Joan Crawford: Hollywood Martyr

David Bret, Author . Carroll & Graf $25.95 (299p) ISBN 978-0-78671-868-9

Bret, who has written several celebrity bios, details Joan Crawford's rags-to-riches story in this able biography. Born Lucille LeSueur in 1905, Crawford lived a hardscrabble life in the Midwest; as the product of a Dickensian childhood, she slept her way to the top. She became a taxi dancer who turned tricks; discovered by an MGM talent scout at age 20, she headed to Hollywood. From silents to talkies, in a career that spanned from 1925 to 1970, Crawford, glamorous and vulnerable, became a gay icon and hero to working-class women in films like Possessed and the Oscar-winning Mildred Pierce . Renowned for sleeping with her leading men, she had an on-and-off affair with Clark Gable (who Bret claims swung both ways). Three of her four husbands were bisexual; two were abusive. Her voracious sexual appetite was legendary. Bret chronicles her films, her feud with Bette Davis and dismisses her daughter's Mommie Dearest tirade, but he revels in Hollywood's sexual excesses, and fans who crave a lively insider view will most appreciate this bio. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 11/06/2006
Release date: 01/01/2007
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FORMATS
Paperback - 299 pages - 978-0-306-81624-6
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-0-7867-3236-4
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