Posts Tagged ‘joan’

ADIEU JOAN RIVERS Elle aimait sincèrement son public gai!

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

Par Roger-Luc Chayer

Certains pensent que le fait d’aimer la communauté gaie passe obligatoirement par le soutien au SIDA.

Joan Rivers bien entendu était une championne de la lutte contre le VIH en participant depuis plus de 30 ans à de très nombreuses campagnes de financement tant aux États-Unis, Au Canada qu’en Europe, mais elle avouait toujours très candidement avoir une dette morale envers les hommes homosexuels qui étaient, selon elle, responsables des débuts fulgurants de sa carrière à New York: «Mes fans homosexuels ont été fidèles à moi depuis le jour I. Je me souviens quand je travaillais au Duplex dans Greenwich Village à New York, au début de ma carrière, les seuls personnes dans la salle qui riaient à mes blagues étaient les hommes homosexuels. Je pense que si j’avais débutée ma carrière dans des bars straights et hétérosexuels, je ne serais arrivée nulle part», raconte la Star en entrevue au Washington Post.

«Même aujourd’hui quand je suis en tournée, je sais que si j’ai au moins huit hommes gais au premier rang, mon spectacle sera toujours un succès», disait Joan Rivers en ajoutant que la communauté gaie avait été l’élément stabilisant de sa carrière probablement parce qu’elle voyait en elle la différence, la capacité à s’épanouir comme juive dans un monde d’hommes, ce combat étant partagé à l’époque par les gais.

C’est donc tout naturellement, quand le SIDA est apparu et a touché une immense proportion de son public gai new-yorkais, que la Star s’est impliquée non seulement dans le financement de la recherche mais aussi dans les soins de fin de vie et l’amélioration de la qualité de vie de ses fans préférés. Quand elle voulait s’assurer d’avoir un impact majeur avec le financement, elle démontrait une générosité telle que l’argent coulait à flot quand elle décidait de se donner pour une cause. Par exemple, lors d’une soirée où elle devait faire une apparition à la Nouvelle-Orléans, qui ne devait durer que 15 minutes, Joan Rivers est restée sur scène pendant 1 heure 15 minutes au total. Et cette prestation ne comportait que du nouveau matériel, rien qui venait de spectacles antérieurs. C’est ainsi que Joan Rivers voyait l’importance de vendre des billets pour une cause qui lui tenait à coeur. Mais si son public l’aimait tant, c’est qu’elle savait aussi être toujours hilarante. Voulant dédramatiser la question du mariage gai en 2009, elle s’était déclarée contre, parce que selon elle: «Mes amis gais sont tous ouvertement gais, s’il fallait qu’ils aillent tous se marier en même temps, ils me coûteraient une fortune en cadeaux!». Joan Rivers était une vraie lady et une alliée toute naturelle qui a fait une contribution immense au SIDA. C’est collectivement que nous lui devons nos plus sincères remerciements. Adieu Joan!

Joan Rivers

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014


Joan Alexandra Molinsky[1] (previously Rosenberg; born June 8, 1933), known by her stage name Joan Rivers, is an American actress, comedian, writer, producer and television host, best known for her stand-up comedy, for co-hosting the E! celebrity fashion show Fashion Police, and for starring in the reality series Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best? alongside her daughter Melissa Rivers.

Rivers first came to prominence in 1965 as a guest on The Tonight Show, a pioneering late-night program with interviews and comedy, hosted by Johnny Carson, whom she acknowledges as her mentor. The show established her particular comic style, poking fun at celebrities, but also at herself, often joking about her extensive plastic surgery. When she launched a rival program, The Late Show, he never spoke to her again.

She went on to host a successful daytime slot, The Joan Rivers Show, which won her a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Talk Show Host. However, her insulting style when discussing sensitive or personal matters has sometimes been criticized as controversial by the media.

She is also the author of 12 best-selling memoir and humor books, as well as providing comic material for stage and television. She currently hosts and produces her online weekly talk show on YouTube called In Bed with Joan, and resides in Malibu, California, with her daughter and grandson.

Early life

Rivers was born Joan Alexandra Molinsky in Brooklyn, New York, in 1933,[2] the daughter of Russian Jewish immigrants Beatrice (née Grushman; January 6, 1906 – October 1975) and Meyer C. Molinsky (December 7, 1900 – January 1985). Her older sister Barbara died on June 3, 2013, aged 82.[3][4][5] She was raised in Brooklyn, New York, and her family later moved to Larchmont, in Westchester County, New York. She attended Connecticut College between 1950 and 1952 and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Barnard College in 1954 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature[6] and anthropology. Before entering show business, Rivers worked at various jobs such as a tour guide at Rockefeller Center,[7] a writer/proofreader at an advertising agency[7] and as a fashion consultant at Bond Clothing Stores.[8] During this period, agent Tony Rivers advised her to change her name, so she chose Joan Rivers as her stage name.[9]


Jim Connell, Jake Holmes and Joan Rivers when they worked as the team: “Jim, Jake & Joan”


During the late 1950s, Rivers appeared in a short-run play, Driftwood, playing a lesbian with a crush on a character played by a then-unknown Barbra Streisand. The play ran for six weeks.[10] Rivers performed in numerous comedy clubs in the Greenwich Village area of New York City in the early 1960s, including The Bitter End and The Gaslight Cafe,[11] before making her first appearances as a guest on the TV program The Tonight Show originating from New York, hosted at the time by Jack Paar.[12]

By 1965, Rivers had a stint on Candid Camera as a gag writer and participant; she was “the bait” to lure people into ridiculous situations for the show. She also made her first appearance on The Tonight Show with new host Johnny Carson, on February 17, 1965.[13] During the same decade, Rivers made other appearances on The Tonight Show as well as The Ed Sullivan Show, while hosting the first of several talk shows. She wrote material for the puppet Topo Gigio. She had a brief role in The Swimmer (1968), starring Burt Lancaster. A year later, she had a short-lived syndicated daytime talk show, That Show with Joan Rivers; Johnny Carson was her first guest.[14] In the middle of the 1960s, she released at least two comedy albums, The Next to Last Joan Rivers Album[15] and Rivers Presents Mr. Phyllis & Other Funny Stories.[16]


By the 1970s, Rivers was appearing on various television comedy and variety shows, including The Carol Burnett Show and a semi-regular stint on Hollywood Squares. From 1972 to 1976, she narrated The Adventures of Letterman, an animated segment for The Electric Company. In 1973, Rivers wrote the TV movie The Girl Most Likely to…, a black comedy starring Stockard Channing. In 1978, Rivers wrote and directed the film Rabbit Test, starring her friend Billy Crystal. During the same decade, she was the opening act for singers Helen Reddy, Robert Goulet, Mac Davis and Sergio Franchi on the Las Vegas Strip.


Rivers has spoken of her primary Tonight Show life as having been Johnny Carson’s daughter, a reference to his longtime mentoring of her and, during the 1980s, establishing her as his regular guest host by August 1983. She also hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live, on April 9, 1983.[17] In the same period, she released a best-selling comedy album on Geffen Records, What Becomes a Semi-Legend Most? The album reached No. 22 on the U.S. Billboard 200 and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album.[18]

Rivers in 1967

Also in 1984, Rivers published a best-selling humor book, The Life and Hard Times of Heidi Abramowitz, a mock memoir of her brassy, loose comedy character. A television special based on the character, a mock tribute called Joan Rivers and Friends Salute Heidi Abramowitz, was not successful with the public.

The decade was controversial for Rivers. She sued female impersonator Frank Marino for $5,000,000 in 1986, after discovering he was using her real stand-up material in the impersonation of her that he included in his popular Las Vegas act. The two comics reconciled, even appearing together on television in later years.[19]

Also in 1986 came the move that cost Rivers her longtime friendship with Carson, who had first hired her as a Tonight Show writer. The soon-to-launch Fox Television Network announced that it was giving her a late night talk show, The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers.[20] The new network planned to broadcast the show 11:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. Eastern Time, making her a Carson competitor. Carson learned of the show from Fox and not from Rivers herself. In the documentary Johnny Carson: King of Late Night, Rivers said she only called Carson to discuss the matter after learning he may have already heard about it, and that he immediately hung up on her. In the same interview, she said that she later came to believe that maybe she should have asked for his blessing before taking the job. Rivers was banned from appearing on the Tonight Show, a decision respected by Carson’s first two successors Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien. After the release of his 2013 biography on Johnny Carson, Carson’s manager Harry Bushkin revealed that he never received a call from Rivers’s husband Edgar concerning the move to Fox, against Rivers’s prior knowledge.[21] Rivers did not appear on the Tonight Show again until February 17, 2014, when she made a brief appearance on new host Jimmy Fallon‘s first episode.[22] On March 27, 2014, Rivers returned for an interview.

Shortly after Carson’s death in 2005, Rivers said that he never spoke to her again. In 2008, during an interview with Dr. Pamela Connolly on television’s Shrink Rap, Rivers claimed she did call Carson, but he hung up on her at once and repeated the gesture when she called again.

