The Crawford family isn’t a household name like the Kardashians. But if I had to compare the mystic they bring to the table it wouldn’t be a shame to acknowledge their mystery with the Kardashians. Undoubtedly, the TV Show “Feud” that depicts the real-life characters of the Crawford family has got the audience all riled up.
The show that revolves around the volatile relationship between Joan Crawford and Bette Davis during their 1962 movie What Ever Happened to Baby Jane has led to different accusations and mysterious personality of the classical start herself. But little is known about her 5 adopted kids who have always kept themselves away from the spot life.
Here we bust down the enigma of one of her own son – Christopher Crawford.
So who really is Christopher Crawford
It may stir a confusion on the name of “Christopher Crawford” as there were two Christopher in the Crawford family. So just to clear the doubt, the one that has all the buzz is the third child Joan Crawford adopted.
Born on October 15, 1943, he was also formally known as Phillip Terry Jr prior to the adoption. The name was given to him by Joan and her then-husband Phillip Terry. When the couple split in 1946, she changed his son’s name to Christopher Crawford.
Regarded as one of the greatest female stars of Classic Hollywood Cinema, Jone often headlined the news for her rancorous acts against her children especially when she disinherited her two children Christina and Christopher.
Where did the first Christopher go?
Christopher(I) born in April 1941 was adopted by Joan and Philip in 1942. They gave their entire life and soul to take care of their baby boy.
However, they were forced to give up their child to his biological mother who surprisingly wanted him back. Joan was reportedly shattered by the incident and always remembered him in her entire lifetime. In an interview with David Frost, he constantly mentioned adapting 5 children.
Young Christopher (II): How did he grow up as a young kid
Source: Velvet Ropes
Christopher Crawford was an introvert kid during his toddler days. However, the day he found out he was adopted, he turned into a mess maker. He used to lock himself in the home avoiding communication with even Joan.
In pursuit of his biological parents, he ran from home at numerous times. He first ran away at the age of 7. Then, at the age of 10, he disappeared for a week and slept under the Santa Monica Pier. He later claimed that his mother was hard on him. She used to strap him on the bed. At one point, she even made him hold his hands on fireplace which resulted in numerous blisters says the 6-foot 4-inch guy.
He was kicked from many military schools for his disruptive behavior. he was labeled as the “problem kid” of the block. He later admitted that he was a difficult kid to handle.
Striking at the peak of his teenage period, he went as far as stealing a car. He was obnoxious and had anger management issues which compelled him to leave home at a tender age of 18.
Christopher Crawford Adulthood
Since he ran away at a shallow age, he faced a rough life. While he was in his nineteens, he got married to a waitress with whom he had his first child. He worked as the lifeguard and lived in Miami in his early days.
He had three children with his first wife whom he divorced later. When asked about his kids, he subtly commented “No Idea.” This proves that he hardly had any connection or love affection with his kids.
In the 1960s, he went to a Vietnamese war and later moved to Greenport, New York in 70s. In between all the trauma of war, He squeezed another marriage with a woman named Gale. They had one child name, Chrystal.
Most of his career flipped like a coin in between being unemployed and working as the lineman in Long Island Electric.
Christopher’s relationship with his mother
It doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to uncover the tension between the family when a son calls her mother with her initials. That’s Right. He used to say “J.C” to describe his mother.
In 1962, he did visit his foster mother with his wife and son. However, she belittles them by allegedly claiming his child to be the bastard.
He told that once he went on to meet his mother with his 6 weeks old daughter. I told my daughter,’
Janet, that’s your grandmother; she’s a very famous lady.’ J.C said, ‘I’m nobody’s grandmother. I’m Aunt Joan.’ Then she handed her back to me and said, ‘She doesn’t look anything like you!
Then, Christopher never saw his mother again.
