The classic Hollywood film star whose actual age was never known for certain is Joan Crawford. Named Lucille LeSueur at birth, Crawford was born poor in Texas and raised in the Lone Star State, Oklahoma, and Missouri before dancing on Broadway in the 1920s and making her name in Hollywood in the ’30s (per Britannica). The future Hollywood star otherwise had an unhappy childhood. Her father abandoned his family right around the same time she was born, which possibly explains why the actress never had an official birth certificate (via Biography). As for Texas, birth records were not kept until 1903, and the system was shoddy even then, per the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

After her father abandoned his family, Crawford grew up with several stepfathers and never really got along with her mother, as Bustle explains. Situations like the young Joan Crawford found herself in as a child were not all that uncommon. Not an orphan technically, neglected children of single parents like Joan Crawford at some point do fall under that category. The social services system for children and families was also not then what it has now become, as Classroom explains. Of her strained relationship with her own mother, Crawford later said in the book “Conversations with Joan Crawford,” “I don’t think she really loved me.”