Barbara Stanwyck

Barbara Stanwyck


7/16/1907, Brooklyn, New York



Birth Name

Ruby Katherine Stevens


out of 10
User Rating
21 votes


Barbara Stanwyck aka Ruby Stevens was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1907 to Byron Stevens and Catherine McGee Stevens. Her pregnant mother died when a drunk pushed her off a moving trolley, not long before her father abandoned the family. Ruby was now an orphan at age…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • One of Barbara's largest influences was silent film actress Pearl White.

    • Barbara won the Cecil B. DeMille Award in 1986.

    • Barbara was considered for the part of Scarlett O'Hara in the Civil War epic Gone with the Wind, but was never even given a screen test.

    • Barbara was named the 11th Greatest Female Star of All Time by the American Film Institute.

    • Mildred Pierce director Michael Curtiz wanted Barbara Stanwyck for the lead role but producer Jerry Wald and the studio wanted Joan Crawford.

    • Barbara loved horses and the outdoors.

    • She was voted the 40th "Greatest Movie Star of All Time" by Entertainment Weekly.

    • Her wicked portrayal as Phyllis Dietrichson in "Double Indemnity" (1944) was ranked #8 on the American Film Institute's villains list of the "100 Years of The Greatest Screen Heroes and Villains."

    • Barbara Stanwyck has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame located at 1751 Vine St.

    • Barbara Stanwyck attended Erasmus Hall High School, the same school which Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond also attended.

    • Barbara Stanwyck received three Best Actress Golden Globe nominations for her work on "The Big Valley" TV series. She won the Golden Globe as Best Supporting Actress in 1984 for the mini series "The Thorn Birds".

    • Barbara's subsequent Academy Award nominations were for the films, "Ball of Fire" (1941), "Double Idemnity" (1944), and "Sorry, Wrong Number" (1948).

    • Barbara received her first Academy Award nomination for the 1937 film "Stella Dallas".

    • Barbara married actor Robert Taylor in May of 1939 and the couple divorced in 1951.

    • Barbara married actor-comedian Frank Fay in August of 1928 and on New Year's Eve 1935 the couple divorced.

    • Barbara made her film debut in the silent picture "Broadway Nights" in 1926, were she played a dancer.

    • Barbara made her Broadway debut in 1926 with "The Noose" and became a star with her second Broadway show "Burlesque".

    • Barbara says the worst film she ever made was "Mexicali Rose".

    • During the filming of "Titanic" in 1952, Barbara Stanwyck who played Julia Sturges, had an affair with Robert Wagner who was 23 years her junior.

    • Barbara Stanwyck received her third Emmy in 1983 for "The Thorn Birds".

    • Barbara Stanwyck received four Oscar nominations during her career and never won.

    • Barbara Stanwyck was honored by the Film Society at Lincoln Center in 1982.

    • Barbara Stanwyck received the Academy Award in 1981 for Lifetime Achievement.

    • Barbara Stanwyck was a former Ziegfeld chorus girl.

    • On the set of The Barbara Stanwyck Show, Lee Marvin was guesting on one particular episode when a reporter asked him what was it like working with Miss Stanwyck. He replied, "Zoom!". Translated from the original Marvinese, zoom meant that Stanwyck is simple and direct to work with, straight to the heart of a scene with no fooling around.

  • Quotes

    • (On her fiancee Robert Taylor, who was criticized for being involved with Barbara because he was four years her junior.)
      Barbara Stanwyck: The boy's got a lot to learn and I've got a lot to teach.

    • Barbara Stanwyck: I want to go on until they have to shoot me.

    • Barbara Stanwyck: Attention embarrasses me. I don't like to be on display.

    • (regarding the role in the film "Mildred Pierce")
      Barbara Stanwyck: I desperately wanted the part, I went after it. I knew what a role for a woman it was and I knew I could handle every facet of Mildred. I laid my cards on the table with Jerry Wald. After all, I'd done a dozen pictures at Warner's by then, including So Big and Meet John Doe. I'd paid my dues, and I felt Mildred was me.

