Creator: Barbara Stanwyck

Barbara Stanwyck (1907-1990) was one of the greatest screen actresses of Hollywood's studio era. Born in Brooklyn as Ruby Stevens, Stanwyck was orphaned at the age of four when her mother died of complications from a miscarriage 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 and won three Emmy Awards. She also received an honorary Academy Award in 1982 for her whole body of work.

When her film career declined, Stanwyck moved to television. She appeared in her last film in 1964; afterwards, she starred in the western show The Big Valley which won her an Emmy.


Barbara Stanwyck on TV Tropes: