Christina Crawford's Sworn Bill of Particulars
Signed May 9th, 1978
On May 9th, 1978, Christina Crawford signed and swore to the validity of the statements within a legal Bill of Particulars. In law, a Bill of Particulars is a sworn legal document by which a party has to explain the allegations in his/her complaint, or petition, in greater detail. This sworn document was requested by Joan Crawford's estate attorneys (view the estate's request here) in regard to Christina's Objection To Probate of Joan's will (which can be viewed here).
Initially, Christina, through her attorneys, fought to not submit a Bill of Particulars. (View documents pertaining to Christina's attorney's attempt to vacate the estate's demand here) Ultimately, Christina was forced to comply by court order.
The estate's demand for a Bill of Particulars requested answers to 14 assertions made in Christina's October 24th, 1977 Objection To Probate. Christina only complied with supplying 4 answers in her Bill of Particulars. However, the answers Christina did supply are in direct contradiction to the allegations made in her memoir, "Mommie Dearest," and her subsequent interviews.
Re: Item 1 2 and 3: “Christina Crawford hereby alleges as follows: [Jerome LaLonde and Cathy LaLonde used] flattery, cajolery…causing decedent [Joan Crawford] to believe, or/and knowingly encouraging a false belief that contestant [Christina Crawford] did not love decedent, that contestant did not respect decedent, that contestant was disobedient to decedent, that contestant exploited decedent’s name, that contestant competed with decedent professionally, that contestant was a rival of decedent’s for the affections of others during the twelve to fifteen months preceding October 28th, 1976"
Below is a breakdown of Christina's contradictory statements given in this sworn legal document:
Throughout Christina Crawford's memoir, "Mommie Dearest," she repeatedly and with conviction, claims that the issues with Joan that are cited in her Bill of Particulars lasted throughout her adult life. However, in this May 9th, 1978 sworn Bill of Particulars, Christina is specifically accusing Jerome and Cathy LaLonde to be the perpetrators of these issues, and, by default, insisting that such issues did not exist between Christina and her mother until Joan was influence by the LaLondes in 1975 and 1976.
Re: Allegation # 1: The LaLondes "caused descendant to believe, and knowingly encouraged, a false belief that contestant did not love decedent during the twelve to fifteen months preceding October 28th, 1976""
Christina Crawford has stated on numerous occasions that she did not love her mother. In particular, during Christina's August 10th, 2001 appearance on the television show "Larry King Live." During the interview, King asked Christina: "Did you love your mother?" Christina responds: "No, I didn't."
King then asks "Did you hate her?" Christina responds: "Sometimes." This is a DIRECT contradiction to Christina's allegation her sworn-under-oath May 1st, 1978 Bill of Particulars.
(Below is a video excerpt of this content)
Re: Allegations #2 and 3: The LaLondes "caused descendant to believe, and knowingly encouraged, a false belief that contestant did not respect decedent...and was disobedient during the twelve to fifteen months preceding October 28th, 1976""
According to Christina's 20th, 30th and 40th anniversary editions of "Mommie Dearest," she wrote a letter to Joan in the fall of 1973 that contained explicitly disrespectful and disobedient content directed towards Joan. Christina's letter explicitly stated that she felt Joan was "jealous" of her, to the point she was "sick" of it. At another point in the letter, Christina refers to Joan as a "bitch."
(Below are excerpts of Christina's 1973 letter to Joan)
"I’m sick of your bullshit and I’m sick of your vicious lies about me, I’m sick of your crazy games, I’m sick of you being jealous of everything I accomplish and I’m sick to death of you treating me like a piece of shit...I have been deeply ashamed of you and everything you represent as well as the person you’ve become..."
In addition to the 1973 letter, according to Christina, her final conversation with Joan, which took place on Christmas Day 1972 was not pleasant, and could be considered disrespectful towards towards a parent:
“Bright and early on Christmas morning I called Mother. She’d sent me another black outfit, this time it was a dinner suit that was the wrong size and I was going to return it, but I thanked her anyway. She asked if it fit and I said it didn’t but not to worry, because I’d lost some weight. She sounded hurt that I was going to return her gift, but I tried to tell her that I appreciated it very much and please not to be upset. Our conversation went downhill from there. It was something I could never get straight. I called her to wish her a Merry Christmas and before the conversation was over, she made me feel terrible. She made me feel as though I’d done something wrong again. She never came right out in the open and said anything you could get a hold on or deal with directly. It was a tone of voice that sounded disapproving, it was an implication implication that all was not well, it was an innuendo about her health. But the end result was clear as hell: it was total misery. I finally had enough of it and said, “Listen Mother … I’m sorry you’re not feeling well, but I called to wish you a Merry Christmas. I don’t want to argue, I don’t want either one of us to feel badly, but I’d appreciate it very much if you didn’t speak to me that way.” She said, “Merry Christmas, Christina” like a knife coming through the phone and hung up on me!”