The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers turned out to be flecked by tragedy. When Rivers challenged Fox executives, who wanted to fire her husband Edgar Rosenberg as the show’s producer, the network fired them both. On May 15, 1987, three months later, Rosenberg committed suicide in Philadelphia; Rivers blamed the tragedy on his “humiliation” by Fox.[23] Fox attempted to continue the show with a new name (The Late Show) and rotating guest hosts. A year after the Late Show debacle, Rivers was a guest on TV’s Pee-wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special. By 1989, she tried another daytime TV talk show, The Joan Rivers Show,[24] which ran for five years and won her an Daytime Emmy in 1990 for Outstanding Talk Show Host.[25] In 1994, Rivers and daughter Melissa first hosted the E! Entertainment Television pre-awards show for the Golden Globe Awards.[26] Beginning in 1995, they hosted the annual E! Entertainment Television pre-awards show for the Academy Awards.[26] Beginning in 1997, Rivers hosted her own radio show on WOR in New York City. Rivers also appeared as one of the center square occupants on the 1986–89 version of The Hollywood Squares, hosted by John Davidson.

In 1994, Rivers—who was influenced by the “dirty comedy” of Lenny Bruce—co-wrote and starred in a play about Bruce’s mother Sally Marr, who was also a stand-up comic and influenced her son’s development as a comic. After 27 previews, “Sally Marr…and Her Escorts,” a play “suggested by the life of Sally Marr” ran on Broadway for 50 performances in May and June 1994.[27] Rivers was nominated for a Drama Desk Award as Outstanding Actress in a Play and a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for playing Sally Marr.[28]


By 2003, Rivers had left her E! red-carpet show for a three-year contract (valued at $6–8 million) to cover award shows’ red carpet events for the TV Guide Channel.[29]

Rivers poses for a photograph at the Pierre Hotel in New York City, May 24, 2001

Rivers appeared in three episodes of the TV show Nip/Tuck during its second, third and seventh season playing herself.[30][31][32] Rivers appears regularly on television’s The Shopping Channel (in Canada) and QVC (in both the United States and the UK), promoting her own line of jewelry under brand name “The Joan Rivers Collection”. She was also a guest speaker at the opening of the American Operating Room Nurses’ 2000 San Francisco Conference. Both Joan and Melissa Rivers are frequent guests on Howard Stern‘s radio show, and Joan Rivers often appears as a guest on UK panel show 8 Out of 10 Cats.

Rivers was one of only four Americans invited to the Wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Camilla Parker Bowles on April 9, 2005.[33] On August 16, 2007, Rivers began a two-week workshop of her new play, with the working title “The Joan Rivers Theatre Project”, at The Magic Theatre in San Francisco.[34] On December 3, 2007, Rivers performed in the Royal Variety Show 2007 at the Liverpool Empire Theatre, England, with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip present. In January 2008, Rivers became one of 20 hijackers to take control of the Big Brother house in the UK for one day in spin-off TV show Big Brother: Celebrity Hijack. On June 24, 2008, Rivers appeared on NBC-TV’s show Celebrity Family Feud and competed with her daughter, Melissa against Ice-T and Coco.

Rivers performing in her show at the 2008 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Rivers and daughter Melissa were contestants in 2009 on the second Celebrity Apprentice. Throughout the season, each celebrity raised money for a charity of his or her choice; Rivers selected God’s Love We Deliver.[35] After a falling out with poker player Annie Duke, following Melissa’s on-air firing (elimination) by Donald Trump, Rivers left the green room telling Clint Black and Jesse James that she would not be in the next morning. Rivers later returned to the show and on May 3, 2009, she became a finalist in the series. The other finalist was Duke.[36][37] On the season finale, which aired live on May 10, Rivers was announced the winner and hired to be the 2009 Celebrity Apprentice.

Rivers was featured on the show Z Rock as herself and was also a special so-called pink-carpet presenter for the 2009 broadcast of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade. She was also roasted in a Comedy Central special, taped on July 26, 2009, and aired on August 9, 2009. From August 2009, Rivers began starring in the new reality TV series How’d You Get So Rich? on TV Land. A documentary film about Rivers, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, premiered at the San Francisco International Film Festival at the Castro Theatre on May 6, 2010. In 2011, Rivers appeared in a commercial for Go Daddy, which debuted during the broadcast of Super Bowl XLV.[38] To date, Joan has made two appearances on Live at the Apollo, once as a comedian and once as a guest host.

Rivers performing at a London Udderbelly event in May 2009

Joan and her daughter Melissa Rivers premiered the new show Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best? on WE tv. The series follows Joan moving to California to be closer to her family. She moves in with daughter Melissa while searching for a home of her own. WE tv then ordered a new season consisting of 10 episodes, which premiered in January 2012. In 2011, Rivers was featured as herself in Season 2 of Louis C.K.‘s self-titled show Louie, where she performed on-stage. Since September 10, 2010, Rivers has co-hosted the E! show Fashion Police, along with Giuliana Rancic, Kelly Osbourne and George Kotsiopoulos commenting on the dos and don’ts of celebrity fashion. The show started as a half-hour program, but expanded to one hour on March 9, 2012. On August 7, 2012, Rivers showed up in Burbank, California to protest that the warehouse-club Costco would not sell her New York Times best-selling book, I Hate Everyone … Starting with Me. She handcuffed herself to a person’s shopping cart and shouted through a megaphone. The police were called to the scene and she left without incident and no arrests were made.[39] On March 5, 2013, Joan launched a new online talk show called In Bed with Joan through YouTube, in which each week she has a different celebrity guest that “comes out of the closet” and they talk about various topics. The show takes place in Joan’s bedroom, which is in Melissa’s house in Malibu, California.

In 2013, she came under heavy criticism for making jokes about Adele‘s weight. Rivers continued to make jokes about her weight following her Academy Award win for Skyfall.[40] Rivers refused to apologize.[41] Rivers had also come under criticism for making jokes about the Holocaust. The Anti-Defamation League called her remarks “vulgar and hideous”. Despite the criticism of her joke, Rivers, who is Jewish, refused to apologize, and later stated: “This is the way I remind people about the Holocaust. I do it through humor.”[42]

In January 2014, she appeared on Lior Schleien‘s television program called State Of The Nation (Matzav HaUma) on Israeli television stating that she “love[d] Israel.”[43] In April 2014, Rivers made a joke about the victims of the Ariel Castro kidnappings. She came under criticism from the lawyers of two of the kidnapping victims. The lawyers demanded that Rivers apologize for her joke.[44] Rivers defended her comments by saying “I know what those girls went through. It was a little stupid joke.”[45] In July 2014, Rivers walked out of an interview with CNN‘s Fredricka Whitfield while promoting her book Diary of a Mad Diva.[46] She later talked about the incident on The Late Show with David Letterman, where Letterman reenacted the incident.[47] In August 2014, during the Israeli operation in Gaza called Operation Protective Edge, Rivers told a reporter for the TMZ website in video footage that Palestinian civilians “deserve to be dead”.[48][49] Following a critical response on Twitter, Rivers later said her comments had been “taken out of context”.[50]On August 26, 2014, Rivers hosted a taping of Fashion Police with Kelly Osbourne, Giuliana Rancic, and George Kotsiopoulos about the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards and the 2014 MTV Movie Awards which would be her last television appearance before her incident.[51] The day before her throat surgery accident, she released her most recent podcast of In Bed with Joan with LeAnn Rimes and Eddie Cibrian.[52]

Personal life

Rivers is a member of the Reform synagogue Temple Emanu-El in New York. Rivers’s first marriage was in 1955 to James Sanger,[53] the son of a Bond Clothing Stores merchandise manager. The marriage lasted six months[54] and was annulled on the basis that Sanger did not want children and had not informed Rivers before the wedding.[55] Her second marriage was on July 15, 1965,[56] to Edgar Rosenberg, who committed suicide in 1987. Their only child, Melissa Warburg Rosenberg (now known as Melissa Rivers), was born on January 20, 1968. She has one grandson, Melissa’s son Cooper (born Edgar Cooper Endicott in 2000)[57] who is featured with his mother and grandmother in the WE tv series Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best?[58]

In her book, Bouncing Back (1997), she described how she developed bulimia and contemplated suicide. Eventually, she recovered with counseling and the support of her family. In 2002, Rivers told the Montreal Mirror that she was a Republican.[59] However, on a 2013 episode of Celebrity Wife Swap, Rivers stated that she was a Democrat. Then on January 28, 2014, during a conversation with Reza Farahan she announced that she was in fact a Republican.[60]

In a June 5, 2012, interview with Howard Stern, Rivers said she had several extramarital affairs when married to Rosenberg. According to Rivers, she had a one-night sexual encounter with actor Robert Mitchum in the 1960s after an appearance together on The Tonight Show. She also had an extended affair with actor Gabriel Dell during the out-of-town and Broadway productions of her play, Fun City, in 1971, for which Rivers told Stern she “left Edgar over” for several weeks.[61] Rivers is open about her multiple cosmetic surgeries, and has been a patient of plastic surgeon Steven Hoefflin since 1983. Her first procedure, an eye lift, was performed in 1965 as an attempt to further her career.[62]

On August 28, 2014, Rivers experienced serious complications—including stopping breathing—during throat surgery at a clinic in Yorkville, Manhattan.[63][64] She was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital and was put into a medically induced coma after reportedly entering cardiac arrest.[63] On August 29, her daughter, Melissa, publicly stated that she was “resting comfortably” in the hospital.[65] On August 30, it was reported Rivers had been put on life support.[66]

Reports initially stated that Rivers’ family might face ending her life support if her condition did not improve.[67] However, on September 1, 2014, an unnamed source told Entertainment Tonight that Rivers’ physicians at Mount Sinai Hospital had started the process of trying to bring her out of the coma on August 31.[68] Prior to that, there had been no further medical updates beyond her daughter’s statement.


