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Christina Crawford the 3rd
Born June 11, 1939 (1939-06-11) (age 70)
Los Angeles, California
Spouse(s) Harvey Medlinsky (1966-1968)
David Koontz (1976-1982)
Michael Brazzel

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


Early life and education

She was born in Los Angeles, California in 1939 to unmarried parents (father married to another woman, mother unmarried- source: Christina Crawford interview with Larry King) (her father was in the Navy at the time) and adopted out-of-state in 1940 by Joan Crawford, one of five children adopted by the actress.[1]

Christina Crawford claims her childhood was colored by her adopted mother's violent mood swings. At the age of ten she was sent to the Chadwick School, in Palos Verdes, California. However, she was removed from Chadwick by her mother because of her "misbehavior" with one of the male students. Joan Crawford then placed her in the boarding school known as Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy in La Canada, California and forbade Christina any form of outside contact until her graduation. Crawford later moved from California to the East Coast[1] to attend Carnegie Mellon School of Drama and then studied at The Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City. She holds a B.A. degree, magna cum laude,[1] from UCLA and a Master's Degree in Communications Management from USC.[1]

Personal life

Now unmarried, she has been married three times: to Harvey Medlinsky; David Koontz; and Michael Brazzel.[2]

Medlinsky was a Broadway stage manager she met while attending acting school and they were married only briefly [1] She met her second husband, film producer David Koontz, when she worked in public relations for Getty Oil.[1].

Acting career

Crawford appeared in summer stock, including a production of Splendor in the Grass. She has also acted in a number of Off-Broadway productions.

In 1961, Crawford appeared in a small role in Wild in the Country starring Elvis Presley. She also had a role in Faces (1968), directed by John Cassavetes and starring John Marley and Gena Rowlands. In 1962, she appeared in the play The Complaisant Lover. She played five character parts in Ben Hecht's controversial play Winkelberg. In October 1965 she appeared in Neil Simon's Barefoot in the Park, opposite film legend (and friend of her mother's)Myrna Loy.

She played "Joan Borman Kane" on the TV soap opera The Secret Storm in New York from 1968 until 1969. She reportedly lost her job on the show after her mother was brought in, in October 1968, as a temporary replacement in the role of the 24-year-old Kane for four episodes while Christina was in the hospital. Christina was let go from the series, claiming her mother's behaviour had contributed to her being fired. However, the producers told her that the character and her storyline had simply run its course.

She appeared on the TV series 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 they had been disinherited by their mother in her USD $2 million will "for reasons which are well known to them".[3]

In 1978 Crawford wrote the best-selling non-fiction book Mommie Dearest which described the alleged abuse to which she maintains she and her brother were subjected, and in which her mother was depicted as a cruel, overbearing alcoholic who was more interested in her career as a movie star than in the children she had adopted. The book made child abuse a frontburner issue at a time when it was rarely discussed.[1]

In 1981, a movie version of the same title was released, starring Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford and Diana Scarwid as Christina (teen and adult). Christina has also published subsequent books including Survivor, and other books/novels which focus on the subject of child abuse. For seven years she served as President of Los Angeles' Inter-Agency Council on Abuse and Neglect Associates, during which time she campaigned for the reform of laws regarding child abuse.[1]

After a near-fatal stroke in 1981, Crawford spent five years in rehabilitation before moving to the Northwest[1] where she ran a bed and breakfast called "Seven Springs Farms" in Tensed, Idaho, between 1994 to 1999.[1]

She formed Seven Springs Press in 1998 to publish the 20th Anniversary Edition of Mommie Dearest in paperback from the original manuscript, which included material left out of the first printing, primarily having to do with the years following her graduation from high school. She continues in the capacity of company publisher.

In 1999, Crawford began working as Special Events Manager at the Coeur d'Alene Casino in Idaho.


  • 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


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Her Own Private Idaho". People Weekly. August 8, 1994.  
  2. ^
  3. ^ Joan Crawford's Last Will and Testament.

External links

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