Ellen Corby - Actress, Co-star
“There was a side to Joan that very few people knew about. She was the most compassionate woman I ever met. She helped me and she helped many, many others. Her many acts of charity and kindness were never known because Joan preferred it that way. I’ll always be proud to say that Joan Crawford was my good and loyal friend.
In 1950 I was offered a part in a film [“Harriet Craig”] in which she was starring, but unfortunately my brother had just died. We had been very close, so I just wasn’t up to work. It was when I went to the studio in Hollywood to tell the producer that I didn’t want to be in the picture that I first met Joan. I told her what my feelings were. She listened quietly and then invited me to her dressing room and gave me several reasons why working at that sad time would be the best thing. She managed to talk me into doing the film and then spoke to the producers for me to have the necessary time off for funeral arrangements. We worked together in five films. And through them all she was gracious and very generous in her praise of my work.
I recall a period when she was ill. I visited her at the hospital every day when we talked about many things. I remember it was during the war that Joan heard about a young woman whose husband was in the service and who was having a baby and needed money. Joan arranged and paid for everything. Whenever she heard of an actor or actress being down on their luck, she would insist that they be given something to do in her films. Quite often she would read about a family who had been hard hit by a fire or flood or serious illness, and she would make arrangements for helping them. Through the years she also helped several youngsters from low-income families get through college.
On the screen she often portrayed a cold, unfeeling woman. Many people believe that’s the way she was in person. All that proves is what a fine actress she was because, in reality, she was a very warm and compassionate human being She was a very dear friend who never forgot her friends. I’ll never forget her. She was one of the few true stars we had.”
- Ellen Corby “TV Week” magazine (January 27, 1979)
Ellen Corby with Joan Crawford in the film "Harriet Craig" (1950)