Joan and Norma, together at last

joan vs normaExcept that they were most definitely not friends. Joan Crawford considered Norma Shearer as her main rival in Hollywood for leading actress in the 1920’s & 30’s (which I guess means Joan didn’t think of Carole Lombard and Myrna Loy as threats?). Joan loathed Norma with a  passion and allegedly tore Norma down every chance she got both publicly and privately. Norma said she never understood the intensity of Joan’s venom and felt there was plenty of room in Hollywood for both of them. She thought Joan was just whack. And so goes one of the greatest rivalries of the Golden Era. Not sure where Carole fit in during this war but Joan had Barbara Stanwyck and Myrna Loy in her camp and Norma had Bette Davis as an ally. Norma also married one of the owners of the biggest movie studio in town (MGM), which infuriated Joan no end. Joan said: “How can I compete with Norma when she’s sleeping with the boss?” Joan also had an inferiority complex because Norma had won an Oscar in 1930. But Joan persevered and won an Oscar in 1945 for “Mildred Pierce”. Joan’s real name was Lucille and Norma’s real name was Edith – and Norma/Edith was from Montreal.

4 thoughts on “Joan and Norma, together at last

  1. Irving Thalberg was NOT an “owner” of M-G-M. He was an executive there: head of production. Carole Lombard and Joan barely tolerated each other, and Norma barely knew Bette Davis.

    • I didn’t know then but I learned since that Thalberg was an executive at MGM. And I read somewhere a while ago now about Carole Lombard’s total hatred of Joan Crawford – much of that venom based on the fact that Carole felt Joan was trying to steal Clark Gable back. Which she probably was, though Carole and Clark were married where as Joan and Clark were “just one of those things, one of those bells that now and then rings”.

  2. When Carole was killed in a plane crash on a war bond trip. Joan took over her scheduled role in “They All Kissed the Bride,” and donated the salary to the war effort. The film was a comedy and Joan was no comedienne, but she meant well, presumably.

  3. Joan… meant well. Not so sure about that. But I’m sure it gave her good publicity & she loved that. Carole probably would’ve been furious about the choice of replacement given that she suspected/was suspicious of Joan trying to seduce her husband, Clark Gable at the time of her death. Carole allegedly was flying home early due to her paranoia about Joan.

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