Biography

Barbara Stanwyck: Straight Down the Line (12 May 1997)

TV Episode  -   -  Documentary | Biography | History
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Born Ruby Stevens, she was orphaned when she was four. A chance audition led to a chorus job. By 17 she was a Zeigfield Girl. At 20 she earned excellent reviews for a bit part in a Broadway... See full summary »

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Title: Barbara Stanwyck: Straight Down the Line (12 May 1997)

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Cast

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Herself (archive footage)
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Nolan Miller ...
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Bob Thomas ...
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Storyline

Born Ruby Stevens, she was orphaned when she was four. A chance audition led to a chorus job. By 17 she was a Zeigfield Girl. At 20 she earned excellent reviews for a bit part in a Broadway play -- and she had a new name: Barbara Stanwyck. Her first marriage was to vaudeville headliner, Frank Fay. When Hollywood beckoned, it was Fay who convinced Frank Capra to give Barbara her first real break. But as Stanwyck's career took off, Fay's sank. Fay's jealousy and drinking led to divorce. Barbara's greatest love was actor Robert Taylor, her second husband. But even that didn't last and she spent the greater part of her life alone. However, there was always the one love she could rely on: her work -- in over 80 feature films and a rich career in television. Included are clips from: Ladies of Leisure , Annie Oakley, Golden Boy, The Lady Eve, Meet John Doe, Double Indemnity, The Strange Love of Martha Ivers , Sorry, Wrong Number , Clash By Night and The Thorn Birds. Interviewed are: actors ... Written by Janson Media

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12 May 1997 (USA)  »

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$550,000 (estimated)
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Featured in The Thorn Birds (1983) See more »

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A&E Biography
8 August 2006 | by (Sydney, Australia) – See all my reviews

This A&E Biography recalls the earlier Richard Schickel biography of Stanywyck, Fire and Desire, with some of the same movie clips used. However there are a few new details that occasionally make it interesting.

We see Barbara's first husband Frank Fay in a short they made together in 1932, where he appears very fey, and which alludes to the rumors that she was a beard. We see Barbara's 1981 Hononary Oscar speech, and rare footage from movies like Ladies of Leisure, and Annie Oakley, as well as clips and trailers from her milestone films.

We hear anecdotes about how Barbara helped people establish themselves in Hollywood eg William Holden, Aaron Spelling, Nolan Miller, and also Barbara's own voice talking about her life. The best anecdote concerns Barbara's reaction to the director John Farrow being rude to a bit player on the set of California.


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