In 1998, Christina Crawford, renowned author of the legendary revenge memoir Mommie Dearest, came to Town Hall to sell copies of the new edition of her book after being interviewed onstage by critic Rex Reed.
In that Q&A, she graciously reiterated all the awful things Mommie did to her as we wept in sympathy one more time.
But the real shock came when Christina let slip something I’d never heard her say before:
“By the way, my mother was responsible for the death of Alfred Steele.”
She was referring to Joan’s last husband, the Pepsi guy.
A startled hush fell over the room.
Did she really just say that?
Could it really be true?
If so, this was surely even more horrible than the wire-hangers incident!
How could this horrifying piece of news have been kept quiet all these years?
And how did Joan do it — by boring him to death with viewings of Daisy Kenyon?
We waited with bated breath for some elaboration, but strangely enough, Rex didn’t pursue it at all!
He abruptly switched topics, either not having digested what Christina had said or not wanting to dignify it.
But I couldn’t let it (and Joan) rest.
After the Q&A, I pantingly approached Christina as she was signing books and said, “Um, what exactly did you mean about Joan killing Alfred Steele? Can you elaborate, please?”
She fixed me with a glassy glaze.
“I’m doing this now,” Tina chillingly said — meaning selling books — thereby brushing me, and the whole bombshell, away as I wished there was a nearby bed I could strap myself to.
“So you just want to accuse your mother of murder and not have to take two seconds to explain?” I screeched — or I would have if I’d thought I was still talking to Christina at this point.
I was convinced I was actually talking to Joan, who had clearly risen back up to possess her daughter so she wouldn’t spill any more half-baked beans.
I ran, not wanting to be killed.