IMHO, and I'm sure many will disagree with me, Joan Crawford was not an actress; she was a movie star. The distinction is a crucial one: She infrequently appeared in superior films, and her work was rarely distinguished regardless of the material, yet she enjoyed one of the most successful and longest-lived careers in cinema history. Glamorous and over the top, stardom was seemingly Crawford's birthright; everything about her, from her rags-to-riches story to her constant struggles to remain in the spotlight, made her ideal fodder for the Hollywood myth factory. Even in death she remained a high-profile figure thanks to the publication of her daughter's infamous tell-all book, an outrageous film biography, and numerous revelations of a sordid private life. Ultimately, Crawford was melodrama incarnate, a wide-eyed, delirious prima donna whose story endures as a definitive portrait of motion picture fame, determination, and relentless ambition.
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