Bette Davis had first dibs, and she turned it down. Curtiz preferred Barbara Stanwyck, who was interested, but he agreed to let Joan Crawford test for the role—as if she were an up and coming newbie—but was bowled over not only by her performance, but her willingness to work hard and humble herself to play a non-glamorous role, and worse still, the mother of a much more glamorous nearly grown daughter, played by Ann Blyth, who nearly stole the movie.
Joan was generous to the newcomer and they became lifelong friends. The radio program began at p. Pacific Time. Joan Crawford came to Hollywood with the name of Lucille LeSueur, and Pete Smith, head of publicity at M-G-M, saw great promise in the young actress, but not in her name, which he felt had to go. Joan reportedly was less than enthused about the final selection, but seemed to immediately grasp that she owed her career even more to the fans than to the moguls, and she courted them for the rest of her life.
Her career, and her ultimate success, came through artifice, and she embraced it. But she did not go to the ceremony. So sure she would not win, and fearing losing in so public a setting, she spent the evening at home in her Brentwood mansion, in bed.
She reported that she had a fever and pneumonia. She was 41 years old and undoubtedly wondered where her career was going next after this evening. Joan Crawford's Oscar ceremony program. We can only imagine her reaction. Michael Curtiz accepted the award on her behalf.
After the ceremony ended, Michael Curtiz went to her bedside to present the award, in the company of the press. It was considered to be an enormous comeback for a woman who had been regarded as a has-been only the year before. Her bed jacket and nightgown acceptance of the gold-plated prize was plastered all over newspapers, outshining any other victory of the evening. In a woman notorious for hungering for legitimacy, did it give her the measure of self-worth she craved? I remember how I felt the night the Awards were presented. Hopeful, scared, apprehensive, so afraid I wouldn't remember what I wanted to say, terrified at the thought of looking at those people, almost hoping I wouldn't get it, but wanting it so badly—no wonder I didn't go.
I stayed home and fortified myself, probably a little too much, because when the announcement came, and then the press, and sort of a party, I didn't make much sense at all, even though I wanted to spill over Or maybe it was for just staying around that long. Hollywood is like that; they compensate for their sins of omission later on, like the special awards they had to vote to Chaplin and Garbo in order not to seem completely ridiculous Winning the Oscar did revive her career, splendidly. Again, on her Mildred Pierce win:.
And funny, the morning after, when I realized the award wasn't a dream after all, I realized that Mildred Pierce really rang down the curtain on "my" Hollywood. The character I played in that film was a composite of the roles I'd always played—and a few elements from my own personality and character. We try to have some version of a traditional meal although turkey in a bikini feels weird! Our tradition is to always be together. A model family: The power couple raise two children together, models Presley, 18, and Kaia Gerber, 16 pictured in April.
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