The LaLonde Expo$é
Who Is Casey LaLonde?
Casey LaLonde is the youngest grandchild of late film actress Joan Crawford. He was born on March 16th, 1972. Crawford's eldest grandchild is Christopher's daughter, Janet, born in 1961. Despite LaLonde being Joan's youngest grandchild, and estranged from all six of his cousins, LaLonde has created himself as a faux "representative" of Joan Crawford's estate and family.
Following the death of his mother, Cathy LaLonde, in January 2020, LaLonde has falsely claimed that he and his sister are the only Crawford family members remaining. This is not true. Joan Crawford has EIGHT living grandchildren.
Casey LaLonde formally worked for many years as the township manager for West Goshen Township in Pennsylvania. According to this blog by a resident of that community, there were issues with LaLonde. Casey LaLonde ultimately resigned from this position in December 2021.
His resignation came shortly after an incident occurred between LaLonde and the town residents which is documented in the above blog.
Breakfast At Dominique's - "The Grand Hotel Blend"
In January 2022, an Arkansas business named "Breakfast At Dominique's LLC," which is a new business ran solely by a 22 year-old woman, publicly announced they would soon market a coffee flavor named "The Grand Hotel blend," and featuring Joan Crawford's image on the product with the claim that the coffee blend is "legally licensed by the Estate of Joan Crawford."
The legitimate clearances for Benedict's other coffee blends, which feature the images of James Dean, Hedy Lamarr and Jean Harlow, were obtained through CMG Worldwide, which is a firm who handles the use of likeness for those celebrities. Unlike LaLonde with the "Joan Crawford Estate," these celebrities have legitimate, legally-established, estates and are properly represented by an actual representation firm.
In a February 8th, 2022 statement to the Arkansas State Attorney General's Office by "Breakfast At Dominique's" owner, Dominique Benedict, made the following false statements:
"The [New York Right of Publicity] law was overturned by the state (false). The will and Joan's possessions all legally belong to Casey LaLonde (false), whose team reached out to me with the idea for this blend."
I refer those reading this statement by Benedict to the information above regarding the legal post-mortem publicity rights of Joan Crawford, and why everything stated by Benedict is completely false.
Because Casey LaLonde is not a legal representative of the Joan Crawford estate, and, by default, has no legal right to license Crawford's image, the advertisements by Breakfast At Dominique's is fraudulent under Arkansas State law and Federal trade practices.
The false claim this coffee is "legally licensed" from "Joan Crawford's Estate" may entice Crawford fans, or the general public, to purchase this product with the assumption that the proceeds benefit the six charities named in Joan Crawford's will. Thereby deceiving good faith consumers.
In addition, Breakfast At Dominique's has not presented any evidence they have obtained usage rights for using the film title "Grand Hotel" for the name of their coffee blend.
This business' owner, Dominique Benedict, is aware of the above information, however, she has chosen to ignore these laws and is continuing her fraudulent business practices within her partnership with Casey LaLonde and Gary Sweeney.
It is a violation of Arkansas State law and Federal law for Breakfast At Dominique's to perpetuate the false claim that her coffee blend is "legally licensed" from the estate of Joan Crawford when no such estate exists, and Benedict has been made aware of such.
A consumer complaint can be filed against this business with the Arkansas State Attorney General's office and the Federal trade Commission. The business details needed when filing these complaints are below, along with Arkansas state law regarding false advertising:
Breakfast At Dominique's Company Information:
Owner: Dominique Benedict
Business address: 719 Dennis Street, Glenwood, Arkansas 71943
Business website: www.BreakfastAtDominiques.com
Business email address: Info@BreakfastAtDominiques.com
Title 5 - Criminal Offenses
Subtitle 4 - Offenses Against Property
Chapter 37 - Forgery and Fraudulent Practices
Subchapter 5 - Business and Commercial Offenses Generally 5-37-515. False advertising generally
(a) (1) It is the purpose and intent of this section to prohibit false, fraudulent, and misleading advertising and to prescribe a penalty for a person purchasing false, fraudulent, and misleading advertising in a newspaper, on radio or television, or otherwise causing false, fraudulent, and misleading advertising to be placed before the public.
(2) It is not the intention of this section and nothing in this section shall be construed to penalize or place responsibility upon any newspaper, radio station, television station, publisher, or other person, firm, or corporation for publishing, broadcasting, telecasting, or otherwise disseminating any advertisement purchased by any person, firm, corporation, or association.
(b) No person, firm, corporation, group, or association, with intent to sell or in anywise dispose of real estate, merchandise, a security, service, or anything offered by that person, firm, corporation, group, or association, directly or indirectly, to the public for sale or distribution, or with intent to increase the consumption thereof or to induce the public in any manner to enter into any obligation relating thereto or to acquire title thereto or an interest therein, shall make, publish, disseminate, circulate, or place before the public or cause, directly or indirectly, to be made, published, disseminated, circulated, or placed before the public in this state, in a newspaper or other publication, on radio or television, or in the form of a book, notice, handbill, poster, bill, circular, pamphlet, or letter, or in any other way, an advertisement of any sort regarding real estate, merchandise, a security, service, or anything so offered to the public, which advertisement contains any assertion, representation, or statement of fact that is untrue, deceptive, or misleading.
(c) (1) It is deemed deceptive advertising, within the meaning of this subsection, for any person, firm, or corporation, engaged in the business of buying or selling new or secondhand merchandise, wearing apparel, jewelry, furniture, a piano, phonograph, or other musical instrument, motor vehicle, stock, or, generally, any form of real, personal, or mixed property, or in the business of furnishing any kind of service or investment to advertise such articles, property, or service for sale, in any manner indicating that the sale is being made by a private party or householder not engaged in such business.
