This Day in Texas History:
Joan Crawford Dies
May 10, 1977
On this day in 1977, legendary actress Joan Crawford died of a heart attack at her home in New York. Crawford was born Lucille LeSeur in San Antonio in 1906.
As a teenager, she caught the eye of a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer talent scout and moved to Hollywood in 1925. MGM head Louis B. Mayer launched a fan-magazine contest to find her a new name. The result was “Joan Crawford,” a name she never liked.
Her career with MGM stretched from 1925 to 1942, and she became one of that company’s biggest stars. In 1942 she moved to rival Warner Brothers and revived her career by playing strong-willed maternal figures, as in Mildred Pierce (1945), for which she won the Academy Award for best actress. In all, her film career spanned more than forty years and included performances in more than eighty films.
She was married four times and adopted four children who later claimed that she treated them harshly. A year after her death her daughter Christina published Mommie Dearest, a scathing autobiography of growing up as an abused child.