Joan Crawford was one of the greatest actresses of her time and of all time. She appeared in various films, including Mildred Pierce, Johnny Guitar, Grand Hotel, and What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? In her lifetime, she won an Oscar and received two other nominations, plus a Golden Globe award. She was one of Hollywood's best and brightest, which is why it was devastating to lose her. With the upcoming release of Feud, which tells the story of her rivalry with Bette Davis, many have begun to wonder how did Joan Crawford die?
According to The New York Times, the legendary actress died of a heart attack on May 11, 1977 in her New York City at the age of 69 (though some say she was actually two-to-four years older than that). At the time she was a widow since her fourth husband, Alfred Steele, had died back in 1959. She had four children who survived her, Christina, Christopher, Cathy, and Cynthia, all of whom shared their mother's last name. Besides being an actress, she was also a director of the Pepsi-Cola Company at the time of her death, having taking over the position after Steele's death. However, it was said she wasn't actively involved in the company.
While Feud, which was created by Ryan Murphy, won't go into Joan's death, it will showcase where she was at in her career later in life. Though the show is focused on Joan and Bette's rivalry, it also shows two actresses who are fighting back against Hollywood ageism as they struggle to find decent parts for older women. It was Crawford's idea for herself and Davis to star in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, which was much different than the previous works they'd both done individually.
The film, which was released in 1962 (15 years prior to Crawford's death), was her entrance into the horror genre. From there, Crawford went on to do other films like Strait-Jacket, I Saw What You Did, Berserk, and Trog. Her work with Davis — while enriched with rivalry and a bit of drama — was also the stepping stone for her to embark on a new career path before the end of her life.
Jessica Lange plays the role of Crawford in Feud and there's no one better to play the iconic part. Opposite of her is Susan Sarandon, who plays Davis. The cast also includes Judy Davis, Stanley Tucci, Kathy Bates, and Sarah Paulson, just to name a few.
Feud: Bette and Joan premieres on Sunday, March 5 at 10 p.m. ET on FX.