A MESSAGE FROM BRET CRAIN: I enjoy receiving e-mails from my grandmother’s fans. I’ve received hundreds over the years and some fans and I have had long correspondences. Here are a few selected letters below. To send me an e-mail about Jeanne Crain, CLICK HERE. Thanks again to everyone out there who loves my grandmother’s work and keeps her spirit alive by visiting this website.
Like Chuck Finley, I have been a lifetime admirer of your grandmother and love your stories which I just discovered on your website. I sincerely hope you continue them in some form.They are fascinating. I first fell in love with her when I was seven and forced to go see “State Fair”. I was hooked and never missed any of her performances feeling that she has always been underrated as an actress. Happily I also own, thanks to Mr. Finley, one of her original paintings “Isabella D’Este” that I treasure along with some autographs that I received as a gift from author Doug McClelland. I also have quite a large collection of memorabilia on her and her career. Although her acting ability was sometimes in doubt, never by me, most would agree that the movies never produced a prettier girl. Thank you sharing part ofÊher life with me and I know that there is a terrific book in her story.
Thank you for putting together such a nice website. I’m 48, and I can remember being a fan of your grandmother since I was a kid. She is one of the most beautiful women to ever appear on screen. My favorite movie of hers was “O. Henry’s Full House”, even though she had a smaller part. I think she was at her loveliest in that movie. And, of course, “State Fair” was a great movie for her, too. Again, thank you.
A gift overlooked …the ability to verbalize your memories … breathe air into them and revive the characters as they were at that moment. I admire your ability. What a terrific tribute to your grandmother.
As a writer of sorts, I used your grandmother as a reference when a character of mine refered to his daughter … I didn’t back it up on the computer and two years of writing disappeared into cyberspace. Wishing I had the big bucks to remove it from my hard drive! Oops!
It was called “The Wages of Sin” a coming of age, as they say in the trades, fable about a girl Elsinore Booth, that resembled your grandmother. I need to get busy and reconstruct it.
The movie State Fair is one of my favorites and that great line that Dana Andrews delivers about your grandmother’s “bouncing hair” inspired me to use the reference in my writing.
Had to comment …couldn’t resist…and the art work…if I ever re-write and get published (no outbursts of uncontrolled laughter it was really good) maybe could use the art work for a cover. Had no idea that she was an artist. My character was an artist, encouraged by her father. The style that I imagined my character “SIn” would paint was similar to the paintings on your web page and it really shocked me to see the paintings.
Palm Springs, CA
Hi, Bret. Just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed reading the stories about life with your grandma, Jeanne Crain. Your grandmother has long been one of my favorite actresses, and I have thought for a very long time that she was quite possibly the best-looking actress that has ever graced the silver screen. It is just remarkable how beautiful she was in some of her films. In “Leave Her to Heaven,” she manages the near-impossible feat of looking prettier than Gene Tierney at her best; in “A Letter to Three Wives,” she is easily the most attractive of the bunch (and Ann Sothern and Linda Darnell weren’t exactly difficult to look at!), and in “State Fair”…well, let’s just say that she is the personification of the all-American girl; the quintessence of pulchritudinous muliebrity! In all of these films, you just want to pause your DVD player to marvel at your grandmother’s remarkable good looks. From her first film appearance, as an unbilled beauty lounging by a pool in “The Gang’s All Here” (stunning in green bathing suit), she was always breathtaking. Anyway, it’s so nice to learn that Jeanne was more than just a pretty face. Your stories, Bret, allow us to discover that the woman, in addition to being a fine actress and great beauty, was also an accomplished painter and had many other fine qualities that I heretofore knew nothing about. You have done us fans a tremendous service by your wonderful tales. I just knew that any granddaughter of Jeanne Crain would have to be a “looker” herself, even before I checked out your own photographs, Bret, and such indeed is the case. I guess natural good looks just run in the family. Anyway, thanks again for a job well done. Your grandmother would have been very proud of you, I bet!
P.S. When are you bringing your act here to the NYC area?
Hello Bret: I’m 26 years old and I’ve been a fan of your grandmother’s since I first saw her wonderful performance as Deborah Bishop in the classic film A LETTER TO THREE WIVES about twelve years ago. She was such a beauty and of course a brilliant talent. Her films continue to give me great pleasure, as they do a good many others. Thank you for creating this website. I’ve really enjoyed reading your memories of her. This site is a very nice tribute to her.
Bret, You don’t know me and the only way I knew your grandmother was on the screen and in the movie magazines. That was quite some time ago. My first recollection of her was in the movie “Pinky.” I was a young boy at the time and was quite a movie for its time. Truthfully, I never fell in love with her as a young boy. Esther Williams, became my first actress on the screen to win my heart. Later, it became Ava Gardner, the one your grandmother didn’t care to hear about. Ava lived a miserable life. Her exploits were all too visible to the world. I happened to see “People Will Talk” on Fox today and looked up your grandmother on the internet. There I found your memories. Thanks for letting other people share those special times. Although, I never fell in love with your grandmother, my memory of her is of a soft intelligent loving woman. It has always been my feeling that she played herself on the screen. Now I know that she was exactly that. Good Luck with your career.
