Thursday, September 7, 2017

Seven Things to Know About Barbara Stanwyck

1. Her real name was Ruby Catherine Stevens. Stanwyck's mother died from complications of a miscarriage, caused when a drunken stranger pushed her off a moving streetcar. Stanwyck's father disappeared while working on the Panama Canal.

2. Barbara's introduction to show business came courtesy of her sister, Mildred, who was nineteen years older. Mildred worked as a showgirl and Barbara followed suit in the early 1920s when she became a dancer in the Ziegfeld Follies.

As Victoria Barkley on The Big Valley.
3. Barbara Stanwyck never won an Oscar, despite being nominated for Best Actress for: Stella Dallas, Ball of Fire, Double Indemnity, and Sorry, Wrong Number. She did receive an Honorary Oscar in 1982. In contrast, she won three Emmys for her television work in The Barbara Stanwyck Show, The Big Valley, and The Thorn Birds.

4. Her only child, Dion Anthony "Tony" Fay, was adopted during her marriage to stage actor Frank Fay. After her divorce, she gained sole custody of Tony. Sadly, mother and son became estranged soon after he enlisted in the Army in 1952. Tony died in 2006 at age 74.

Stanwyck and Robert Taylor.
5. Barbara Stanwyck married Robert Taylor, who was four years younger, in 1939. Although they divorced in 1951, she supposedly claimed that Taylor was the love of her life. They starred together in three films: His Brother's Wife (1936); This Is My Affair (1937), and The Night Walker (1964)--which was made 13 years after their divorce.

6. In regard to acting, she once said: "Eyes are the greatest tool in film. Mr. Capra taught me that. Sure, it's nice to say very good dialogue, if you can get it. But great movie acting--watch the eyes!"

7. Barbara Stanwyck died in 1990 at age 82 of natural causes. Per her wishes, she did not have a funeral service and was cremated. Her ashes were scattered over Lone Pine, California, a popular location for filming Westerns for many years.


  1. The Taylor/Stanwyck union a great mutual career move.

  2. I was aware of 1,2,4 and 5. It's unbelievable she never won an Oscars. My favorite actress from the classic era.

  3. Such an interesting woman and actress. Believable as the most disadvantaged characters and the most educated. Funny as any comedienne in any era and heartbreaking in melodrama. You can never be bored watching Barbara Stanwyck.

  4. I can't believe she never won an Oscar. She was incredible, and she was right about watching an actor's eyes. She was a master in that area.

  5. I learned a lot from this post and gained an even greater respect for Ms. Stanwyck.