(2) Any such firm, corporation, group, or association engaged in any such business in advertising goods, property, or service for sale shall affirmatively and unmistakably indicate and state that the seller is a business concern and not a private party.
(d) (1) Any person, firm, corporation, group, association, or the agent or servant of any other firm, corporation, group, or association violating any provision of this section is guilty of an unclassified misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be punished by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars ($100) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) or be imprisoned in the county jail not more than sixty (60) days, or by both fine and imprisonment.
(2) Each sale, advertisement, or representation in contravention of a provision of this section is deemed a distinct offense and subjects the offender to punishment under subdivision (d)(1) of this section.
Yousuf Karsh Portrait Auction
When Cathy LaLonde passed away in January 2020, her two children, Casey and Carla LaLonde, presumably received all of their mother's property, including any remaining Joan Crawford property that Cathy had not already sold in one of the prior auctions of her mother's property.
On July 16th, 2021, Casey LaLonde, through the online auction house Heritage Auctions, sold a framed Yousuf Karsh portrait of Joan Crawford that Casey not only claimed to have belonged to Crawford, but claimed was THE portrait that is prominently featured in the background of a well-known 1959 Eve Arnold photo of Crawford. However, with the claim that it was being sold in an alternate frame. The framed Karsh portrait sold for: $7,500.00.
On July 18th, 2021, Casey LaLonde was featured in a video interview by the YouTube Channel "Hollywood Kitchen." During the interview, a suspiciously similar framed Karsh portrait is visible hanging on the wall in LaLonde's home.
This begs the question: Did Casey sell THE Karsh portrait captured in the 1959 Eve Arnold photo? Or, did Casey sell a duplicate print of the Karsh portrait with the false claim that it was the Karsh portrait captured in the 1959 Eve Arnold photo?
In evaluating if LaLonde's video interview was conducted prior to him sending the framed portrait to the auction house, Heritage Auctions was contacted. Their representative stated they had possession of the framed portrait that was sold prior to the auction. Likewise, when the YouTube channel who interviewed Casey was contacted, the channel owner stated she uploads her videos very quickly after they are filmed, within the same day or the next day. Furthermore, the "Letter of Provenance" that Casey LaLonde signed to accompany the framed portrait is dated May 18th, 2021, suggesting that is the approximate timeframe for when the auctioned item was sent to Heritage Auctions.
If Cathy LaLonde happened to have had TWO copies of this Karsh portrait, then how does Casey LaLonde know WHICH one was the portrait featured in the Eve Arnold photo of Crawford?
Additionally, regardless if this was THE Karsh portrait, the sale of this item that belonged to Casey's mother, Cathy, may have been illegal.
This webmaster has confirmed with the Lehigh County, Pennsylvania Clerk of Court probate division that no probate has ever been filed for Cathy LaLonde. Therefore, the sale of any of Cathy LaLonde's assets without first opening probate in the county where she died is a violation of Pennsylvania state law. The Lehigh County Clerk of Court's office can be contacted at:
Telephone number: 610-782-3170
Address: 455 Hamilton Street, #122, Allentown, Pennsylvania 18101
Graymalkin Media And Joan Crawford's Autobiographies
In 2017, Graymalkin Media LLC republished Joan Crawford's two autobiographies: "A Portrait of Joan" (1962) and "My Way of Life" (1971).
The company's owner, David Zindel, signed an invalid agreement with Casey LaLonde to republish these autobiographies despite the fact that LaLonde had no legal rights to either book.
In addition, Graymalkin Media obtained a 10-sided set of 16 rpm records featuring Joan Crawford reading her autobiography, "My Way of Life," and is now illegally claiming copyright ownership of this recording. Graymalkin Media obtained this record set under the false assumption that they are the sole records in existence of Crawford reading "My Way of Life." They are not. In fact, many of these records were manufactured. The only question is how many may still exist today.
In 1973, Joan Crawford audio recorded her autobiography for the Library of Congress' National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled organization. Crawford was one author of many who audio recorded their books for this organization. The audio records were then distributed to blind schools and libraries around America.
Because this recording was made prior to the 1976 United States Copyright Act, and the fact that no copyright for the audio was ever recorded with the United States Copyright office, or expressed on the physical records themselves, theoretically this audio would be in public domain.
If any entity is the legal copyright owner, it would be the recorder of the content, The National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled.
Not Graymalkin Media or Casey LaLonde. Despite these facts, Graymalkin Media and Casey have attempted to stop this audio recording from being made accessible for free on the internet.
Beyond the obvious deceit regarding this situation, it is even more deplorable that Joan Crawford recorded this audio for the benefit of the blind, and devoted much of her life to helping the disabled. However, Casey LaLonde and Graymalkin Media have devised a means to make this goodwill action by Joan Crawford a money-making scheme for themselves.
Additionally, this situation also involves the misappropriation of Federal property. In September 2017, Casey was interviewed by Fox News, who reported:
"This year, Casey LaLonde reissued her 1962 autobiography, as well as a 1971 lifestyle guide titled “My Way of Life.” The audiobook for that self-help book is actually Crawford reading her own words.
“In 1973, a couple of years after the book was published, she did a recording of herself reading it,” he explained. "It was pressed on vinyl. We located what we believe is the only copy in the world, bought it, and had it digitized. So it’s Joan herself reading the entire copy with extra comments peppered throughout.”
For clarification, Casey LaLonde did not "locate" the vinyl record set of Crawford reading "My Way of Life." The records were listed for sale on eBay by a private seller. The private seller who sold this record set to Graymalkin Media obtained the set as a loan-out from the Library of Congress. The private seller never returned the vinyl record set to the Library of Congress and sold it to Graymalkin Media and Casey LaLonde. Therefore, Graymalkin Media and LaLonde are not only illegally claiming copyright ownership of this material, they are in possession of misappropriated Federal property. Both Graymalkin Media and Casey LaLonde have been made aware of this situation. They have chosen to ignore it, and continue illegally selling this audio recording on Amazon and Audible for their own monetary gain.
