Creator / Barbara Stanwyck

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"I'm a tough old broad from Brooklyn. I intend to go on acting until I'm 90 and they won't need to paste my face with make-up."

Barbara Stanwyck, born Ruby Catherine Stevens (July 16th 1907 — January 20th 1990) was one of the greatest screen actresses of Hollywood's studio era, who appeared in both movies and television and had successes during The Pre-Code Era and The Golden Age of Hollywood.

She had a rough childhood. Stanwyck was orphaned at the age of four when her mother died from a car crash caused by a drunk and her father disappeared while working at the Panama Canal. Stanwyck's sister Mildred got a Promotion to Parent at the ripe old age of nine. Mildred got a job as a dancer in a traveling theater troupe, and Ruby tagged along sometimes, thus getting a taste for show business. When she was 16 she got a job dancing in the Ziegfeld Follies. This led to parts on the stage, and starring roles on Broadway by the time she was 20. That in turn led to parts in movies in the late silent era, and by 1930, starring roles.

Stanwyck made 85 films over a 38-year motion picture career. She continued to be a leading actress for decades, at a time when fellow stars such as Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Katharine Hepburn, and Ingrid Bergman ebbed and flowed in their fortunes and star power. Her incredible range was the main reason - she could play a self-sacrificing, noble mother (Stella Dallas), or a slutty, gold-digging schemer (Baby Face), or a con artist with a heart of gold (The Lady Eve), or a murderous Femme Fatale (Double Indemnity), or a screwball comedy heroine (Ball of Fire).

Directors almost unanimously praised her, whether it was Frank Capra, William A. Wellman, Preston Sturges, Samuel Fuller, Douglas Sirk and even a notoriously prickly actor-hating director like Fritz Lang called her "an angel".

Stanwyck was nominated for four Oscars but never won. As she got older she moved to television (her last film was in 1964) and won three Emmy Awards. She also received an honorary Academy Award in 1982 for her whole body of work.

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