Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Barbara Stanwyck 101 from Bridget Dougherty, stage manager

So in this play, Barbara Stanwyck comes up a lot. Having only known her in comedies, it was an eye opener to see all of the other work she did and how long she acted. In the play she comes up as a drink (a lot) and the character Barbara “like Stanwyck” references her.

Here’s a little about her, borrowed liberally from IMDB:

Barbara Stanwyck

Birth Name
Ruby Catherine Stevens

Mini Biography
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 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.

Her stage name was inspired by a theatrical poster that read "Jane Stanwyck in 'Barbara Frietchie.'".
In 1944, when she earned $400,000, the government listed her as the nation's highest-paid woman.
Often called "The Best Actress Who Never Won an Oscar."
Her mother died when she was accidentally knocked off a trolley by a drunk. Barbara was four at the time.
Was listed #11 on the American Film Institute's "100 Years of The Greatest Screen Legends."
Her stormy marriage to Frank Fay finally ended after a drunken brawl, during which he tossed their adopted son, Dion, into the swimming pool. Despite rumours of affairs with Marlene Dietrich and Joan Crawford, Stanwyck wed Robert Taylor, who had gay rumours of his own to dispel. Their marriage started off on a sour note when his possessive mother demanded he spend his wedding night with her rather than with Barbara.
She did not have a funeral and has no grave. Her ashes are scattered in Lone Pine, California.
Her performance as Phyllis Dietrichson in Double Indemnity (1944) is ranked #98 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time list (2006).
A Star Is Born (1937) starring Janet Gaynor and Fredric March is said to be modeled after Stanwyck's rise to stardom and first husband Frank Fay's descent into obscurity.
More info can be found at IMDB.com

No comments: