Christina Crawford


The Truth Behind "Mommie Dearest "

Bonus section: The LaLonde Exposé - Exposing Casey LaLonde


The Detroit Free Press - September 10th, 1978

Shirley Eder


The Detroit Free Press - December 30th, 1978

Shirley Eder

     “Several weeks ago, I finished reading a bound gallery copy of “Mommy Dearest,” Christina Crawford's book about her mother, Joan Crawford. On the one hand, I’m appalled by the deed. By that, I mean the deed of a daughter seeking vengeance and lots of money, too, after the death of a famous mother. On the other hand, I must admit it's a well written, literate account about the frightful experience of being Joan Crawford’s eldest adopted child. The book broke my heart for everyone concerned, including Joan. It will also break the hearts of the millions of Joan Crawford fans when they read what Christina has to say in “Mommie Dearest”…especially since the bitter daughter is inclined to exaggerate and distort.

     Obviously, there were two separate Joan Crawfords: the public Joan and the private Joan. The Joan I knew was somewhere in between. But, at all times, I realized that the J.C. I knew was the consummate movie star and was as much ON for me as she was when acting on the screen.
Christina Crawford writes well enough to make me believe much of what she says is true. However, she writes of several incidents I know are not true. This makes me think that perhaps some of the major indignities Christina claims to have suffered were not altogether factual.

     Towards the end of the book, she talks about the funeral and the memorial services in New York and Los Angeles and the fact that no one except a fan and a publicity man spoke with her at any of the services. I attended the memorial service at the Unitarian church in New York City. Although I had never before met Christina, I went up and spoke with her and with her sisters, as they were standing together after the service. I saw other people doing the same. Could be that’s how she remembers that day.

Christina Crawford would later write a false account of Eder's column in her 1988 autobiography "Survivor":

     "Before we left [Detroit], I read Shirley Eder's syndicated review in the "Detroit Free Press." In this review, even though she was an admirer of my mother's. It was an important admission for this columnist to makein print because the summer before she had written that not too many fans would be interested in this truth."

(Page 120, "Survivor" hardback edition)