  • Having a Baby Can Be a Scream. J.P. Tarcher. 1974. (Self-Help/Humour)
  • The Life and Hard Times of Heidi Abromowitz. Doubleday. 1984. ISBN 978-0385293594. (Humour)
  • Enter Talking. Dell Publishing Co. 1986. ISBN 978-0440122449. (Autobiography)
  • Still Talking. Random House. 1991. ISBN 978-0394579917. (Autobiography)
  • Jewelry by Joan Rivers. Abbeville Press. 1995. ISBN 978-1558598089. (Non-Fiction)
  • Bouncing Back: I’ve Survived Everything … and I Mean Everything … and You Can Too!. HarperTorch. 1997. ISBN 978-0061096013.
  • From Mother to Daughter: Thoughts and Advice on Life, Love and Marriage. Birch Lane Pr;. 1998. ISBN 978-1559724937. (Self-Help)
  • Don’t Count the Candles: Just Keep the Fire Lit!. HarperCollins. 1999. ISBN 978-0060183837. (Self-Help)
  • Murder at the Academy Awards (R): A Red Carpet Murder Mystery. Pocket. 2009. ISBN 1416599371. (Fiction)
  • Men Are Stupid…And They Like Big Boobs: A Woman’s Guide to Beauty Through Plastic Surgery. 2009. ISBN 141659924X. (Non-Fiction)
  • I Hate Everyone…Starting with Me. Berkley Trade. 2012. ISBN 978-0425255896. (Humour)
  • Diary of a Mad Diva. Berkley Publishing Group. 2014. ISBN 978-0425269022. (Humour)



Year Title Notes
1965 Once Upon a Coffee House
1968 The Swimmer
1978 Rabbit Test Also director and writer
1981 Uncle Scam
1984 The Muppets Take Manhattan
1987 Les Patterson Saves the World
1987 Spaceballs Voice
1988 Pee-Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special
1989 Look Who’s Talking Voice
1993 Public Enemy #2
1994 Serial Mom
1995 Napoleon Voice
1999 Goosed
2000 The Intern
2000 Whispers: An Elephant’s Tale Voice
2002 The Making and Meaning of ‘We Are Family Documentary
2002 Hip! Edgy! Quirky!
2004 Shrek 2 Voice
2004 First Daughter
2007 The Last Guy on Earth
2010 Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work Documentary; herself
2010 Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps Uncredited
2011 The Smurfs Party Guest
2011 Tower Heist Uncredited
2013 Iron Man 3 Cameo
2014 The Story of the Swimmer The making of The SwimmerDocumentary; herself


Year Title Notes
1968–69 That Show starring Joan Rivers Syndicated daytime talk show[14]
1972–77 The Electric Company Voice
1973 Here’s Lucy
1973 Needles and Pins Guest-starred as Eleanor Karp in episode “The Wife You Save May Be Your Own”
1984 An Audience with Joan Rivers
1986 Joan Rivers: Can We Talk?
1986–87 The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers Host
1988–89 The New Hollywood Squares Hosted by John Davidson, center square
1989–93 The Joan Rivers Show Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Talk Show Host
1990 How to Murder a Millionaire Starred along with Morgan Fairchild
1992 Lady Boss
1994 Tears and Laughter: The Joan and Melissa Rivers Story[69]
1995–present Can We Shop?
1997 Another World Cast member
2001 E! True Hollywood Story: Joan Rivers Parody episode of show aired April 1, 2001[70]
2004, 2007 Jack Dee Live at the Apollo Cast member, guest host in 2007
2004 Dave the Barbarian Voice – Zonthara, Emperess of Evil
2004–05, 2010 Nip/Tuck[71]
2004–06 The Joan Rivers Position
2006 An Audience with Joan Rivers
2006–07 8 Out of 10 Cats
2006 Joan Rivers: Before Melissa Pulls the Plug
2006 Dawn French’s Girls Who Do Comedy In-depth interview with Dawn French for the BBC
2007 Straight Talk
2008 Shrink Rap With Dr. Pamela Connolly – More4
2008 Celebrity Family Feud
2008 Big Brother: Celebrity Hijack Celebrity Hijacker
2008 Z Rock Aunt Joan
2008 Spaceballs: The Animated Series Voice
2008, 2010 Arthur Voice – Bubby (Francine’s Grandmother)
2009 Celebrity Apprentice 2 Herself
2009 How’d You Get So Rich? Herself
2009 The Comedy Central Roast of Joan Rivers Herself
2009 Celebrity Ghost Stories Herself
2010 Celebrity Apprentice 3
2010–present Fashion Police
2011–present Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best?
2011 Louie Herself
2011 The Simpsons Voice – Annie Dubinsky (season 23, episode 8 – “The Ten-Per-Cent Solution“)
2012 Joan Rivers: Don’t Start with Me
2012 Hot in Cleveland Anka
2013–present In Bed with Joan Online talk show

Theater work

Year Show Notes
1972 Fun City An original comedy, co-written with Lester Colodny and Edgar Rosenberg, Morosco Theatre[72]
1988 Broadway Bound By Neil Simon (replacement for Kate, 1988, Broadhurst Theatre)[73]
1994 Sally Marr…and her escorts A play suggested by the life of Lenny Bruce‘s mother (co-written with Erin Ladd Sanders and Lonny Price), May 1994, Helen Hayes Theatre, Broadway.
2008 Joan Rivers: A Work in Progress by a Life in Progress Geffen Playhouse
2008 Joan Rivers: A Work in Progress by a Life in Progress Edinburgh Festival Fringe
2008 Joan Rivers: A Work in Progress by a Life in Progress Leicester Square Theatre, London
2012 Joan Rivers: The Now or Never Tour October 2012, UK tour
2014 Joan Rivers: Before They Close The Lid Tour October 2014, UK tour

Awards and nominations

Year Nominated work Award Category Result
1984 What Becomes a Semi-Legend Most? Grammy Award Best Comedy Album Nominated
1990 The Joan Rivers Show Daytime Emmy Award Outstanding Talk Show Host Won
1991 Nominated
1992 Outstanding Writing – Special Class Nominated
Outstanding Talk Show Host Nominated
1993 Outstanding Writing – Special Class Nominated
Outstanding Talk Show Host Nominated
1994 Sally Marr…and her escorts Tony Award Best Actress in a Play Nominated
2009 Arthur Daytime Emmy Award Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program Nominated

Note: Emmy nominations for Outstanding Writing – Special Class shared with Toem Perew and Hester Mundis.


Joan Rivers

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014


Joan Alexandra Molinsky dite Joan Rivers (née le 8 juin 1933) est une actrice américaine. Elle a tourné des films et participé à des débats télévisés. Elle est connue pour avoir subi1 de nombreuses opérations de chirurgie esthétique.


Native de Brooklyn à New York, son premier nom de scène fut : Pepper January. Elle a fait des études d’anthropologie : elle était une « Phi Beta Kappa » au Barnard College. Elle a animé une émission nommée Fashion Police (diffusée sur la chaine E!) qui critique la façon des peoples de s’habiller : actuellement, Giuliana Rancic est remplacée par Melissa Rivers. Son père était docteur. Elle est végétarienne.

Chirurgie esthétique

Sa première opération de chirurgie esthétique fut en 1965 à l’âge de 32 ans : il s’agissait d’une opération des yeux. Elle a eu son nez aminci par une opération de chirurgie esthétique en 1983. Elle s’injecte souvent du botox et du collagène : elle est défenseur de la chirurgie esthétique pour les personnes âgées.


Elle a son empreinte sur le célèbre Walk of Fame. Elle fait partie de la liste des étoiles du Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Elle remporte en 2009 The Celebrity Apprentice.


Elle a joué entre autres dans :

Joan Crawford

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014


Joan Crawford, de son vrai nom Lucille Fay LeSueur, est une actrice et une productrice américaine née le 23 mars 19051 à San Antonio au Texas, morte le 10 mai 1977 à New York.

Joan Crawford est l’une des stars les plus symboliques de l’âge d’or d’Hollywood. Sa carrière couvre, sur plus de quarante ans, les différentes époques des grands studios américains. Elle joua les filles délurées (les « flappers ») des années folles, les jeunes femmes arrivistes dans les années 1930, les femmes victimes dans des mélodrames des années 1940 et 1950.

Elle obtient un Oscar en 1945 pour Le Roman de Mildred Pierce.

Elle a été l’une des actrices américaines dont l’étoile a brillé le plus longtemps et l’une des rares vedettes du muet qui soit demeurée encore une grande star au cours des années 19602.


Les débuts

Joan Crawford dans les années 1920

D’origine modeste et de parents séparés avant sa naissance, Lucille Fay LeSueur se passionne pour la scène et le spectacle dès son plus jeune âge (son beau-père, qui quitte également sa mère, est propriétaire d’un théâtre à Lawton en Oklahoma). Elle adopte, en même temps que le pseudonyme de son beau-père, un nom de scène : Billie Cassin.

