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April 10, 2017

Hollywood Star Joan Crawford's Porn Past Resurfaces in FX’s 'Feud'

LOS ANGELES—Thanks to the hit FX show Feud, Joan Crawford is once again news in Hollywood. And after the most recent episode, so is her alleged porn past. In the “Hagsploitation” episode of Feud, which aired Sunday, April 9, Joan (played by Jessica Lange) is visited by famed gossip columnist Hedda Hopper (portrayed by Judy Davis) who warns the actress someone is shopping around a stag film reportedly featuring a young Lucille LeSueur before she became a worldwide star under the name Joan Crawford. In the show, Crawford assures Hopper no such stag film exists, but she later visits the nighttime clerk of a seedy motel: Hal LeSueur, her brother. Lange’s Crawford offers money to LeSueur in an effort to keep the movie Velvet Lips from making an appearance in the tabloids, and he happily accepts. While Feud is largely based on the real-life animosity between Crawford and Bette Davis, the mention of Joan Crawford appearing in porn is still a debatable truth. In her lifetime, and in her autobiography, Crawford denied the existence of Velvet Lips and several other blue films she reportedly appeared in; the naughty movies were all reportedly made before 1925. Bolstering her denial is the fact no physical copies of the movies have ever been found.  In the 1962 memoir A Portrait of Joan, Crawford said she did receive a blackmail threat, but insisted she forwarded it to studio head Louis B. Mayer and his attorney J. Robert Rubin. “Mr. Rubin viewed the film and assured the men that ‘If that’s Joan Crawford, I’m Greta Garbo,’” she wrote. But the story seems to continue, in part, because so many close to Crawford had heard the rumors—including her first husband, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., who insisted to biographers that Joan herself told him of the movies’ existence. Some biographers also point to Crawford’s FBI file, which reportedly states at least one stag film featuring the actress in compromising positions was circulated at parties for men. Regardless of the veracity of the claim, both in real life and on Feud, it all makes for a classic Hollywood tale.

 
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