On May 10, 1977, the world lost one of its most iconic film and television stars, Joan Crawford.
The actress who rose to fame in 1928 after her performance in a silent melodrama titled Our Dancing Daughters, was found dead in her Manhattan apartment at the age of about 69 (her exact age is unknown).
Although her official cause of death was due to a heart attack, there were many who weren't convinced. Her close friend and neighbor, Doris Lilly was one of them.
"All evidence points to one sad fact - Joan committed suicide," Doris told National Enquirer a few months after Joan's death.
Doris is convinced that the Oscar-winning actress took her own life after she was forced to spend Mother's Day alone, two days before she passed away.
"I've never told anyone about it before but Joan called me the day after Mother's Day 1977. She told me she was miserable and that she felt life wasn't worth living anymore," said Doris.
Joan's final years were shrouded with mystery. In 1974, after an unflattering photograph taken at an event she co-hosted leaked, Joan cancelled all public appearances and began to isolate herself in her apartment. In the years that followed, her health began to decline after years of alcohol abuse and a stomach cancer diagnosis.
According to one of her biographers, Lawrence J. Quirk, Joan had no one in her life to keep her company. In Joan Crawford: The Essential Biography, Lawrence wrote that the actress would call him late night "high on vodka, demanding, neurotic, and imperious."
“I felt for her loneliness and unhappiness, but she was just too much,” he added.
It wasn't long after that the actress gave away her beloved Shih Tzu, Princess Lotus Blossom on May 8, 1977, an act which Doris and many others saw as a sign that she was nearing the end.
The stress of abandonment by her four children, her illness and crumbled public image have greatly contributed to Joan's sudden passing.
"Obviously there is no way that we will ever know for sure, but I believe Joan took an overdose of sleeping pills," concluded Doris.
Joan's daughter, Christina published a tell-all book, Mommie Dearest, after her adoptive mother's death in which she alleged that she and her siblings were emotionally and physically abused.
Many of Joan's friends and co-stars denied the accusations and so did her first husband, actor Douglas Fairbanks Jr and her two youngest daughters, Cathy and Cindy.
In March 2017, Joan's life, feud with Bette Davis and death were depicted in the first season of Ryan Murphy's show Feud on FX.
“I think she would approve of Feud because, unlike with Mommie Dearest, which was an exploitation novel, we try to explain the softer side of Joan Crawford," Ryan told Vanity Fair.
"We examine her pain, her sexual abuse. She was an alcoholic, I think, to deaden the pain of that stuff. She always felt very insecure and unloved by everybody,” he added.
Do you believe Joan may have killed herself? Share your thoughts in the comments!