When we talk about Barbara Stanwyck, it is really difficult to avoid the use of superlatives: one of the most professional actresses of the golden age of Hollywood, and certainly one of the most versatile and productive.
In her 60-year-long career, she has made as many as 93 films, having achieved a number of notable roles in theater plays and TV series.
Some call her the best actress, and she is adorned with a much more important phrase: no-nonsense leading lady of the silver screen.
This is life story of Barbara Stanwyck – an amazing woman!
Born July 16, 1907, as Ruby Catherine Stevens. Stanwyck tasted all the bitterness of life as a child. When she was only four years old, her mother died in a car accident (a drunk pushed her off the tram). Two weeks after the funeral, the depressed husband left his three children to take part in the digging of the Panama Canal. The Stevens family never heard of him again.
The care of Ruby and her brother Byron was temporarily taken over by their older sister Mildred, but they later fell into the hands of the social services, which sent them from one foster parent to another. When Mildred got a place in the dance troupe, Ruby would accompany her on tours in the summer months. It was her first encounter with the world of show business.
At the age of fourteen, Ruby leaves school and tries his hand at various jobs: wrapping packages in a department store, cutting patterns for dresses, sorting out paperwork in the phone office. At seventeen, she finally got a place as a dancer in an entertainment show for $40 a week (which, after the miserable $14 a week she got at the phone company, seemed like a real small fortune).
After she got the role in the theater play “The Noose”, at the urging of the director and screenwriter, she changed her name to Barbara Stanwyck. Legend has it that the new name was sponsored by a poster for the play by Barbara Fricci, starring the great Jane Stanwyck.
Moving to Hollywood
After the spectacular success of her theatrical debut, a call from Hollywood followed. In 1927, Stanwyck made his big screen debut in the silent film “Broadway Nights”, and in 1929 he made his first sound film, “The Locked Door”.
With each new role, Barbara Stanwyck proved herself again as an excellent actress who did not want us to identify her with only one genre.
Namely, after the role of a rebellious working, often amoral woman who did not end well, was imposed on her in the early 1930s, thanks to her not-too-round / androgynous appearance, she began to insist on “tinkering” among genres, most often comedies, dramas and westerns.
Among her best achievements are certainly the roles of the sacrificial mother of unusual fashion expression in the melodrama “Stella Dallas” (1937) and the one where she played the deceiver – Phyllis Dietrichson in Billy Wilder’s classic “Double Deception” (1944). She was nominated for an Oscar for both films, and for “Sorry, Wrong Number” (film noir from 1948), “Ball of Fire” (comedy from 1941). She was also on the list of potential actresses for the role of Scarlett O’Hare in the film “Gone with the Wind” (1939), and according to tax records, in 1944, she was the highest paid woman in the United States.
Forget the stereotype of an imaginary Hollywood diva who blows the sky with her nose – Barbara Stanwyck was considered an incredibly approachable and pleasant person. On sets, she would regularly try to meet all members of the film crew, and she was especially cordial and patient with young colleagues (Marilyn Monroe described Barbara Stanwyck as the only member of the so-called older generation of actors who is towards her was kind).
A new career
In the late fifties, Barbara moved from the big screen to small screens, because she didn’t get big roles anymore, partly because she was old, and partly because she didn’t want to dye her gray hair. His “Barbara Stanwyck Show” was brought to her by “Emmy” awards, but it lasted only one season (1960). She also starred in series such as “The Big Valley” (1965-1969) and “The Thorn Birds” (1983), and her last role was in the sequel to the mega popular soap opera The Colby’s (1985-1987).
As we mentioned, she was nominated for an “Oscar” four times (each time in the category of best leading female role, regardless of the fact that she did not go to any acting school), but she received the golden statue only in 1982, in recognition of her incredible contribution to film art.
Like in some romantic comedy, in her early youth, Barbara Stanwyck and actor Frank Faye could not stand each other. However, the initial antipathy soon turned into its opposite and the couple married in 1928. After the wedding, they move from Broadway to Hollywood, where they hope for a brilliant film career. But, while her popularity grows with each new engagement, there is still no place for Faye in the dream factory. Jealousy of his wife’s success results in alcoholism and frequent marital disagreements. The couple eventually divorced, in 1935.
Four years later, Stanwyck marries the enchanting Robert Taylor, but due to his frequent checks, that marriage ends ingloriously. Her relationship with Marlene Dietrich and Joan Crawford was also speculated, but those rumors were never confirmed.
A tragic event!
An unfortunate incident from 1981 marked the beginning of the end for Barbara Stanwyck: an unknown robber broke into her home in Beverly Hills and attacked her. The consequences of smoking came to fruition very late (she lit her first cigarette in the ninth year). She died of lung disease on January 20, 1990, at the age of 82.
In accordance with her personal wishes, one of the biggest stars of Hollywood does not have her grave site – her body was cremated, and the ashes were scattered in the place of Lone Pine in California.
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