Âgée d’à peine douze ans, elle effectue divers travaux ménagers, elle travaille dans une blanchisserie puis comme vendeuse et comme serveuse de restaurant. Battue par ses proches et humiliée dans sa vie quotidienne, la jeune femme ravale sa fierté et n’a qu’une idée en tête: sortir de la misère. Elle cultive sa passion, la danse, et continue à prendre des cours et passer des castings.

Elle finit par devenir girl dans une troupe de théâtre et reprend son nom de Lucille LeSueur. Elle se produit successivement dans un hôtel de Kansas City en 1921, dans la revue d’Ernie Young à Chicago en 1923, à Détroit puis à Broadway en 1924 où elle devient spécialiste des danses à la mode (le charleston et le black bottom). Après un an de mariage, elle divorce de son premier mari, James Welton en 1924. C’est en gagnant un concours de danse qu’elle se fait remarquer par un responsable de la Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Harry Rapf, qui lui propose de tenter sa chance au cinéma en lui faisant passer un test3.

Les années MGM


Elle commence à 17 dollars la semaine pour la MGM, double Norma Shearer4 qui deviendra sa rivale attitrée et multiplie les figurations. Elle tourne en 1925 dans Pretty Ladies et obtient son premier rôle important dans Vieux Habits, Vieux Amis.

Mais son nom ne convient pas : un concours national est lancé pour lui trouver un pseudonyme et la voilà rebaptisée Joan Crawford3. La transformation peut commencer.

Elle tourne dans plus de vingt films muets en quatre ans dont Plein les bottes avec Harry Langdon, L’Inconnu de Tod Browning avec Lon Chaney, Un soir à Singapour avec Ramon Novarro. Ambitieuse et impatiente de réussir, elle veut progresser. Elle assiste à d’autres tournages, elle fréquente leurs réalisateurs et les stars de l’époque, mais ça n’avance pas assez vite à son goût. « Comment décrocher un bon rôle quand Norma Shearer couche avec le patron ? » dira Joan. Norma Shearer était en effet mariée à Irving Thalberg, le grand producteur de la MGM.

Joan Crawford à l’avènement du parlant

Elle trouve enfin le succès et la consécration en danseuse de night-club dans Les Nouvelles Vierges d’Harry Beaumont, rôle qu’elle « chipe » à Clara Bow. Film symbolique sur l’ère du jazz qui bat alors son plein, elle y incarne une jeune fille « moderne », cheveux courts, buvant sec et changeant de partenaires masculins avec désinvolture. Elle y gagne ses galons de star !

Dès lors Louis B. Mayer, le directeur de la MGM, la bichonne et lui achète une maison et une voiture de luxe. La transformation continue, on la coule dans un moule et on lui crée une image de toutes pièces. Les esthéticiennes des studios se mettent au travail. « …Elle copie l’allure de Gloria Swanson et se fait la bouche de Mae Murray. Elle accentue le relief de ses pommettes, épile et arque ses sourcils. Elle subit des interventions chirurgicales à la mâchoire pour redresser ses dents. Elle se soumet à des régimes stricts et à un entraînement physique sévère. »3 Elle est confiée aux bons soins du brillant costumier Adrian, qui se charge, en 1929, de créer le style « Crawford » : glamour et sexy. Jusqu’en 1943, il dessina toutes ses toilettes à l’écran et presque toutes celles qu’elle porta à la ville3. Il dira d’elle : « Joan est quelqu’un de très hardi et de très déterminé. C’est pourquoi elle est copiée. Il n’y a rien de négatif chez elle. Alors des milliers de femmes sont forcées de l’imiter, non seulement parce qu’elles sont persuadées qu’elles peuvent lui ressembler mais aussi parce qu’elles espèrent pouvoir acquérir ce tempérament positif qui contribue à son rayonnement. » 5 Un jour, enfin, elle se « trouve » : lèvres charnues soulignées d’un rouge à lèvres agressif, œil et cils maquillés de façon à approfondir le regard, sourcils épais. Elle sera transformée en une des plus grandes légendes de l’écran noir et blanc par la grâce de la machine à fabriquer les stars qu’est la MGM.

En 1929, elle passe avec succès « l’examen » du parlant avec Indomptée de Jack Conway. À cette époque, Joan est l’épouse de Douglas Fairbanks Jr., relation qui fait les choux gras de la presse du cœur. Grâce à lui, elle pénètre dans les milieux les plus fermés de la haute société hollywoodienne. Bien que les célèbres parents de son mari, Mary Pickford et Douglas Fairbanks, n’approuvent pas leur mariage, on voit souvent Joan à Pickfair, le domaine des Fairbanks, haut lieu du « beau monde » cinématographique4.

Des rôles tels que ceux de Greta Garbo et Norma Shearer l’attirent : aussi quand cette dernière, enceinte, doit s’arrêter6, Joan prend sa place dans Paid en 1930. Joan gagne alors autant d’argent que ses deux stars rivales de la MGM. Garbo fut d’ailleurs troublée par cette jeune star risquant de l’éclipser7, dans le film d’Edmund Goulding de 1932, Grand Hotel, réunissant quelques-unes des plus grandes stars de la MGM et où Joan Crawford prouve que son jeu peut rivaliser avec celui de Garbo.

Pluie (1932)

Au moment de la « Grande Dépression » des années 1930, Joan incarne dans une série de films des personnages « au quotidien » auxquels les spectateurs peuvent s’identifier, contrairement aux inaccessibles stars du muet. Ce sont des rôles de jeunes vendeuses ou d’employées faisant leur chemin dans la vie malgré les difficultés, et qui atteignent un niveau social élevé tout en vivant dans le regret et le remords d’avoir renié leurs origines modestes, dans des films comme : Fascination (Possessed, 1931) de Clarence Brown avec Clark Gable, Le Tourbillon de la danse (1933) de Robert Z. Leonard avec de nouveau Clark Gable, Vivre et aimer (1934) de Clarence Brown et surtout le magnifique Mannequin (1937) de Frank Borzage avec Spencer Tracy (avec qui elle aura une liaison brève et torride) 8. Dans ce rôle, Joan Crawford donne une de ses meilleures interprétations.

Pendant cette période, elle forme avec Clark Gable le couple idéal et explosif de la MGM. « […] M. Mayer avait flairé dans le courant qui passait entre Clark et moi la possibilité de réaliser un gros boom financier […] Les films que nous tournions faisaient tous recette… »9 Ils jouèrent ensemble dans huit films, de genres variés : des mélodrames comme La Pente, leur premier film ensemble, La Pécheresse, Fascination (Possessed) ; un drame sentimental La Passagère ; un film musical Le Tourbillon de la danse ; des comédies légères Souvent femme varie, Loufoque et Cie et même un film d’aventure carcérale Le Cargo maudit. L’actrice évoquera également une liaison avec l’acteur9.

Ayant divorcé de Douglas Fairbanks Jr. en 1933, elle épouse l’acteur Franchot Tone en 1935, qu’elle impose dans plusieurs de ses films.

Joan Crawford dans Femmes, sa robe très épaulée étant créée par le costumier attitré de la MGM Adrian10

Mais la magnifique mécanique s’enraye4 et à la fin des années 1930 le succès n’est plus au rendez-vous4. Trop cantonnée dans des rôles de jeune fille pauvre et ambitieuse, dans les mélodrames typiques de la « Grande dépression »11, l’actrice a du mal à se renouveler. Malgré quelques essais, elle est mal à l’aise dans la screwball comedy et trop moderne pour les films à costumes11. On la qualifie de « calamité pour le box-office »3. La MGM qui a reconduit son contrat à 300 000 dollars par an3 (pour cinq années) s’inquiète.

Femmes de George Cukor, en 1939, lui rend pour un moment la confiance de son public. Avec son casting exclusivement féminin, le film la confronte, pour la dernière fois, à sa grande rivale Norma Shearer. On peut citer dans cette fin de règne à la MGM : Le Cargo maudit de Frank Borzage où Joan Crawford retrouve pour la dernière fois son partenaire favori, Clark Gable, et deux films de George Cukor Il était une fois et Suzanne et ses idées. Les films suivants sont des échecs et sa carrière à la MGM s’effondre.

En 43, elle quitte par « la petite porte »4 la compagnie après 18 ans de bons et loyaux services.

Les années Warner Bros

Après avoir fait le siège de la Warner, la compagnie lui ouvre ses portes avec l’idée surprenante d’en faire la rivale de la grande star maison, Bette Davis4, un choix sans doute prescrit pour calmer les revendications de cette exigeante actrice qui avait eu bien des conflits avec Jack Warner, le patron de la compagnie, et peut-être même pour lui succéder12.

Joan Crawford dans Le Roman de Mildred Pierce

Joan Crawford va prendre son temps et examiner les projets qu’on lui propose pour réussir son retour. C’est sur un scénario rejeté par Bette Davis et Barbara Stanwyck qu’elle va faire son choix12. Et bien qu’elle soit au creux de la vague, Crawford va réaliser un come-back retentissant avec Le Roman de Mildred Pierce. Ce film, un mélange de mélodrame et de film noir, est l’histoire d’une mère désenchantée, il est réalisé de façon magistrale par Michael Curtiz et rarement Crawford avait été aussi émouvante. C’est le succès critique et public, avec une recette de cinq millions de dollars13. Elle reçoit la consécration avec l’Oscar de la meilleure actrice et sa carrière redémarre. La Warner lui signe un contrat pour 7 ans à deux cent mille dollars par film.