You can contact a criminal investigator with the Library of Congress' Office of The Inspector General here, and notify them that Graymalkin Media owner David Zindel (11755 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1250, Los Angeles, California 90025) and Casey LaLonde (820 Little Washington Road
Downingtown, PA 19335) are in illegal possession of this absconded Federal property.
(Note: Graymalkin Media has changed addresses repeatedly. Their other addresses include:
1370 Veteran Avenue, apartment #320, Los Angeles, California 90024;
1835 Holmby Avenue, Apt #202, Los Angeles, California 90025; and
1413 Greenfield Avenue, apartment #103, Los Angeles, California 90025)
Licensing News Reel Footage
In December 2011, Casey LaLonde attended Doyle's Joan Crawford auction in New York. The auction contained items that once belonged to Crawford, and was inherited by LaLonde's mother, Cathy. LaLonde did not even know about this auction of his own family's heirlooms until he read about it on the internet.
Among LaLonde's auction bid wins were a box containing film and audio reels. LaLonde paid $10,000 for this auction lot. The lot contained approximately fifty items, most being 16mm film reels. The large majority of these recordings are interviews and footage filmed by news agencies and other media entities. As such, these individual agencies and entities own any legal copyright of this material if it does not fall into the arena of public domain. Joan Crawford did not own the copyright of this material, nor her children, and definitely not Casey LaLonde. However, for his own monetary gain, Casey LaLonde is actively attempting to license this material, which may legally belong to other people and agencies.
On a side note, as a Joan Crawford researcher, I know why Crawford had this footage and who gave it to her. However, at the risk of giving Casey LaLonde further "stories" to share in his quest to license this material, I will not be providing that information here.
Licensing The Joan Crawford Home Movies
Beginning in, at least, 2009, Casey LaLonde has attempted to license footage of Joan Crawford that he allegedly absconded from his mother's home in 1997. According to sources, Casey's mother did not give him permission to remove this footage from her possession.
Beyond this issue, Casey LaLonde has no legal right to license it. This is because if the copyright of the footage belongs to anyone, it belongs to the heirs of Charles McCabe, the photographer who filmed it. McCabe was a San Francisco newspaper reporter with whom Joan Crawford was romantically involved. At some point the footage was given by McCabe to Crawford, however, there is no record of any copyright transfer to Crawford by McCabe. Therefore, Casey LaLonde holds no legal copyright to the footage which would legally permit him the authority to license its use. However, LaLonde continues his attempt to "license" its use to filmmakers at the rate of $50 per second of film.
In addition to his attempts to license the footage for use, LaLonde reportedly screens the footage at various venues for a fee. According to LaLonde, he was paid a fee for his appearance during the 2013 TCM cruise and at the TCM film festival.
The venues where Casey has reportedly screened the Crawford home movie footage includes: The TCM Film Forum in Los Angeles, California (April 2010); the New York Film Forum movie house (multiple times); the 2010 Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival in Delaware; UCLA; the 2013 TCM Cruise; the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan; The Castro Theatre in San Francisco, California.
According to a September 2020 email from Casey LaLonde, the fee for his "work" to participate in a Joan Crawford documentary project would be $2,000 per day, with a three day minimum, for a total of $6,000. In addition, Casey would require an "executive producer" credit to receive the "family's seal of approval."
Aside from Casey LaLonde's personal fee, he has attempted to charge $50 per SECOND ($3,000 per minute) for the home movie footage and the news agency footage he obtained at the Doyle auction. NONE of which is legally copyright-owned by Casey LaLonde.
Casey LaLonde's large "fees" alone contradict his ongoing claim that his only motivation regarding Joan Crawford is correcting the prior wrongs to Crawford's image.
In 2013, Christina Crawford toured America performing a one-woman show entitled "Surviving Mommie Dearest." During her show, Christina was showing excerpts from the Crawford home movie footage. In response, Casey LaLonde sent her a cease and desist letter to stop using the footage in her show. The act itself is noble; anything to hinder Christina's ridiculous efforts to remain relevant while continuing to spread her lies. However, Casey LaLonde had no legal right to send Christina Crawford such a letter for the reasons described above.
On May 10th, 2017, the 40th anniversary of Joan Crawford's death, Casey LaLonde appeared on stage at Film Forum in New York, alongside Lypsinka, the same drag performer Christina Crawford hired for the anniversary of Crawford's death in 1998 to imitate/mock Crawford onstage.
The Joan Crawford Tonner Dolls
The first known venture by Casey LaLonde to use the faux "The Estate of Joan Crawford" title was in 2009, when he "licensed" the use of Crawford's image to Robert Tonner for a series of Joan Crawford dolls. Casey LaLonde had no authority to license Joan Crawford's image.
In addition to wrongly "licensing" Crawford's image to Robert Tonner, LaLonde traveled to various doll conventions, which appeared to be for personal prestige.
Note: The Joan Crawford signature on the Joan Crawford Tonner doll boxes and its marketing is wrong. It is not Crawford's signature, it is the signature of Crawford's secretary, Betty Barker. Barker frequently signed letters on behalf of Joan, and such a letter by Barker is apparently where that signature was lifted. Casey LaLonde has continued to use this wrong signature on other illegally merchandised products.
All information provided herein is factual, documented, and has been provided in interviews with Casey LaLonde, Cathy LaLonde's friends and those in the Joan Crawford fan community who have had prior interactions with Casey LaLonde. All sources have been preserved.
Casey LaLonde was contacted regarding the information provided on this website for his response. LaLonde did not respond.
The webmaster of "Joan Crawford: The Best of Everything" chastises Casey LaLonde on her website.
