Movie Stars: Crawford, Joan–Legacy; Gay Icon

In 1970, Joan Crawford was presented with the Cecil B. DeMille Award by John Wayne at the Golden Globes, which was telecast from the Coconut Grove at The Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.

Crawford published her autobiography, A Portrait of Joan, co-written with Jane Kesner Ardmore, in 1962 by Doubleday. Crawford’s next book, My Way of Life, was published in 1971 by Simon & Schuster.  Crawford’s ways were revealed in her advice on grooming, wardrobe, exercise, and even food storage.

Upon her death, there were found in her apartment photographs of John F. Kennedy, for whom she had voted in the 1960 election.

In September 1973, Crawford moved from apartment 22-G to a smaller apartment next door, 22-H, at the Imperial House, 150 East 69th Street.

Her last public appearance was made on September 23, 1974, at a book party cohosted with her friend Rosalind Russell at New York’s Rainbow Room. Russell was suffering from breast cancer and arthritis at the time. When Crawford saw the unflattering photos that appeared in the papers the next day, she said, “If that’s how I look, then they won’t see me anymore.”

Crawford cancelled all public appearances, began declining interviews, and left her apartment less and less. Dental-related issues, including surgery which left her needing nursing care, plagued her from 1972.  While on antibiotics for this problem in October 1974, her drinking caused her to pass out, slip, and strike her face. Whether it was this incident or her return to religion, Christian Science, she quit drinking in 1974.

On May 10, 1977, Crawford died at her New York apartment of a myocardial infarction. A funeral was held at Campbell Funeral Home, New York, on May 13, 1977.

Joan Crawford’s handprints and footprints are immortalized in the forecourt of Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, at 1752 Vine Street, for her contributions to the motion picture industry.

In 1999 Crawford was also voted the tenth greatest female star of the classic American cinema by the American Film Institute.

Gay Icon

Crawford had a large following in the gay community. In Joan Crawford: The Essential Biography, the author explains that Crawford appeals to gay men because they sympathize with her struggle for success in both the entertainment industry and her personal life.