The Best of Everything

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All original Encyclopedia text, from A to Z, is copyright © 2004 - 2017 by Stephanie Jones

 

 

 

 

The Best of K

 

Stan Kamen    •    Karate Killers    •   Yousuf Karsh   •   Margaret Keane   •   Donald Kendall   •
 
John F. Kennedy   •    Jack Kerouac   •   Kuan-Yin Porcelains   •   Rebecca Kullberg

 


  

Kamen, Stan. Joan's agent at William Morris in the late '60s and early '70s, who suggested to Lucille Ball that Joan appear on her show (which Joan did in '68). In Divine Feud, Kamen says that in Joan's last years, there were still job offers, but "Joan's career and life had been built on two things---her looks and her glamour. When her looks began to go, the foundation crumbled. If she couldn't retain the image of the movie star she cherished, she didn't want to work anymore. She called one day and told us not to bother submitting her name for parts anymore."


Karate Killers, The. Joan made a cameo appearance as "Amanda True" in this film, which starred Robert Vaughn and David McCallum. Released theatrically in the UK (MGM/Arena, 92 minutes), it was originally a 1967 2-part episode of the US TV series The Man From U.N.C.L.E. called "The Five Daughters Affair."

Karate Killers page.

 

 


1948. Joan by Yousuf Karsh. Karsh, Yousuf. (12/23/1908 - 7/13/2002)  Turkish-born Armenian-Canadian photographer who shot some now-iconic photos of Joan in 1948/1949.

Karsh on Wikipedia.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Keane, Margaret. (1927 -     )  Painter of the "big eyes" pictures, which Joan loved and displayed in her NYC apartments. (Click here to see 4 Keane paintings that Joan owned.) Keane's portrait of Joan can be seen here and on the cover of Joan's autobiography, My Way of Life. (Click here to see Joan posing in front of the painting in 1963 and 1970.) Joan also had two Keane portraits placed as set decoration on What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

 

"Big Eyes," a Tim Burton-directed film about Keane's life, premiered in December 2014 and featured Joan as a character. Keane, interviewed that month by Vulture.com said: "Joan Crawford was an extremely good friend. In the beginning, when she thought Walter did the paintings, we were unknown artists, she promoted us. Our first show in New York, she sponsored it. She invited the people, she got the press there she did it all. I can't believe that she was such a bad mother! I don’t know if it was true or not, but she was certainly good to me.”

 

 

 

Joan's character in 'Big Eyes.'       Margaret Keane.

 

Keane Gallery.

Wikipedia page.

 


Kendall, Donald. Born in 1921, Kendall began working for Pepsi after WWII, rising to Vice President by the 1950s, when he was instrumental in opening the Soviet market to the soft drink. He became president of Pepsi in 1963.

He and Joan did not get along, and Joan often referred to him as "Fang." A protege of Pepsi chairman Al Steele's and friend of Richard Nixon's, Kendall began to clash with Joan early on, even before Steele's death in 1959: On one occasion, when a Pepsi visit to Kenya was poorly organized, Joan berated Kendall; he responded "Why the hell should I take orders from a goddamn actress?" Kendall was also embarrassed by an incident at the Stork Club, when Joan asked him to invite Ernest Hemingway to their table and Hemingway responded "Tell her to bring her ass over here if she wants to meet me." Kendall also apparently resented the attention that Joan garnered at press conferences and publicity tours at his expense.

In 1965, Kendall oversaw the merging of Pepsi-Cola with Frito-Lay, which became known as PepsiCo, Inc. (as it is still known today). A new board of directors was created, without Joan, though she remained on the board of the subsidiary Pepsi-Cola. In 1973, Kendall saw that Joan was forcibly retired at the mandatory age of 65; she found out the news in the paper. (In a 1974 Esquire article on Kendall, he refused to talk about either Nixon or Joan; an associate of Kendall's was quoted: "He took an awful lot of crap from Joan Crawford.")

In April 1977, the month before her death, Joan said, "I'm so at peace with the world that I'm even thinking good thoughts about Bette Davis and Donald Kendall." Kendall retired from PepsiCo in 1986. Business ref for Kendall.

Source: Joan Crawford by Bob Thomas.


Joan with husband Al Steele and JFK in 1959. Source: CORBIS.Kennedy, John F. Joan met with Kennedy on April 17, 1959, when she and husband Al Steele (the chair of the 1959 Multiple Sclerosis Hope Chest) presented Kennedy, then a U.S. Senator, with an award for his service to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. (Kennedy had been chair of the society the year before.) Joan also visited the Kennedy White House on May 3, 1963.

