The Best of Everything
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All Encyclopedia text, from A to Z, is copyright © 2004 - 2012 by Stephanie Jones.
The Best of V
Valentino • Valley
of the Dolls
Van Doren • Winifred
Valley of the Dolls. 1967 film based on the Jacqueline Susann novel of the same name. It was rumored that the character of Helen Lawson, a boozy, tough-as-nails Broadway star, was partially based on Joan and perhaps also Ethel Merman. Author Susann seemed to dismiss both claims, saying "Ethel Merman was a lady and a philanthropist compared to Joan Crawford. If I had known Joan when I was writing 'Valley of the Dolls,' Helen Lawson would have been a monster." Bette Davis was allegedly up for the Lawson role, which ended up going to Susan Hayward. (DF)
Van Doren, Mamie. 50s starlet who sat at Joan's table (as Rock Hudson's date) during the 1953 Photoplay awards ceremony. (Joan was voted Favorite Actress that year. This was also the year that Marilyn Monroe made her infamous grand entrance, later severely criticized by Joan to tabloid columnists.) Says Van Doren of the evening: "...I realized that Crawford was on the way to becoming blind drunk. Every so often she'd knock back a slug of her drink and look around the room malevolently." Two years later, Joan and Mamie exchanged pleasantries at Universal, during Joan's filming of Female on the Beach. Joan claimed not to remember Van Doren from the awards show. Finally, in January 1977, 4 months before Joan's death, Van Doren said that she had the hotel room next to Joan at the Ambassador East in Chicago: "She was seldom seen outside her room, but I could hear her up at all hours of the night, watching television and moving about like a phantom." (Crawford's secretary says Joan never left New York in 1977.) (DF)
Van Duzer, Winifred. Author of the 1928 novelization of Our Dancing Daughters, published by Grosset & Dunlap to accompany the 1928 Joan-film of the same name.
2/5/43) A former child vaudevillian and assistant to D.W. Griffith on 1916's Intolerance, Woodbridge Strong Van Dyke went on to direct 4 Joan films: 1927's silent Winners of the Wildnerness, '34's Forsaking All Others, '35's I Live My Life, and '36's Love on the Run. Considered a "workmanlike" and "uninspired" director by some, as well as an aficionado of Orange Blossoms (gin and OJ), Joan said of him on the set of "Winners": "At the end of the day, he was pretty much sloshed. It made for some interesting final scenes." (EB)
Apparently his workmanlike abilities stood him in good stead, though, winning him Oscar nominations for '34's The Thin Man (he also directed 2 other of the series' films) and '36's San Francisco. Before his 1943 suicide, he directed nearly 90 movies, including '33's Tarzan the Ape Man and '34's Manhattan Melodrama, as well as a Dr. Kildare and an Andy Hardy film.
Varney, Carleton. Interior designer whom Joan hired to decorate her Imperial House apartment on 69th and Lexington in NYC. He gentlemanly stated about Joan, "She was no psychopath about dirt."And defended her child-rearing skills: "...nearly all parents (saints included) regret a shameful episode or two when they lashed out at their children." (EB) He also commissioned Joan's daughter Cathy to do 75 floral paintings for the Westbury Hotel in NYC. (MWOL)
Vaughn, Robert. Joan's co-star in "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." movie The Karate Killers.
Veidt, Conrad. (1/22/1893 - 4/3/43) German-born actor perhaps best known for his roles in 1919's Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and 1942's Casablanca. He played Joan's manipulative lover in 1941's A Woman's Face ("I'm Lucifer in a tuxedo!" he said) and also co-starred with Joan in 1943's Above Suspicion (his last film).
Veiller, Bayard. Author of the Broadway play "Within the Law," later made into a silent film. In 1930, the film was resurrected as a Norma Shearer vehicle. When Shearer became pregnant, Metro assigned the role of Mary Turner to Joan, and the movie was re-named Paid.
Vidor, King. Hollywood director whose actress-wife Eleanor Boardman often invited Joan over for "Sunday swims and buffets" in the mid-1920s. Joan met the screenwriter for her film A Woman's Face, Donald Ogden Stewart, at the Vidors' home in 1925. (LW)
Charles Martin lived in Joan's home for a period, but that Joan was not in love with him. "He was 10 or 15 years younger than she was. He was also very lazy." (LW)
Virginian, The. Joan appeared as "Stephanie White" on this U.S. Western TV show on 1/21/70 in an episode entitled "Nightmare." See the TV page for more info.
Volpe, Nicholas. Artist who did a 1962 charcoal sketch of Joan (as part of a series of Oscar winners), which was later displayed at the Beverly Hills Brown Derby restaurant. Prints continue to be sold on eBay today.
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