'I've been protected by studio publicity men most of my life, so in some ways I'm a goddam image, not a person. I was a commodity, a piece of property... I felt an overwhelming obligation to my career, and so I was an actress first, a wife second. I worked almost constantly, and even when I wasn't working, there was that image thing of looking like a star, conducting myself like a star. I just went ahead like a bulldozer. I was a very selfish woman.'Joan Crawford was a complex, contradictory, driven human being, but not the alcoholic, sadistic monster depicted in the notorious book, Mommie Dearest, which appeared a year after her death. In some ways, Donald Spoto's Possessed is the ultimate Hollywood book - about a young woman, poor, abandoned by her father, but determined at all costs to succeed . Born in Texas, Lucille Fay LeSueur escaped destitution by becoming a popular dancer and then managed to make the decisive leap that transformed her into a luminous, unique star of the screen. She became Joan Crawford.There were many important men in her life, not least Clark Gable, with whom she appeared in eight pictures and with whom she conducted a thirty-year affair. She was married four times, once to the debonair Douglas Fairbanks Jr, unaware that he had failed to discontinue his relationship with Marlene Dietrich. Dancer, dramatic actress, businesswoman, corporate executive with Pepsi-Cola, Joan Crawford during her lifetime (1906 - 1977) was rarely out of the news. With the use of only recently opened archives and personal papers, Donald Spoto probes behind the lurid headlines to bring us Joan Crawford, the private person as well as the movie legend.
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