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2 Joan Crawford Children Sue to Invalidate Will


Originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times, November 19, 1977



NEW YORK -- Joan Crawford's mind was "distorted by intense pain or clouded by alcohol" when she signed her will, according to two adopted children who were left out.


Miss Crawford died last May 10 at 69. In the will she signed on Oct. 18, 1976, she provided for trust funds of $77,500 each for two adopted daughters, Cathy LaLonde and Cynthia Jordan, and left the rest of her $2 million estate to charities, chief among them the Motion Picture Country Home and Hospital in Woodland Hills.


The other two adopted children, Christina Koontz of Tarzana and Christopher Crawford of Greenport, N.Y., filed suit Thursday in New York state Supreme Court asking that a jury trial be held and that the will not be admitted to probate.


If the will were not admitted to probate, Miss Crawford would be deemed to have died without a will, and the estate would be divided equally among the four children.


Mrs. Koontz and Crawford charged that their mother suffered from "an acute and advanced cancerous condition" at the time the will was signed, a condition they said was aggravated by the fact that Miss Crawford was a Christian Scientist and took no medication and was not under a physician's care.


In addition, the complaint contended that Miss Crawford had been "a very heavy and habitual consumer of alcohol" and had not left her Manhattan apartment for two years before she died.


Mrs. LaLonde and her husband, Jerome, the complaint charged, "took deliberate advantage of decedent's seclusion and weakened and distorted mental and physical condition to insinuate themselves" into Miss Crawford's favor.


[Thanks to Norman for this article.]


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