An odd note: On November 21, 1963, the evening before JFK's assassination, Joan attended a Pepsi function in Dallas with Richard Nixon. (Christina, don't get any ideas...!)

 

 


San Francisco, 1201 Greenwich, where Kerouac saw 'Fear' being filmed.Kerouac, Jack. Writer Kerouac was living in San Francisco during the time Joan's '52 movie Sudden Fear was being filmed there, and he wandered upon the film-scene one evening:

Crawford was observed by Jack Kerouac, who was strolling on Russian Hill one night and came upon Crawford and a film crew shooting scenes at the Tamalpais Building, 1201 Greenwich at Hyde. (Kerouac was living in the attic study of Neal and Carolyn Cassady's place at 29 Russell Street, an alley off Hyde, a few blocks from the Sudden Fear location.) In Visions of Cody, Kerouac writes of "Joan Rawshanks in the Fog." Through Kerouac's lens, the actress is contemptible. She can "muster up a falsehood for money" before a thousand eyes. The writer also lays open his own role as willing spectator. Kerouac observes,  "I had never imagined [a camera crew] going through these great Alexandrian strategies just for the sake of photographing Joan Rawshanks fumbling with her keys at a goggyfoddy door while all traffic halts in real world life only half a block away and everything waits on a whistle blown by a hysterical fool in uniform who suddenly decided the importance of what's going on by some convulsive phenomena in the lower regions of his twitching hips, all manifesting itself in a sudden freezing grimace of idiotic wonder just exactly like the look of the favorite ninny in every B-movie you and I and Cody ever saw..." (Source: www.mistersf.com)

See mistersf.com for other photos related to the film.


Kuan-Yin porcelains. Kuan-Yin is the Buddhist goddess of mercy and appears in various incarnations, both male and female, sometimes as a madonna with child figure. There wasn't much info on the web, but from what I could determine, the porcelain figures that Joan collected were from the Chinese Qing period (1644-1911 AD). Shown at left are two figures from Joan's collection that were recently sold at auction.

 

 

 


From the LA Times, Jan. 17, 1945. Rebecca Kullberg is at left, being escorted by a US deputy marshal.Kullberg, Rebecca. (9/28/1914 -    )  Natural mother of Joan's first adopted son, who was the result of the married Kullberg's affair with a local liquor-store owner.

After Joan adopted baby Marcus through a broker 10 days after his birth in June 1941 (re-naming him "Christopher"), Rebecca Kullberg saw press articles about Joan's new adoption that gave the baby's birthdate and decided she wanted him back. After Kullberg sent threatening letters to both Joan and MGM, Joan personally returned the child after Thanksgiving, 1941. Kullberg kept the child for the next year, during which time he was abused, then gave him up for adoption a second time in late 1942. In December 1944, Kullberg read articles about a second "Christopher" now adopted by Joan. Incorrectly thinking it was her son, she forced her way into Joan's home on December 20 demanding to see him. She was arrested and sent for psychiatric care.

(Baby Marcus was eventually adopted by kind parents and renamed "Gary Deatherage." In the late 1980s, he began a search for his roots, which resulted in his 1991 book The Other Side of My Life. He recounts in the book his rather bizarre adult conversations with his mother, who was then living in a gloomy hotel near Sacramento after years of wandering the country and telling people that her son had become Elvis Presley.)

Here is the text of the LA Times article of January 17, 1945, detailing Kullberg's "visit" to Joan's home. (Thanks to Norman for sending this in.)

Woman Held After Row at Joan Crawford Home

A confused woman, apparently believing that Joan Crawford, film star, had adopted one of her children yesterday was arrested by The Federal Bureau of Investigation for sending threatening letters to Mrs. Alice Haugh, welfare worker, who, she thought, had a hand in the adoption.

The woman taken into custody is Mrs. Rebecca Kullberg, 30-year-old housewife of 2017½  Berkley Ave.

A wild scene was created In Miss Crawford's home, investigators reported, when Mrs. Kullberg went there on Dec. 20, forced her way into the actress' house and ran through it demanding to see "my son Christopher whom you adopted two years ago."

Arrested at that time by West Los Angeles police, Mrs. Kullberg was questioned by both police and psychiatrists and later released. At that time, she denied that she intended to carry out threats she may have made in letters to Mrs. Haugh concerning the "adoption."

When she was taken into custody yesterday by the FBI, which had reopened investigation of the case, Mrs. Kullberg informed agents that “an angel of the Lord” had told her that her son was in Miss Crawford’s home.

Investigators reported that Mrs. Haugh said that the actress had not adopted any of Mrs. Kullberg’s children.

 

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