"Casey, either you're ignorant, or you think Joan fans are flat-out stupid":
The Joan Crawford games table that Casey purchased at the 2011 Doyle auction for $2,125.00:
After the death of Cathy LaLonde in 2020, Casey altered his profession on Linkedin with the claim
that he is the "Chief Operating Officer" involving rights and clearances from the "Joan Crawford Estate":
"Feud: Bette & Joan" and Olivia de Havilland
When FX began production of "Feud: Bette & Joan," Casey LaLonde contacted the producers to provide them with a copy of his allegedly absconded Joan Crawford home movie footage. The footage was filmed in the early 1940s, and had absolutely no correlation to the topic of this television series, which depicts Crawford during the 1960s. This was, again, another attempt by Casey LaLonde for public prestige and notoriety. In turn, "Feud," included a scene in the final episode of the series featuring LaLonde and his sister, Carla.
Despite "Feud" falsely, and unfairly, depicting Joan Crawford as an unprofessional, emotional, alcoholic, Casey LaLonde praised the series while also stating in interviews that he did not even know if his mother, Cathy, watched it.
In 2017, Casey gave an interview to DailyMail.com who reported:
"LaLonde is a big fan of the hit series, which is about the rivalry between Crawford and her Hollywood nemesis Bette Davis, played by Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon. In addition to praising Lange for her ‘tremendous’ portrayal of his grandmother, he says: ‘Ryan and the writing team have gone to extremes to get away from a very one-dimensional, two-dimensional look at both and to create a real, three-dimensional, complex look at their lives and personalities. He even vows to encourage his mother to watch the series. ‘I think it would actually be a good thing for her to see, definitely,’ LaLonde says of his 70-year-old mother, who is also portrayed on the show, which centers on the 1962 making of "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?." And she may be watching, I don’t know. I hope she is because it’s much better."
When Olivia de Havilland filed a lawsuit against the producers of "Feud," Casey LaLonde attempted to defend the grossly inaccurate series against de Havilland by submitting a legal declaration to the court in favor of "Feud." Obviously, this was due to LaLonde's own personal fondness of a series that briefly portrayed him, and not out of any actual respect he has for Joan Crawford, who was horribly misaligned in the series.
Not A Representative of Joan Crawford's Estate
Starting in 2009, Casey LaLonde has wrongly "licensed" the use of Joan Crawford's image to unsuspecting businesses.
As of 2022, LaLonde's latest endeavor is "licensing" the use of Joan Crawford's image to a small Arkansas coffee company, and "authorizing" a Joan Crawford biography to be written by an author who is not very knowledge of Joan Crawford's life and career.
Shortly after the death of Cathy LaLonde, Casey LaLonde updated his LinkedIn profile to state that he is the "Chief Operating Officer" of the "Joan Crawford Estate." For one, no he is not. Secondly, there is not such title as the "CEO" of a person's estate.
Joan Crawford does not have, and has never had, any person or entity license her image. This is because of two very basic legal reasons:
1) Joan Crawford died in New York state on May 10th, 1977. At the time of Joan Crawford's death, New York state had no post-mortem right of publicity law. This means that when a person died, their right of publicity died with them. No one can own, or legally control, the rights to that person's likeness.
2) In Joan Crawford's last will and testament, she did not explicitly name any beneficiary to her right of publicity and the use of her likeness. Therefore, theoretically, even if New York did have a post-mortem right of publicity law at the time of Crawford's death, she did not name any person as the beneficiary to this right.
Since the death of Cathy LaLonde in January 2020, Casey seems to think he now holds the full legal right to license Joan Crawford's image for commercial use even though his mother, Cathy, held zero legal rights to the use of Crawford's image for the reasons stated above.
Casey LaLonde has repeatedly, falsely, stated that Joan Crawford's 1976 will bequeathed all "personal" or "real" to his mother, Cathy, and falsely claims that includes Crawford's legal right of publicity. However, that is not what Joan Crawford's will states.
Joan Crawford's will (which can be read here in its entirety) explicitly bequeaths Cathy LaLonde with all tangible personal property.
New York state law explicitly states that "tangible personal property" is limited to only physical property.
Cornell Law School defines tangible property as:
"personal property that can be felt or touched, and can be physically relocated."
New York state law defines "tangible personal property" as:
Section 526.8 - Tangible personal property
(a) Definition. The term tangible personal property means corporeal personal property of any nature having a material existence and perceptibility to the human senses. Tangible personal property includes, without limitation:
(1) raw materials, such as wood, metal, rubber and minerals;
(2) manufactured items, such as gasoline, oil, chemicals, jewelry, furniture, machinery, clothing, vehicles, appliances, lighting fixtures, building materials;
(3) artistic items, such as sketches, paintings, photographs, moving picture films and recordings;
(4) animals, trees, shrubs, plants and seeds;
(6) coins and other numismatic items, when purchased for purposes other than for use as a medium of exchange;
(7) postage stamps, when purchased for purposes other than mailing; and
(8) precious metals in the form of bullion, ingots, wafers and other forms.
(b) Gas, electricity, refrigeration and steam are not considered tangible personal property for the purpose of the tax imposed on utility services. Gas sold in containers or in bulk for purposes other than heating, cooking or lighting is considered tangible personal property. See section 527.2 of this Subchapter.
(c) Tangible personal property does not include:
(1) real property;
(2) intangible personal property.
I call your attention to article "C" of the above cited law. "Tangible personal property does not include: (1) real property; (2) intangible personal property." This legal definition is clear. However, Casey LaLonde has chosen to ignore New York state law.
Hypothetically, IF New York state did have a post-mortem right of publicity law at the time of Joan Crawford's death, by the terms of her will, right of publicity proceeds would belong to the the six charities named in Crawford's will. This is because the bequeathments to the named beneficiaries in Crawford's will are exact regarding the descriptions and amounts, with the singular except of the six charities.
