After Alfred Steele’s unexpected death – the man who ran Pepsico while married to Joan Crawford – from a heart attack in 1959, Crawford was left broke and deeply in debt. Steele had borrowed heavily against his Pepsi stock, his future earnings, AND his Pepsi pension to finance the construction of their Fifth Avenue apartment and their extravagant globe-hopping lifestyle.
But, she still had some Pepsi stock of her own that had been given to her over the years by Pepsi as compensation for her work on behalf of Pepsi, and she still had the value of her image and endorsement, so she was elected by Pepsico’s board of directors to take over Steele’s seat on the board.
The board gave her a hard time, until she made it clear she would not be bullied. That took guts, but also that is what it takes to stand up to the white male bullies who seem to run the world.