“The public and private were completely hypocritical. We got the publicity,” she explains. “I'm quite concerned about celebrity adoptions like Madonna's and Angelina's. For the adoptee, knowing who they are and where they came from is critical, as it can have profound physiological and psychological implications.”

When asked if today's celebrities are adopting for publicity, she snorts. “What do you think? Why do they want so much newspaper and magazine coverage?”

Joan Crawford's rages, drinking, and hygiene fixation grew as her career crumbled. Studio execs called her ‘box-office poison' at 37, and her self-esteem never recovered. It was a tragic loss for a lady whose worth was based on her career.

The Crawford family's elaborate magazine photography story chronicled the children's several birthdays and Christmases. But the fact was completely different, recalls Christina. Every year the kids got one gift while the rest were repackaged and donated to local hospitals or charities. They were then forced to write innumerable thank-you cards for gifts they couldn't keep, each one scrutinized by their mother and returned with annotations and modifications until they fit her rigorous standards. ‘It became a forced march,' Christina recounts. ‘It was about power and poverty. I lacked trust as a child. I felt very alone.'

It is still plausible that a movie star who was so consumed with maintaining her own image, who was so meticulously immaculate in all she did, would go to tremendous efforts to conceal any abusive behavior from the public. According to the late actress Helen Hayes, whose son played alongside Christopher, Joan was "cruel" to her children and that her Hollywood contemporaries were "worried to death" about them, as she revealed in her memoirs. The demonstration, she added, would have been a waste of time for her or anyone else's time. “Joan would just become enraged and would most likely take out her fury on the children.”

Where Is Christopher Crawford Now?

Christopher Crawford didn't survive long enough to experience his family's remarkable phenomena. He died of cancer on September 22, 2006. He was only 62 years old.

How Much Did Christina and Christopher Crawford Inherit?

Joan indicated categorically that Christina and Christopher had been left out of the will knowingly and deliberately. “I intend to make no provision in my will for my son Christopher or daughter Christina for reasons they are fully aware of.”

According to The Guardian, both Christopher and Christina successfully challenged Joan's will. Additionally, he claimed the Los Angeles Times that he earned $1500 by renouncing his rights to Christina's book, Mommie Dearest, and the 1981 film adaptation.

Is Mommy Dearest A True Story?

Mommie Dearest was published by William Morrow a year and a half after Crawford's memorial. Christina portrayed her mother as a vicious control freak who meted out the toughest punishments for her two oldest children's smallest rule violations. Christina first titled her book, Mother of the Year, after Joan won the United States of America's Woman of the Year honor, but then changed it to Mommie Dearest. Joan was presented as an abusive mother who had no empathy for or understanding of her children and whose primary concern for them was to inflict discipline and punishment.

The most memorable scene involved a night raid on Christina's closet, which was followed by a beating due to the fact that some of the garments were on wire hangers. The line "No wire hangers!" as well as the book's title becoming part of the national lexicon. It was widely assumed that the book's publication had been delayed to alleviate any suspicions that Christina had written it in response to her exclusion from Joan's will. The book quickly rose to the top of the best-seller list and remained there for months.

Faye Dunaway starred in the film adaptation of the novel, which was released in 1981. A number of actresses had expressed interest in the role but had declined. Christina had originally intended to write the script, but her screenplay was turned down by the studio. The film, which has now become a cult classic, has added to the negative perception of Mommie Dearest.

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