Pour la petite histoire, Joan Crawford prétexte, le soir de la cérémonie des Oscars, une pneumonie, et c’est alitée, parfaitement pomponnée, qu’elle reçoit la précieuse statuette.

Son film suivant, Humoresque, confirme la résurrection de la star et dès lors, toutes ses apparitions se soldent par un succès commercial : Femme ou maîtresse d’Otto Preminger, La Possédée, Boulevard des passions de Michael Curtiz, L’Esclave du gang, Le Masque arraché

En 1952, Crawford quitte la Warner et devient indépendante.

Le chant du cygne

Elle revient triomphale à la MGM en 1953, après 10 années d’absence, pour tourner un film musical La Madone gitane. Mais surtout, elle tourne Johnny Guitare en 1954, western baroque et flamboyant, un chef-d’œuvre de Nicholas Ray qui lui offre un de ses plus beaux rôles, celui de la farouche Vienna. Le film est adulé par les critiques et les cinéphiles.

Elle continue de tourner dans des mélodrames, ces « films de femmes » qui sont maintenant rivées devant le petit écran et le préfèrent au grand4. De plus, avec l’âge, les rôles se font de plus en plus rares.

Joan tourne son chant du cygne en 1962 avec Robert Aldrich dans Qu’est-il arrivé à Baby Jane ?. Elle est confrontée pour la première fois à son ancienne rivale de la Warner, Bette Davis. La rencontre des deux monstres sacrés est terrible et vire à un véritable affrontement. Mais le film est un succès et redonne aux deux stars une renommée internationale. C’est un tel triomphe qu’une suite est entreprise en 1965, Chut… Chut, chère Charlotte, mais Joan Crawford tombe malade et déclare forfait. C’est Olivia de Havilland qui la remplace auprès de Bette Davis.

Elle joue par la suite dans des films d’horreur sans grand intérêt et travaille beaucoup pour la télévision. Elle est dirigée en 1969 par Steven Spielberg dans l’épisode The eyes. Il s’agit d’un des trois épisodes pilotes de Night Gallery. Après un dernier film en Grande-Bretagne en 1970, Trog, elle met un terme à sa carrière.

Après un troisième mariage avec l’acteur Phillip Terry (1942 – 1946), elle épouse le PDG de Pepsi-Cola, Alfred N. Steele en 1955. Il lui lègue la société à sa mort en 59 et elle s’installe au comité de direction de la multinationale pendant quinze ans.

Joan Crawford meurt à New York le 10 mai 1977 rongée par un cancer.

Ne pouvant pas avoir d’enfants, l’actrice avait adopté trois filles : Christina, Kathy et Cindy (les deux dernières étaient jumelles), ainsi qu’un garçon : Christopher.

Christina, déshéritée comme son frère Christopher, de toute part d’héritage, elle publie en 1979, après la mort de sa mère, une biographie « Maman très chère », très critique sur sa manière d’éduquer ses enfants, qui fera l’objet d’une adaptation avec Faye Dunaway dans le rôle de Joan Crawford, qui sera dépeinte comme une mère violente et cruelle envers ses deux ainés : Christina et Christopher.

Sexualité et relations

Cette section est vide, insuffisamment détaillée ou incomplète. Votre aide est la bienvenue !

Joan Crawford est bisexuelle14. Comme nombre d’autres acteurs de Hollywood allosexuels, Joan Crawford doit cacher son orientation sexuelle de peur de perdre en popularité15. Elle aurait par ailleurs eu une relation avec Marilyn Monroe16.


  • « …Elle était et est encore une grande personnalité du cinéma. Vous pouvez la photographier de n’importe quel angle, de n’importe quel côté, n’importe où, dans n’importe quelle condition. Elle est toujours magnifique. Mais son vrai talent, c’est la manière qu’elle a de marcher. Si tout ce qu’elle a à faire, c’est de marcher d’un bout à l’autre de cette pièce, vous observez que quelque chose de très spécial se produit. Sa démarche, la manière dont elle déplace ses bras, la position de la tête… eh bien, elle attire votre attention simplement en se déplaçant et elle vous accroche immédiatement. Elle n’a pas à ouvrir la bouche, elle a à marcher, juste marcher. Et elle sera superbe… » George Cukor 17
  • Bette Davis :
    • « Pourquoi est-ce que je joue si bien les garces ? Je pense que c’est parce que je n’en suis pas une. C’est d’ailleurs peut-être pour cela que madame Crawford joue toujours des grandes dames… »
    • « On ne devrait jamais dire du mal des morts, on devrait toujours en dire du bien… Joan Crawford est morte, bien ! »
    • « Joan Crawford a couché avec tous les acteurs connus de MGM, sauf peut-être Lassie »18.[réf. à confirmer]


  • Elle fut une joueuse de bridge de niveau mondial, mais choisit de développer au cinéma son jeu réaliste et original.
  • L’émail si blanc de ses dents était le résultat de longues et douloureuses opérations.
  • Joan Crawford et Myrna Loy furent de grandes amies. Elles s’étaient rencontrées sur le tournage de Pretty Ladies. La première était frivole tandis que la seconde était plutôt discrète. Ce qui ne les empêcha pas d’avoir eu, chacune, une liaison avec Spencer Tracy et de garder le silence ensuite19. Joan Crawford, durant sa liaison avec lui pendant le tournage de Mannequin était incommodée par l’alcoolisme de l’acteur20, gênant leur relation21.
  • Marcel Pagnol a, pendant un moment, pensé à l’engager pour le rôle d’Aurélie dans La Femme du boulanger, et a contacté son agent ; comme elle ne parlait pas le français, il a réduit ses répliques au minimum, avant de confier finalement le rôle à Ginette Leclerc22.

Filmographie partielle

en tant qu’actrice

Pluie (1932)

Télévision et documentaires

en tant que productrice



  • Joan Crawford a publié deux livres de souvenirs :
    • A portrait of Joan (1962)
    • My way of life (1971)

Joan Crawford (March 23, 1904[1] – May 10, 1977), born Lucille Fay LeSueur, was an American dancer and stage chorine, who later became a noted, Oscar-winning film and television actress.

Starting as a dancer in traveling theatrical companies before debuting as a chorine (a chorus girl) on Broadway, Crawford signed a motion picture contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1925. Initially frustrated by the size and quality of her parts, Crawford began a campaign of self-publicity and became nationally known as a flapper by the end of the 1920s. In the 1930s, Crawford’s fame rivaled, and later outlasted, MGM colleagues Norma Shearer and Greta Garbo. Crawford often played hardworking young women who find romance and success. These “rags-to-riches” stories were well received by Depression-era audiences and were popular with women. Crawford became one of Hollywood’s most prominent movie stars and one of the highest paid women in the United States, but her films began losing money and by the end of the 1930s she was labeled “Box Office Poison“. But her career gradually improved in the early 1940s, and she made a major comeback in 1945 by starring in Mildred Pierce, for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress.

In 1955, she became involved with the Pepsi-Cola Company through her marriage to company Chairman Alfred Steele. After his death in 1959, Crawford was elected to fill his vacancy on the board of directors but was forcibly retired in 1973. She continued acting in film and television regularly through the 1960s, when her performances became fewer; after the release of the British horror film Trog in 1970, Crawford retired from the screen. Following a public appearance in 1974, after which unflattering photographs were published, Crawford withdrew from public life and became increasingly reclusive until her death in 1977.

Crawford married four times. Her first three marriages ended in divorce; the last ended with the death of husband Alfred Steele. She adopted five children, one of whom was reclaimed by his birth mother. Crawford’s relationships with her two older children, Christina and Christopher, were acrimonious. Crawford disinherited the two and, after Crawford’s death, Christina wrote a “tell-all” memoir, Mommie Dearest, in which she alleged a lifelong pattern of physical and emotional abuse perpetrated by Crawford.

Joan Crawford was voted the tenth greatest female star in the history of American cinema by the American Film Institute.