The bequeathment amounts and property to the charities remained, legally speaking, open-ended:
"I direct my executors to divide all the rest, residue and remainder of my estate, both real and personal, of whatsoever kind and nature and wheresoever situated, which shall belong to me or be subject to my disposal at the time of my death into eight equal shares and I give, devise and bequeath such shares to the following specified organizations, in the shares specified, for the general purposes of each organization."
Since 2021, Casey LaLonde has increased his attempts to pass himself off as the legal rights owner of Joan Crawford's image. This appears to correlate with the passing of New York's revised post-mortem right of publicity law on May 29th, 2021, which Casey Lalonde, incorrectly, thinks applied to his mother, Cathy LaLonde, and now himself. This falsity by LaLonde was confirmed on February 8th, 2022 via LaLonde's "business partner," Dominique Benedict (owner of Arkansas-based "Breakfast at Dominique's").
Benedict falsely stated to the Arkansas Attorney General's office:
"The [New York Right of Publicity] law was overturned by the state. The will and Joan's possessions all legally belong to Casey LaLonde."
On December 1st, 2020, New York governor Andrew Cuomo signed a new bill into law regarding post-mortem right of publicity.
The new law became effective on May 29th, 2021. This revised law explicitly states that it is NOT retroactive, and only applies to those who died on or after May 29th, 2021. (Act, § 3)
In addition, even if this new law was retroactive, it explicitly extends for only forty years after a person's death. § 50-f (8)
By January 2022, Joan Crawford had been dead for over 44 years. However, despite these obvious legal roadblocks, Casey LaLonde still maintains that he is the legal "representative" of Joan Crawford's estate, and that he holds an legal right to license the use of Crawford's image.
The complete new post-mortem right of publicity law can be viewed on New York's state legislation website here.
Casey LaLonde is NOT a legal representative of the Joan Crawford estate. Casey LaLonde has NEVER been a legal representative for the Joan Crawford estate, and he is forever legally barred from being a legal representative for the Joan Crawford estate.
Joan Crawford's estate has no legal representative. Per New York state law, no person has ever, and cannot ever, legally represent Joan Crawford's estate in terms of Crawford's post-mortem right of publicity. Any person attempting to do so, is doing so illegally.
Casey's Estrangement From His Mother, Cathy LaLonde
Casey LaLonde should not publicly state that he is a representative of Joan Crawford's family, but rather that he is a representative of the LaLonde family. He does not speak on behalf of Crawford's niece, Joan Lowe; Crawford's daughter, Cindy Jordan; Cindy's two sons or Christopher's four children. However, technically, he is not even a representative of the LaLonde family, namely his mother, Cathy LaLonde.
According to multiple sources close to the LaLonde family, and confirmed by LaLonde himself, he and his mother were estranged for quite a considerable period of time prior to Cathy's death in January 2020. In a December 2011 YouTube interview with Dearly Departed Tours, LaLonde stated that he learned via the internet of Doyle's Joan Crawford auction in December 2011. The auction's items consisted entirely of Casey LaLonde's mother's property. It is reported that LaLonde's sister, Carla, is who assisted Cathy with arraigning that auction. However, Casey LaLonde knew nothing of it until he read about it online.
During the same December 2011 YouTube interview, LaLonde stated that he and his wife "scraped together their savings" to bid on items.
At the auction, LaLonde won Joan Crawford's games table, a photo of Crawford with a letter to her by George Hurrell and a box of footage and audio materials that had belonged to Crawford. LaLonde paid $12,875.00 for these items. This is quite a considerable price to pay for LaLonde's own family heirlooms which belonged to his own mother. This is the first red flag of many that the LaLondes were/are a divided family, and at no time did Casey LaLonde actually speak on behalf of his mother regarding Joan Crawford.
When Casey LaLonde's aunt, Cindy Jordan, passed away in 2007, LaLonde did not know she had died. As with the Doyle auction, LaLonde reportedly learned of Cindy's death via the internet. According to the webmaster of "The Best of Everything: A Joan Crawford Encyclopedia," LaLonde learned that Cindy passed away via a posting on that Crawford website.
Similarly, when Joan Crawford's former secretary, Betty Barker, passed away in January 2012. At the time, Cathy LaLonde was notified of Barker's death and reportedly stated that she had no means of contacting her son, Casey, because she did not have his telephone number.
As with Cindy's death, LaLonde learned of Betty Barker's death (who he has the audacity to call "Aunt Betty") via the internet.
In March 2017, when Casey LaLonde was asked by a reporter if his mother was watching the television series "Feud: Bette & Joan," he stated:
"she may be watching, I don’t know. I hope she is."
Therefore, it appears LaLonde's estrangement from his mother lasted for over a decade. Being that he did not know of Cindy Jordan's death in 2007, the Doyle auction in 2011, Betty Barker's death in 2012, or if his mother was watching a 2017 television series based upon his own grandmother's life.
The question for many is what caused this estrangement between Casey LaLonde and his mother, Cathy? One issue that has been cited in the Joan Crawford fan community is that LaLonde allegedly absconded property from his mother's home in 1997. Specifically, that he took the Joan Crawford "home movie" footage which he has attempted to license for years for his own monetary gain.
Reportedly, LaLonde took this footage from his mother's home without his mother's knowledge and/or permission.
According to Casey LaLonde's former associate, LaLonde stole this footage from his mother:
"He did steal [the footage]. I remember when it happened. Casey told me his mother didn’t want to make the home movies public and Casey said he took them."
On March 7th, 2022, via email Casey LaLonde made the following statements regarding his estrangement from his mother:
"My mother and I had been estranged for a time, but eventually reconciled. However, in 2011, we were definitely not talking much. It wasn't adversarial by any means, we just didn't talk much. She didn't attend the auction, so she had no idea that I bid on the items.
