82 (passed away Jan. 20th, 1990)
Jul. 16th, 1907
Brooklyn, New York, USA
Barbara Stanwyck's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles1982 - Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid
1964 - Roustabout
1964 - The Night Walker
1957 - Forty Guns
1957 - Crime of Passion
1956 - These Wilder Years
1956 - There's Always Tomorrow
1954 - Executive Suite
1954 - Witness to Murder
1953 - Titanic
1953 - Jeopardy
1952 - Clash By Night
1950 - The Furies
1950 - The File on Thelma Jordon
1950 - No Man of Her Own
1949 - The Lady Gambles
1948 - Sorry, Wrong Number
1947 - The Two Mrs. Carrolls
1946 - The Strange Love of Martha Ivers
1945 - Christmas in Connecticut
1944 - Double Indemnity
1944 - Hollywood Canteen
1941 - Ball of Fire
1941 - The Lady Eve
1941 - Meet John Doe
1940 - Remember the Night
1939 - Golden Boy
1939 - Union Pacific
1938 - The Mad Miss Manton
1937 - Stella Dallas
1935 - Annie Oakley
1933 - Ladies They Talk About
1933 - The Bitter Tea of General Yen
1933 - Baby Face
1931 - The Miracle Woman
1929 - The Locked Door
Guest TV Roles
Constance Colby Patterson
Lt. Agatha Stewart
Today Barbara Stanwyck is remembered primarily as the matriarch of the family known as the Barkleys on the TV western "The Big Valley" (1965), wherein she played Victoria, and from the hit drama "The Colbys" (1985). But she was known to millions of other fans for her movie career, which spanned the period from 1927 until 1964, after which she appeared on television until 1986. It was a career that lasted for 59 years. She was born Ruby Stevens on July 16, 1907, in Brooklyn, New York. She went to work at the local telephone company for $14 a week, but she had the urge (a dream--that was all it was) somehow to enter show business. When not working, she pounded the pavement in search of dancing jobs. The persistence paid off. Barbara was hired as a chorus girl for the princely sum of $40 a week, much better than the wages she was getting from the phone company. She was 17, and she was going to make the most of the opportunity that had been given her.
In 1928 Barbara moved to Hollywood, where she was to start one of the most lucrative careers filmdom had ever seen. She was an extremely versatile actress who could adapt to any role. Barbara was equally at home in all genres, from melodramas, such as Forbidden (1932) and Stella Dallas (1937), to thrillers, such as Double Indemnity (1944), one of her best films, also starring Fred MacMurray (as you have never seen him before). She also excelled in comedies such as Remember the Night (1940) and The Lady Eve (1941). Another genre she excelled in was westerns, Union Pacific (1939) being one of her first and TV's "The Big Valley" (1965) (her most memorable role) being her last. In 1983, she played in the ABC hit mini-series "The Thorn Birds" (1983), which did much to keep her in the eye of the public. She turned in an outstanding performance as Mary Carson.
Barbara was considered a gem to work with for her serious but easygoing attitude on the set. She worked hard at being an actress, and she never allowed her star quality to go to her head. She was nominated for four Academy Awards, though she never won. She turned in magnificent performances for all the roles she was nominated for, but the "powers that be" always awarded the Oscar to someone else. However, in 1982 she was awarded an honorary Academy Award for "superlative creativity and unique contribution to the art of screen acting." Sadly, Barbara died on January 20, 1990, leaving 93 movies and a host of TV appearances as her legacy to us.
- According to biographical film _Barbara Stanwyck: Fire and Desire (1991) (TV)_ (qv), Stanwyck became a model for women actors. Such stars as 'Sally Field' (qv) and 'Virginia Madsen' (qv) have publicly pointed to Stanwyck as their model.
- Her wicked turn as Phyllis Dietrichson in _Double Indemnity (1944)_ (qv) was ranked #8 on the American Film Institute's "100 Greatest Screen Heroes and Villains" list.
- She was voted the 40th "Greatest Movie Star of All Time" by Entertainment Weekly.
- (1987) American Film Institute Life Achievement Award.
- Her stormy marriage to 'Frank Fay' (qv) finally ended after a drunken brawl, during which he tossed their adopted son, Dion, into the swimming pool. Despite rumours of affairs with 'Marlene Dietrich' (qv) and 'Joan Crawford (I)' (qv), Stanwyck wed 'Robert Taylor (I)' (qv), who had gay rumours of his own to dispel. Their marriage started off on a sour note when his possessive mother demanded he spend his wedding night with her rather than with Barbara.
- In 1944, when she earned $400,000, the government listed her as the nation's highest-paid woman.
- In Italy, almost all of her films were dubbed by 'Lidia Simoneschi' (qv). She was occasionally dubbed by 'Tina Lattanzi' (qv) and 'Marcella Rovena' (qv). As Leona Stevenson in _Sorry, Wrong Number (1948)_ (qv), she was dubbed by 'Andreina Pagnani' (qv). This was the only time the Italian actress lent her voice to Stanwyck.
- Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume Two, 1986-1990, pages 796-798. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1999.