Did Joan Crawford Know About 'Mommie Dearest'? Her Daughter's Book Is Forever Linked With Her Legacy
Christina Crawford's memoir Mommie Dearest was published a year after the death of its subject, her adoptive mother. But the finale of Feud claims that Joan Crawford knew about Mommie Dearest before its publication. And, this seems to be another example of the FX series drawing from real life, because Charlotte Chandler's 2008 biography on Joan, Not The Girl Next Door, alleged that Joan really did know about her daughter's book. Per an excerpt in Vanity Fair, Joan is quoted as having said:
“I think she’s using my name strictly to make money ... I think this book will be full of lies and twisted truths. I don’t think my adopted daughter is writing this book just to hurt me. If her purpose were to hurt me, she has already accomplished it without going to the trouble of writing a book."
Joan's family came down on different sides of the story when it was eventually published, with her daughters Cathy and Cindy Crawford denouncing the allegations their sister made. “We lived in the same house as Christina, but we didn’t live in the same home, because she had her own reality," Cathy said, according to Chandler's book. "Cindy and I had a different reality — the opposite. I don’t know where she got her ideas. Our Mommie was the best mother anyone ever had.”
So, Joan may have allegedly known about the contents of Christina's book, but she didn't know it would get turned into a movie starring Faye Dunaway as Joan. This is particularly ironic because Joan spoke very highly of Dunaway's talent. In her 1971 book, My Way of Life, Joan wrote, "Of all the actresses, to me, only Faye Dunaway has the talent and the class and the courage it takes to make a real star." So, maybe it's for the best that Joan didn't live to see Dunaway take on the dramatized version of her in Mommie Dearest.