Joan Crawford (March 23, 1905 - May 10, 1977) was an acclaimed Academy Award winning American actress.
Starting as a dancer, she was signed to a motion picture contract by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios in the mid-1920s and played in small parts. By the end of the '20s, as her popularity grew, she became famous as a youthful flapper. At the beginning of the 1930s, her fame rivaled that of fellow MGM colleagues Norma Shearer and Greta Garbo. She was often cast in movies in which she played hardworking young women who eventually found romance and success. These "rags to riches" stories were well-received by Depression era audiences; women, particularly, seemed to identify with her struggles. By the end of the decade she remained one of Hollywood's most prominent movie stars, and one of the highest paid women in the U.S.
Moving to Warner Bros. in 1943, Crawford won an Academy Award for her performance in Mildred Pierce, and achieved some of the best reviews of her career in the following years. In 1955, she became involved with PepsiCo, the company run by her last husband. She was elected to fill his vacancy on the board of directors after his death in 1959, but was forcibly retired in 1973. She continued acting regularly into the 1960s, when her performances became fewer, and retired from the screen in 1970. By the mid-1970s, she became a recluse due to illness.