Christina Crawford

Christina Crawford Biography

Christina Crawford (born June 11, 1939) is an American writer and actress, best known as the author of Mommie Dearest, an autobiographical account of alleged child abuse by her adoptive mother, actress Joan Crawford.

Early life and education

She was born in Los Angeles, California in 1939 to unmarried teen parents.

According to Christina Crawford's interview with Larry King, her father, supposedly in the Navy, was married to another woman while her mother was unmarried. Christina Crawford was adopted out-of-state in 1940. Subsequent documentation showed that the adoption was handled by Georgia Tann through Tann's infamous Tennessee Children's Home Society. Christina was one of four children adopted by Joan Crawford.

Christina Crawford has stated that her childhood was affected by her adopted mother's violent mood swings and alcoholism. At the age of ten she was sent to Chadwick School, in Palos Verdes, California, where many other celebrity children were in attendance. However, she was removed from Chadwick by her mother because of alleged "misbehavior" with several of the male students. Joan Crawford then placed her in a Catholic boarding school, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy in La Cañada (now the City of La Cañada Flintridge), California, and curtailed Christina's outside contact until her graduation. After graduating from Flintridge, Crawford moved from California to Pittsburgh to attend Carnegie Mellon School of Drama and then to New York City where she studied at the Neighborhood Playhouse in Manhattan. After 7 years, she gained a B.A. from UCLA.

Personal life

Harvey Medlinsky was a Broadway stage manager Christina met while attending acting school. They were married briefly. She met her second husband, film producer David Koontz, while she worked in public relations for Getty Oil.

Acting career

Crawford appeared in summer stock theatre, including a production of Splendor in the Grass. She also acted in a number of Off-Broadway productions, including In Color on Sundays (1958). She also appeared in At Chrismastime (1959) and Dark of the Moon (1959) at the Fred Miller Theater in Milwaukee, and The Moon Is Blue (1960).

In 1960, Crawford accepted a role in the film Force of Impulse, which was released in 1961. Also in 1961, Crawford appeared in a small role in Wild in the Country, a film starring Elvis Presley. That year, she made a guest appearance on Dean Miller's NBC celebrity interview program Here's Hollywood, promoting the films.

In 1962, she appeared in the play The Complaisant Lover. She played five character parts in Ben Hecht's controversial play Winkelberg; that same year, she appeared on the CBS courtroom drama The Verdict is Yours. In October 1965 she appeared in Neil Simon's Barefoot in the Park, with Myrna Loy, a friend of her mother. She also had a role in Faces, a 1968 film directed by John Cassavetes and starring John Marley and Gena Rowlands.

Christina played "Joan Borman Kane" on the soap opera The Secret Storm in New York from 1968 until 1969. When she went on sick leave in October 1968, Joan Crawford, then over 60 years old, asked for the role of the 24-year-old character. She did this without mentioning it to her daughter and appeared in four episodes. Viewers increased 40% during this replacement time, and Christina, already feeling betrayed, also felt embarrassed due to her mother's seemingly intoxicated performance. Eventually let go from the series, Christina believed her mother's interference had contributed to her departure. The producers, however, claimed that the character and her storyline had simply run its course.

Crawford would also appear on other TV programs, including Medical Center, Marcus Welby, M.D., Matt Lincoln, Ironside and The Sixth Sense.

Career after mother's death

After Joan Crawford died in 1977, Christina and her brother Christopher learned that their mother had disinherited them from her $2M estate, her will citing "reasons which are well-known to them". In November 1977 Christina and her brother sued to invalidate their mother's will, which she signed on Oct. 18, 1976. Cathy LaLonde (another Crawford daughter) and her husband, Jerome, the complaint charged, "took deliberate advantage of decedent's seclusion and weakened and distorted mental and physical condition to insinuate themselves" into Miss Crawford's favor. In 1978, Crawford's controversial book Mommie Dearest was released. It accused her mother of being an abusive parent, and it made child abuse a prominent issue at a time when it was just beginning to become widely acknowledged as a public problem. In 1981, a movie version of the same title was released, starring Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford and Diana Scarwid as Christina.

Christina has published subsequent books, including Survivor. For seven years she served as a member of Los Angeles' Inter-Agency Council on Abuse and Neglect Associates, during which time she campaigned for the reform of laws regarding child abuse. After a near-fatal stroke in 1981, Crawford spent five years in rehabilitation before moving to the Northwest. She ran a bed and breakfast called "Seven Springs Farms" in Tensed, Idaho, between 1994 and 1999. She formed Seven Springs Press in 1998 to publish the 20th anniversary edition of Mommie Dearest in paperback from the original manuscript. This included material, omitted from the first printing, about the years following her graduation from high school. Christina Crawford continues in the capacity of company publisher. In 1999 Crawford began working as a "special events planner" at the Coeur d'Alene Casino in Idaho. On November 22, 2009, she was appointed county commissioner in Benewah County, Idaho by Governor Butch Otter, though she lost her bid for re-election in the November 2010 general election. In 2011 Crawford founded the non-profit Benewah Human Rights Coalition and served as the organization's first president.


  • Mommie Dearest (1978) ISBN 0-9663369-0-9
  • Black Widow: A Novel (1981) ISBN 0-425-05625-2
  • Survivor (1988) ISBN 0-515-10299-7
  • No Safe Place: The Legacy of Family Violence (1994) ISBN 0-88268-184-2
  • Daughters Of The Inquisition: Medieval Madness: Origin and Aftermath (2003) ISBN 0-9663369-1-7

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "Christina_Crawford" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



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