Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Barbara Stanwyck Day !

She was born Ruby Stevens on July 16, 1907, in Brooklyn, New York. She was the daughter of a bricklayer. When she was 4, Ruby's mother Catherine, pregnant with her sixth child, was pushed from a streetcar by a drunken passenger, which killed her almost immediately. A few months later her father Byron Stevens ran away to Panama digging the Canal, leaving her sister Mildred to support the children as a chorus girl. She took Ruby on the road, whetting her appetite to be a dancer.

She went to work at the local telephone company for $14 a week, but she had the urge to somehow enter show business. When not working, she pounded the pavement in search of dancing jobs. The persistence paid off. Barbara was hired as a chorus girl for the princely sum of $40 a week, where she was to start her movie career, which spanned the period from 1927 until 1964, after which she appeared on television until 1986.  She was an extremely versatile actress who could adapt to any role. 

next episode: Geneva


  1. I prefer the name 'Ruby', I wonder why she changed to Barbara?

    1. In 1926 she met the playwright Willard Mack, who hired her as a chorus girl in his new play 'The Noose'. He coached her intensively and persuaded her to change her name to Barbara Stanwyck. From The Milwaukee Journal, Jan 23 1938: Willard Mack believed Ruby Stevens was a future stage star. He took her to David Belasco's office for a reading - and Belasco was very strongly impressed. "But," said Belasco, "Ruby Stevens sounds like the name of a burlesque queen. We've got to change it." Thumbing through a pile of ancient theater programs, the two men found one reading, "Jane Stanwick in ' Barbara Frietchie.' "Suddenly Belasco shouted: "I have it - she's Barbara Stanwyck".

  2. She’s very young in that picture. She always seemed to get the femme fatale roles.

  3. Great photo of Barbara Stanwyck. I really liked her films when I was young, she always had a feisty attitude.


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