As to the 2011 auction, my mother put many objects up for sale with Doyle Auction house. I didn't want to interfere with my mother's sale of the objects, so I registered as a bidder like anyone else."
LaLonde's above claim that he did not want to "interfere" with his mother's auction, and chose to "scrape together his savings" to bid on the auction items, combined with his claim that his estrangement from his mother was not "adversarial" seems ridiculous.
It is a reasonable conclusion that most people do not become estranged from their mother, particularly for such a long period of time, unless that estrangement has an adversarial origin, or if there is an ongoing adversarial conflict. Some sources have stated that Cathy LaLonde did not approve of her son's claim that he was a "representative" of Joan Crawford.
In interviews, whenever LaLonde is asked questions regarding his mother, Cathy, he can not seem to give coherent answers. Likewise, when he is asked to share stories that his mother may have told him about Joan Crawford, LaLonde seems to freeze-up and usually gives rambling answers to sidestep the question. There is a reason for this; Casey LaLonde doesn't know very much about his mother's experiences with Joan Crawford, and was not able to ask his mother these questions in present day because the mother and son were estranged.
Marketing advertisements of the Joan Crawford Tonner dolls with the claim that the dolls
are "authorized" and "licensed by the Estate of Joan Crawford":
Casey LaLonde holding one of the falsely "authorized" and "licensed" Tonner dolls at a doll convention:
Casey LaLonde speaking to the audience at a screening of the Joan Crawford Home Movie Footage:
An auction photo of the box of footage Casey LaLonde purchased at the Doyle auction in December 2011:
An email Casey LaLonde sent to a Joan Crawford fan regarding his illegal agreement with Graymalkin Media:
Casey LaLonde displaying the republished "My Way of Life" book during a 2021 interview:
Photos of the physical 16 RPM record set of "My Way of Life":
The Library of Congress' record for the "My Way of Life" recording. This current record indicates the item as "withdrawn":
The Heritage Auction listing for the Yousuf Karsh portrait of Joan Crawford:
The 1959 Eve Arnold photo which depicts the alleged Yousuf Karsh portrait of Crawford that was auctioned by Casey LaLonde:
Casey LaLonde's certificate of authenticity for the Yousuf Karsh portrait:
A screenshot from a July 18th, 2021 interview with Casey LaLonde, with what appears to be
THE Yousuf Karsh portrait on the wall behind LaLonde's head:
A screenshot of "The Grand Hotel Blend" with the false claim that it is "Officially licensed from the Joan Crawford Estate":
A May 10th, 2020 interview excerpt of Casey LaLonde with the Secaucus Public Library.
In this excerpt, Casey struggles with a very simple question, and reveals his true lack of knowledge:
A December 2011 interview excerpt of Casey Lalonde with Dearly Departed Tours.
In this excerpt, Casey confirms the details provided above regarding his lack of knowledge about the 2011 Doyle auction:
A December 2011 interview excerpt with Casey LaLonde and Dearly Departed Tours.
In this excerpt, Casey admits there are legal issues with his attempt to license Joan Crawford's image.
A December 2011 interview excerpt of Casey LaLonde with Dearly Departed Tours
whereby Casey explains how he became involved with Joan Crawford's legacy:
A December 2011 interview excerpt of Casey LaLonde with Dearly Departed Tours whereby Casey
explains the origin story of the Joan Crawford Tonner Dolls:
A December 2011 interview excerpt of Casey LaLonde with Dearly Departed Tours whereby Casey
falsely states he owns the rights to the absconded Joan Crawford home movie footage:
A December 2011 interview excerpt of Casey LaLonde with Dearly Departed Tours whereby Casey
states that he did take the Joan Crawford home movie footage from his mother's basement:
A complete listing of the footage materials Casey LaLonde purchased at the 2011 Doyle auction.
A February 15th, 2022 screenshot advertisement of "The Grand Hotel Blend" with the false claim that it is "Officially licensed":
"Joan Crawford: Her Life In Letters"
As mentioned in the above video excerpt by Casey LaLonde regarding the Robert Tonner dolls, LaLonde befriended a woman named Michelle Vogel who wrote one of the worst Joan Crawford biographies ever published in 2005, "Joan Crawford: Her Life in Letters."
Not only is Vogal's book full of inaccurate information on Crawford, which included the citing of quotes of the fake Crawford biography "Conversations With Joan Crawford" by Roy Newquist, it also published letters that were taken directly from the internet.
In addition, the book has a forward by Casey LaLonde, and his is quoted in the book to have met Christopher and Christina at some point. However, LaLonde claims in interviews that he never actually met either of these people.
Casey LaLonde refers publicly to Christina and Christopher as "aunt Christina" and "uncle Christopher" despite the fact that LaLonde admits he has never so much as met either Christina or Christopher. Additionally, LaLonde has claimed that he was bullied and harassed in school by his peers due to the "Mommie Dearest" controversy. It is interesting that LaLonde would call a woman, whom he has never met (and is not technically even related to), "aunt" if he was harassed in school as a child due to a book that woman wrote. The only logical inference to be drawn from LaLonde's repeated use of the term "aunt" and "uncle" in regards to these people would be his continued attempt to further attach himself to the major players of Joan Crawford's life in order to enhance his own perceived importance to the general public and Crawford fandom.
LaLonde also claims in the book's forward: "When [we were] not visiting [Joan], I would stay up late to watch "Mildred Pierce or "What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?" on the late show." This is despite LaLonde later stating in interviews that he didn't see "Baby Jane" until well after Joan had died due to his age.
Casey LaLonde on the DVD featurette for "Daisy Kenyon" inaccurately claiming that Joan Crawford's career
as an actress lasted over "six decades." Crawford's career lasted for 47 years. From 1925 to 1972.
