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Joan Crawford: Always The Star

Airs Friday, January 24, 2014 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Joan Crawford

This glamorous and hugely popular actress raised herself from brutal poverty to Academy Award-winning stardom through guts, determination and hard work. During her 50-year career, she made more than 80 films.

Courtesy of Janson Media

Joan Crawford

But her obsessive perfectionism led to a later caricature of coat-hanger-wielding harridan that even the adoration of her fans could not counter.

Still, she has endured as one of the most popular icons of the movies, an early role model to young women who were drawn to her image as a stylish magnetic power and an actress of unquestioned independence.

Clips are included from the following Joan Crawford films: "Sally, Irene and Mary" (1925), "Our Dancing Daughters" (1928), "Grand Hotel" (1932), "Dancing Lady" (1933), "The Gorgeous Hussy" (1936), "The Women" (1939), "A Woman's Face" (1941), "Mildred Pierce" (1945), "Humoresque" (1946), "Possessed" (1947), "Sudden Fear" (1952), "Johnny Guitar" (1954), "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" (1962) and "Strait Jacket" (1964).

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