No More !
BY Jeremy Kinser
November 11 2010 5:30 PM ET
I’ve always respected her devotion to Billy Haines [a major silent film star whose career was cut short due to his homosexuality]. How rare was it for a starlet in the ’20s to become a close friend with an openly gay man?
It was more common than people think, but people who befriended [openly gay people] did it without talking about it publicly. Joan, however, insisted that [Haines and his partner, Jimmy Shields] come to dinner parties at her home, she introduced them as a couple, and she would not hear a word against gay people. It had to do with Joan knowing what it was like to be denigrated and despised. She would not allow anyone to be insulted or offended in her presence.
How influential was Haines in her career and life?
In her early career, he was very influential. When the option on her contract was up every two or three months, which is how it was for the first few years at MGM, Billy launched a campaign, saying “Isn’t Joan doing wonderful work?” and “Doesn’t she have such a future here?” She paid him back the best way she knew how. When he quit/resigned/was fired she supported him in getting started as an interior designer. She gave him money to start his business, and he became one of the most important and gifted designers in Hollywood.
Other biographers have stated that Crawford was bisexual and have speculated on affairs with Marilyn Monroe and Barbara Stanwyck, among others. Did you find any evidence of this?
Not at all. I heard tales and read about them in books I’d rather not discuss, but you look in vain for sources for these rumors. If Joan Crawford had had all the affairs that some writers claim, she wouldn’t have had time to make so many movies.