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Possessed: The Life of Joan Crawford
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Possessed: The Life of Joan Crawford

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  557 Ratings  ·  75 Reviews
New York Times bestselling author Donald Spoto has already brilliantly explored the lives and careers of numerous Hollywood stars and entertainment icons—Grace Kelly, James Dean, Alfred Hitchcock, and Marilyn Monroe, to name but a few. In Possessed, his subject is the inimitable Joan Crawford, one of the most electrifying divas of the Golden Age of American film. A more th ...more
ebook, 368 pages
Published November 9th 2010 by HarperCollins e-books (first published November 2nd 2010)
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Prima Seadiva
May 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a gift from a friend who is also a fan of Joan Crawford and her movies.

Admittedly the author is a huge fan, but it's a nice offset to the extremes of the Mommie Dearest movie which is the only view of Joan a lot of people have.
She had one tough upbringing and one could see how this impacted her ambition and her vulnerabilities. Things I did know about her-she was both involved with and then remained long time friend of Clark Gable, her life long best friend was a gay man, Billy Haines,
...more
Lee Anne
I don't know why, but I always mistakenly think of Donald Spoto as a hack. I mean, he's no William Manchester or Robert Caro, but for the business of celebrity memoirs, he's actually not bad. This well-researched biography of Joan Crawford even taught me a few things (no small feat considering this is the 15th Joan bio I've read). Spoto goes a long, detailed way, as most Crawford biographers of the past thirty years have attempted, to correct the exaggerations and outright lies put forth by Chri ...more
Crystal
Not bad. Didn't know too much about Crawford before. She had a rough life. Hard to know what is truth and what is fiction concerning Christina and her story in Mommie Dearest. Only ones who really know are Joan and her children.

Interesting read overall.
Sherrie
Jan 10, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Spoto is such an open Crawford apologist that it was pretty hard to finish this book. He completely glosses over Crawford's alleged lesbianism and pornographic past, takes her side against Christina and Christopher Crawford with only hearsay (from HER friends) to back him up, and spends too much time summarizing some of her worst movies. I guess without those 3 aspects it might have been an awfully easy book to write. There are not enough photos to accompany the text and some of the photos are d ...more
Terry
Apr 22, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This is just an extended filmography, really. There is no real "new" personal information and definitely very thin source material, relying quite heavily on Crawford's own autobiographies, which might not be quite the most objective source. Spoto also does let you know right up front that he adores Joan Crawford and loathes the infamous book her adopted daughter wrote, although the interpretations he makes of Crawford's behavior actually seem to be pretty weak, thus reinforcing the image most ha ...more
David Cerda
Spoto gives Joan a fair shake revealing her at her most vulnerable and sincere in her earlier years. He doesn't shy away from her alcohol abuse and issues with her children but as one might suspect there are two sides to every story and he is able to disprove many of the Mommie Dearest stories including a strong case against the wire hanger episode. This is why I was a bit confused that he used some of Christina's recollections as facts and questioned others. How do you choose? He also dismisses ...more
Cara
Dec 30, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The book was very detailed about her career and home life. I think she was a lonely person who was a great movie star. She was definitely a career woman. I wasn't surprised to learn that the whole "no wire hangers" episode is extremely false and written by a bitter, spoiled daughter.

I have read better movie star biographies though. It seemed that the author was so intent on getting the facts right, that the style is missing something. At times I was incredibly bored but managed to slog through
...more
Bert Zee
May 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Joan Crawford, what a woman!

It's quite obvious that the author of this book is a big fan of Miss Crawford, he writes with such passion and enthusiasm about one of the greatest movie stars of our time. The book really should be called Possessed: The Films of Joan Crawford as opposed to "the life", it is a biography but it focuses about 60% on her films and 40% on the woman and her life. In saying that though, her films were her life, she was her movies and I'm sure if you asked her that she'd sa
...more
Lori
Dec 22, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, hollywood
will start this review off by stating that I am a huge Joan Crawford fan; she is without a doubt my favorite classic movie actress. Because of my devotion to her and her films I can easily find something positive with even the most banal Crawford offering but, happily, in this case no such searching was necessary.

Since the publication of daughter Christina's alleged memoir Mommie Dearest in 1978, it has been a thankless job of sorts to support Crawford and acknowledge not only her contribution
...more
Jessica
What a hagiography. This is not an unbiased account of Joan’s life. This is a book written by a clearly infatuated, delusional, biased author whom I almost suspect is secretly a Joan Crawford drag queen. No one should ever be canonized like this.

This book is page after page of how infallible Joan is. Every film he recounts, (and trust me, he recounts every.single.one.) especially her bad ones are never her fault. She is incorruptible. It was the scripts fault, or the director that didn’t underst
...more
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A prolific and respected biographer and theologian, Donald Spoto is the author of twenty published books, among them bestselling biographies of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Alfred Hitchcock, Tennessee Williams, and Ingrid Bergman. His books have been translated into more than twenty languages. Donald Spoto earned his Ph.D. in theology at Fordham University. After years as a theology professor, he t ...more
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