This is from the book Crawford’s Men by Jane Ellen Wayne:
“She allowed her fans (she called them ‘friends’) to gather near her Bristol Avenue home.
“She put them to work doing odd jobs around the yard and house or helping with the mail.
“They scrubbed floors and cleaned out the garage and basement.
“If her loyal subjects had nothing better to do than wait for a glimpse of her, she’d give them something constructive to do, and they were honored to get down on their knees.
“Depending on her mood, she would pay them, but most often she would not.
“Being able to serve their idol was payment enough.”
Aside from the obvious jokes about how Joan herself was often honored to get down on her knees, I feel that today’s stars should learn from Joan’s old-school approach to practicality.
Next time Meryl Streep is asked for an autograph, she should say, “No, sorry — but you can certainly scrub my toilet and do my laundry!”
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 13, 2010