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Joan Crawford's First Words To Steven Spielberg Were Absolutely Hilarious

Steven Spielberg is one of the most iconic figures to come out of Hollywood. The director practically invented the summer blockbuster, and over the course of his illustrious career, he has delivered one instant hit after the next. "Jaws," "Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark," "Jurassic Park," and "Saving Private Ryan" are just some of the incredible films that have benefitted from his singular vision. There's truly no other director like him, and he's still proving he hasn't lost his edge with time with a best director Oscar nomination this year for his work on "The Fabelmans."

Naturally, even one of the greatest living directors had to start somewhere, and like so many before him, Spielberg had his beginnings in the world of television. He directed episodes of "The Name of the Game" and "Columbo" and first rose to critical acclaim with the TV movie "Duel." However, one of his earliest credits involved filming a pilot movie segment for the anthology series "Night Gallery," specifically the one titled "Eyes," starring the legendary Joan Crawford. Recently when looking back at his career, Spielberg described a humorous encounter when he first met Crawford when he was just a fledgling filmmaker. 

Joan Crawford didn't want anyone to think Steven Spielberg was her son

Steven Spielberg would've been in his early 20s when he filmed the "Eyes" segment for "Night Gallery." By that point, Joan Crawford was a well-established star, so the episode holds up as an intriguing bit of Hollywood iconography. Spielberg looked back at his time working with Crawford when he appeared on "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert," and he had an incredible story regarding his first time meeting the actress. 

Before filming actually began, Spielberg met with Crawford at her house, who wanted to meet him prior to filming. Spielberg related, "We were supposed to go out to dinner, to Musso and Frank's, we walked into the front door, and Joan took one look at me and said, 'We can't go out to dinner now, people will think you're my son.' That was the first thing she said to me."

It's unclear if they ever ended up actually going to dinner, but Crawford stood up for Spielberg while filming. He was a novice filmmaker at this point, and Spielberg stated in a 1982 interview with Gene Shalit how Crawford lied to the veteran crew members about having worked with him before so that they would treat him more nicely. When Joan Crawford is an early advocate for your work, you have a bright future.