“Never, before or since, have I known any other professional who expended more personal energy on self-improvement courses and on her relations with her fans and the press as did the girl known as Joan Crawford.” -Douglas Fairbanks Jr.
“She was born dirt poor to a mother who never wanted her, didn’t like her, was physically abusive to her. Her father left before she was born. She was mistreated her whole childhood, was involved in a sexual relationship with her stepfather from the time she was eleven, and was farmed out to schools supposedly to get an education but really as a little work horse. She said herself that she never got anything beyond a fifth-grade education. When she arrived in Hollywood she said that MGM was the only family she ever knew. They taught her how to speak in that very artificial mid-Atlantic accent that has nothing to do with her upbringing. She was determined to be a lady. When she married Douglas Fairbanks Jr., she used to study [his stepmother, screen star] Mary Pickford and how every fork was placed…she worked hard. She was ambitious. She wanted this. She worked at it, and when she achieved stardom, she protected that entity, that product- Joan Crawford- like a she-wolf. For Joan, [making it in Hollywood] really was survival for her. Coming up out of that terrible poverty and that kind of childhood, with no education…I think there was always that fear of falling back into poverty so she created this tremendous artifice.” -Jessica Lange