82 (passed away Jan. 20th, 1990)
Jul. 16th, 1907
Brooklyn, New York, USA
Barbara Stanwyck's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
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.
- (1987) American Film Institute Life Achievement Award.
- Her former _"The Big Valley" (1965)_ (qv), co-stars, 'Peter Breck' (qv) and 'Linda Evans (I)' (qv), both have made guest appearances on her co-star's, 'Lee Majors (I)' (qv), popular 1980s TV series, _"The Fall Guy" (1981)_ (qv), but on different episodes.
- 'William Holden (I)' (qv) was considered to be too lightweight for the lead role in _Golden Boy (1939)_ (qv), but Stanwyck urged producers to keep him in the picture and it was through her efforts he was kept in the picture, and the role made him a star. In 1978, at the _The 50th Annual Academy Awards (1978) (TV)_ (qv), before starting the presentation of the sound award, Holden publicly thanked her for what she did. She nearly broke down in tears and kissed Holden, and the exchange received thunderous audience applause.
- She became estranged from her son in February 1951.
- Inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1973.
- Actors 'Lee Majors (I)' (qv) and 'Linda Evans (I)' (qv) were said to be huge fans of hers, as little children. Together, all grown up, they both co-starred alongside Stanwyck in the successful 1960s, western series, _"The Big Valley" (1965)_ (qv).
- Often called "The Best Actress Who Never Won an Oscar."
- Her stage name was inspired by a theatrical poster that read "Jane Stanwyck in 'Barbara Frietchie.'".