This is a man’s world, and a girl has to fight for everything she wants. Men taught me how to fight; they taught me how to live…
The other evening I was going over a collection of movie magazines. Naturally, my eyes were diverted to stories dealing with Joan Crawford. After reading three of them, I said to myself, ‘Is it you, actually you they are writing about?’
I couldn’t believe it: Honestly! One writer quoted me as saying, ‘I’ve made three mistakes in my life—my three marriages, and I’m not proud of any of them.’ Another reporter described me as ‘love-starved, man-crazy, husband-hungry, and altogether unhappy.’ A third suggested that I was a domineering hermit who lived only for her career.
Bunk! Pure bunk!
I know the truth about myself, and I’m not afraid of it. The basic truth about myself is that I’m so normal that it hurts, and that my character and personality are largely the result of the men in my life. We all become a part of what we live with. I have lived with three men, three fine men of character, integrity, kindness, and purpose. Some of it has worn off on me.
Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., my first husband, had been reared in style. I hadn’t. I came from a poor family. I came up the hard way. It was Doug who taught me graciousness, and introduced me to a way of life I had never known before, with servants and cars and secretaries. I brought to that life a great belief in equality—the feeling that our laundress was as good as we were, that wealth and position were not inalienable rights, that at best, they were the outgrowth of a lucky break or two.
I had never had people work for me before. To get along with them takes tolerance, perseverance, and understanding. I learned all those things. I have the president of the Joan Crawford Fan Club stay with me when she occasionally comes to Hollywood. I’m grateful for her interest in my career, and try to demonstrate my gratitude. Grips and gaffers and electricians who work on my pictures refer to me as a pretty good egg. I try to be.
Stories that I act as a prima donna on the set are laughable. I remember only too well when I worked in the line as a chorus girl. I am no haughty, snobbish, social climber; no lonely, embittered woman, obsessed with her career. Thanks to Douglas, I try to live graciously. I work and will continue to work because I love it, and because I also have four children to support…
At the moment, I am not sour, embittered, man-crazy, money-mad, domineering, haughty, snobbish, or condescending. I am a normal woman in the prime of life who works for living as an actress. I love fans who ask me for autographs. I sign all of them. I love to pose with movie-goers. I love to answer their mail. I’m flattered when they go to see me in motion pictures. I get a thrill when I buy a new gown. It does my ego a world of good when three men call up and ask for a date in the same evening. In short, I am a woman with normal desires, and normal habits. Anything said in the contrary is simply untrue.