Joan Crawford has long since crossed over into a camp icon, remembered by many more for Mommy Dearest, her adopted daughter’s damning memoir of alleged parental excess and misdeeds (and Faye Dunaway’s over-the-top performance in the movie made from it), than for her long, multifaceted movie career.
That’s a shame, because until Crawford was forced to stoop to making cheesy exploitation pictures, she was a solid actress and a great movie star.
We make it a practice to catch just about every Crawford picture we have the chance to view, and her performances are generally a pleasant surprise (one wonders when we’ll stop being surprised).
One odd aspect about the arc of Crawford’s long career is how thoroughly and completely her appearance changed over the years. Sure, everyone ages, and we are certainly in no position to point fingers at anyone else for the degree to which the ravages of time has impacted their appearance, but honestly, one could view an early shot of Crawford alongside a portrait from her later years, and you’d never guess they were the same person. The same couldn’t be said of, say, Katherine Hepburn or Myrna Loy, to name just a couple of examples.
Of course, the pressures on female movie stars to retain their physical appeal is much greater than on us average Joes and Jills, so I don’t mean to pick on Ms. Crawford unduly. But even taking in the passage of time and the demands of her career, her face underwent an astonishing transformation over the course of five decades, one must admit.
It’s a testament to Crawford’s enduring appeal that there are many web sites devoted to her life and career, but one of the best of the bunch, The Best of Everything: A Joan Crawford Encyclopedia, has a section that particularly appeals to us: It’s a collection of images from Crawford’s side career as a commercial spokesperson and endorser, print ads spanning from the 1920s until 1973, four years before her death.
Here are some of our favorites:
But those are just a few samples — follow the link above to enjoy more of Crawford’s work as a print pitchwoman.