25 of the Bitchiest Joan Crawford Quotes


Joan Crawford had caustic relationships with her children, film studios, and fellow stars (ahem), earning a reputation as a hard-nosed bitch who prized her career above all else. She was a relentless self-promoter, difficult, and was dubbed box office poison as quickly as she was “Queen of the Movies.” But Crawford was known for playing the determined working girl in cinema — women who had a rough start, but eventually found love, respect, and success. These big-picture images were inspirational to female audiences, and Crawford became one of the highest paid stars in Hollywood during Tinseltown’s male-dominated reign. By her own admission, Crawford loved playing bitches on film. In honor of the Queen B’s deathiversary this month, we gathered some of Crawford’s bitchiest quotes.

“I love playing bitches. There’s a lot of bitch in every woman — a lot in every man.”

“[In The Women (1939)] Norma Shearer made me change my costume sixteen times because every one was prettier than hers. I love to play bitches, and she helped me in this part.”

“I never go outside unless I look like Joan Crawford the movie star. If you want to see the girl next door, go next door.”

“She has a cult, and what the hell is a cult except a gang of rebels without a cause. I have fans. There’s a big difference.” —on rival Bette Davis

“Love is a fire. But whether it is going to warm your hearth or burn down your house, you can never tell.”

“I am just too much.”

“Women’s lib? Poor little things. They always look so unhappy. Have you noticed how bitter their faces are?”

“Nobody can imitate me. You can always see impersonations of Katharine Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe. But not me. Because I’ve always drawn on myself only.”

“Sensitive husbands don’t like second billing.”

“They were all terrible, even the few I thought might be good. I made them because I needed the money or because I was bored or both. I hope they have been exhibited and withdrawn and are never heard from again.” —regarding the movies she made after What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?.

“I hate being asked to discuss those dreadful horror pictures I made the mistake of starring in. They were all just so disappointing to me, I really had high expectations for some of them. I thought that William Castle and I did our best on Strait-Jacket but the script was ludicrous and unbelievable and that destroyed that picture. I even thought that Berserk would be good but that was one of the worst of the lot. The other one William Castle and I did [I Saw What You Did] was the most wretched of them all and I just wasn’t good at playing an over-the-hill nymphomaniac. Ha! Then came Trog. Now you can understand why I retired from making motion pictures.”

“Send me flowers while I’m alive. They won’t do me a damn bit of good after I’m dead.”

“It was the most shocking display of bad taste I have ever seen. Look, there’s nothing wrong with my tits, but I don’t go around throwing them in people’s faces.” —on Marilyn Monroe

“She is a spoiled, indulgent girl, a blemish on public decency.” —on Liz Taylor

“Box-office poison? Mr. [Louis B.] Mayer always asserted that the studio had built Stage 22, Stage 24, and the Irving Thalberg Building, brick by brick, from the income on my pictures.”

“I absolutely will not allow anyone to call me grandmother. They can call me Auntie Joan, Dee-Dee, Cho-Cho, anything but grandmother. It pushes a woman almost to the grave.”

“They were grooming Doris Day to take over the top spot. [Jack L. Warner] asked me to play her sister in one picture [Storm Warning]. I said, ‘Come on, Jack. No one could ever believe that I would have Doris Day for a sister.'” —on her final days at Warner Brothers

“What do you expect? She sleeps with the boss.” —on the popularity of Norma Shearer, who was married to MGM production head Irving Thalberg

“Marlon Brando . . . Oh, what was the film [Last Tango in Paris] . . . anyway the nude scene. He’s at least 40 pounds overweight, and I think the only sex appeal he has would be to a meat packer. That’s art?”

“Of course I had heard she was supposed to be playing me, but I didn’t believe it. Did you see the picture? It couldn’t possibly be me. Bette looked so old, and so dreadfully overweight.” —on Bette Davis in The Star

“I’d like to think every director I’ve worked with has fallen in love with me, I know Dorothy Arzner did.”

“Recently I heard a ‘wise guy’ story that I had a party at my home for twenty-five men. It’s an interesting story, but I don’t know twenty-five men I’d want to invite ta a party.”

“Over the years I’ve heard and read so many stories about the way Judy Garland was so badly treated at Metro she ended up a mess. I did not know her well, but after watching her in action a few times I didn’t want to know her well. I think her problems were caused by the fact that she was a spoiled, indulgent, selfish brat — plus a stage mother who had to be something of a monster, and a few husbands whose egos absolutely dominated hers. There were times when I felt sorry for Judy, but there were more times when I thought, ‘For Christ’s sake, get off your ass!’ …but when she put her mind to it, she was good. And I mean damned good. Even in her silly pictures she came off.”

“Damn it. Don’t you dare ask God to help me.” —said to her housekeeper who prayed out loud while Crawford was on her deathbed.