Barbara Stanwyck birth name Ruby Catherine Stevens the iconic actress of Hollywood’s Golden Age was born on July 16, 1907 in Brooklyn, New York. An American actress, model, and dancer who had a prominent career in stage, film, and television that spanned over 60 years. She passed away on January 20, 1990.
Stanwyck was known for her strong and realistic screen presence, as well as her versatility as an actress. She appeared in 85 films throughout her career and worked with famous directors such as Cecil B. DeMille, Fritz Lang, and Frank Capra. Some of her notable film performances include “Stella Dallas” (1937), “Ball of Fire” (1941), “Double Indemnity” (1944), and “Sorry, Wrong Number” (1948). She also won three Emmy Awards for her work in television. Stanwyck’s contributions to the entertainment industry have earned her several honorary awards, including an Honorary Oscar and the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award.
She was born into a working-class family as the youngest of five children. She has one older brother, Malcolm Byron “Bert,” and three older sisters, Laura Mildred (Smith), Viola (Merkent), and Mabel (Munier).Her parents were Kathryn Ann McPhee and Byron E. Stevens, with her father being of English descent and coming from Lanesville, Massachusetts, and her mother being of Scottish descent and having immigrated from Sydney, Nova Scotia.
After her mother’s death, Ruby and her older brother Malcolm were taken in by their eldest sister, Laura Mildred. However, when Mildred became a showgirl, Ruby and Malcolm were placed in foster homes. She often ran away from these homes.
Education and Career
She suffered academically and frequently got into rivalries with other students while attending different public schools in Brooklyn, which caused her to run away from school on many occasions.She dropped out of school at 14 and began working in a department store. She pursued a career in show business and landed a job as a dancer in the Ziegfeld Follies. She went on to work as a chorus girl and landed her first Broadway role in The Noose in 1926. She changed her name to Barbara Stanwyck at the suggestion of David Belasco and became a Broadway star in Burlesque in 1927
In Depth of her career
She began her career in the 1920s as a stage actress before transitioning to film with her debut in The Locked Door (1929). She quickly became known for her strong and independent portrayals of women, earning critical acclaim for her performances in films such as Ladies of Leisure (1930), Night Nurse (1931), and Baby Face (1933).
She proceeded to give outstanding performances in films like Stella Dallas (1937), Ball of Fire (1941), and Double Indemnity (1944), which is recognised as one of the best film noirs of all time, during the 1930s and 1940s. Also, she made other Westerns appearances, including The Furies (1950) and The Violent Men (1955).
As her film career began to decline in the 1950s, She shifted her focus to television, where she continued to deliver strong performances and earned an Emmy Award for hosting the anthology drama series The Barbara Stanwyck Show (1961). She also made guest appearances on popular television shows like The Untouchables and Wagon Train.
She returned to film in 1964 with Roustabout and found new success on television as Victoria Barkley in the Western series The Big Valley (1965-1969), which won her another Emmy Award. In the 1970s and 1980s, she continued to make appearances in film and television, receiving critical acclaim for her performances in The House That Would Not Die (1970) and The Thorn Birds (1983).
Relationship and married life
She was married twice in her life. Her first marriage was to Frank Fay, a comedian and actor, in August 1928. However, their relationship was reportedly volatile, and they divorced in 1935. In 1941, She met actor Robert Taylor on the set of the film “His Brother’s Keeper.” They were both married to other people at the time, but they began a secret relationship that lasted for several years.
After divorcing their respective spouses, Barbara and Taylor got married in 1939. The couple became one of Hollywood’s most glamorous and high-profile couples, and they appeared in several films together, including “This Is My Affair” (1937) and “The Night Walker” (1964). However, their marriage was not without its problems, and they reportedly had several extramarital affairs.
In 1951, She and Taylor separated, and they divorced in 1952. After her divorce from Taylor, she had several relationships with younger men, including actor Robert Wagner and film producer Robert Evans.
She never remarried, and she once said in an interview, “I don’t think I’ll ever marry again. I’m too set in my ways. I don’t like to be tied down to one person.”
Does she have any children with Frank Fay?
She was unable to conceive children. According to reports, her infertility may have resulted from a botched abortion she underwent at the age of 15, which led to complications.However, the couple did not care and decided to adopt a ten-month-old boy on December 5, 1932. They named him Dion, and later changed his name to Anthony Dion, affectionately called Tony.
At the time of her passing in 1990, Barbara Stanwyck had a net worth of $10 million, which would be equivalent to a higher value today after adjusting for inflation.
- She was a big fan of the writer Ayn Rand.
- Over Lone Pine, California, her ashes were scattered.
- She didn’t go to high school, though.
- At the age of 15, she made her professional dancing debut with Ziegfeld’s Follies.
- She reached the position of highest-paid American woman in 1944.