Like many of you, I’ve been watching Ryan Murphy’s compelling series Feud: Bette and Joan and thinking about the women it explores, Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. The other day a lightbulb went off in my head and I dug into my files to find a letter I received from Miss Crawford back in 1973.
I had sent her a copy of my magazine Film Fan Monthly where I wrote about some of her lesser-known films of the 1930s. In my accompanying note I said how frustrating it was not to be able to see movies like Letty Lynton, which was pulled from circulation because of legal issues.
Reading it again, more than forty years later, I marvel at how she framed her response. It’s brief, but it’s clearly not a form letter, since she makes specific reference to my note. It comes from a woman who had long experience communicating with her fans and, even at this stage of her life, wanted to please them. She fulfilled the role of Movie Star to the very end.