Wednesday, August 24, 2011

From Lucille LeSueur to Joan Crawford

On New Year's Day in 1925, a 20 year old (or 19, depending on birth year sources) Lucille boarded a train for Hollywood. She had been seen by a NY-based talent scout for MGM dancing in a production called "The Passing Show of 1924", and after her second audition, was granted a standard 6 month contract. She had failed the first audition and local stage manager and nightclub owner, Nils Granlund, pulled some strings and got her the second one. Most of her early life and very early career were defined that way, by perseverence and determination. Shortly after her arrival in Hollywood, when she was given very little to do by the studio, she embarked on a frenzy of self-promotion. She pestered studio crew, photographers, makeup artists, coaches, etc., for acting, makeup, and style tips; took dozens upon dozens of promo photos of every type; daily made the scene lunching, dining, and at dance contests. The studio finally took notice and started finding parts for her in their movies. They gave her a new name, and in her third picture, Old Clothes, she debuted as Joan Crawford. After 1928's Our Dancing Daughters, the public was noticing her too. Fan mail started rolling in and Joan never looked back. She worked tirelessly and studied actors she admired. All her co-stars describe her as an absolute professional. By 1932 she was on top, a bonafide star and one of MGM's most bankable and in demand actors. For many, many more photos of early Joan, visit my facebook page: and look under 'photos'.


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