Joan Crawford is one of the most famous and identifiable faces of the classic film era. It’s difficult to gauge the extent of her impact on popular culture because it has been so wide and varied. Along with her supposed rival Bette Davis, and her friend Barbara Stanwyck, she has become synonymous with strong, often ambitious women in film. Women who went out and got what they wanted, and hardly, if ever, apologised for this ambition. Her career spanned six decades: from the gentle waved haired beauty of the silent screen, to the champion of the “shop girl” in the 1930s, to the symbol of the powerful, ambitious, and vulnerable, woman of the postwar era, most memorably through her role as Mildred Pierce, and finally to the “scream queen” of the 1960s. Very few actors and actresses of Joan’s or any era have or will enjoy the long, varied, and very successful career that she maintained.
Hattie McDaniel, born on the 10th of June 1893, is one of the most famous black performers to ever live. She was born in Wichita to former slaves, Susan and Henry McDaniel, and was the youngest of their thirteen children. She began songwriting, and performing in her brother’s minstrel show when she was a teenager, and began a radio career in her early thirties. During this time she recorded sixteen blue sides, but upon the onset of the Great Depression, she was unable to find work outside of being a washroom attendant and waitress in Milwaukee. She would eventually be allowed to perform at the club where she worked, before moving to Los Angeles to be with her brother and sister.
I will be taking part in The 4th Wonderful Grace Kelly Blogathon hosted by The Wonderful World of Cinema and The Flapper Dame! So please watch this space!