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JOAN CRAWFORD: NO FEUD WITH FANS

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.

 

 

Leonard Maltin is one of the world’s most respected film critics and historians. He is best known for his widely-used reference work Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide and its companion volume Leonard Maltin’s Classic Movie Guide, now in its third edition, as well as his thirty-year run on television’s Entertainment Tonight. He teaches at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and appears regularly on Reelz Channel and Turner Classic Movies. His books include The 151 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons, The Great Movie Comedians, The Disney Films, The Art of the Cinematographer, Movie Comedy Teams, The Great American Broadcast, and Leonard Maltin’s Movie Encyclopedia. He served two terms as President of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, is a voting member of the National Film Registry, and was appointed by the Librarian of Congress to sit on the Board of Directors of the National Film Preservation Foundation. He hosted and co-produced the popular Walt Disney Treasures DVD series and has appeared on innumerable television programs and documentaries. He has been the recipient of awards from the American Society of Cinematographers, the Telluride Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives, and San Diego’s Comic-Con International. Perhaps the pinnacle of his career was his appearance in a now-classic episode of South Park. (Or was it Carmela consulting his Movie Guide on an episode of The Sopranos?) He holds court at leonardmaltin.com. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook; you can also listen to him on his weekly podcast: Maltin on Movies. — [Artwork by Drew Friedman]

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