A Life of Barbara Stanwyck

A Life of Barbara Stanwyck

Volume 1, Steel-true, 1907-1940

Book - 2013
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"Fifteen years in the making, the first volume of the full-scale astonishing life of one of our greatest screen actresses whose career in pictures spanned four decades beginning with the coming of sound--the first to delve deeply into Stanwyck's rich, complex life and to explore her extraordinary range of eighty-eight motion pictures, many of them iconic; her work, her world, her Hollywood through an American century. Frank Capra called her, "The greatest emotional actress the screen has yet known." Yet she was one of its most natural, timeless, and underrated stars. Now Victoria Wilson, gives us the most complete portrait we have yet had, or will have, of this magnificent actresses, seen as the quintessential Brooklyn girl whose family was in fact of old New England stock...her years in New York as dancer and Broadway star...her fraught marriage to Frank Fay, Broadway genius, who influenced a generation of actors and comedians (among them, Jack Benny and Stanwyck herself)...the adoption of a son, embattled from the outset; her partnership with the "unfunny" Marx brother, Zeppo, together creating one of the finest horse breeding farms in the west; her fairytale romance and marriage to the younger Robert Taylor, America's most sought-after male star...Here is the shaping of her career working with many of Hollywood's most important directors: among them, Capra, King Vidor, Cecil B. Demille, Preston Sturges, all set against the times--the Depression, the rise of the unions, the coming of World War II and a fast-evolving coming-of-age motion picture industry. At the heart of the book, Stanwyck herself--her strengths, her fears, her desires--how she made use of the darkness in her soul, keeping it at bay in her private life, transforming herself from shunned outsider into one of Hollywood's--and America's--most revered screen actresses. Written with full access to Stanwyck's family, friends, colleagues, and never-before-seen letters, journals and photographs"--
Publisher: New York :, Simon & Schuster,, 2013.
Edition: First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition.
ISBN: 9780684831688
Branch Call Number: 791.43028 S7929W
Characteristics: x, 1044 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm


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Mar 18, 2019

I attempted to read several Stanwyck bios before but they read like a Wikipedia filmography. Initially, the size of this book (it clocks in at 860 pages, not including the index, filmography, etc!) might put off some readers. It may be hefty, but it is well worth the workout to read. I learned so much about Barbara, the golden age of Hollywood, and history to boot. Fascinating and memorable. I do hope Wilson releases Volume 2 soon! 🤓😍

dstanwyck Nov 13, 2014

I love Barbara Stanwyck, but... This book was too unwieldy and too much information, elaborated unnecessarily with details that would have been better left undetailed. Granted, I know a lot about Stanwyck , probably too much, but none of this shed any new or substantive information on her. And it is only the first half of her career!

ChristchurchLib Feb 19, 2014

"Born in New York City in 1907 and named Ruby Stevens, Hollywood star Barbara Stanwyck started in the chorus line (including a stint as a Ziegfeld Girl in the Follies) before developing into an award-winning actress. In this biography, author Victoria Wilson enthrallingly details the actress' life, providing not only personal details but a panoramic view of the American motion picture industry. Exhaustively researched and vividly portrayed, A Life of Barbara Stanwyck: Steel-True 1907-1940 absorbs readers into Stanwyck's world, leaving them hungry for the still unpublished volume 2." Biography and Memoir February 2014 newsletter http://www.libraryaware.com/996/NewsletterIssues/ViewIssue/0e887225-0b8a-4fa1-a3f4-f7a1eba4ffe0?postId=0eb00fdc-2a64-4083-8ac8-384add517db0

Nov 25, 2013

I've heard a lot of people say to me I never liked Barbara Stanwyck. And when watching classic movies in my youth I didn't much care for her either. But as I matured and started really studying classic movies I appreciated her more and more. Even in her earliest work you could see there was fire in her belly. She can light up a room or blow it up on a whim. And she also had sex appeal. This is a terrific look at her life and the arrow that she grew up in. It's also a great look at the early development of Broadway and the cinema. I gained more and more appreciation for Stanwyck as I devoured this book. Don't let the length turn you off to reading it. Wilson does a great job in making a page turner.


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