Stanwyck

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Barbara Stanwyck thrilled millions in scene after scene, picture after picture, over a six-decade career that took her from an impoverished childhood in the streets of Brooklyn to the pinnacle of Golden Age Hollywood. At once tough and vulnerable, straight-talking but emotionally elusive, she electrified every production in which she appeared, from Hollywood B-flicks to such classics as Stella Dallas, Double Indemnity, and television's The Thorn Birds. She was an early role model for women dissatisfied with the ...
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Overview

Barbara Stanwyck thrilled millions in scene after scene, picture after picture, over a six-decade career that took her from an impoverished childhood in the streets of Brooklyn to the pinnacle of Golden Age Hollywood. At once tough and vulnerable, straight-talking but emotionally elusive, she electrified every production in which she appeared, from Hollywood B-flicks to such classics as Stella Dallas, Double Indemnity, and television's The Thorn Birds. She was an early role model for women dissatisfied with the standard Hollywood heroine, and a tantalizing challenge to men who wanted more. Her honesty and authenticity resonate even more powerfully today - but her complete story has never before been told. Axel Madsen's Stanwyck is the first authoritative life of this fascinating and notoriously private star, who until now has eluded biographers. Madsen first interviewed Stanwyck in 1969 and over the years has exhaustively researched her life and career and interviewed scores of important sources, many of whom felt free to talk candidly only after her death in 1990. In this penetrating, sensitive portrait, Madsen traces the orphaned Stanwyck from her childhood in a succession of foster homes and her gritty days as a Ziegfeld chorus girl, to triumph in Hollywood at its zenith, through her lonely final years. He examines Stanwyck's two famous marriages - the divergent career trajectories and violence that destroyed the first, to Broadway star Frank Fay, and the troubled sexual dynamics at the heart of her celebrated union with Robert Taylor, probing for the first time rumors of Taylor's homosexuality and the widespread belief that Stanwyck was bisexual. And with sympathy and insight he explores the depths of Stanwyck's obsession with Taylor years after their devastating breakup, and her decades-long estrangement from her son. Barbara Stanwyck is one of America's most riveting screen icons, an endlessly intriguing enigma. Now, at last, with Stanwyck, Axel Madsen ta

Madsen delivers the first portrait of film legend Barbara Stanwyck--the extraordinary story of a life that began on the streets of Brooklyn and rose to Hollywood in the Golden Age. Behind the glamorous facade of this notoriously private star are tales of two tragic marriages, backstage dramas during filming, and more. 16-page photo insert.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Madsen Chanel picks a tough subject in movie legend Barbara Stanwyck, who was born in Brooklyn in 1907 and orphaned at age three. She scrambled up through the Broadway chorus line and, by the time she reached Hollywood, was such a hard worker that Madsen has to struggle to avoid recounting endless lists of movies, memorable and otherwise. On the orders of MGM, Stanwyck married leading man Robert Taylor. We hear a lot about their troubled relationship, which Madsen portrays as a ``lavender'' marriage to conceal Taylor's homosexuality. Yet the meat here lies in the detailed descriptions of Stanwyck's movies, which include such classics as Stella Dall a s, The Lady Eve, Ball of Fire and Billy Wilder's spectacular Double Indemnity . The overall impression we're left with is of a talented woman who cared mainly for her career. Stardom and riches failed to buy her serenity in a youth-obsessed Hollywood, where Stanwyck died alone at the age of 84. Madsen's bio breathes intimacy on every page and avoids a gossipy tone. Photos not seen by PW. July
Library Journal
Barbara Stanwyck was one of this century's finest film actresses. She received three Academy AwardR nominations and won an honorary Oscar, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute, and three Emmys. Author of the excellent William Wyler: The Authorized Biography Crowell, 1973, Madsen would appear to be an appropriate biographer for such a star. Unfortunately, his results this time are less impressive. He has no penetrating insights to impart, and some questionable statements and infelicities of style detract. Madsen's Stanwyck is about on a par with the identically titled book by Jane Ellen Wayne LJ 12/85-which is to say, average. The definitive book on Stanwyck's films is Ella Smith's Starring Miss Barbara Stanwyck LJ 1/15/74; Crown, 1985. rev. ed.; the definitive book on Stanwyck's life has yet to be written.-John Smothers, Monmouth Cty. Lib., Manalapan, N.J.
Kathleen Hughes
Madsen's exhaustive research reveals the public and private details of Stanwyck's life in surprising detail. She was born Ruby Stevens in Brooklyn, New York, in 1907. She was eventually orphaned and lived in a series of foster homes until the age of 14, when she began working as a chorus girl. Madsen traces the development of Stanwyck's career from early Broadway to the golden age of Hollywood, using vignettes from each of the more than 80 productions in which she appeared. In addition, Madsen explores Stanwyck's two failed marriages and her desperate obsession with her second husband, film star Robert Taylor. Although this book is a must-read for Stanwyck fans, it also has appeal as a historical look at the motion picture industry, since it's packed with anecdotes about other Hollywood stars, including Ronald Reagan, Joan Crawford, and Bette Davis.
Booknews
A sympathetic biography of Barbara Stanwyck 1907-1990. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR booknews.com
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061090677
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/1/1995
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 496
  • Product dimensions: 6.80 (w) x 4.21 (h) x 1.08 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments XI
1. "I hope she lives" 1
2. Brooklyn 8
3. "Stark naked, I swear" 15
4. Rex 23
5. Faysie 34
6. Hollywood 41
7. Capra 52
8. Low-budget Life 60
9. What Price Hollywood? 74
10. Depression Blues 89
11. Single 102
12. Arly 110
13. Private Lives 120
14. Stella 135
15. Offscreen 147
16. Screwballs, Mr. C.B., and Golden Boy 157
17. Marriage 167
18. Passions 176
19. The Lady Eve 186
20. The Sweater Girl 194
21. Patriot Games 205
22. Double Indemnity 214
23. Rand and Warner 225
24. Uneasy Peace 231
25. Bearing Witness 240
26. Prejudice 251
27. Primal Women 264
28. False Fronts 273
29. Herself 280
30. B Pix 295
31. Sharp Reminders 310
32. "The Barbara Stanwyck Show" 321
33. The Last Picture Show 330
34. Matriarch 336
35. Golden Girl 344
36. Closing Number 354
37. "It worked--didn't it?" 364
Notes on Sources 373
Bibliography 387
Filmography 395
Index 417
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Customer Reviews

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( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2014

    Disappointing

    After reading this book I was disappointed. Most of the book is all about the movies she was in and not much about her personal life. If you take out the material about her movies and cast and the indexes, there isn't much reading left. I would think there would be more information about her daily life.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2012

    Axel

    Yawned

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2013

    Stanwyck

    A great. Actress Neglected by. The. Oscars

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2012

    Drama

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2012

    Arabella

    Starts to think.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2012

    Very interesting book.

    This book told me more about Barbara Stanwyck than I really needed to know. Very thorough.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews

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