Early life

Crawford was born Lucille Fay LeSueur in San Antonio, Texas, the third child of Thomas E. LeSueur (January 21, 1868 – January 1, 1938), a laundry laborer of English and French Huguenot ancestry and Anna Bell Johnson (November 29, 1884 ?? – August 15, 1958), Texas-born, of Swedish and Irish descent. Her elder siblings were Daisy (ƒ 1902), who died before Lucille’s birth, and Hal. Thomas LeSueur abandoned the family a few months before Crawford’s birth but reappeared in Abilene, Texas in 1930 as a 62-year-old construction laborer on the George R. Davis House, built in Prairie School architecture.[2] Crawford’s mother subsequently married Henry J. Cassin (born c. 1867 – died October 25, 1922; this marriage is listed in census records as Crawford’s mother’s first marriage, calling into question whether Thomas LeSueur and Anna Bell Johnson were ever legally wed.)[3] The family lived in Lawton, Oklahoma, where Cassin, a minor impresario, ran the Ramsey Opera House. Despite his own relatively minor status as an impresario, Cassin had managed to get such diverse and noted performers as Anna Pavlova and Eva Tanguay during his career. Young Lucille was reportedly unaware that Cassin, whom she called “Daddy”, was not her biological father until her brother Hal told her.[4] Lucille preferred the nickname “Billie” as a child and she loved watching vaudeville acts perform on the stage of her stepfather’s theatre. The instability of her family life affected her education and her schooling never formally progressed beyond elementary school.[5]

Her ambition was to be a dancer. However, one day, in an attempt to escape piano lessons to play with friends, she leaped from the front porch of her home and cut her foot deeply on a broken milk bottle. She had three operations and was unable to attend elementary school for 18 months. She eventually fully recovered and returned to dancing. Cassin was accused of embezzlement and although acquitted in court, was blacklisted in Lawton, and the family moved to Kansas City, Missouri around 1916.[3] Cassin was first listed in the City Directory in 1917, living at 403 East Ninth Street. A Catholic, Cassin placed Crawford at St. Agnes Academy in Kansas City. Later, after her mother and stepfather broke up, she stayed on at St. Agnes as a work student. She then went to Rockingham Academy, also as a work student. She later claimed the headmaster’s wife there beat her and forged her grades to hide the fact that young Lucille spent far more time working, primarily cooking and cleaning, rather than being able to study academically. While attending Rockingham she began dating and had her first serious relationship, with a trumpet player named Ray Sterling, who reportedly inspired her to begin challenging herself academically.[6] In 1922, she registered at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, giving her year of birth as 1906. She attended Stephens for only four months before withdrawing after she realized she was not prepared for college.


Early career

Upper body studio shot of a young Crawford in a sleeveless dress, with accented eye make-up, coiffed hair. She is staring into the camera.

Joan Crawford in 1928

Under the name Lucille LeSueur, Crawford began dancing in the choruses of traveling revues and was spotted dancing in Detroit by producer Jacob J. Shubert.[5][7] Shubert put her in the chorus line for his 1924 show, Innocent Eyes, at the Winter Garden Theatre on Broadway in New York City. While appearing in Innocent Eyes Crawford met a saxophone player named James Welton. The two were allegedly married in 1924 and lived together for several months, although this supposed marriage was never mentioned in later life by Crawford.[8] She wanted additional work and approached Loews Theaters publicist Nils Granlund. Granlund secured a position for her with producer Harry Richmond’s act and arranged for her to do a screen test which he sent to producer Harry Rapf in Hollywood.[9] Stories have persisted that Crawford further supplemented her income by appearing in one or more stag, or soft-core pornographic, films,[8] although this has been disputed.[10] Rapf notified Granlund on December 24, 1924 that Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer had offered Crawford a contract at $75 a week. Granlund immediately wired LeSueur – who had returned to her mother’s home in Kansas City – with the news; she borrowed $400 for travel expenses.[11] She departed Kansas City on December 26 and arrived in Culver City, California on January 1, 1925.

As Lucille LeSueur, her first film was The Circle in 1925, followed by Pretty Ladies, starring ZaSu Pitts. That same year, she appeared in small roles in the films The Only Thing and Old Clothes. MGM publicity head Pete Smith recognized her ability but felt that her name sounded fake; he told studio head Louis B. Mayer that it sounded like “Le Sewer”. Smith organized a contest in conjunction with the fan magazine Movie Weekly to allow readers to select her new name. Initially, the name “Joan Arden” was selected but, when another actress was found to have prior claim to that name, the alternate name “Crawford” became the choice.[12] Crawford initially wanted her new first name to be pronounced “Jo-anne”. She hated the name Crawford, saying it sounded like “crawfish”. Her friend, actor William Haines, quipped, “They might have called you ‘Cranberry’ and served you every Thanksgiving with the turkey!”[13] Crawford continued to dislike the name throughout her life but, she said, she “liked the security that went with it”.[14]

Self-promotion and early successes

Growing increasingly frustrated over the size and quality of the parts she was given, Crawford embarked on a campaign of self-promotion. As MGM screenwriter Frederica Sagor Maas recalled, “No one decided to make Joan Crawford a star. Joan Crawford became a star because Joan Crawford decided to become a star.”[15] She began attending dances in the afternoons and evenings at hotels around Hollywood, where she often won dance competitions with her performances of the Charleston and the Black Bottom.[16]

with John Gilbert in a 1928 film, Four Walls (film)

Her strategy worked, and MGM cast her in the film where she first made an impression on audiences, Edmund Goulding‘s Sally, Irene and Mary (1925). She played Irene, a struggling chorus girl. In the same year, Crawford worked on Lady of the Night, starring Norma Shearer. Crawford was made up and used as a double for Shearer and her face is briefly seen. Crawford coveted the roles that Shearer played but knew that Shearer’s husband, producer Irving Thalberg, guaranteed Shearer first choice of roles in any MGM property. “How can I compete with Norma?” Crawford was quoted as saying. “She sleeps with the boss.”[17]

The following year, Crawford was named one of the WAMPAS Baby Stars, along with Mary Astor, Mary Brian, Dolores Costello, Dolores del Río, Janet Gaynor, and Fay Wray, among others. In 1926, she made Paris. She became the romantic interest for some of MGM’s leading male stars, among them Ramón Novarro, William Haines, John Gilbert and Tim McCoy. Crawford appeared in The Unknown (1927), starring Lon Chaney, Sr. who played a carnival knife thrower with no arms. Crawford played the skimpily clad young carnival assistant whom he hopes to marry. She stated that she learned more about acting from watching Chaney work than from anything else in her career. “It was then”, she said, “I became aware for the first time of the difference between standing in front of a camera, and acting.”.[18] Also in 1927, she appeared alongside her good friend, William Haines in Spring Fever, which was the first of three films in which they worked together.

In 1928, Crawford starred opposite Ramón Novarro in Across to Singapore, but it was her role as Diana Medford in Our Dancing Daughters (1928) that catapulted her to stardom. The role established her as a symbol of modern 1920s-style femininity which rivaled Clara Bow, the original “It” girl, then Hollywood’s foremost flapper. A stream of hits followed Our Dancing Daughters, including two more flapper-themed movies, in which Crawford embodied for her legion of fans (many of whom were women) an idealized vision of the free-spirited, all-American girl. F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote of Crawford:[19]

Joan Crawford is doubtless the best example of the flapper, the girl you see in smart night clubs, gowned to the apex of sophistication, toying iced glasses with a remote, faintly bitter expression, dancing deliciously, laughing a great deal, with wide, hurt eyes. Young things with a talent for living.

On June 3, 1929, Crawford married Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. at Saint Malachy’s Roman Catholic Church (known as “The Actors’ Chapel” due to its proximity to Broadway theatres) in Manhattan, although neither was Catholic.[20] Fairbanks was the son of Douglas Fairbanks and the stepson of Mary Pickford, who were considered Hollywood royalty. Fairbanks Sr. and Pickford were opposed to the marriage and did not invite the couple to their home, Pickfair, for eight months after the marriage. The relationship between Crawford and Fairbanks, Sr. eventually warmed; she called him “Uncle Doug” and he called her “Billie”, her old childhood nickname.[21] Following that first invitation, Crawford and Fairbanks, Jr. became more frequent guests, which was hard on Crawford. While the Fairbanks men played golf together, Crawford was left either with Pickford or alone.[22]

To rid herself of her Southwestern accent, Crawford tirelessly practiced diction and elocution. She said:[23]

If I were to speak lines, it would be a good idea, I thought, to read aloud to myself, listen carefully to my voice quality and enunciation, and try to learn in that manner. I would lock myself in my room and read newspapers, magazines and books aloud. At my elbow I kept a dictionary. When I came to a word I did not know how to pronounce, I looked it up and repeated it correctly fifteen times.

That same year, she made her final silent film, Our Modern Maidens, and starred in her first talkie, Untamed (1929), opposite Robert Montgomery, which was a box office success. Crawford made an effective transition to sound movies. One critic wrote, “Miss Crawford sings appealingly and dances thrillingly as usual; her voice is alluring and her dramatic efforts in the difficult role she portrays are at all times convincing.”

From Queen of the Movies to “Box Office Poison”

Crawford in 1932

With the early sound film, Montana Moon (1930), opposite Johnny Mack Brown, Crawford proved to be a highly successful film star of the new era of talking films. She followed this with the equally successful Our Blushing Brides (1930) with Robert Montgomery. These films were an attempt by MGM to place Crawford in more sophisticated-type movie roles, rather than continuing to promote her flapper girl persona of the silent era.[24]

In 1931, she starred opposite Clark Gable in Possessed. Crawford and Gable began an affair during the production, resulting in an ultimatum from studio chief Louis B. Mayer to Gable that the affair end. Upon release, the film was an enormous hit. The studio then cast her in Grand Hotel, which is noted for being the first all-star film ever produced, that teamed her with Greta Garbo, John Barrymore, and Wallace Beery among many others. The film became MGM’s most prestigious movie of 1932. That same year, the newly founded “Top Ten Moneymaking Stars Poll” by the Motion Picture Herald placed her third in popularity, behind only Marie Dressler and Janet Gaynor, both early Oscar winners.

