Joan Crawford, 1908–77, American movie star, b. San Antonio, Tex., as Lucille Le Sueur. After working as a Broadway chorus dancer, Crawford began making films in 1926, eventually moving from musicals to drama. She made more than 80 movies, excelling at the dramatic role of the strong but troubled woman. In 1945 she won an Academy Award for her performance in Mildred Pierce. Her best-known films include Grand Hotel (1932), The Women (1939), and Johnny Guitar (1954). Her later films, many in the horror genre, include a memorable teaming with Bette Davis in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962). When her fourth husband died (1959), she succeeded him as a director of the Pepsi-Cola Co.
See her autobiographies (1962 and 1972); biography by D. Spoto (2010); study by L. J. Quirk (1970).