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Joan Crawford Wants Baby Much More Than Husband

Child Now Belongs to Her Sister-in-Law but Joan Would Adopt It Right Away


by Alma Whitaker

Originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times, December 31, 1933


Joan Crawford wants a baby more than she does a husband. And, since she is not free to marry again until April, when her decree from Doug Fairbanks Jr. becomes absolute, it is quite within the range of possibility that she will acquire the baby first.


The baby, weighing two pounds and four ounces, which awaited her arrival home from New York, is already christened Joan Crawford. At the moment, it belongs indubitably to her sister-in-law, “whom I admire more than any woman I know,” says Joan earnestly. “If they’ll let me have it, I’ll adopt it right away.” Whereupon Dorothea Wieck herself could not look more ethereally maternal than the young lady we have come to know in sophisticated woman-of-the-worldish roles.


And what’s more, I found her cleaning out china cupboards, washing dishes and submerged in new paint, in the throes of a jolly old spring cleaning at the Brentwood home. Albeit there was a surfeit of world-weary dash about our Joan, who has cultivated a little continental shrug along with a musing what’s-the-use mien of late. It’s becoming, of course, especially encased in exceptionally well-tailored dark blue slacks – and so long as a woman is interested in her china closets the life spark still gleams. When the baby is discussed, the gleam flares up into a passionate glow. Brother and sister-in-law are going to have a hard time hanging on to that baby.


Franchot Tone


Franchot Tone? “Everybody asks me that,” Joan says with cryptic amusement. “I give them an answer they can’t print. Here it is for you, too. ‘I really don’t know whether Mr. Tone will make an honest woman of me.’”


Of course, having Doug Jr. in town makes things a little triste. That is all over, of course, but Joan cannot forget how lovingly and with what high hopes she bought and furnished the house at Brentwood – very much the maiden waiting for the bridegroom’s coming.


Hollywood can blast any romance,” she muses. “No one could survive being held up as the model of sweet romance as we were – always in the shop window.”


With a nice maternal solicitude, I advised Joan not to concentrate again too soon – safety in numbers and all that sort of thing. “Of course,” she smiled, but very non-committally.


Discussing “Dancing Lady,” now showing at Loew’s, Joan said it answered the purpose, being gay and light and "all that.” Her next, “Sadie McGee,” is, I think, more to her taste. “A little more like ‘Possessed,’” she explains. “’Possessed’ is my favorite of all my pictures to date and ‘Letty Lynton’ comes next. Clarence Brown directed both of them. The two men of whom I have the greatest faith in the whole industry are Irving Thalberg and Clarence Brown. Wonderful supervision, wonderful direction.”


A Word for Fred Astaire


That sprained ankle during the filming of “Dancing Lady” made things difficult. “I noticed I unconsciously went easy on that foot throughout the picture,” says Joan. Which reminds me, Joan says young Fred Astaire is an exceptionally charming boy “so humble and simply adores his sister Adele.”


Talking of Hollywood, Joan says she withdraws from it as much as possible – she loves it less and less. “Honesty is an obsession with me. I hate liars,” she adds. “Once anyone tells me even a small lie I never trust them again.”


Here’s an interesting thing about this Joan of ours: I suspect her of grooming herself to play Shakespeare heroines in pictures some day. “Hollywood is afraid of Shakespeare, afraid of the classics. And, of course, one must be able to feel Shakespeare, to be able to waft one’s self back into his time and thought to play him well. Oh, I’m not ready for him yet, but perhaps someday.”


Now which of Shakespeare’s heroines would you pick to be portrayed by Joan Crawford? In spite of a hint of surfeit, ambition is still Joan’s ruling passion. I think she is definitely planning to emerge into something far for important than she has yet essayed. And she is willing to work for it.


There is something very downright about her. Ruffles don’t suit her. She wears no costume jewelry ever. She has no use for gewgaws and gadgets, for tricky femininities. She is 25 years of age – the best age of all for a woman. All the work that has gone before is just preparatory stuff for her hopes for the future in her chosen realm.



[Thanks to Norman for this article.]

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