"Biography" Barbara Stanwyck: Straight Down the Line (TV Episode 1997) - Plot Summary Poster


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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 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 Robert Wagner, Robert Stack, Roddy McDowall, Ricardo Montalban and Charlton Heston, producer Aaron Spelling, director Edward Dymtryk, dress designer Nolan Miller, biographers Ella Smith and Bob Thomas.


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