Re: Allegation #4: The LaLondes "caused descendant to believe, and knowingly encouraged, a false belief that contestant exploited decedent’s name during the twelve to fifteen months preceding October 28th, 1976"
According to the article "The Revolt of Joan Crawford's Daughter" from the October 1960 issue of "Redbook," it states the topic of Christina exploiting Joan's name was an issue between the two women for many years prior to 1975 and 1976.
The "Redbook" article states the following regarding this issue:
"Early in 1958, Joan Crawford obtained a job for Christina at the Music Corporation of America (M.C.A.), a mammoth agency that manages the financial affairs of actors, writers and musicians. Christina was hired as a receptionist. Her mother saw this as a stepping stone on the path into the theater.
"I told Christina," she explained," 'Look, you'll know which scripts are going into which office and you'll know who is going to act in which play, so when you know there's a good play, so when you know there's a good part in one for you, get it. Read it. Take it home or read it on your lunch hour or in the ladies' room. It doesn't matter how, just get it and read it!"
Christina's own method of pursuing her career was somewhat different.
"Everyone kept telling me to get a role in a play on my own," she said, "so when I heard that there was a part open in an off-Broadway play, I went down and applied, just as hundreds of other kids did. I wasn't convinced that it was too good a play, but I wanted the experience and was glad to get the part."
The New York reviewers roasted the production but gave Christina favorable notices. One critic expressed the mood of most when he wrote: "Young Miss Crawford found herself trapped in an off-Broadway production which was away off..."
Somewhat naively, perhaps, Christina believed that she had got the part solely on the basis of her own talents. The producers of the play, however, were not above plastering posters around New York listing Christina prominently as "Joan Crawford's daughter." Christina had the posters removed.
"But by then the damage was already done," she recalls. "Mother concluded that I was deliberately exploiting her name. She was away with Father at the time, so I didn't know then how furious this made her. She never mentioned the incident to me, and I only learned that it angered her very much when she discussed the matter with a newspaper columnist."
Joan Crawford did suggest to Christina that she change her name, a suggestion her daughter declined.
"It's the only name," she said, "that I have ever had."
The entire "Redbook" article can be read here.
Re: Allegation #5: The LaLondes "knowingly encourage a false belief that contestant competed with decedent professionally during the twelve to fifteen months preceding October 28th, 1976"
The allegation by Christina that the LaLondes encourages such a belief is in direct contradiction of statements Christina Crawford has made.
Many years prior, Christina explicitly stated publicly that she felt that she was in professional competition with her mother. This is specifically true during a September 19th, 1960 interview with reporter Mike Wallace. Wallace asked Christina: "Do you feel that you are in competition with your mother, Christina?" Christina's responded; "Sometimes I have, yes, because I want very much the same kind of things professionally that she has obtained."
(Below is an audio excerpt of this content)
Re: Allegation #6: The LaLondes "caused descendant to believe, and knowingly encouraged, a false belief that contestant was a rival of decedent’s for the affections of others during the twelve to fifteen months preceding October 28th, 1976"
After Christina filed her October 24th, 1977 Objections To Probate Joan's will on the basis of undue influence from Jerome and Cathy LaLonde, Christina was informed that Joan had also disinherited her in prior wills dating back to 1964, with those wills containing similar verbiage regarding Christina as Joan's October 28th, 1976 will. Therefore, Christina's attorney altered the legal reasons for objecting to the probate of Joan's will to include the claim that Joan suffered from "monomania." Monomania is typically described under law as an insanity only upon a particular subject; and with a single delusion of the mind. Using the claim of monomania, Christina alleged that Joan held a delusion that preexisted any of the wills that disinherited her. Christina claimed Joan suffered from the delusion that she had attempted to seduce Alfred Steele in January 1956.
The monomania claim for a legal objection to probate Joan's will by Christina is enough to establish a DIRECT contradiction to this allegation in her May 1st, 1978 Bill of Particulars. However, for added measure, in "Mommie Dearest," Christina claimed the following in regard to competing with her mother for the affections of others:
“On the train back from Switzerland [Early January 1956]...when I finally came back to the stateroom to say goodnight, she [mother] was not in a good mood...I said goodnight to her, kissed her on the cheek and turned to leave. Daddy came into the room and I went to him to kiss him goodnight too. She whirled me around and slapped me across the face. “I got my man, now you damn well go out and get your own.” I didn’t know what to do. I just stood there in stunned silence...from that point on, she never allowed me to be anywhere with him alone.”
The above passage from Christina's memoir explicitly describes an alleged competition between Joan and Christina for the affection of others which had taken place two decades prior to the timeframe of Christina's allegation that the LaLondes "encouraged" this "belief."
This passage from "Mommie Dearest" is inconsistent with the allegations in Christina's sworn Bill of Particulars. Therefore, WHICH version is accurate? Christina's memoir, "Mommie Dearest," or this sworn under-the-penalty-of-perjury legal document? If Christina lied in the Bill of Particulars, she is guilty of violating New York State Statute § 210.15, first degree felony perjury. The complete statute can be read here.