N is for Name Game: From Lucille to Joan

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Joan Crawford— a name forever etched in Hollywood history; a name that’s always associated with the words glam, style, talent, beauty, kindness, and fame; a name… that was chosen by a fan.

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Yep, that’s not her real name. Like most Old Hollywood stars, Joan’s identity has to be altered a bit, simply because the studios back then didn’t think their real names would fit the marquees or sound good in pictures. In Joan’s case, her true name sounded a bit “odd” to the ears of Louis B. Mayer, head of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studio or MGM.

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So, what’s her real name (or names… because she had another name as a child), then? Here, I’ll take you a trip down name lane (lol):

Lucille Le Sueur – Joan’s real name. She was of French and Irish descent. When she was just beginning at MGM, Mr. Mayer didn’t like the sound of her last name, and remarked that sounded like “sewer.” The management also thought that Lucille Le Sueur was too long for marquees to hold, so he had it changed.

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Billie Cassin – When she was young, Joan’s mother married Henry Cassin, an operator of an opera house. Henry had a big impact on Joan, and she admired her new father so much that she changed her name to “Billie Cassin.” It didn’t last forever, though.

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Joan Arden – To get rid of Joan’s real name, MGM held a contest to “reborn” her. Many names were submitted, but the first winner was Joan Arden. Not long enough, a lady with that name sued the studio, so they didn’t have any choice but to go with the second one, which was…

Joan Crawford – There! Haha. At first, Joan didn’t like this name, because it sounded like “crawfish.” She learned to love it, eventually, because it was in this name that she got recognized. Obviously, she carried the name for the rest of her life.

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According to Donald Spoto’s biography of Joan (Possessed: The Life of Joan Crawford), other names that were considered from the contest were: Diana Gray, Joan Gray, Ann Morgan and Peggy Shaw. Well, I like Joan Crawford more, so… haha.How about y’all?

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Happy blogging (and fangirling!)

dfsa.

(Photos from Leading Lights Autograph, Joan Crawford Best, and Legendary Joan Crawford)

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6 thoughts on “N is for Name Game: From Lucille to Joan

  1. I didn’t even know a thing about Joan Crawford when I saw Mommie Dearest on cable as a kid. Then I read the book… I was too young to know not to believe everything I read, so all I see when I look at her is “evil monster.” It’s too deeply embedded to erase now! But have you noticed Hollywood doesn’t seem to care so much what people’s names are now? (Benedict Cumberbatch or whatever his name–an excellent example!)

    Stephanie
    http://stephie5741.blogspot.com

    • Yeah I understand. That book forever changed Joan, and it’s really unfair. Anyway yes! Hollywood now isn’t that strict with the images of celebrities, since there are no major studios to look after them anymore. Now it’s up to them if they want to change their names or not, which is liberating. But if this happened back then, there’d be no Cary Grant, Barbara Stanwyck, or Jean Harlow— just Archibald Leach, Ruby Stevens and Harlean Carpenter. Haha. Thanks for visiting Stephanie!

  2. Pingback: Reflection: A-Z Blogging Challenge ’15 | Etcetera

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