Gary Sweeney: Casey LaLonde's "Creative Director"
In December 2020, Casey LaLonde appointed Gary Sweeney as "The Creative Director of The Joan Crawford Estate." This is a worthless title being that LaLonde has no actual authority over "The Joan Crawford Estate" because it, legally, does not exist in the sense of operating, or licensing Crawford's image. However, that has not prevented Gary Sweeney from attempting to personally profit from this fake title. Judging by his knowledge, Gary Sweeney is not an expert on Joan Crawford, but rather he appears to be knowledgeable of old Hollywood in general, and is seemingly a "hanger-on" of the children of dead celebrities due to his general interest in the topic of old Hollywood.
According to Sweeney, he first encountered Casey LaLonde in 2006, and interviewed him for his, now defunct, old Hollywood website, "Midnight Palace." Since that time, Sweeney and LaLonde have remained friends. Once LaLonde appointed Gary Sweeney as the "creative director" of Crawford's "estate," Sweeney made it public by listing this title as his career/profession across his various public social media accounts.
Later, Gary Sweeney would contact a 22-year-old girl named Dominique Benedict who is attempting to start a small coffee company in Arkansas. Sweeney and LaLonde falsely presented themselves to Benedict as "official representatives" of Joan Crawford's "estate," with the idea for Benedict to "license" the use of Joan Crawford's image from them as one of her company's coffee flavors. According to Benedict, the profit percentages for the sale of this "Joan Crawford coffee blend" goes to Casey LaLonde and Gary Sweeney.
Gary Sweeney with Casey LaLonde at UCLA in 2008:
Gary Sweeney's social media accounts with the faux title of "The Creative Director at the Joan Crawford Estate":
2022 promotion by Gary Sweeney as the faux "creative director of the Joan Crawford Estate":
Close-ups of the Joan Crawford Tonner doll box and wardrobe tags, with the faux "licensed by the Estate of Joan Crawford":
A September 2020 email from Casey LaLonde to what he thought was a documentary producer interested
in featuring him in a documentary about Joan Crawford.
There are several outright LIES given within this email by Casey LaLonde. Namely, the claim that he "owns" the rights to
Joan Crawford's autobiographies and that he and his sister, Carla, are the only Crawford family members "standing" (Crawford has eight living grandchildren - not two). However, most appalling is Casey LaLonde's "fee" schedule to appear in a Joan Crawford
documentary, and his fee schedule to "license" the reportedly stolen Joan Crawford home movies:
Christina Crawford with Lypsinka at Town Hall, New York (May 6th, 1998).
Casey LaLonde with Lypsinka/John Epperson at Film Forum, New York (May 10th, 2017):
A 2020 interview excerpt of Casey LaLonde admitting he never met Christina Crawford, despite he earlier claims:
An excerpt from page 11 of "Joan Crawford: Her Life In Letters" with Casey LaLonde claiming to have had
interactions with Christina Crawford at one point in time:
A March 2022 interview excerpt of Casey LaLonde giving the wrong birth years for
Joan Crawford's children, who are also his own family members:
A March 2022 interview excerpt of Casey LaLonde admitting that he is estranged from Cindy's sons, and that he
doesn't even know how many first cousins he has:
A March 2022 interview excerpt of Casey LaLonde stating where he has appeared to speak about Joan Crawford and his claim that he "tries to do as much as he can to support his grandmother's memory" despite his large fee schedule exhibited above:
A March 2022 interview excerpt of Casey LaLonde falsely claiming his mother inherited Joan Crawford's "personal property,"
and that he interprets that to mean he has the legal right to license Crawford's image:
A March 2022 interview excerpt of Casey LaLonde talking about Breakfast At Dominique's "Joan Crawford Coffee Blend,"
and LaLonde's absurd claim that he is keeping Crawford's memory alive with this coffee, citing her last film was over 50 years ago:
A March 2022 interview excerpt of Breakfast At Dominique's owner, Dominique Benedict, stating that Casey LaLonde and Gary Sweeney contacted her, and that the sale proceeds are split between LaLonde and Sweeney, despite the fact that neither LaLonde
nor Sweeney holds any legal rights to Joan Crawford's right of publicity, nor any legal authority of Crawford's "estate."
"Joan Crawford's estate actually reached out to me. A percentage [of the coffee's sale] goes to the estate to support the families of the icons. The proceeds from Joan's blend, it's split up. We have it to where it goes to Casey, her grandson, and the "creative director" of the estate [aka Gary Sweeney]." - Breakfast At Dominique's owner, Dominique Benedict
March 2022 interview excerpts of Sweeney on the podast "Calling Old Hollywood" discussing Casey LaLonde, and his
faux title of "The Creative Director of the Joan Crawford Estate":
Casey LaLonde's Lack of Joan Crawford Knowledge
From March 2006 until August 2009, Casey LaLonde engaged in an "Ask Casey" forum on the website "Legendary Joan Crawford." The forum involved Joan Crawford fans writing emails to LaLonde asking him various questions about Crawford's life and family. Due to the estrangement between LaLonde and his mother (therefore unable to ask her any questions), and with his lack of knowledge regarding Joan Crawford's life, this forum is cringeworthy and embarrassing. Based upon the entries on this forum, the fans writing to LaLonde knew much more about Crawford and her life than LaLonde. However, that did not prevent LaLonde from "confirming" false internet myths and lies about Crawford. The myths included the claim that Joan Crawford once owned Leeza Gibbons' Los Angeles house. Los Angeles property records confirm that Gibbons' house was never owned by Joan Crawford.
In September 2010, LaLonde also engaged in a "Q & A with Casey LaLonde" forum on the Silver Screen Oasis message board.
Similar to the "Ask Casey" forum, this "Q & A" is compiled with responses by LaLonde that are elusively and uninformative regarding any inside details of Crawford's life which are not readily found in most Joan Crawford biographies.
