I had the pleasure of conducting an interview on Joan Crawford with Victor Monterroso, who currently resides in California. Victor has been an ardent supporter of Joan for years. He explains in this interview that he discovered Joan by reading a book on Joan’s filmography, that his friend gave him permission to borrow. While Victor’s friend was a firm believer that Joan was a child abuser, Victor decided to look through the lens of “Mommie Dearest” and explore the woman that was known as Joan Crawford. Shortly after Victor began to realize the real truth, and to this day he remains an avid follower of Joan.
Q: You have been a Joan fan for quite sometime. When did you first discover Joan and what made you become passionate about her?
A: I first discovered Joan Crawford at my mother’s friend’s house back in 1995, he had a filmography book of all of Joan Crawford’s films. I asked if I could borrowed the book, he said that it was okay, and told me and my mother that she was an abusive mother, with the wire hangers. I was really not interested in that part, so I paid no attention. I was just amazed at such a beautiful woman, and how her image changed. Not decade by decade, but year by year. I never gave the book back since he died of AIDs in 1997, and I still have the book.
Q: Joan is an inspiration to many people of all ages. What inspires you most about Joan?
A: Joan was a fighter, regardless of what she did or did not do, she was a fighter. She did it all on her own. Mommy and Daddy did not help her, she was self-sufficient, and reliable. She strive for perfection and perfected herself until her death. She was always open to learn and she did learn all in such a way, that it amazes me, since she had no formal education, so that was a big deal (at least to me).
Q: Joan is largely popular among young audiences of today. Many young people are starting to discover Joan and admiring her. What do you think attracts the young audiences to Joan?
A: She was a feminist way before that word was in vogue. She was talented, and her sincerity spilled over from the screen. A woman of strong convictions. In this day and age of many troubles, she speaks to the young that although many may say NO, there is always a YES!
Q: Joan has starred in many films and has played many diverse roles and always delivered a fine performance. She could portray many different characters, and whatever role she played she always made that character shine. Even though Joan has appeared in so many successful films, everyone has a favorite Joan movie or a film that remains vivid in their memory. What is your favorite Joan movie?
A: “The Damned Don’t Cry” The rawness of that film, the cry of a woman in pain, who no one heard…a woman who left it all behind to become someone of her own right.
Q: Joan has so many unforgettable moments, whether it’s in a film, an interview etc, but everybody has their favorite Joan moment. A moment that really shines in their memory. What is your favorite Joan moment?
A: “The Damned Don’t Cry” (1950)
Marty – You want me to be like them…A criminal?
Joan Crawford – You bet I want you to be like them…Smart.
Marty – But there’s such a thing as self-respect?
Joan Crawford – Don’t talked to me about self-respect. That’s something you tell yourself you’ve got when you got nothing else. What kind of self-respect is there in living on Aspirin tablets, and chicken salad sandwiches? Look Marty the only thing that counts is that stuff you take to the Bank…that filthy buck that everyone sneers at but slugs to get. Oh I know how you feel, you’re a nice guy, but the world isn’t for nice guys. “You got to kick and punch, and belt your way up…because no one is gonna give you a lift…you got to do it yourself. ‘Cause nobody cares about us, except ourselves.
Q: Joan passed away in May 1977. What was your first reaction upon hearing about her death. How did it affect you?
A: I was born in 1982, 5 years after her death. I regret never having met or glance at least for a second, a woman of such talent and strong character.
Q: Joan has a huge impact on a lot of people. What impact does Joan have on you?
A: To be my own person. Even if life did not dealt me the right cards. I can work with the cards life gave to me. That the only person that can stand in my way is myself.
Q: No matter what decade, Joan always remained the star of her own pictures. Even in her later years when her pictures began to decline, she always made her character highly notable. What is your favorite Joan period. 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s or 70’s?
A: The 1960s a very mature woman, who had the sophistication and demeanor of a real lady and actress. The films she made in the 60’s made one believe that she was that character, that there was no Joan but only that character she was playing.
Q: Every fan has a certain Joan item that they cherish the most. What Joan possession do you most cherish?
A: My favorite Joan Crawford possession is my huge film poster of the movie “Rain.”
Q: Many people have had the rare opportunity to meet Joan, or others have written to her and have been fortunate enough to attain her autograph. Have you ever had any dealings with Joan. Have you ever sent her a fan letter & she replied, or have you been lucky enough to meet her?
A: No only individuals on FB. But I think that is best, since they will not dilute my illusion of Joan Crawford.
Q: If you had to introduce Joan to a young person, what films would you recommend?
A: “Possessed” , “The Damned Don’t Cry”, & “The Unknown (1927).”
Q: Joan was a versatile actress. She has portrayed many different characters, and always delivered a fine performance. Some of the roles Joan has played have been heavy, solid roles that really shown her acting ability, roles that not all actresses could play to the same effect as Joan. In which movie do you feel Joan delivers her best performance?
Q: Joan has only won one Oscar, but has been nominated twice, but never won. Which movies do you strongly feel that Joan deserved to win an Oscar for?
A: “The Damned Don’t Cry”, and “The Unknown.” and of course “POSSESSED”
Q: In your own words how would you best describe Joan Crawford?
A: A true dame of character and untarnished charm. A woman who tried to give the best to her children (two of them turned out to be complete brats).
A woman who never got old, but aged like wine. A sincere and complete woman…
Thank you Victor. It was a real pleasure being able to grant this interview with you.
By Crystal Kalyana Crawford.