Joan Crawford (March 23, 1904 / May 10, 1977)

The American Film Institute ranks Crawford tenth on its list of the greatest female stars of Classic Hollywood Cinema. Crawford becomes one of Hollywood's most prominent movie stars and one of the highest-paid women in America, but her films begin losing money and, by the end of the 1930s, she was labelled "box office poison." But she makes a major comeback in 1945 by starring in "Mildred Pierce," for which she wins the Academy Award for Best Actress - Crawford feigns illness before the 1946 Academy Award ceremony and accepts her Oscar in her bed, inviting the press to come into her bedroom to photograph her. In 1955, Crawford becomes involved with the Pepsi-Cola Company through her marriage to company Chairman Alfred Steele. After his death in 1959, Crawford is elected to fill his vacancy on the board of directors, serving until she is forcibly retired in 1973 - "Don't fuck with me fellas."  Crawford marries four times. Her first three marriages end in divorce; the last ends with the death of husband Alfred Steele. She adopts five children, one of whom was reclaimed by his birth mother - California law prevented her from adopting within the state so she arranges the first adoption through an agency in Las Vegas. Crawford's relationships with her two elder children, Christina and Christopher, are acrimonious. Crawford disinherited the two, and, after Crawford's death, Christina writes a well-known "tell-all" memoir titled Mommie Dearest (1978) that forever tarnishes Crawford's legacy. On May 8, 1977, Crawford gives away her beloved Shih Tzu, "Princess Lotus Blossom," being too weak to care for her. Crawford dies two days later at her New York apartment of a heart attack.

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