Happy Birthday: Barbara Stanwyck (1907-1990)

Barbara Stanwyck is a name which still stands today as a grand dame of Hollywood cinema. Glancing at her filmography, her credits date back to the late silent era (her first role is described as being in 1927).

However, she truly hit her pace in the 1930s. Just a few short years into her career, Stanwyck was working extensively in 1931, already securing starring roles for herself. As the years passed, her roles grew by leaps and bounds, showing the talented Stanwyck develop from early parts in films like Night Nurse in 1931 through Baby Face in 1933, to the film which is still trotted out as a legendary entry into her illustrious career: Stella Dallas.

The 1937 film shows Stanwyck reaching her acting peak in an emotionally wrought melodrama opposite Anne Shirley. Get the tissue boxes ready if you haven’t seen this one.

Stanwyck’s career held steadily through the next few decades. Contemporary audiences probably recognise the actress from her popular role in the 1944 film noir Double Indemnity.

As the Hollywood began to transition into the 1950s and 1960s, Stanwyck’s career morphs with the advent of television. The screen legend wasn’t intimidated by the small screen, and took on a number of roles in long running series like Wagon Train and Big Valley.

After Big Valley came to an end in 1969, Stanwyck finally slowed down a bit and became more choosey in her roles. Her last screen credits came in a starring role in the short-lived Dynasty spin-off The Colbys in 1985.

Stanwyck passed away in 1990 at the age of 82.

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