Wednesday 21 February 2018

Hollywood's other pushy stage mums

Joan Crawford
Joan Crawford
Judy Garland

Maria Riva isn't the only child of a Hollywood star to claim her mother was a nightmare.

Joan Crawford's adopted daughter Christina claimed in Mommie Dearest, her 1978 autobiography, that Joan was a vicious alcoholic and only adopted her as a publicity stunt. That she was violent, abusive and controlling, would take her children's things to punish them for behaviour she didn't approve of, and strap them down if they wet the bed. Later, when Christina started acting, she said Joan (pictured right) was jealous and tried to take over her roles.

Judy Garland's mother, Ethel Milne, was the archetype of the pushy stage mom, forcing Judy into a relentless schedule of training and rehearsal, and giving her daughter sleeping pills and pep pills by the age of 10, to help her cope with 'life on the road'. Garland later called her "the real Wicked Witch of The West". Garland (pictured inset), who started performing at the age of two-and-a-half, apparently was an unwanted pregnancy, and once said: "The only time I felt wanted when I was a kid was when I was on stage, performing." As a mother herself, she continued to battle addiction, with her daughter Lorna Luft, describing how she would swap her mother's prescription pills for sugar pills in an effort to keep her on an even keel.

Brooke Shields's mother and manager, Teri, started her daughter modelling at 11 months, and allowed her to play a prostitute in Pretty Baby at the age of 12. By the time she was 14, Brooke had appeared naked in Blue Lagoon. Teri was an alcoholic, to whom Brooke wrote when she was nine: "I just want to say thank you for being so very good about drinking. I love you for that… I also feel that we are happier together when you are not drinking."

Sunday Independent

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