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

    • Barbara Stanwyck: 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!

    • Barbara Stancwyck: (on her name change) I couldn't remember my name for weeks. I'd be at the theatre and hear them calling 'Miss Stanwyck, Miss Stanwyck,' and I'd think 'Where is that dame? Why doesn't she answer? By crickey, it's me!

    • Barbara Stanwyck (on her role in "The Locked Door"): No stench bomb ever made people walk out of a theater as fast as that picture did.

    • Barbara Stanwyck: There is a point in portraying surface vulgarity where tragedy and comedy are very close.

    • Barbara Stanwyck: I'm now the Lord of the Brighton Manor.

    • Barbara Stanwyck: Sponsors obviously care more about a ninety-second commercial and want to pay you more than any guest star gets for a ninety-minute acting performance.

    • Barbara Stanwyck: My only problem is finding a way to play my fortieth fallen female in a different way from my thirty-ninth.

    • Barbara Stanwyck: Career is too pompous a word. It was a job, and I have always felt privileged to be paid for what I love doing.

    • Barbara Stanwyck: Egotism -- usually just a case of mistaken nonentity.

    • Barbara Stanwyck: I wanted to do a Western series, play a really active woman of the Old West, but nobody would buy it. I'm really a frustrated stuntwoman.

    • Barbara Stanwyck 1961: The motion picture industry retired me five years ago, and the television people weren't knocking my door down. You've read about people being 'besieged with offers?' Well I wasn't one of them.

  • A distinctive looking dame, but a lousy actress...

    With her husky voice, arched brows, and willowy figure, Miss Barbara Stanwyck had a striking look about her, and would have been the perfect part in many a film…if only she had the ability to act. I don't remember whether I first came to know Stanwyck through her role as Victoria Barkley in The Big Valley or in the Elvis Presley film Roustabout, but I remember being a fairly young kid and realizing that acting was not her strong suit. It may have been her gesticulating and uber-acting in Roustabout, or watching Big Valley with my father and seeing one too many scenes in which she had supposedly been heavily drugged or clobbered unconscious, and moments later, she was flying into her buggy lickety-split as though she hadn't just been deathly lethargic seconds ago. However, it was seeing her again as an adult in her role as the evil widow Mary Carson in The Thorn Birds that sealed the deal. Her acting was so dreadful that I sat there actually feeling sorry for the splendid Richard Chamberlain, who had to play opposite her.moreless
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    True, there was Katherine Hepburn, Bette Davis, Joan Crawford- all remarkable actresses, and there was Ava Gardner, Lana Turner, Rita Hayworth- all screen sirens. But if we're looking for someone human, someone like us, that would be Barbara Stanwyck. She was real in everything she did. She didn't overact like some actresses, nor did she just 'act well', she WAS the characters she played. She knew exactly how to carry a movie all on her own, no help needed from her male co-stars. Heck, she diminished her male leads into eye-candy! We hear a lot that she was "The Best Actress to Never Win an Oscar" or "The Most Underrated Actress", all these praises are true. She never got the credit she deserved during her lifetime, yet she was the most versatile actress of The Golden Age and probably ever. She explored every genre: comedy, noir, drama, suspense/thriller and she made all her roles seem effortless. She could deliver funny lines--her timing was perfect--but she could also break your heart silly. I cried buckets during Stella Dallas and I've gotten abs from laughing at The Lady Eve and Ball of Fire. Although not the most beautiful actress, she made well sure all eyes were on her. She played tough broads on screen, always getting the last word, never letting anyone walk over her; on the other hand, she could also play your best friend, someone who you could sympathize or empathize with. She was a natural, sincere and dedicated actress, a professional and treated everyone with respect. Barbara Stanwyck, my favourite actress.moreless