Crawford later achieved continued success with Letty Lynton (1932). Soon after its release, a plagiarism suit forced MGM to withdraw it. It has never been shown on television or made available on home video, and is therefore considered the “lost” Crawford film. The film is remembered by many aficionados largely for the “Letty Lynton dress”, designed by Adrian: a white cotton organdy gown with large ruffled sleeves, puffed at the shoulder. Macy’s copied the dress in 1932, and it sold over 500,000 replicas in the United States. Crawford next starred in Rain (1932), a film adaptation of the play written by John Colton. Crawford’s portrayal of a hard-bitten but vulnerable prostitute, previously played by such actresses as Jeanne Eagles (onstage) and Gloria Swanson (silent film), drew negative reviews and the film was a box office failure.[25]

With Wallace Beery in Grand Hotel (1932)

In May 1933, Crawford divorced Fairbanks. Crawford cited “grievous mental cruelty”, claiming Fairbanks had “a jealous and suspicious attitude” toward her friends and that they had “loud arguments about the most trivial subjects” lasting “far into the night”.[26] Following her divorce, she was again teamed with Clark Gable and Franchot Tone and a pre-fame Fred Astaire in the hit Dancing Lady (1933), in which she received top billing. She next played the title role in Sadie McKee (1934) opposite Gene Raymond and Franchot Tone. Crawford was paired with Gable for the fifth time in Chained (1934) and for the sixth time in Forsaking All Others (1934). Crawford’s films of this era were some of the most-popular and highest-grossing films of the mid-1930s.

In 1935, Crawford married Franchot Tone, a stage actor from New York who planned to use his film salary to finance his theatre group. Tone and Crawford appeared together in Today We Live (1933) and were immediately drawn to each other, although Crawford was hesitant about entering into another romance so soon after her split from Fairbanks.[27] The couple built a small theatre at Crawford’s Brentwood home and put on productions of classic plays for select groups of friends.[28] Before and during their marriage, Crawford worked to promote Tone’s Hollywood career, but Tone was ultimately not interested in being a movie star and Crawford eventually wearied of the effort.[29] Tone began drinking and physically abusing Crawford; she filed for divorce, which was granted in 1939.[30] Crawford and Tone eventually reconciled their friendship and Tone even proposed in 1964 that they remarry. When Tone died in 1968, Crawford arranged for him to be cremated and his ashes scattered at Muskoka Lakes, Canada.[31]

In 1936, she starred as Margaret O’Neill Eaton in The Gorgeous Hussy with Robert Taylor and then-husband Franchot Tone. While the film was a moderate box office success, it was not the hit MGM had hoped for. She was teamed with Gable and Tone again in Love on the Run that same year. While Crawford’s films continued to earn a profit at the box office, her popularity was slowly beginning to fade. Crawford was proclaimed the first “Queen of the Movies” in 1937 by Life magazine, however, her public popularity continued to decline.[32] By the summer of 1937, she had unexpectedly slipped from seventh to fortieth place at the box office.[32] Her following film, The Bride Wore Red (1937), was one of MGM’s biggest failures that year. In May 1938, the Independent Film Journal placed Crawford — along with Greta Garbo, Katharine Hepburn, Fred Astaire, Norma Shearer, Marlene Dietrich and others — on a list called “Box Office Poison“.[33]

She made a comeback with her role as home-wrecker Crystal Allen in The Women in 1939. A year later, she broke from formula, playing the unglamorous role of Julie in Strange Cargo (1940), her eighth and final film with Clark Gable. She later starred as a facially disfigured blackmailer in A Woman’s Face (1941), a remake of a European film which had starred Ingrid Bergman in the lead role three years earlier. While the film was only a moderate box office success, her performance was hailed by many critics.

Crawford adopted her first child, a daughter, in 1940. Because she was single, California law prevented her from adopting within the state so she arranged the adoption through an agency in Las Vegas. The child was temporarily called Joan until Crawford changed her name to Christina. She married actor Phillip Terry on July 21, 1942 after a six-month courtship.[34] Together the couple adopted a son whom they named Christopher, but his birth mother reclaimed the child. They adopted another boy, whom they named Phillip Terry, Jr.

After the marriage ended in 1946, Crawford changed the child’s name to Christopher Crawford. After 18 years, Crawford’s contract with MGM was terminated by mutual consent on June 29, 1943. In lieu of the last film remaining under her contract, MGM bought her out for $100,000. During World War II she was a member of American Women’s Voluntary Services.[35]

Move to Warner Brothers

For $500,000, Crawford signed with Warner Brothers for a three movie deal and was placed on the payroll on July 1, 1943. Her first film for the studio was Hollywood Canteen (1944), an all-star morale-booster film that teamed her with several other top movie stars at the time. Crawford said one of the main reasons she signed with Warner Brothers was because she wanted to play the character “Mattie” in a proposed 1944 film version of Edith Wharton‘s novel Ethan Frome (1911).

Crawford in the trailer for Mildred Pierce (1945).

She wanted to play the title role in Mildred Pierce (1945), but Bette Davis was the studio’s first choice. However, Davis turned the role down. Director Michael Curtiz did not want Crawford to play the part, claiming Davis could be replaced with Barbara Stanwyck, Olivia de Havilland, or Joan Fontaine. However, Warner Brothers went against Curtiz’s wishes and cast Crawford in the film. Throughout the entire production of the movie, Curtiz criticized Crawford. He has been quoted as having told Jack Warner, “She comes over here with her high-hat airs and her goddamn shoulder pads… why should I waste my time directing a has-been?”[36] Curtiz demanded Crawford prove her suitability by taking a screen test. After the test, Curtiz agreed to Crawford’s casting. Mildred Pierce was a resounding critical and commercial success. It epitomized the lush visual style and the hard-boiled film noir sensibility that defined Warner Bros. movies of the later 1940s, earning Crawford the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role.

The success of Mildred Pierce revived Crawford’s movie career. For several years, she reigned as one of the most respected and most successful actresses in Hollywood. In 1946, she starred opposite John Garfield in Humoresque, a romantic drama of a love affair between an older woman and a younger man. She starred alongside Van Heflin in Possessed (1947), for which she received a second Academy Award nomination, although she did not win. In Daisy Kenyon (1947), she appeared opposite Dana Andrews and Henry Fonda, and in Flamingo Road (1949) she played a carnival dancer opposite Zachary Scott and David Brian. She made a cameo appearance in It’s a Great Feeling (1949), poking fun at her own screen image. In 1950, she starred in the film noir, The Damned Don’t Cry!, and starred in Harriet Craig.

After the completion of This Woman Is Dangerous (1952), a film Crawford called her “worst”, she asked to be released from her Warner Brothers contract. By this time she felt Warners was losing interest in her and she decided it was time to move on. Later that same year, she received her third and final Academy Award nomination for Sudden Fear for RKO Radio Pictures. In 1953, she appeared in her final film for MGM, Torch Song. The movie received favorable reviews and moderate success at the box office.

Crawford adopted two more children in 1947, identical twins whom she named Cindy and Cathy.[37]

Radio and television

Crawford worked in the radio series The Screen Guild Theater on January 8, 1939; Good News; Baby, broadcast March 2, 1940 on Arch Oboler‘s Lights Out; The Word on Everyman’s Theater (1941); Chained on the Lux Radio Theater and Norman Corwin‘s Document A/777 (1948). She appeared in episodes of anthology television series in the 1950s and, in 1959, made a pilot for her series, The Joan Crawford Show.

Al Steele and Pepsi Cola Company

Crawford married her final husband, Alfred Steele, at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas on May 10, 1955.[38] Crawford and Steele met at a party in 1950 when Steele was an executive at PepsiCo. They renewed their acquaintance at a New Year’s Eve party in 1954. Steele by that time had become President of Pepsi Cola.[39] Alfred Steele would later be named Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Pepsi Cola. She traveled extensively on behalf of Pepsi following the marriage. She estimated that she traveled over 100,000 miles for the company.[40]

Steele died of a heart attack in April 1959. Crawford was initially advised that her services were no longer required. After she told the story to Louella Parsons, Pepsi reversed its position and Crawford was elected to fill the vacant seat on the board of directors.[41]

Crawford received the sixth annual “Pally Award”, which was in the shape of a bronze Pepsi bottle. It was awarded to the employee making the most significant contribution to company sales. In 1973, Crawford was forced to retire from the company at the behest of company executive Don Kendall, whom Crawford had referred to for years as “Fang”.[42]

Later career

After her Academy Award nominated performance in 1952′s Sudden Fear, Crawford continued to work steadily throughout the rest of the decade. In 1954, she starred in Johnny Guitar, a camp western film, co-starring Sterling Hayden and Mercedes McCambridge. She also starred in Female on the Beach (1955) with Jeff Chandler, and in Queen Bee (1955) alongside John Ireland. The following year, she starred opposite a young Cliff Robertson in Autumn Leaves (1956) and filmed a leading role in The Story of Esther Costello (1957), co-starring Rossano Brazzi. Crawford, who had been left near-penniless following Alfred Steele’s death[43] accepted a small role in The Best of Everything (1959). Although she was not the star of the film, she received positive reviews. Crawford would later name the role as being one of her personal favorites. However, by the early 1960s, Crawford’s status in motion pictures had declined considerably.