Death of Joan Crawford
Joan Crawford passed away in 1977 as a result of heart attack. Christopher did attend his mother’s funeral but suggests that he wasn’t in touch with his mother. The only time he got hold of her was 5 years back when he called her to ask for blood for his daughter. He claims that she convincingly denied his proposal by saying You are adopted.
Until the death of his mother in 1977, he kept himself estranged from his mother. Joan even disinherited Christopher and Christina from her will. In her will, she stated,”It is my intention to make no provision herein for my son Christopher or my daughter Christina for reasons which are well known to them. She left her property and funds in the name of the twin daughters, friend Betty Barker, and various charities.
However, Chris along with his elder sister appealed against the will and got $27500 from Joan’s estate.
Christina Crawford and Controversy Surrounding Mommy Dearest
Christina was the sister and first child to be adopted by Joan Crawford. She is a soap opera actress but better known for her memoir “Mommy Dearest” which was published in 1978 just after a year of Joan’s death. The autobiography took the Hollywood scenes by surprise as it painted a much darker side of the actress.
We as the public got to know about the disparity between mother and daughter around 1968. The news aired when Christina took a medical leave from her CBS soap “The Secret Storm” and Joan replaced herself in that role.
She claimed her mother to be an abusive alcoholic with serious anger issues. She went as far as to portray the evil side of her mother by accusing her of child abuse and torture. She shredded my dress and forced me to wear it just to make fun of me tells Christina in her memoir.
However, the validity of her accusations can be questioned since the memoir was only released after the death of Joan. But in the biography “Not the Girl Next Door: that Joan knew about the book all along but decided to play quietly.
“I think she’s using my name strictly to make money. I think this book will be full of lies and twisted truths. I don’t think my adopted daughter is writing this book just to hurt me. If her purpose were to hurt me, she has already accomplished it without going to the trouble of writing a book.”
Additionally, the allegations were completely denied by the twin sister claiming that Christina might have been living in a different house. And they got the best possible mother in Joan Crawford.
Christopher, however, took sides of his elder sister and claims the allegations to be true. He also told Los Angeles Times that he had received $1500 from waiving his right to Christina’s book.
Where is Christopher Crawford now?
Unfortunately, Christopher Crawford didn’t live long to see through the dramatic phenomenon of his family show. He passed away on September 22, 2006, due to cancer. He was just 62 years old when he died.
What happened to the twin daughters that Joan Crawford adopted?
The two daughter Cathy and Cynthia Crawford had a pleasant lifestyle as compared to their brother and elder sister. They both received $77000 an inheritance from their mother’s estate. Moreover, Cathy also inherited valuable properties like the 1946 Oscar for “Mildred Pierce.” She sold the Oscar at auction in 1993 for which she received a hefty price of $68500.
Cynthia married the guy he met at Dubuque University at the age of twenty. They had two children together Jan and Joel. After nine years of marriage, they officially called quit. Due to her ongoing health problems, she lost her job and had to live in public housing.
In 1990, she started her search hunt of for her biological parents eventually reconnecting with her father J.W Jordon and mother both in Tennessee. She then moved to Tennessee to be close to her biological father as well as help him in his business.
Unfortunately, Cynthia passed away on October 14, 2007, while awaiting a Liver Transplant. She was diagnosed with Hepatitis which needed the liver transplant.
Cathy, however, married a Navy Seaman named Jerome Lalonde on Aug 10, 1968, in Alexandria Bay, New York. They both have a daughter and son named Carla and Casey respectively. She filed for divorce with Jerome and ended their relationship in 1984. In retaliation to Christina’s allegation, she along with author Charlotte Chandler published the biography,”Not the Girl Next Door: Joan Crawford, A Personal Biography.”
The book revealed another angle to the story where it covers the unpublished interviews of Joan Crawford. In the interviews, she is heard accusing Christina of her lack of gratitude nature.
We can’t exactly tell who is telling the truth and who is hiding the fact. The feud might have lightened up the dark side of the Crawford Family but what stored between them ended with mystery.
Do you have any special take on this mysterious family?