I enjoyed reading you stories concerning your grandmother. Jeanne Crain is my favorite actress. I would like to read more about her life. I would also like to see some photos of her in her later years.
Dear Bret. Thank you so much for your candid description of your grandmother. I’ve love Jeanne Crain for her beauty, and talent since I was young and watched her movies on tv. (I’m 63). Please write more on your web-site. And good luck in your career. Thanks again………
Ginny Lorenz. Encinitas, CA
I just wanted to tell you that I just read your recollections on your gram jeanne and I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed it. I just saw “pinky” on tv the other day and I was looking on the internet for more info on your gram jeanne. You ended your piece on wondering about whether people should remember your gram the way she was in the movies she made or in her real life. I think there is room for both. People who love the old movies like me are not in some unreal fantasy world detached from real life but we appreciate good stories and good performances like your Gram jeanne gave. But it is nice to know that gifted and smart and talented people like your gram jeanne was a regular person too with all the same hardships in life that we all have to face. I think part of why your gram jeanne was so solid and strong was because she recognized a higher power in life that you brought out in your piece on her.Anyway I really enjoyed the piece on your thoughts of her.I can tell that you had a lot of respect for her by the way you wrote. All the best in your career.
sincerely sherrie myers
Thank you for your honesty on your web page. After reading your web site I found similarities between my life and your grandmother’s. I was named after your grandmother, born one month after your Uncle Paul, Jr. and married not on New Year’s Eve, but December 30.
Dear Bret I finally went to your new website tonite and went thru most of it. Youve done a lovely tribute to your Gram Jeanne. The more I read about her on your site , the more interesting she became. She was more than the lovely ingenue from those Fox movies or the glamourous star of the fifties. She was like all of us, a complicated & complex personality. Im glad you talked about her voice & distinctive way of speaking – I always found that one of her most beautiful traits. How lucky you are to have had such a very special person for your grandmother, despite the sadness that occurred. I had a very beautiful sister – Bronwen – she even had a passing resemblance to Jeanne -so lovely but her life was marked by sadness , too. She died 5 years ago from lung cancer – only 69. For the last 5 years , I took care of our mom – Rose – she was 86 then – losing Bron was so hard especially for Mom. This summer she passed too after a summer long struggle with pneumonia & heart problems. Your dilemma over telling more about your Gram’s life made me think that no one , however beautiful or wealthy or talented, gets thru life without sorrows. I think those who “loved” the movies’ Jeanne Crain would only see her humanity more sharply to discover her life was not perfect(though she herself may well have been).
Best wishes, Philip
My name is Janice, and I have been a fan of beautiful Jeanne Crain’s for as long as I can remember. I am 60 years old, and grew up with what we now call the classic movies. I love the old classic’s and have quiet a few of them. I just recently purchased the wonderful movie, “Margie”, starring Jeanne Crain. I was very touched by the stories you told about your grandmother, and your family. I would love to have known her, but I suppose many people would like to have known such a beautiful and talented person. She was a great beauty, and probably still is. Its funny how one can watch someone on the screen for years and feel like they know them and also can be affected by sad things that you learn about them. It hurts me to think of any sadness coming into her life. I believe her to be a wonderful and good person. She will always be beautiful to me. I will continue to watch her on film whenever I get the chance. Thanks for telling those wonderful stories of someone so wonderful.
Your grandmother would have been 79 today. I just want to let you know that each May 25 I will think of her and all her wonderful movies. Also, I will think of you and how good you were to email me with information about her. It was fun to learn so many things and to know that she was a beautiful person, not only on the outside but inside too.
This will be my last email to you as I know you are busy with your family and career. Thanks again for the happy times you gave me when I received an email from you. It was very special to me that you emailed me when she died. I’ll always remember that.
Peace and love to you and your family.
Just a note to let you know I am remembering your grandmother, Jeanne Crain, today on what would have been her 80th birthday. Peace to her memory.
I hope all is well with you and your family. Warm wishes from Iowa to you.
Hello Lady Bret,
Thanks for replying back to me. I think that is a wonderful idea regarding your grandmothers fan letters. I would be both thrilled and honored if you chose to include my little letter. Since reading the stories you told on the website, I really realize how real and precious your grandmother was. She was and is someone to be cherished, as I’m sure you do. I can tell that you do, by the way you told the stories. After I viewed you grandmothers website, I watched her old classic movie, “Margie”. That makes twice and I’m going to watch it again tonight. I also enjoyed seeing pictures of you on the site. You too, are a very lovely young woman. You did such a wonderful and touching job of telling about your grandmother. If you ever write a book, I would love to buy it. Hope you and your loved ones have a Happy Holiday!! Seasons Greetings From Texas, The Lone Star State.
Plano, Texas, right next to Dallas