Actress Joan Crawford was born Lucille Fay LeSueur on March 23, 1905, in San Antonio, Texas, to Thomas LeSueur and Anna Bell Johnson. At a young age, LeSueur was involved in theater and made her way to New York City in 1925, where she signed a movie contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. In that same year, MGM sponsored a magazine contest for readers to create a new name for LeSueur, and the name Joan Crawford was chosen. Crawford starred in a total of 81 films during her film career and won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in the 1945 film Mildred Pierce. When Crawford married Pepsi-Cola Company CEO Alfred Steele in 1955, she became involved with the business, serving as a board member and publicity executive. Even after Steele's death, in 1959, Crawford continued to travel and promote Pepsi-Cola Company, well into the 1970s. In the late 1960s, Crawford came to Brandeis University to support the arts program. In 1965, the Joan Crawford Dance Studio was dedicated within the Spingold Theater Arts Center to promote education in dance. In 1968, Brandeis University elected Crawford as a Brandeis University Fellow. Crawford's success in the film and business worlds and her contributions to needy organizations won her multiple awards of appreciation and merit.