There was simply no one else like Joan Crawford. The Hollywood legend whose off-screen life was packed with drama and excitement that rivaled anything that the best screenwriters could imagine remains a source of fascination after all of this time. In 1971 (years before her daughter Christina’s infamous Mommie Dearest hit print), Crawford wrote the part-biography/part life tips book My Way of Life. Think Emily Post with an Oscar:
“My Way of Life” advises the reader on everything from throwing a small dinner party for eighteen to getting the most out of a marriage. Featuring tips on fashion, makeup, etiquette and everything in between, it is an irresistible look at a bygone era, when movie stars were pure class, and Crawford was at the top of the heap.
The fact that the book is still in print is a testament more to Crawford’s enduring appeal than some of the information she presents in the book (her views on vegetables and the counter-culture haven’t aged especially well). Then again, it is her thoughts on a wide range of topics that make this work so appealing. The creation of the material got some screentime in 2017’s excellent FX series Feud: Bette and Joan — which chronicled her tempestuous relationship with Bette Davis. Don’t go diving into the pages of this book looking for dirt though, My Way of Life is nothing short of pure classiness. Ms. Crawford wouldn’t have it any other way.
My Way of Life by Joan Crawford
208 pages, including 16 pages of photographs
Published by Graymalkin Media
This article was originally published last year and is being reprinted as this week’s Sunday Funday post. It has been revised and updated.