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Barbara Stanwyck
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Barbara Stanwyck

Barbara Stanwyck (born Ruby Katherine Stevens) (July 16, 1907 - January 20, 1990) was an American film and television actress.

She was born in New York City, and her mother died when she was only four. She took her stage name from the name of a play, "Barbara Frietchie", about a fictional Civil War heroine. The play starred a British actress named Joan Stanwyck.

Stanwyck starred in almost a hundred films during her career and received four nominations for the Academy Award for Best Actress: Stella Dallas (1937), Ball of Fire (1941), Double Indemnity (1944), and Sorry, Wrong Number (1948). She received an Academy Honorary Award "for superlative creativity and unique contribution to the art of screen acting" in 1982. In her later years, she also starred in television, notably in the 1960s Western series, The Big Valley. Her last starring role was in 1985, in The Colbys.

During her life, Stanwyck was the subject of rumor that she was a lesbian, and that her marriage to the actor Robert Taylor was a "lavender marriage", designed to conceal the fact that both were homosexual. After her death, biographies began to report these rumors as fact, with several sources who had known both Stanwyck and Taylor willing to go on record and verify these claims.