Possessed: The Life of Joan Crawford

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Possessed: The Life of Joan Crawford

Format:  Hardcover,

336 pages

Publisher: Harpercollins

Publish Date: Nov 2010

ISBN-13: 9780061856006

ISBN-10: 0061856002

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Book Information

The following content was provided by the publisher.

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 sexed, 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.

Specifications

Publisher: Harpercollins
Publish Date: Nov 2010
ISBN-13: 9780061856006
ISBN-10: 0061856002
Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 336
Shipping Weight (in pounds): 1.2
Product in Inches (L x W x H): 6.25 x 9.25 x 1.5

About the author

Biography of Spoto, Donald

Born on June 28, 1941, Donald Spoto is an American celebrity biographer, Catholic theologian and former monk. He is best known for his best-selling biographies of film and theatre celebrities. A native of New Rochelle, New York, Spoto graduated from Iona Preparatory School in 1959 and received his B.A. from Iona College in 1963 and his M.A. and Ph.D. in theology (New Testament studies) from Fordham University in 1966 and 1970, respectively. Donald Spoto taught theology, Christian mysticism, and biblical literature at the university level for twenty years. He lives in Los Angeles, California.

Reviews

Review by Library Journal (2010-10-01)

Author of more than 20 celebrity biographies, Spoto (High Society: The Life of Grace Kelly) begins his latest by sharing a response from Joan Crawford to a fan letter he wrote when he was ten. Though much has been written about Crawford, who died in 1977, Spoto justifies his contribution by writing, "because no other movie star-with the possible exception of Marilyn Monroe-has been so under appreciated, misrepresented by rumor, innuendo, fabrication, unfounded allegation and rank distortion". Does Mommie Dearest ring a bell? So it seems Spoto wants to thank Crawford for her kindness to him as a boy by setting the record straight and clearing her name. He relies on the Joan Crawford papers, scrapbooks, letters, and ephemera housed at the New York Public Library, as well as what has already been written.

Verdict: What sets this biography apart from previous titles? Where other biographers made sensational statements about Crawford as fact, Spoto makes assertions based on his research as to what would and would not have been likely or possible. This is a balanced and readable account of a possibly misunderstood and maligned star.

[See Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/10.] - Rosellen Brewer, Sno-Isle Libs., Marysville, WA

(c). Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book 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 sexed, 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.

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