Both of these forums stand as testaments to the lack of inside knowledge which one might expect from a family member.
In a March 2022 interview with Casey LaLonde's friend, Gary Sweeney, who recently began using the faux title "The Creative Director of The Joan Crawford Estate", Sweeney stated that he and LaLonde are developing an "official Joan Crawford estate" website so that people will have an "official" source for Joan Crawford information. However, much of the information LaLonde shares in his interviews are stories he has taken from the poorly-researched Crawford biographies, the internet or what he has been told by Crawford fans. As a result, LaLonde has repeated several of the false Crawford rumors and myths that he has read.
Due to LaLonde's erroneous claim that he is an "official source" for Joan Crawford information, he is "confirming" these falsehoods when he repeats them. This is a true danger with Casey LaLonde's statements. He is not well-versed on the topic of Joan Crawford, and makes many errors of fact when speaking about Crawford's career and life.
One such "confirmation" by LaLonde is the claim that Christina Crawford began writing her book, "Mommie Dearest," prior to Joan Crawford's death, and that Crawford knew about the book. LaLonde states this is the reason Christina and Christopher were disinherited. This is false.
Casey LaLonde has no actual insider information regarding this, as one may think due to him being Crawford's grandson. Yet, LaLonde has repeatedly stated this claim in interviews and documentaries. LaLonde's singular source for this information is writer Charlotte Chandler.
Chandler wrote the 2008 Joan Crawford biography "Not The Girl Next Door." Within Chandler's book, and in her subsequent interviews, she blatantly lied and made the false claim that Crawford told her that she knew about Christina's book, "Mommie Dearest." Joan Crawford never stated this to Chandler, and evidence demonstrates that Chandler was not even in close proximity to Crawford during her last years.
Not only does this webmaster have evidence against Chandler's claims to have repeatedly visited/interviewed Crawford during her final years of 1974-1977, Chandler herself wrote a completely alternate version of her experiences with Joan Crawford in her 1984 autobiography "The Ultimate Seduction." In "The Ultimate Seduction," Chandler writes in detail of her one alleged meeting with Crawford, which took place in Crawford's Fifth Avenue apartment. In her 1984 book, Chandler describes the Fifth Avenue apartment in detail. However, Crawford moved from her Fifth Avenue apartment in 1968, therefore, Chandler, unwittingly, confirms in her 1984 autobiography that she never visited Crawford in her final apartment.
Apparently, Chandler overlooked her 1984 writings regarding Crawford when she published her erroneous 2008 biography.
Aside from the evidence that Chandler did not visit/interview Joan during her final years, there is evidence (which will be made available on this website) that Crawford's prior wills, going back to 1964, disinherited Christina and Christopher as beneficiaries with similar terminology to her 1976 will.
Casey LaLonde has attempted to combat Christina Crawford's lies by relaying the very limited memories he has of his mother's stories.
However, because LaLonde is not a firsthand source to any details, and was unable to obtain any in-depth details from his mother or her sister, Cindy, due to his estrangement from both women, his efforts have not necessarily helped Joan Crawford. A notable example of this are the appearances of LaLonde and Christina Crawford in the 2011 Discovery channel documentary "The Will: The Estate of Joan Crawford."
Because LaLonde is so inarticulate, and has no firsthand knowledge of anything, his statements helped to make Christina, who is very articulate, sound more believable to viewers.
An excerpt from the 2011 documentary "The Will," with Casey LaLonde repeating the Charlotte Chandler lie:
A June 23rd, 2021 email from Casey LaLonde to a Crawford fan, and perspective buyer, who asked him to verify
if this was the same Karsh portrait as depicted in the 1959 Eve Arnold photo. Casey LaLonde claims it is:
A current screenshot of the "Official Joan Crawford Estate" website that Sweeney claims to be building.
Note, the same BETTY BARKER "Joan Crawford" signature is being used for this website, as LaLonde has used for the Tonner Dolls:
Casey LaLonde's Abandoned Joan Crawford Biography
In the early 2000s, Casey LaLonde had partnered with a Joan Crawford researcher to publish a Joan Crawford biography. According to the Crawford researcher (whose name is omitted here), they had a disagreement with LaLonde regarding the biography attempt, and they never spoke again.
The researcher has allowed me to quote their statements regarding the experiences they had with Casey LaLonde below:
"I was writing [the biography] with Casey LaLonde but it never got published, we finished it. And then I had a falling out with Casey, so that was that. I spend years on the book. and I was pretty proud of it. I did 95% of the work and Casey blessed the project but wanted to have his name as co-author and I was fine with it - he also was going to include the home movies as a DVD insert. When [things happened] with the publisher, I wanted to take the book elsewhere and get a new deal, Casey told me he was taking HIS book and publishing it on his own and I said it wasn't his book, it was mine. I spent years writing it, I found all the amazing rare photos and did years of research. I never provided him with the working files and photos and he stopped talking to me. Which is fine by me. He was a bit off and he really didn't provide anything great other than the home movies, but I was willing to move on without the home movies as part of the book. At the end of the day I was done and the book never came to be."
"He also was mad because every time we went to an event together everyone thought I was Joan’s grandson. And when I was like no, no, I’m not, Casey is. They would look at him and go “oh..”
The researcher Casey LaLonde was working with on the biography also stated that LaLonde did, in fact, absconder the Joan Crawford home movie footage from his mother, Cathy:
"He did steal them...I remember when it happened. Casey told me his mother didn’t want to make the home movies public and Casey said he took them."
A February 2008 message board post by Gary Sweeney (using his website's name) detailing his meeting Casey LaLonde at UCLA:
The response by the family of Cindy Crawford Jordan when shown an email sent by Casey LaLonde with the false claim
"...it is me and my sister as the last family members standing":