Crawford starred as Blanche Hudson, an old, wheelchair-bound former A-list movie star in conflict with her psychotic sister, in the highly successful psychological thriller What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962). Despite the actresses’ earlier tensions, Crawford reportedly suggested Bette Davis for the role of Jane. The two stars maintained publicly that there was no feud between them. The director, Robert Aldrich, explained that Davis and Crawford were each aware of how important the film was to their respective careers and commented, “It’s proper to say that they really detested each other, but they behaved absolutely perfectly.”[44] After filming was completed, their public comments against each other propelled their animosity into a lifelong feud. The film was a huge success, recouping its costs within 11 days of its nationwide release, and temporarily revived Crawford’s career. Davis was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance as Jane Hudson. Crawford secretly contacted each of the other Oscar nominees in the category (Katharine Hepburn, Geraldine Page and Anne Bancroft, all East Coast-based actresses), to let them know that if they could not attend the ceremony, she would be happy to accept the Oscar on their behalf; all agreed. Both Davis and Crawford were backstage when the absent Anne Bancroft was announced as the winner, and Crawford accepted the award on her behalf. Davis claimed for the rest of her life that Crawford had campaigned against her, a charge Crawford denied.

That same year, Crawford starred as Lucy Harbin in William Castle‘s horror mystery Strait-Jacket (1964). Robert Aldrich cast Crawford and Davis in Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964). After a purported campaign of harassment by Davis on location in Louisiana, Crawford returned to Hollywood and entered a hospital. After a prolonged absence, during which Crawford was accused of feigning illness, Aldrich was forced to replace her with Olivia de Havilland. Crawford claimed to be devastated, saying “I heard the news of my replacement over the radio, lying in my hospital bed” … I cried for 9 hours.” [45] Crawford nursed grudges against Davis and Aldrich for the rest of her life, saying of Aldrich, “He is a man who loves evil, horrendous, vile things”, to which Aldrich replied, “If the shoe fits, wear it, and I am very fond of Miss Crawford.”[46]

In 1965 she played Amy Nelson in I Saw What You Did (1965), another William Castle vehicle. She starred as Monica Rivers in Herman Cohen‘s horror thriller film Berserk! (1967). After the film’s release, Crawford guest-starred as herself on The Lucy Show. The episode, “Lucy and the Lost Star”, first aired on February 26, 1968. Crawford struggled during rehearsals and drank heavily on-set, leading series star Lucille Ball to suggest replacing her with Gloria Swanson. However, Crawford was letter-perfect the day of the show, which included dancing the Charleston, and received two standing ovations from the studio audience.[47]

In October 1968, Crawford’s 29-year-old daughter, Christina (who was then acting in New York on the CBS soap opera The Secret Storm), needed immediate medical attention for a ruptured ovarian tumor. Until Christina was well enough to return, Crawford offered to play her role, to which producer Gloria Monty readily agreed. Although Crawford did well in rehearsal, she lost her composure while taping and the director and producer were left to struggle to piece together the necessary footage.[48]

Crawford’s appearance in the 1969 television film Night Gallery (which served as pilot to the series that followed), marked one of Steven Spielberg‘s earliest directing jobs. She made a cameo appearance as herself in the first episode of the situation comedy The Tim Conway Show, which aired on January 30, 1970.[49] She starred on the big screen one final time, playing Dr. Brockton in Herman Cohen’s science fiction horror film Trog (1970), rounding out a career spanning 45 years and more than eighty motion pictures. Crawford made three more television appearances, as Stephanie White in a 1970 episode (“The Nightmare”) of The Virginian[50] and as Joan Fairchild (her final performance) in a 1972 episode (“Dear Joan: We’re Going to Scare You to Death”) of The Sixth Sense.[51]

Final years

In 1970, 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. She spoke at her Stephens College, which she had only attended for four months.

Crawford published her autobiography, A Portrait of Joan, co-written with Jane Kesner Ardmore, in 1962 through Doubleday. Crawford’s next book, My Way of Life, was published in 1971 by Simon and Schuster. Those expecting a racy tell-all were disappointed, although Crawford’s meticulous ways were revealed in her advice on grooming, wardrobe, exercise, and even food storage. Upon her death there was found in her apartment photographs of John F. Kennedy, for whom she had reportedly voted in the 1960 presidential election.[52]

In September 1973, Crawford moved from apartment 22-G next door to a smaller apartment, 22-H, at the Imperial House. Her last public appearance was September 23, 1974, at a party honoring her old 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.”[53] Crawford cancelled all public appearances, began declining interviews and left her apartment less and less.

Dental-related issues, including surgery which left her needing round-the-clock nursing care, plagued her from 1972 until mid-1975. While on antibiotics for this problem in October 1974, her drinking caused her to black out, slip and strike her face. The incident scared her enough to give up drinking and smoking, although she insisted it was because of her return to Christian Science. The incident is recorded in a series of letters sent to her insurance company held in the stack files on the 3rd floor of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, as well as documented by Carl Johnnes in his biography of the actress, Joan Crawford: The Last Years.[54]

Death and legacy

On May 8, 1977, Crawford gave away her beloved Shih Tzu “Princess Lotus Blossom”, for which she was too weak to care.[55] She died two days later at her New York apartment from a heart attack, while also reportedly ill with pancreatic cancer.[40] A funeral was held at Campbell Funeral Home, New York, on May 13, 1977. In her will, which was signed October 28, 1976, Crawford bequeathed to her two youngest children, Cindy and Cathy, $77,500 each from her $2,000,000 estate. She explicitly disinherited the two eldest, Christina and Christopher, writing “It is my intention to make no provision herein for my son Christopher or my daughter Christina for reasons which are well known to them.” The disposition of the remainder of the estate was not disclosed.[56]

A memorial service was held for Crawford at All Souls’ Unitarian Church on Lexington Avenue in New York on May 16, 1977, and was attended by, among others, her old Hollywood friend Myrna Loy. Another memorial service, organized by George Cukor, was held on June 24 in the Samuel Goldwyn Theater at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills. Crawford was cremated and her ashes were placed in a crypt with her last husband, Alfred Steele, in Ferncliff Cemetery, Hartsdale, New York.[57]

Joan Crawford’s hand and footprints are immortalized in the forecourt of Grauman’s Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1750 Vine Street. Playboy listed Crawford as #84 of the “100 Sexiest Women of the 20th century” in 1999.

Mommie Dearest

In November 1978, Christina Crawford published Mommie Dearest, which contained allegations that her late adoptive mother was emotionally and physically abusive to Christina and her brother Christopher. Many of Crawford’s friends and co-workers, including Van Johnson, Ann Blyth, Marlene Dietrich, Myrna Loy, Katharine Hepburn, Cesar Romero, Gary Gray, Betty Barker (Joan’s secretary for nearly fifty years), Douglas Fairbanks Jr. (Crawford’s first husband), and Crawford’s other daughters — Cathy and Cindy — denounced the book, categorically denying any abuse.[58] But others, including Betty Hutton, Helen Hayes,[59] James MacArthur (Hayes’ son),[60][61] June Allyson,[62] Liz Smith,[60] Rex Reed,[60] and Vincent Sherman[63] stated that they had witnessed abuse. Joan Crawford’s secretary, Jeri Binder Smith, confirmed Christina’s account.[64]

Mommie Dearest became a bestseller and was made into the 1981 film Mommie Dearest, starring Faye Dunaway as Crawford.

Joan Rivers couronnée pour le SIDA

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

La plus grande star de l’humour des États-Unis vient de remporter la célèbre compétition des stars, celebrity Apprentice, dirigée par le non moins célèbre Donald Trump. En remportant la victoire, Joan Rivers, reconnue pour son humour cru et sa très longue carrière damait le pion à 14 autres concurrents tous aussi populaires et connus qu’elle.

Ce que le public ne savait pas, c’est que Joan Rivers en remportant la première position de l’émission de Donald Trump, remportait aussi la rondelette somme de 500,000$ qu’elle devait remettre à une organisation de son choix. L’organisme choisi est le God’s Love we Deliver, une association venant en aide aux personnes atteintes du VIH/SIDA et le montant donné par Joan Rivers permettra à l’organisation de fournir 56,000 repas et une aide alimentaire aux personnes atteintes qui n’ont pas les moyens de se payer de la nourriture de qualité. La recherche démontre qu’en matière de VIH, la nourriture est aussi importante que la médication puisque les protéines alimentaires agissent en symbiose avec la thérapie et que les personnes atteintes risquent de mieux gérer leurs traitements si elles mangent convenablement. À Montréal, une seule organisation vient en aide de la même manière aux personnes atteintes et c’est la Fondation d’Aide Directe SIDA-Montréal.

Joan Rivers est à l’apogée d’une carrière d’humoriste de plus de 50 ans et malgré les embûches et les revirements de situation tout au long de l’émission Celebrity Apprentice, la Star est demeurée droite, limpide et grâce à sa détermination, elle vient maintenant en aide à des personnes de notre communauté directement affectées par le VIH/SIDA. On peut voir de nombreux spectacles de Joan Rivers sur Youtube au Joan vient de confirmer de par son action que les gais sont importants pour elle, bravo Joan Rivers…